“Six decades of storm chasing history in one hour.”
That is how the March 5th Dallas-Ft. Worth screening at the Texas Severe Storms Association conference is being pitched. A visual amalgam of experiences, stories, and opinion on the evolution of storm chasing as a human activity. On one hand this solo, artistic endeavor has been quite enjoyable to piece together. Realistically though, showcasing an entire history on a niche topic accurately, and condensing it into just shy of an hour I will humbly admit is next to impossible. There’s a reason this was called an anthology! SCA: Volume One is a jam-packed education for anyone who is interested in severe weather research history and tornado chasing culture. The project itself was never intended to be released as a solo film, and though the process has gone through a few evolutions since it’s inception, it’s still not quite where I want it to be. Logical compromise however is quite often the saving grace for a labor of love, and in regards to this body of work, being realistic is what needs to happen. Where exactly does that leave the Storm Chasing Anthology beyond March 2016?
Timelines of Chase History.
Two-years, many roads, and 112 nationwide conversations have elapsed since first embarking on this journey. Many bumps, peaks, and lulls along the way were experienced. Prognosticating the outcome of this endeavor has proven to be foolhardy, and is something that was ceased after crossing into 2016. The very idea of producing a long-form documentary independently is one to cringe a bit at these days, and while I would not change this present route, it’s all been a genuine education in what to do/and what not to do. The entire project is far better suited as a ongoing series rather than a solo film. Beyond issuing copies of the first volume out to all project participants, backers, and other producers who have expressed interest in collaboratively expanding the subject, I honestly do not know where this will go.
A former colleague recently asked, “how do you survive doing this?” Honest question! Being a freelance journalist is no party. It’s a mixture of connections, timing, and working your ass off consistently. Sacrifices made for this project reach far beyond myself. Family and close friends have been the core support through this all, and they too have endured the many fluxes this production, and it’s producer, have experienced. Without them, the Storm Chasing Anthology would still be an idea on a piece of paper, and in piles stored in multiple boxes. My level gratitude to everyone who has helped out in their own particular way really is highly obliged, and something I cannot reiterate enough.
Future screenings in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Norman, Oklahoma at select venues are in the works, but as noted in a previous post, one needs a paycheck to survive. This is not a lifestyle that can be supported by opening an Etsy shop making artisan soaps, producing sporadic broadcast content for network television, selling possessions, nor are these favored routes. As I step away from this momentarily to re-acheive a work-life balance, an absence required for the production of this film, it will interesting to see where it all goes next. The mystery in life is being energetically driven towards something you’re passionate about and seeing what develops; be it a garden, business, family, education, career, film, etc. I’ve accepted the possibility that this film could go absolutely nowhere beyond it’s present state, but with such a colorful array of unique stories, original material, and a genuine human interest in weather as a topic of conversation, it’s certainly a subject worthy of exposure beyond what storm chasing is widely viewed as presently in the public eye.
As individuals receive and view copies of “The Storm Chasing Anthology: Volume One”, I do very much look forward to your feedback, constructive criticism, and commentary about it. All will assist in further growth and inspiration towards further creative visual storytelling and personal expression.
~ Blake Naftel