Who are you and why are you making this documentary film?
Gigantic Cranium is the name of our company. We met while we were marching members of the Madison Scouts in 1995. Mac aged out that year and Tom continued marching in 1996 & 1997. Busmates, we instantly bonded over our passion for all things related to the film world and have remained close friends after all these years. ?Tom became an attorney who now resides in Northern Florida and Mac went on to work as a sound editor in Northern California. ?Mac has worked in post production on numerous feature films (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, “John Carter”, “Toy Story 3”, “Rango”, “Clerks 2”). ?Now that we have both been away from the Scouts and the drum corps activity for many years, we realize how much of an impact it has had on who we are today. ?This is our chance to give back to an organization that has done so much for us by presenting it to a larger audience.
This has been accomplished with the extensive footage shot during the 2012 marching season. Our crew began filming the 2012 Scouts during the initial winter audition camps and followed the corps thoroughly throughout the season, including the entirety of the Drum Corps International Championship. We have utilized archival footage, numerous interviews with alumni and supporters, and, perhaps most importantly, the stories of three unique Scouts who marched during the 2012 season.? These young men include the section leader of the drum line, a member of the color guard whose last year with the corps was complicated by extreme health issues, and a 15 year-old rookie on the horn line whose season with the Scouts is his first significant time away from his family. All of this has been?accompanied by state-of-the-art sound recording which puts?the audience in the front rows for the Scouts? amazing performances.
What have you done so far?
We began this project in the summer of 2011, when we followed the Scouts on tour for a week and a half long ‘test shoot.’ It was an expensive task, but we needed to find out if this was a realistic endeavor. Equipment rentals, gear purchases, travel, and coordination took its toll, but we came back with great footage and an even better story. Our sound tests also came out more impressive than we expected. We were able to recreate the sound of drum corps in 5.1 surround unlike anything that’s been done before.
Once we determined that it would be feasible to capture the type of footage and sound that we needed, preparations began for a full-scale production for the 2012 season. We wanted to be able to shoot the entire season, from start to finish, and to that end we began filming at the first big audition camp in Indianapolis in November 2011. This led into trips to the winter camps in January and March 2012, where we continued to hone in on our three ‘characters’ that we would be following throughout the season. In April, we travelled to Madison to attend an annual fundraiser put on by Scouts’ alumni, where we were able to film some crucial interviews on the meaning of this unique brotherhood and the corps’ legacy in the Madison community. During this trip, we were also privileged to have the opportunity to meet with and film Scott Stewart, the former executive director of the Scouts, and Steve Vickers, a long-time board member for the Scouts and the publisher of Drum Corps World. We were also able to meet with a number of Scouts alumni and interview them about their experience with the corps and how their experience has shaped their lives.
In May of 2012 we traveled to Richmond, Virginia to visit a member of the 2012 Scouts from the drumline, to Atlanta, Georgia to see a color guard member, to Corpus Christi, Texas to meet with a trumpet player who is the youngest member of the 2012 Scouts, and then to Bloomington, Indiana for “Spring Training” with the whole corps.
The home visits were important to capture what these three individuals do outside of the drum corps activity by showing them in school, at work, interviewing friends and family. We carefully chose these three members because of unique aspects of each of their lives. Their personal stories will help carry this film.
After these visits, our crew travelled back to Indiana to film the extensive build-up to the 2012 tour during the corps’ Spring Training. This is an especially intense time for the members as they move in permanently for the summer and the field show is shaped into its final form. The long, hot hours of practice under the sun allowed the Scouts to prepare for the upcoming grueling tour, while also allowing our crew to condition itself for the summer shoot. This was also the start of our embedding ourselves with the corps, which involved staying with the Scouts at their practice facility, filming them throughout the day and night, both on and off the field, and following them literally wherever they went.
We were privileged to be afforded this rare access throughout the 2012 summer tour. At the beginning of the tour, we were able to spend time with the Scouts during the first shows of the season in Wisconsin and Iowa, including a memorable 4th of July weekend which included a parade, a field show, and a rare day off for the members. Throughout the summer, we were able to record fantastic performances of the Scouts at a variety of venues, from small town high school stadiums to Super Regionals at places like the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. We finished principle photography with a whirlwind trip in August which included shows in New York, Pennsylvania, and the final push to Drum Corp International Championships at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. During this last phase, we were able to capture the drama and emotion inherent to the final days of the season, as the Scouts peaked in their performance level before it all ended with an abrupt crescendo at the conclusion of the final show.
Towards the end of 2012, we put together a nine-minute teaser trailer which gave audiences a good sense of the footage that we captured, the characters that will be at the center of the documentary, and the essence of the story that we will tell. We worked steadily during the first part of 2013 to finish our first cut and screen a “work in progress” version in September of 2013 for the 75th anniversary of the Madison Scouts.
We will be continuing to fundraise for contributions to aid in the costs that it have taken to complete the project. The support that we have received so far has been overwhelming, but unfortunately it is not going to be enough to cover some of the costs left over from principle photography and those associated with post-production. We will need everyone’s continued support, as well as contributions from a number of new sources.
When will this movie be released?
The movie is finished and it’s available for one-night-only movie theater screenings through Gathr Films. Click on our SCREENINGS page to see where it’s playing or to request a showing in your town. Now, this is much more than a “tour DVD” of a drum corps; this is a film that will show the world how this important organization is shaping young mens’ lives through music education. “Scouts Honor” has the potential of opening up the whole drum corps activity to new audiences which could benefit all the organizations in the activity. The DVD/BluRay of the documentary is out now in our STORE. The digital release will follow later in 2016
What is this money going to be used for?
It is not cheap to make an independent feature length documentary, especially when the subject is a touring entity like the Madison Scouts. We have and will continue to do everything possible to keep the costs down, but it does add up fast. Even though principal photography has been completed, we still need to raise money for certain expenses that were not covered during the summer. In addition, there are large costs associated with the post-production process, including expenses associated with music licensing, finishing the movie, and the hoops that we must jump through to get it out to the world. Among other things, this money will be used for:
Post Production: Graphics; Animation; Music rights fees; Original Music Creation; Minimal Post Sound Fees, Color Correction & Finishing Fees.
What happened to the rewards?
We have reached our deadline to contribute at our reward levels. You still have the opportunity to contribute an open ended donation through our Donation Can app, as we will still need funds to cover the cost of making the movie, but you will soon be able to purchase the DVD/Blu-Ray when we launch our online shop.
Are you sponsored by the Madison Scouts?
We are a completely independent production and are not sponsored by the Madison Scouts. That being said, as alumni the Scouts organization has been very supportive of our production and have helped minimize our costs by allowing us to stay with the corps members and staff. The Scouts have also helped feed our crew during many of the various shooting trips throughout 2012.
Do the Madison Scouts receive any direct financial benefit from my contribution to Scouts Honor?
While a large part of our goal for this documentary is to add to the continued financial solvency of the Madison Scouts, your contribution to Scouts Honor will be used solely for the production and distribution of the film. As a token for our gratitude to the Madison Scouts for allowing us to tour with them and produce this story about them, we have donated several DVD and Blu-Ray copies of the finished movie for them to sell at 100% profit. We strongly encourage everyone who is inspired by the amazing work performed by the Madison Scouts to contribute to the corps direct via its website: http://www.madisonscoutslive.com/mainsite/donate/.
How can I make a contribution to the Madison Scouts?
There are a number of ways that you can make a direct contribution to the Madison Scouts, including the Madison Corps program, the DCI Fan Network, the Scouts’ Benefit Search Bar, and even a specially designed Madison Scouts Visa card. All of these can be accessed via the Madison Scouts’ web site at http://madisonscouts.org/Madison_Scouts/Support.html.
How else can I help?
Contributions are needed, but there are a number of other ways that you can help out our production. One of the most important ways is by getting the word out about the movie. Let people know by using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Pick up the phone and tell your fellow music fans. Host a fundraiser at a local restaurant, bar or bowling alley for our film. Talk to the band boosters at your school. Write an email to your local paper and encourage them to write an article about our film. Get in touch with us through our contact form on our Gigantic Cranium site and we’ll give you ideas on how you can get the word out.
We have a substantial and very active on-line presence, so, if you haven’t already, please check out and Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to follow our progress and find out new ways that you can help us out. Be sure to share those links, as well as the link to this website (link), with anyone you think might be interested in our movie. We are finding that many people who have had no previous involvement with music education or drum and bugle corps are connecting positively with this story, so please spread the word to everyone!