Brandon Crowson [Interview]

I have been wanting to do this one for quite some time folks, and I am so happy to finally get it done. Today’s interview is with filmmaker Brandon Crowson, a man who has delved into a world that we are far too familiar with here at Trainwreck’d Society. Crowson’s debut documentary, The World Has No Eyedea, is a stunning look at the tragically short life of musician and poet Michael “Eyedea” Larsen. Avid readers of the site will know exactly how he fits in to the TWS world. For those of you just joining us (first of all, Welcome!), Michael Larsen has been a figure around here for a very long time. Or dear friend Alexander “Bodi” Hallet (former TWS Person of the Year!) wrote a very touching tale of Michael’s influence on him in what you may call the “prequel” to Trainwreck’d Society, our book Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From the World of Independent Music, and was also a dedicatee in the book. And since then, we have featured his work, and that of his friends for the last 6 years now. He’s a legend, and is sorrily missed.

So, it is quite the honor to have Brandon talk with us today. Brandon is a brilliant young mind with a future that is as bright as the sun. Years ago, Crowson linked up with the late Eyedea’s mother and a friendship was built that has become his amazing documentary, The World Has No Eyedea. Through years of hard working, crowd funding, etc., the film is now out in the world and is currently touring the country side with Brandon at the helm, and uniquely acting as a real solid live show usually featuring Eyedea’s former music partner DJ Abilities. For those of us who have not been able to attend the live shows, we are simply waiting impatiently for the physical release, that simply can’t come soon enough!

We wanted to talk to Brandon basically to see what makes him tick. How does a midwest boy from Minnesota decide he wants to make movies to earn a living. And he was gracious enough to share some very kind stories with us here today! So please enjoy some words with filmmaker Brandon Crowson!

What made you decide to become a filmmaker, working in almost every form of filmmaking? What drew you to this form of artistic expression?

I’ve just always loved storytelling. It fulfills me in a way that nothing else does. I’ve been writing stories as a hobby since I was 6. I didn’t really grow up in a background where the arts was encouraged, so after years of doing construction related jobs I got sick of paying my rent with backaches and went to college for screenwriting. I learned quickly that trying to be a screenwriter living in MN is a dead end, so I took it upon myself to learn everything I could about all aspects of production and started doing freelance video production while I was still in school for screenwriting. No one was giving me the opportunity to get paid to tell stories so I became largely a one man production crew and started making opportunities for myself.

And since you decided to make the commitment to be a full-time creative person, what keeps you inspired to be in the world? What keeps you’re head up when times are tough, and what makes you excited to see happen when they go well?

Honestly, I just love what I do. I’m kind of obsessed with it. I’ve had any number of good and bad jobs over the years, and I would fantasize about doing what I do now at every single one of them. As far as tough times and good times, life is all peaks and valleys. My motivation is always the same, I have to survive capitalism and provide for my kids. Only difference is now I literally never have days where I hate going to work. I have stressful days sure, but it’s different. There’s a certain pride of ownership that comes with working for yourself. And nothing touches the feeling of sitting in a packed theater and watching a room full of people look at your work and laugh when you wanted them to laugh and cry when you wanted them to cry.

You’ve been screening your documentary debut,The World Has No Eyedea, to audiences across the globe over the last year and some change alongside performances by DJ Abilities and more. What has the reaction with audiences been like? What has the feedback been like for the film and these events as a whole?

Overwhelming in all the best ways. Laughter, tears, cheering, more tears. No one’s called it boring yet. We’ve literally been selling out theaters everywhere, won awards, and sold out in countries Eyedea’s never been to, so I feel like I didn’t screw it up.

Is there any word on when fans will be able to check out the film from their homes? Are there VOD or physical releases set to happen in the future?

Hopefully May. That’s all I can say right now. We’re trying to release it online and on DVD at the same time, so obviously that involves working with bigger companies and waiting on their timelines.

Being from the area and knowing the scene quite well, what do you believe it is about the Minneapolis that has made it a hotbed for alternative hip hop? And does the city still have flare it had 15-20 years ago as its popularity has risen?

We’re definitely a city that has a lot more diversity than most midwest cities. So you get all these different perspectives and skills living in the same city. Add to that the fact that everyone has to lock themselves in their homes for the most part in the winter. The winter creates a lot of opportunities to get your skills up and create as you have to do something to stave off the madness that comes with sub zero temperatures and lack of sunlight.

Plus, obviously, Rhymesayers. That whole crew built something truly amazing over the last 20 years and created a lot of opportunities, as well as provided a lot of inspiration for Minneapolis artists, hip hop or otherwise.

You have been known to tackle just about every aspect of the filmmaking process, much like a Robert Rodriguez of sorts, which I can only imagine brings on a bit of stress. So I’m curious, what would you say is your favorite aspect of filmmaking? What part of it do you enjoy the most?

If you’d asked me this question a few years ago I would’ve said screenwriting. My 3 favorite parts now are writing, directing, and editing. In a perfect world, that’s all I’d do is write, direct, and edit one movie a year, every year until I die as an old man by tripping over one of my Oscars and breaking my neck.

What is next for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

Who wants to see Slug throw fire at people? My next movie is titled The Different. It’s a sci-fi/action piece that’s heavy in social commentary. I wrote it myself. I have Slug attached to play a character, which as a huge Atmosphere fan still feels weird to say out loud. There’s a couple larger production companies that are considering funding it right now, but I’m not counting on that. So we’re making a mini web series set in the world of The Different that will be used as part of the crowd funding campaign to get us the budget to make the film. We’re almost done with post production on webisode 1. I’m excited about it. I think it looks really good.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My son Griffin. He’s a toddler. 7/10 times that kids the reason I’m smiling on any given day.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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