You are allowed to make mistakes in filmmaking because don’t worry, with the right amount of effort and ability to troubleshoot your way through problems you face on the way to producing your films, (Camera shoe case in point) you will succeed and learn from those mistakes.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Darcy Weir. Back in May of 2014, documentarian Darcy Weir was invited with a friend to attend the Native Canadian Sasquatch Dayz Festival celebrated in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada. He thought this trip to be something fairly ordinary until he met Bill Miller and the world of the Sasquatch was born in his mind.
Since then he has embarked on a journey for the truth behind the Sasquatch phenomenon. He has spent his own money and time to make a beautifully educated view of the creature. The stories that will be unveiled like never before in the new documentary Sasquatch Among the Wildmen — out in November from Uncork’d Entertainment.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Grew up in a pretty tame, frozen winter, middle-class suburbia. My parents were/still are, hardworking motivated people that wanted me to have fun and entertain people as I was a kid. I started acting and entertaining in small theatre shows, commercials and some small time TV stuff at a young age. My interest in the entertainment industry never really stopped from there.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Well, I studied film and sociology as my two concentrations in university. Before that I went to a technical school for film and video production, that really only scratched the surface in production work. I didn’t actually go into filmmaking right from there. I worked in I.T or Helpdesk for the better part of 8 years and before that did some camera assistant work on set of a couple reality TV shows and commercials.
I kept finding myself in these IT roles where I had access to powerful design applications used for video editing and one of my roles at a social media company actually required me to set up cameras and record/live stream town halls. So, I did exactly what any indie filmmaker would think to do when surrounded with the right equipment, a little extra time on their hands and some creativity waiting to be unleashed. I organized myself and flew around to film people I was interested in hearing stories from. And, I made movies about them.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was incredibly humbled by the first film festival that I attended and showcased my first film toured in the United States. So humbled that my film was showcased alongside this 7-year-old girl’s short horror film that her Hollywood horror film director’s father helped her make.
After her film finished playing, my film came on up next and I had no idea they would call me upfront afterward to do Q&A with the 7-year-old who recently filmed their horror movie with their dad standing beside me. It was embarrassing to say the least. I was standing there, and her father, a well-accomplished filmmaker sitting in the theatre seats before me, was asking his daughter with baby voices questions like, “how did you like directing your first film snookums???” and the audience was reacting with “Aaaaw” every time she answered with simple questions like “I don’t know daddy”.
I had a friend visiting from England sitting with a friend I made at work pretty high up in the theatre seats trying not to fall out of their seats from laughter at me while I waited my turn standing beside this little girl until her father finished teaching her how to do Q&A. When it was my turn one guy asked me if I had ever seen a Sasquatch, I said “no” and that was the end of my Q&A. That wasn’t the last film festival I attended and some went a lot better than that one, but I did find my first distribution contract there and made a writer friend who’s helped me to this day complete some excellent new films.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Probably the funniest mistake that I made was forgetting the camera shoe for my tripod when I was filming one of my first documentaries.
I flew from the West Coast all the way to Pocatello, Idaho in the middle of the winter with all my camera and audio gear. When I was in my subject’s office setting up everything I looked for about 20 minutes for the camera shoe to attach my camera to the tripod to start interviewing him. They patiently watched me and probably noticed the sweat beading up on my forehead around minute 19, when I realized that I lost or misplaced one of the most crucial tools for getting the shot setup to film this scene.
When I looked up at him from my camera bag with bug eyes wide open and admitted that “I think I left my camera shoe at my studio” he chuckled and said “oh no, well is there any other way we can get this done?”
I grabbed my chin and looked down at my camera bag and said “do you have any elastic bands?” Nodding his head back at me, he went into his office drawer and shot them over at me. I stretched them out and double wrapped them around the camera fastening them to the tripod stand and then adjusted the tilt in hopes that the shot was level enough to look good without the shoe.
Ghetto, yes. Would Red Green approve? Yes. Did the shot turn out? Yes. Did my subject respect me after this mishap? In fact I am releasing this film with him as one of my main subjects and he helped me out way back in 2016 to tell a similar story. It all worked out.
What’s the lesson that I learned? Double-check and test all your gear at least once before leaving for a shoot. Yikes!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m actually pretty excited to be working on a few different projects. I’ve had the great pleasure to write some interesting documentary scripts with a fellow filmmaker friend Geoffrey D. Calhoun. He’s helped me put together a clear story in a film close to being finished called Crop Circle Realities and a series that I’m working on called Who Saw the Man in Black? One tries to tell the accurate history of some of the most controversial crop circle theories out there in the wild. The second tells the real story of Men in Black, “The Bad Guys dress in Black, remember that, just in case you ever face to face and make contact” — clap clap. That would be our lyrical interpretation of what the second film series is about. I also finished a film recently called Volcanic UFO Mysteries starring a famous Mexican film journalist named Jaime Maussan. In which we cover some pretty interesting history surrounding UFOs spotted and recorded all around Latin America throughout modern history.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
- I think we are all human and the only thing that sets us apart is a shade of skin tone and the way we learned to look at the world. So we really aren’t that different, we are the same.
- If we are to envision a future that is safer for everyone, we need to include the voices of minorities and to tell a whole story that is relatable to a modern world.
- I’ve pursued stories recently in Latin America because we need more representation from that part of the world in my mind. My children will be Latin and I’m proud to be on the right side of history. One that embraces multiple ethnicities/cultures instead of overshadowing them with some kind of imperialist and expired way of thinking.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- You are allowed to make mistakes in filmmaking because don’t worry, with the right amount of effort and ability to troubleshoot your way through problems you face on the way to producing your films, (Camera shoe case in point) you will succeed and learn from those mistakes.
- If someone shit talks you, your ideas belittle your talent and or tries to make you feel like you don’t have a chance at succeeding –Don’t react negatively — Use this as motivation to prove them wrong, and realize that is the standard for most human beings out there that see you doing something that they couldn’t fathom doing themselves. About 80% of the people that I’ve met have not had a positive reaction to what I say that I do.
- Surround yourself with people that truly get you and support you. The rest will only get in your way or distract you from the goal. That means cutting ties with people if you have to.
- If you need to take some shit and be humbled along the way to getting what you really want out of something, then it’s all well worth the trouble.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself, network, make friends with the people that can help you tell the best story and pay them what they deserve for making it all happen. You’ll make a way better and longer-lasting story if you get the right people involved.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Ask for help and try not to be a one-man army. Life is too short and you are only making it shorter by putting yourself through the undue stress of trying to pull everything across the finish line yourself.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m really not, but thank you for thinking so…I think my films have nuances of these messages that could help effect some change in the world. “Think outside of the box”, “don’t treat those around you like they are freaks”, “go to the stories on the fringe” and “please respect the planet. It’s the only one we have right now…”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m super grateful for a few people in my life. One of which is my fiancée who has had small cameos in two films shot in the recent past. She’s hopped on planes with me and sat quietly working on her art while listening to me interview folks about Bigfoot, UFOs, aliens and such. I guess she must be my number one supporter huh!? Yes, I love her and couldn’t be happier to have her along with me on these adventures. A couple friends that helped and continue to help me to this day would be Lee Lustig (narrator, editor and writer) and Geoffrey D. Calhoun. Definitely couldn’t say nicer things about these buddies. Oh yeah and Alessandro Saini, that man can write some amazing music in a pinch! They’ve all been critical and supportive of my work which has balanced out to make for some really good films along the way.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained” pretty much applies to everything that I have tried out in life. I have gained valuable life experience, filmmaking experience, and friendships through picking myself up off the ground, bed, car/airplane seat and saying this quietly to myself in the back of my mind. We all play a role in consuming content out there in the wild, but without this quote I don’t think I would have produced as much content that I have thus far.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Yeah sure, would love to sit down with Dan Aykroyd if you could queue it up! I grew up where he did and we both seem to be fascinated by the question “Are we alone in the Universe?”
How can our readers follow you online?
I’m on Facebook and Instagram by the very same name. Youtube is D.Weir which I’ll be working a bit more on in the coming months.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!