JOSHUA J. SMITH
Joshua J. Smith (non-cowboy hat) with his Buckshot stars,
Conor Murphy (light cowboy hat) and Tim Dezarn (dark cowboy hat)
From time to time, I get asked, "Dan, do you ever interview anybody on this site or are you the only one who gets to talk?" To which I always reply, "Please shut up." But the real answer to that question is YES, I do let artists speak for themselves from time to time and that's exactly what this post is-- an interview.
Have you heard of the film BUCKSHOT? If not, allow me to allow the writer/director of said movie to allow you a short summary of what it's about:
"BUCKSHOT is a dramatic comedy about a young, struggling country singer who moves to Nashville to follow his late father's footsteps of becoming a country star. But when his father's checkered past derails his chances, his only job offer is to drive Buckshot Thomas-- an aging, hard-living, honky tonk legend-- cross-country to what could be the last concert of his life."
Why don't we start by watching the trailer for BUCKSHOT?
There, that was fun, right? The BMM Interview is broken into three parts. I'm willing to bet that the pictures will help you decipher what the subject matter in each section will be. If they don't, perhaps the fucking name of the Web site will. The writer's questions are in italics and the artists' responses are in BOLD.
1. PART ONE-
Hey, Josh. Thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk with us here at BeerMoviesMusic, and by "us," I mean "me," because it's all me. Well, except for the photographers and Leonard who handles the server and whatnot... But they're not here right now, so it's still just me. Thanks for joining ME here at BeerMoviesMusic. Word on the street is you're a beer guy-- that true?
I am definitely a beer guy. Heck, at the footer of the official movie's Web site, it says this: "Powered by God, Waylon Jennings and Shiner Beer."
It really does...
And what is your favorite beer to drink, if you don't mind me asking?
Bock beers, all hefeweizens. Big shout out to the sponsors that let us feature their beer in this movie-- Shiner Beer and Big Sky Brewing Company, which has the delicious Moose Drool beer.
And who doesn't want to gulp down the saliva from this magnificent beast?
Where you from, Josh, and what's the best beer from there?
I grew up in Kansas, and right now, I've been enjoying the Tank 7 beer from Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City.
I'm down to get tanked if you are...
What's the perfect beer to drink while watching BUCKSHOT?
If you are a purist, Lonestar, but Shiner Bock is my recommendation.
II. SECTION B-
Where did the inspiration for BUCKSHOT come from?
When I first started out in film business, I got to work on a music video with Willie Nelson. My country music fantasy came true when I stepped up onto Willie's bus, and I even got to give him the score updates on the Longhorn football game. It was after this experience that I filed away a movie idea: What if a young up-and-coming country singer ended up with Willie on his bus going cross-country? What could he learn from a living legend and the true embodiment of country music?
Longhorns 20, Visitors 4
What filmmakers would you say had the biggest influence on you?
A very obscure filmmaker from Austin, Texas named Eagle Pennell. He made two movies in black and white during the early '80s that feature stories of two down-and-out urban cowboys trying to make it in this changing world. The simplicity, raw dialogue and the feeling that this was true regional filmmaking is what enamored me. Robert Redford watched Pennell's first film THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH, and it inspired him to start the Sundance Film Fest.
What are the very best and very worst movies to feature men wearing cowboy hats?
Best is Eagle Pennell's second film LAST NIGHT AT THE ALAMO, where Sonny Carl Davis plays the lead character, who is named "Cowboy." His hat is magnificent and molds his character. In a way, it is his strength, because he never takes it off on purpose as he is completely bald underneath. I was disappointed in Richard Linklater's EVERY WANTS SOME's use of cowboy hats.
This one gets my vote for best and worst. Just can't remember what movie that was...
Aside from BUCKSHOT, obviously, what recent movies have you seen you'd ike to recommend to me (or anyone who happens to be reading this)?
THE RIDE and COLUMBUS were two that I enjoyed immensely. They were made on the indie level with little money and captured my heart and truly inspired me.
Hey, remember when BeerMoviesMusic reviewed this film?
Of course you do!
AND FINALLY, THE THIRD ACT...
So this is a movie about country music-- are you also a country man?
Having grown up in a small farming town in Kansas, country music made up the soundtrack of our community, and many people still believed in the teachings of Willie Nelson: "My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are, it seems."
But probably not this one...
I remember my father's excitement when in 1984, he had scored tickets to the Kansas State Fair closing concert of none other than the Redheaded Stranger himself, Willie Nelson. This was at the pinnacle of his career, and I could not wait to hear, "On the Road Again" live and in person! We arrived to our seats on the fairgrounds and the golden tickets my father had got such a "good deal" on out us right behind a giant pole. That night I wasn't able to see Willie but I heard him. It was a night I will never forget and it forever embedded that outlaw country sound into my soul.
What was that score again?
Okay, aside from Willie, of course, who else would you say are your greatest musical influences?
Billy Joe Shaver, hands down. His life story and the way he writes his songs played tremendously into the film.
Who also can wade like a motherfucker...
I noticed in the credits that you wrote the lyrics to almost all the songs on screen-- what was that process like?
Towards the end of my writing process, I had one giant hole in my screenplay-- it was the songs. I had placeholders with iconic songs I felt captured the feeling each scene, figuring when I finally hired someone with real songwriting talent, there would be a road map. I was right about the road map, but wrong about the money to hire that person. As our budget was squeezed, I was tasked with tackling all the songs on my own. Don't ask me what qualified me to do so, but one day I locked myself in a room and became "songwriter." It was a daunting and scary task because I knew that if the songs weren't amazing the movie would surely fail. I'd write the lyrics, then attempt to sing them into my iPhone. I'm still apologizing to my poor wife, who was my initial sounding board, as she was bombarded with texts containing files of my horrible voice slogging through my lyrics. But after a few weeks, miraculously, I was getting the hang of it and finally had a majority of the songs.
Joshua J. Smith, writer/director/SONGWRITER
Where did you film the film?
While writing, I had a financially brilliant idea-- make all the stops in the movie the places my wife-- who served as editor on the film-- and I frequent most on the holidays and vacations. That way we could film the whole movie in Los Angeles, where we live, and then shoot B-roll while we continue to travel together. Sounds crazy, but it actually worked. The only hiccup was that we couldn't always fly to each spot, as we needed real highway travel. So we strapped a camera to our car and headed down the roads of America while stopping at every honky-tonk that crossed our paths.
What are you listening to right now?
Sturgill Simpson, of course; Colter Wall, Brent Cobb, Cody Jinks and Nikki Lane.
Well, that's all I got, but thank you, Josh, for not only making BUCKSHOT for our enjoyment, but even more for taking the time to talk with all of us here at BeerMoviesMusic.
It's still just me.
Joshua J. Smith is a writer/producer/director that lives in Los Angeles, CA. His first feature film, BUCKSHOT, is available on VOD platforms and Blu-ray/DVD. Please visit www.buckshotmovie.com for more info.
Dan Sinclair not only conducted this interview, he is also a writer/producer/director/actor who does a bunch of other stuff, too. Go here for more information.