Taylor Morden [Interview]

 

Welcome to another week of awesomeness here at Trainwreck’d Society. Today’s interview subject is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker who sense to want to pull on my own very specific and nostalgic heart strings. His name is Taylor Morden, and he has a couple of very exciting documentaries that are posed to come out in 2019 that will surprise the hell out of me if they don’t end up on Netflix or any other applicable streaming service in the near future.

Morden is man who has taken along the labor of love in showcasing the very lost remaining Blockbuster Video store in existence in the upcoming and aptly titled film, The Last Blockbuster. He also has a very intriguing doc in the works about the incredible third wave of ska that saw great popularity in the late 90’s entitled Pick it Up! Ska in the 90’s. So basically, it seems as though Taylor just took a glimpse into the things that I loved as a youth, and still have fond memories of to this very day. While it may seem like a stretch, the specificity of it all is very peculiar.

We were fortunate enough to steal some time from Taylor to talk about his upcoming projects, how he got into the world of filmmaking, and so much more. We are very honored to have Taylor Morden grace our digital pages here today. So let’s get into it, shall we? Here we go! Pick it up, pick it up, pick….alright, I’ll stop. Enjoy!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of filmmaking? Was it something you have always wanted to do since your youth? Or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I was always the kid in high school with the VHS camcorder running around making dumb videos, but I never thought that could be a career.  Mostly it came from playing in bands and making our own music videos for years.

You have put quite an emphasis on the world of documentary filmmaking specifically. Was it by design? Or did you happen to discover that you had a real knack and love for this specific style of film?

I love documentaries.  I love being able to learn about something and be entertained at the same time, so I was definitely drawn to the documentary field. I also may or may not be mentally stuck in the 1990’s and wanting to re-live that era in any way I can.

 

Your first released documentary was on the wonderful group that sadly can be categorized as a “one hit wonder”, which was rampant in the 90’s, known as The Refreshments. What made you want to profile this band? What led you pour your heart into a project about the guys who made “Banditos”?

I had recently moved to a small town, and had some time on my hands.  I had done several short form docs and wanted to try something new.  The Refreshments are one of my all-time favorite bands, and I had recently discovered that they were basically still playing, under a new name, and had a huge cult following.  That was fascinating to me, so I reached out to see if they’d let me try to make a movie about them.

They said, “not sure why anyone would want to do that, but… OK” so I set out to make my first feature length film.  The process was difficult for sure, but I’m proud of that film and it got me to where I am today (making 2 more feature docs).  

I am very intrigued by a project you have in the works entitled Pick it Up! Ska in the 90’s. I still have vivid 20 year old memories of skanking the night away at a Reel Big Fish show, or in a church basement somewhere in my shabby hometown. Also I notice that legendary actor & musician  Alex Désert is attached! We LOVE us some Becker around here! Anyway, what can you tell us about this project? What can viewers get excited about seeing in the future?

Ha! I also love Alex Desert, he’s a rad dude! and Hepcat is a phenomenal ska band! if you like Becker… you’ll love Hepcat!  But seriously… I’ve played in ska bands for over half of my life, and that music has made more of a difference in my life than anything else.  It gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a strong DIY work ethic and it took me around the world playing music for tens of thousands of people. So it only made sense to combine my passion for filmmaking and my love of ska music into this project.  If you have a soft spot in your heart for a skankin’ guitar, a sweet horn line, and a dirty pair of checkered Vans, I think you’ll love this movie.  It’s an unapologetic love letter to third wave ska and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world.  As far as who else is in it, there are a lot of folks you may know (no one else from Becker) including members of Reel Big Fish, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sublime, No Doubt, Less Than Jake and tons more.  

Another project you have in the works is another extremely intriguing documentary entitled The Last Blockbuster, a story about the last remaining Blockbuster store located in our beloved Pacific Northwest. Bend, Oregon to be specific. You even had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, receiving almost double your $20,000 goal. So, for those who are not in the loop, what can you tell us about this project? What made you want to tell the tale of this store and the rise and fall of its namesake?

I moved to Bend, Oregon about 4 years ago, and since then I have driven by this Blockbuster Video almost every day.  I was almost certain it was closed and they just hadn’t taken the sign down yet.  But one day I decided to go in… and it was like stepping back in time 10 years! The florescent lighting, the shelves of movies, the smell, the customers picking out their evening’s entertainment, the employees still dressed in the iconic blue and yellow… It really took me back.  So I asked the store owner if I could start working on a documentary about their store.  At the time there were still a dozen or so locations so I thought I might follow them for a year or two and see how they were still in business.  Then this year, the remaining stores (mostly in Alaska and Texas) all closed down, leaving the store in Bend Oregon as the last remaining Blockbuster Video.  So I immediately jumped back into high gear to finish this film while they are still in business.  The ultimate goal being to have our documentary on the shelves and available to rent at Blockbuster.

 

With all the research and work you have done on The Last Blockbuster, I am curious to know if you had any opinions as whether or not the city of Bend is one of the reasons that this place still exists? Or is it pure coincidence?

The City of Bend is really interesting, and it’s definitely a contributing factor, but I think it has more to do with the owners and the staff wanting to keep the store alive, and the confluence of events that lead to the rest of the locations closing.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m working hard to get these two films out in 2019, I’m really excited to get them finished and out into the world and start on the next projects.  I’ve been reading a lot of scripts and looking into making a narrative feature, possibly some more short films.  To follow along with any of these projects you can go to popmotionpictures.com 

We are also on instagram for both films at:

@skamovie

and 

@lastblockbustermovie

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I’m deep into editing the ska documentary right now and today I was working on the segment on the Aquabats, which is a super-hero based ska band from Orange County CA that is perhaps the silliest of all the ska bands of that era.  We spoke with Travis Barker (Blink 182) about his time playing in that band and have found some old footage of him dressed as a super hero, playing the drums… that made me giggle for sure.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: