June 10th, 2011 by Darin
Fig. 1: The promotional poster for the five-year-anniversary showing of my feature-length documentary, AUTHORS ANONYMOUS: THE STORY OF THE PORCH
About six or seven years ago, several years before I sold Noise and transitioned most of my creative efforts into my writing, I had aspirations of a filmic variety. A group of other like-minded grad students and ne’er-do-wells and I formed a production team called Black Marmot: we made a few short films, started and abandoned some feature-film ideas, and generally messed around with our equipment. Near the end of the Black Marmot days, a friend of mine started a literary magazine here in Denton called The Porch. He recruited his own band of merry men and supported the endeavor by putting on music shows at our favorite watering hole, Dan’s Silver Leaf. Those Porch evenings are still things of legend here in town (mostly among us older townies)—the combination of live music, live readings, alcohol, and ambition was a unique stimulant.
Like all things, sadly, The Porch went the way of local history; however, its story exists on video, for I spent about six months filming Porch meetings, production appointments, live shows, backyard BBQs, etc.—all leading up to the successful release of the first issue. A little over five years ago, we premiered this recording, an 80-minute documentary that I titled Authors Anonymous: The Story of the Porch, at Dan’s (which was only fitting). Because I never intended to make money off of the project, I burned about twelve copies of the dvd and passed them around, with instructions for the recipients to burn as many copies as they liked as long as no one ever tried to sell one. It worked. People burned copies, the thing proliferated, and the story went into the subcultural underground, only to emerge now and then when complete strangers in our artsy university-town would recognize some of the players from the documentary.
I’m still proud of the documentary. Sure, it isn’t professionally produced (especially the audio levels), but I did it on my own, with only one camera and minimal audio equipment. It took me over 2,000 hours to edit and produce to completion, and I think it tells a familiar story about young ambition and the tough lessons of the creative endeavor—albeit, in a purely Denton way. So, if you’re in the D/FW area, you’re welcome to join us at old Dan’s, to see a bit of the creative history in this wildly creative town.
Because I don’t know a good way to stream an 80-minute video over the web (I’m not giving you guys that much of my bandwidth, sorry), I can’t give you the whole thing, but if you’d like a taste, here’s a link to the original trailer.