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Interview with Directors Tyler Measom and Patrick Waldrop for 'BIOGRAPHY: I WANT MY MTV' (2019)

Interview with Directors Tyler Measom and Patrick Waldrop for 'BIOGRAPHY: I WANT MY MTV' (2019)

'BIOGRAPHY: I WANT MY MTV' (2019) is the story of the birth, life and death of MTV music television, which came into being in 1981, and how it revolutionized entertainment as we know it until its inevitable demise via the digital revolution. With dozens of riveting interviews with the founders of MTV, including some 80’s talent whose careers were greatly impacted by MTV (i.e. Tori Amos, Billy Idol, Pat Benatar, Annie Lenox, Doctor Dre, and many more), the film is co-directed by directors Tyler Measom and Patrick Waldrop. Produced by Saboteur Media and distributed worldwide by A + E Networks, it held its domestic premiere at the 9th annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF).


How did you two meet and how long did it take you to make the film?

PATRICK: I worked on Tyler's movie Sons of Perdition doing a couple of weeks of archival and the trailer for An Honest Liar, his second movie came out right as I started looking for a partner on the project. I approached him and the next 4.5 years of our lives got hijacked by the project. 

TYLER: Patrick approached me about the film, and it took me a couple of months to decide whether or not I wished to take on such an ambitious project. I grew up with MTV in my home, so I never really had the opportunity to watch the network as much as my friends did. Ultimately, I decided that by making this movie, and watching scads of MTV, I would be able make up for a misspent youth of no music videos. 

How did you go about finding the key people to interview? And how many hours did you have by the end?

PATRICK: We did about 60 hours of interviews with about 50 people. The trick was respectful persistence and a great talent exec. named Leah Horowitz. 

TYLER: I think the most important trait for a doc maker is persistence. Initially, we picked the individuals that we wished to get in front of the camera for this project and we just started reaching out to them. The majority passed early, but we continued to (politely) contact them to ask for interviews. Slowly, we started to get interviews, and after getting a few key people, it became easier to get others. Eventually we did bring on our talent executive Leah Horwitz and with her rolodex and personality, it became much easier to convince people to speak to us. 

Where did you film and how did you go about financing it?

PATRICK: An angel came in for the first portion, but A&E essentially financed it when they bought it. We'd done several interviews and put together a trailer and look book for them to consider. 

TYLER: as for filming locations, we always traveled to the area where the interview subject was located, typically NY or LA. But we also filmed in Berkeley, Austin, Miami, Chicago, Salt Lake and Italy. 

What were the biggest challenges to making the film?

PATRICK: The unpredictable! And just getting everyone we needed to interview interviewed. 

TYLER: Getting access to the key subjects was quite difficult, but I would also say one of the biggest challenges was trying to pare down such a massive story into a scant 86 minutes. With such a wealth of interviews and archival, the editing process was a constant hurdle. 


Do you think your film could inspire an MTV revival?

PATRICK: Not a revival of music videos on TV, or really of the MTV brand. They do well as a content provider to youth audiences, but I don't think they have a product that has the cultural impact of the era we cover, or likely will again. If the film got people thinking about their media consumption, and or enjoying music videos more that would be great though. 

TYLER: I think what our film might do is rekindle a nostalgia that an older generation will have for their teenage years spent in front of the TV. What I have been most surprised at is how the younger generation has embraced the film. Millennials seem to really enjoy the movie and have an appreciation for the era that they missed out on. 


How important is it for filmmakers to attend international film festivals?

PATRICK: It's important in building a career and as an opportunity to interface with audiences. 

TYLER: I love film festivals. After working so hard on a film and wondering if anyone is going to care about it, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors by traveling the world and screening your work in front of audiences. Additionally, it’s nice to spend time with other filmmakers. Many of my life-long friends I have met at film festivals. In fact, I met my wife at a film festival! With this film, and with my previous movies, I have been to over 50 film festivals, and I have relished every moment of them. 

How was your experience at NVFF?

PATRICK: Excellent! Everyone was a great host and they keep pouring excellent wine.

TYLER: Alas, I was on a job in Florida and was unable to attend, but I was at the 2015 NVFF and it was my absolute favorite festival of the circuit.

How have audiences reacted to the film?

PATRICK: Really positive. The nostalgia is emotional and fun for them, and we tried to put some maturation in between the blasts of nostalgia audiences seem to really appreciate the experience. We get a lot of stories about how much MTV meant to people.

TYLER: I think what surprises us the most is the amount of laughter that the film generates. We always knew that there was a great story in there and audiences would love the music, but we are very pleased to see the comedy come through. 


What will you be directing next?

PATRICK: Tyler is doing a true-crime series with Jard Hess. Joe Berlinger producing. I'm developing another documentary series, writing scripts, and mostly hanging out with my daughter. 

TYLER: Yep, I am doing a doc series for Netflix and putting together some other projects.


Interview with Directors Tyler Measom and Patrick Waldrop for 'BIOGRAPHY: I WANT MY MTV' (2019) Director Tyler Measom



Interview with Directors Tyler Measom and Patrick Waldrop for 'BIOGRAPHY: I WANT MY MTV' (2019)Director Patrick Waldrop 


Interview by Vanessa McMahon


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