A few weeks ago a documentary called Freedom Riders aired on PBS. It’s a strong piece about a milestone event in the American civil rights struggle and I recommend it highly. I was struck by a song in it called, “I’m On My Way”, by Barbara Dane. Her voice is amazing; very rich and strong, and the song has a real power that persists to this day.

Halfway between departing for Munich and running the slow-motion oatmeal gauntlet of trying to get financing for my three new scripts, I was unexpectedly inspired to do a re-mix of the song. I wanted a friend of mine to hear it and tried to post it on YouTube only to discover you need images with the audio in order to post.

So, I put this little video together. The footage is stuff I’ve shot over the years with a compact digital video camera someone slipped into my coat pocket after an interview at Sundance in 2006.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just my frame of mind these days but setting out and actually making something is incredibly satisfying. Especially when it doesn’t entail begging for money or writing a letter to the star of the most recent ComicBookActionHero film because getting him to say yes might greenlantern your film.

I know I’m an idiot for even thinking that making a “real” film could be a fraction as enjoyable as this but here it is, my first home music video.

Posted by:Tom

19 thoughts on “ 93. DOWN TIME ”

    1. Thanks Alex.
      I saws The Trip last night, with Steve Coogan. You’ve got to check it out. Smart, witty and hilarious.

  1. Fabulous!!!!!

    I love the motion shots of the subway, the variety of people, and the stretches of trees while driving down the road reminded me of Box of Moonlight. Great job on this, Tom! Love it!

    more 🙂 And of course, I think you should do more!


    1. Hey Elaine,
      I’m glad you liked it. It’s funny, I did the remix of the song and it wasn’t until trying to email it to a friend that I even thought of putting images to it. It made me go into my closet and dig out the footage I shot over the years. Then when a basic concept fell in I went out and shot some new subway stuff–and the clapping hands.

      It has made me completely rethink the potential of the small digital video camera. It’s power is that it enables you to just fokkin do it.

  2. Yeah made me think oh Box of moonlight, too! Other than that my favorite parts were the hand claps. A real treat to watch that one!


    1. Thanks Sam, I’ve always loved putting images to music. I think I’ll do more of this kind of thing. Instead of waiting until my next film gets off the ground.

  3. Nice! (I believe what has happened to the music business will happen to the film industry, maybe not to the same extent, but, creative people will find a way to express themselves and find an audience) Keep having fun, you are an inspiration.

    1. I do think you’re right, Mario. The having fun is really the crucial ingredient. I’ve felt it on some films and felt it less so on others. It is ultimately what the whole thing is about. An all-consuming artistic pleasure. That’s not to say it’s all giggles–quite opposite. But when the joy of creation is firing the frustrations and obstacles have much less potency.

  4. Hey Tom,

    I really enjoyed the new video, nice accompaniment to a cool song. What is particularly interesting the reactions of your fellow subway patrons to your filming; some people are aware of it but don’t care, some are oblivious to it, then there are those, such as one particular woman, who look visibly unnerved at the camera aimed in their general direction. Looking at the different reactions kind of says something about ourselves and how we act when under a stranger’s gaze. The reasonably attractive woman seemed to think of herself as a potential object of sexual or perverse desire whereas some of the more weathered passengers to whom vanity is not something of much importance seemed to care very little that a camera was aimed at them. As per usual I am probably over-analysing but I felt this was a thought-provoking and very cool little piece of film. And of course the hand-claps got me roused enough to whip out my guitar and play along 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Tom! Looking forward to more.


    1. Hey Wayne,
      Good to hear from you. Man, did I discover how tricky it is to point a camera at people on this one. As you noted, I got many different reactions. A lot of supspicion. One guy, who I wasn’t even filming, started yelling at me and pursuing me down the street. But, I was pleased with some of the stuff where people were unaware of the camera. People can so easily slip away into their own private world’s even when surrounded by hundreds of others.

      Glad you got the guitar out. I like the song a lot. It’s got a great drive to it.


    1. Hey Allan,
      Great to hear from you. Glad you liked the little piece. As usual, I appreciate your assessments of my attempts but cannot in good faith apply them to myself. At least not in public.

      I hope you’re well.


  5. Hi Tom,

    Great one! Keep on “fokkin do it” and fokkin do more!
    I love the shootage in the subway, the clapping hands, the roads and the trees…
    And now for something completely different, as the Monty Python say…
    This morning on French T.V Canal Plus aired “When you’re strange”.
    More French people will have dicovered your film.

  6. What a great little video, Tom! Your doing it on a little digital camera is like Ansel Adams taking photos with a Brownie Starmite.

    I’m just back from England, where we brought our 87-year-old neighbor to see the WWII P-51 Mustang that was named after her. Very exciting.

    And speaking of England, I too recommend The Trip, even if you aren’t familiar with Steve Coogan or Rob Brydon, two brilliant comedians who try to out-impression each other.

    Looking forward to your report from Munich!


  7. Hey Tom,
    loved the video, I love playing with music and image and thinking to do more of that after seeing your stuff 🙂 anyways, I’m writing to give you the links to our website (unfortunatelly the reports we have from Munich Filmfest are still in Polish, but hopefully when Karlovy Vary festival finishes well have time to translate them, and put in the full interview we have with you, for now it’s just simply daily reports from the festival… thought you might want to see it anyways 🙂
    In this one we menion your presence at the festival at the end:
    (01:43… – translation: Along many others, the fans of ‘cult’ Tom DiCillo’s films could see Johnny Suede – his first creation, and after the screening share their thoughts with the director himself.
    And here is a bit of the interview with you:
    (oo:50… – translation: throughout the day one could meet filmmakers, and especially for Off Plus Camera, Tom DiCillo shared his thoughts on independent film making)
    Hope you like it,
    I will let you know when the whole of the interview is posted on the website,
    Best wishes for you and your wife 🙂

  8. I´m glad she laughed the way she did after you made the sleepy Hollywood-comment. That was funny stuff. But the Brad or Steve´s life for a day question was a litte…odd.

    Totally with you about Aniston though.

    Anyway, I hope I get to interview you one day Tom.



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