Dave Matthews Band’s Boyd Tinsley talks Faces in the Mirror
Boyd Tinsley talks Faces in the Mirror
by Wilson Morales
August 29, 2012
Playing August 30th on Snagfilms.com is the film Faces in the Mirror, which is inspired by the music of Dave Matthews Band member Boyd Tinsley.
This story is about Ben Fisher, a young man who returns home to bury his father. Angry that he had been neglected by his workaholic father, Ben had refused to see him for years. On the day of his father’s funeral, Ben goes on a dream-like odyssey where he’s led, portal by portal, to fantastical places with somewhat mystifying people who all seem to be guiding him somewhere. He’s looking for a way to be free of his pain and guilt. He’s looking for forgiveness.
The music was produced by Tinsley and performed by members of Dave Matthews Band, including Stefan Lessard, Tim Reynolds, Boyd Tinsley and Dave Matthews, along with musician Shawn Smith and music groups Maktub and The Silent Comedy. The film was directed by Aaron Farrington, produced by Ryan Gall in addition to Tinsley, and features special material written and voiced by former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove.
Tinsely recently spoke with Blackfilm.com about putting this film together through the use of his music, and wanting the story to be emotional and compelling to captivate its audience.
How did the film come about?
Boyd Tinsley: I had the idea of making the film about 15 years ago when DMB did ‘Crash Into Me’ video. The director Dean Carr did this video that was visually haunting, very dreamlike. It felt just like the song ‘Crash Into Me.’ It sent chills to me because you could feel the emotion in it. That worked because the music and the film were expressing the same emotion. When I go see a movie, that’s the thing that I love the most; I want to be able to feel an experience. Rather than sit there and watch a movie, I want to feel what is coming from the screen. I always wanted to make a movie like that. I want the music and the film to play role and intensify the emotional quality of the movie.
Which came first, the movie or the music?
BT: Everything started with the idea of a story. The story is about a guy named Ben whose dad has died and he comes back to the funeral with guilt and grief because he feels he abandoned him. He grew up resentful of him because he was a workaholic and he vowed that he wasn’t going to speak to him until his dad died and he came back to the funeral. He came back when he was on his deathbed and said he’d be back in a few weeks and in that time his dad died. That’s the story I told the musicians who were recording the music. The created the mood of the music from their hearts. There was a songwriter and lyricist named Sean Smith who came in after an hour I needed someone to do a song and he unleashed the story of the movie. He completed the story through his lyrics. All the music that you hear happened on the spot. We put the movie around the music. So much of the film doesn’t have dialogue. I think it gets in the way of the feeling. The lead actor Ryan Orr is very expressive with his eyes.
What was the most challenging aspect of getting this film done?
BT: The biggest challenge was that I had never made a movie before and I never really studied the mechanics of making a movie. The biggest advantage I had was that I had never made a movie before, so I could make this movie the way I wanted to way because I didn’t know anything. My goal was to find the emotion and the way I went about it was through the music. I wanted the actor to become the character so that it would look real and connect with people. My friend Leroy had died that summer and I needed something creative to get all that pain out of me.
The film looks great, and it’s beautifully shot with a lot of people. Certainly more than what one would see in an independent film. How did you pull all of this together and what as the budget?
BT: We got a lot of stuff for free. We filmed it in Charlottesville, Virginia and basically the entire town opened its door to us. Any businesses that we needed and extras were provided. It’s still a million dollar budget film, but the community helped out immensely. People worked on this movie because they loved the project. They love the fact that it was an idea that we took and it was something that we were going to create. We didn’t know what the film would be about until the very end.
The Dave Matthews Band is involved with the film. Was it easy to ask them to be part of it?
BT: It me a while to ask because I don’t like to ask for things in general. As a filmmaker, there were certain things that we had to have, and I got really comfortable in asking. Fortunately, Dave (Matthews) said yes, and Stefan (Lessard) said yes, and so did a lot of the other guys and it really meant a lot to me that colleagues were supportive and giving up their time to help out. It was really cool to have them involved.
How do you market this film?
BT: I didn’t have any idea who the movie was for. I just wanted to make the movie. In the beginning, it was a need to express myself creatively. That could have been in a music studio to do an album, but the thing that inspired me was making a film. There was talk to take the film to film festivals but I wanted to finish the film first. Then I decided it was best to shop the film for distribution. The movie should speak for itself and everything worked out beautifully. We signed with Snagfilms.com and they have been willing to try out this unprecedented way of promoting the films. We’re bringing in people to see the trailer, to see a scene from the movie, and me doing a series of Q & As on the film.
Where do you go from here?
BT: I will definitely do this again. I couldn’t believe how much I loved this and the process of doing this. It’s fun to find the hidden gems and put them together. The music came first and the film was centered around it, and in a music video, it’s an ad for a song. This is different. There’s a complete story here.