“I am Lightfield Lewis and have been a sometimes actor (Lot of TV in the 90s) and film/content creator. I created the viral wedding video dead hearts that garnered over 4M views between Youtube and Vimeo.
Welcome to my campaign to see the creation of – Lightfield’s Home Videos (The Movie): Part artist’s journey drawn from my lifetime of video tapes and archives, part document of the times; especially the era of the 80’s rarely seen so vividly and candid (as if the internet existed in 1984. See longer clips here @LFL84), and part father-son story; an homage and thank you to the man who started it all.” From Lightfield’s Indigogo
Lightfield Lewis was kind enough to take time to do an interview with Horrornews.net to talk about this incredible project. You can click the link www.indiegogo.com/projects/lightfield-s-home-videos-the-movie#/ to learn more about Lightfield’s incredible project and to help get this film made. This is a unique project and will be so cool to see as a film. It is a blend of the old school with the new school. He was way ahead of his time doing all of this in the eighties.
Hello Lightfield, First, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I think “Lightfield’s Home Videos – The Movie” is probably THE MOST AMAZING home video collection (various clips from Instagram and the Indiegogo page and Juliette’s Instagram) I have seen so far. You have shared random clips and various bits of information. Please tell us why you decided to finally do this now?
Thanks so much. It’s hard to give a simple answer because, I guess you could compare it to a musician, or any artist, you always kind creating one song or a continual piece – and trying to get better at it each time. This is the artist’s journey. And when I was very young I had the idea to always be filming, capturing moments, etc. As well creating music videos we’d lip-synch because MTV was our Facebook/internet/window to the world in 1983…….anyways imagine wanting to grow up one day and make a movie, whereas the premise of this project “Lightfield’s Home Videos”, I’ve been making one all along. All these moments and pieces I have wanted to craft the ultimate movie from and finally create the best version of it I can; hence the artist’s journey….and that is essentially what my movie is.
I know that sounds extremely pretentious and masturbatory, you could say, but the fact that all this preceded the internet and the world we know today with phones, people documenting their every move, I thought it would be an amazing movie to see the aspect of this before the internet and that these videos I made were actually extremely ambitious and quite the record of the eras I recorded and witnessed; the 80’s, 90’s, etc. So the short answer is it’s always been a project I have wanted to do.
From the video you shared on Indiegogo and from Instagram videos you have shared. They are so original, unique and fun. You sort of can’t stop watching them. What made you want to make all the videos when you were a kid?
Well any parent tries to help their kid find his purpose, or a purpose, and in my particular case, after many failed attempts at getting me to develop a hobby or vocation; guitar lessons for a while, drums too……I just would lose interest. I did like the Polaroid camera though and I would direct and stage these scenes to take photos of. One day I come home and my dad had bought a video camera – which was unheard of back then. This was still 1982 and people weren’t even renting movies yet.
VCR’s in the home was a new concept still, as was an answering machine and especially cable TV. So if you think about it……I had my window to the world; cable TV and this new channel MTV, and I had a video camera. It was like King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone. It was just a magic, explosive mix and that’s all I did was fool around with that camera and eventually got better at it
The incredible Geoffrey Lewis who is your father was just beyond talented. Did he influence you with filmmaking and the aspect of directing?
Well one aspect of our lives is that growing up with a working actor, we naturally could see it was a line of work. A job. Had hours and a schedule, it changed and varied, etc. so it wasn’t this somewhere over the rainbow kind of thing. While we weren’t Hollywood kids – he was a steady working, familiar actor but not a lead movie star – we were close enough to Hollywood to have the opportunity to grow up on some of those sets, and meet famous people, etc. So therefore it can only rub off on you.
But I always wanted to be an actor at that age. It was just by virtue of the fact I had a camera and made videos that, by practice and application, was a director. I tell people the reason I star in all my videos is I would show up and I take good direction. You have to imagine at that age, 12 to 16, most kids don’t want to be “working” on videos and I say work because I would get militant about it and put the effort needed into these productions.
On the Indiegogo page, you state that, “I was YouTube before YouTube.” Did you ever imagine that the videos you made as a kid would become so revolutionary and influential?
The fact is no one ever saw these videos except a handful of friends and the grandparents. It truly was a hobby and I made all the videos because I could watch them back and show my best friend. The notion that we would have an audience – and this contradicts my previous statement about Hollywood not being this somewhere over the rainbow reality – but the notion of a wide audience was truly somewhere over the rainbow.
I always felt the videos were never great. They were good but they fell short of what I wanted to actually create at that age…..so it literally was just a very involved and consuming hobby. And no I didn’t think they were revolutionary, which is arguable even now if they are…..but I have to say I haven’t seen anyone create the videos, at that age, that I did. I don’t even want this to sound like a brag, lol, it’s just interesting that the videos age beautifully and now are not just these time capsules or records of the era, but a lot of them were actually really good. Like I couldn’t make some of them today any better.
What do you hope to accomplish with making “Lightfield’s Home Videos – The Movie?”
Well first and foremost; to make the actual film. To make something universal and that has an impact. Moves people and becomes their own. I saw a movie “A Guide to recognizing your saints” that is so personal to me and it’s like my movie. Not that I made or anything like that….but these movies become us. I would like to accomplish something like that.
Was it difficult listening to some of the stories and memories about your father? He is such a legend and to us we loved his films, television shows and his personas he took on but to you he is your father?
I always am moved more by other people’s ideas and memories of my Dad than my own. In my case it’s kind of like a mute button when your parent is gone. It’s not even tragic so much as it is just a part of your life where the sound is off.
Again that will sound sad but it just is the case now and not a bad thing necessarily. But hearing from other about their appreciation of him, the continuity in their own lives that my dad is a part of, them having grown up on his movies, etc. it always moves me and becomes the sound that is left.
It’s always a continual process too and discovery when we get to know our parents as individuals – and from hearing other people’s experience or observation of him, you have this 2nd life with your dad almost, getting to know the man….and more so as you are now the ages he was when you were growing up as a child, you are now dad’s age and you learn about him too. I want to tell that story.
But with that said, the crafting and creating of my movie, which is essentially a journey back to my dad, much like many popular movie themes….like if you were to distill what star wars was; it’s a father son story and fulfilling your promise and restoring his.
What is the most challenging aspect of getting this film made?
Like any film, it’s never a fail-safe formula, you still have to master the 3 act structure and keep your movie moving and keep the audience in your grip. But making a movie about your own life while living it, is a bit different. But I have had enough practice to see this through and know where I want this journey to land and the ambition of it that I want to accomplish.
This is not just a dusty tour of my living room. I want it to be entertaining, engaging and for people to see themselves in it. The short answer is, again, another common one but budget. I do have particular sequences and movie movie sections I have to capture that would require a larger cost. Not enormous but it’s a bit out of my grasp right now monetarily.
What motivates you as a filmmaker and what advice as a filmmaker with so much talent and background. What would you say to someone who may be scared to start?
I’m going to sound ridiculous answering this question because I’m not an established filmmaker to much anyone right now – but I can truly answer your question. There are 2 laws of filmmaking or much anything you want to tackle but we apply this to filmmaking is: Just keep showing up. That’s 80% of it. And……it falls apart before it comes together. You actually have to do a lot of bad writing before you can do good writing. But the “bad writing” isn’t really bad because it is those first steps that inform your masterpiece later. It is those times showing up with a camera and your friend forgot the mic, your actress wants to do her scene with an accent, etc. etc. all that disaster is informing your future. You are working those muscles and overcoming resistance and the odds. Keep doing it. And most importantly, if I could tell my young self-anything, finish your projects. Finish what you start
What would you tell the YouTube generation of today?
I like this question because honestly, nothing. I would want their advice and to brush up on new software, forms of communicating their story and content, their process, etc. What is the best font to use? Lol. I mean other than what I said above, I’m always trying to keep an eye out for what’s next. I feel myself slip and need to reboot as a filmmaker sometimes and you need to keep sharp and remain a student.
I love so much that you use so much music. Did you always love music and will it still be a big part of the film?
Yeah it’s such a strange thing because you are hijacking someone else’s creation and making it your own by using their music. But I know how to line up visual and music, and music choices that someone might not see, that create a richer impact. I’ve always been pretty good at that. I speak also from the wedding films I have been shooting since 2011. I essentially have created about 50 short films in the past years, some of them okay, but some of them pretty great, a couple that went viral…..so that is also much of where I’m speaking from. Not just my little IG posts.
What would you like to say to the people contributing, planning to contribute and the fans/audiences who will eventually be watching this film?
High five! Let’s do it! I am encouraged by people’s interest and belief in me. I like pulling rabbits out of hats for people who already dig what I do. If that makes sense. I love the idea of crowdfunding because it’s such a spark, that necessary fire of inspiration you need.
The 80’s were such an incredible time. The music, the films, fashion. Were you inspired by the 80’s and everything that came along with it?
The 80’s were all about the future and being “in” on what was happening. I think the haze and dust of the 70’s, which I love too, were cleaned away. Like everyone bathed literally and figuratively, people wanted to be present and in on what was happening and hip. Even Neil Young had the checkered shirt and skinny tie.
And normally that might signal a superficial element and a disingenuous aspect but that’s not what the 80’s were. Particularly up to about 85, 86 before it became all R&B and hair metal, but before that it was a perfect cultural wave that crested in 84 especially; MTV, the 80’s film like Purple Rain and Footloose, all of it had culminated to that perfect year. I actually get sick of nostalgia and the act of looking back. Like I said the 80’s were the future and the innocence and gaudiness as well will never be duplicated. My movie is about that spirit of it and the fact I have a record of it that’s not just a photo album or grainy VHS shaky camera.
I used to get annoyed because there’s always a joke aspect to the 80s when movies riff on them or recall that time, it’s always portrayed as silly…..but the thing was/is, is that it was also beautiful and true and done with a completely straight face. I want to portray that. Not just shoulder pads and hairspray.
What do you think is the most important thing you are taking away from this project so far?
That people want to press play. Everybody wants to click on something that could entertain or inform their life. People want it still. You forget the simplicity of it. I have to say I don’t love that “content creator” has subverted “filmmaker” these days but that can be a new challenge. Create something they don’t turn off. Don’t just fret about the state of the world vs how it was – which I do plenty of – but rise to the challenge and see what you can create for today’s audience I know i go off on tangents but the short answer would be; that people want to see your movie and this fact of crowdfunding is a great incentive and measure of where you could/should go with your story and project. Also it’s hard to keep hustling but that’s the game and people want to see your movie. Even the trolls or naysayers.
Follow Lightfield on Instagram @LFL84