Jim Beller, Jaws expert and all round nice guy recently watched my first cut of Inside Jaws. He loved it. Phew! He also made some great suggestions and pointed me in the right direction to rectify some of the scenes that were a bit lacking.
One of his ideas was to talk to some people who had previously been interviewed for the fabulous Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard, a book that Jim himself was heavily involved in. So, armed with some contact details I got in touch with members of the crew as well as extras to get a handle on their unique experiences shooting JAWS! Telephone interviews are often criticised for their low quality, but for me it’s all about content, in whatever form it comes.
Tonight I called and interviewed my first victim. All I’ll say is that she was a very willing participant indeed with great stories for me to include in the commentary track. I love hearing these tales from the unsung heroes, even if they only played a small part in the films’ creation. I really think you’ll enjoy her enthusiasm and insights. It’s so great that people are still happy to talk about the film after all this time. I got a real buzz chatting. It’s always so difficult not to laugh along with the interviewee. But as I need the interviewees voice for commentary, I have to stay quiet!
With any luck, I’ll soon be speaking to a veteran of film making. He was also involved in a little film set in 1985. Or was it 1955? More on that later.
Watched Inside Jaws tonight, yet another excellent film from you. What can I or the rest of the world possibly say other than THANK YOU for bringing these to us! I’m shocked and amazed that there were still deleted scenes and footage that I hadn’t seen yet. Especially on the heels of the recent “official” Jaws documentaries…
While I was watching I started to get the feeling that you were indeed the one who was calling cast & crew members and conducting the phone interviews. Good for you! That’s a great way to dig up your own exclusive content and get new stories and info never before revealed. And as I’m sure you learned, once you get past the top 1% of directors and stars, most of these people are quite accessible and are happy to talk about their work and experience. Mainly because no one ever TRIES to interview cameramen and editors and the first A.D. 🙂
In the past I’ve done interviews with a few behind the scenes people and they were all easy to reach and happy to talk. And it’s amazing what you can learn this way, no doubt you will continue to uncover never before heard stories and, 20 years later, regale us fans with fantastic new info! Who would have thought, all you have to do is ASK!
My friends and I have a dream, maybe you can make it happen – A Star Wars commentary track with Gary Kurtz and Marcia Lucas. Can you even imagine what that would be like? Actually I’m sure you can 🙂 Talk about getting never before heard stories… Just be sure to have some wine on hand!
Sometimes I wish the studios would just go get commentary tracks from important people even if there are no specific DVD projects in the works, just to make sure we have it while these people are still with us. It’s criminal that Universal put out every episode of Columbo without so much as an interview with Peter Falk… And no Don Adams on Get Smart? They knew that they would eventually put that show out on DVD, and as Adams health began to decline they should have just sat down with him for even one day, get an interview and record some commentary tracks. Waiting until it’s too late is a sin.
My friends and I have actually considered dojng just that – contacting actors and behind the scenes people who have either never been asked to do commentaries or simply have films or shows that haven’t been released yet. Just to make sure they are on record!! I mean yes I understand there are all sorts of issues delaying the project, but does anyone really think that the 60s Batman show won’t eventually see a DVD release? Of course it will. So go and get Adam West to record his part NOW, before it’s too late.
Oh and pish tosh to the sound quality thing, as you said, content is king, and as long as the voices are legible few people will ever think twice about the quality. Keep doing what you’re doing and if you ever need help from someone in Los Angeles (to record and interview, for example) I’d be all too pleased to help!