Guest Blog – Brandon Dickerson
Brandon Dickerson has earned numerous awards for his work in commercials and music videos, including the coveted Cannes Gold Lion. He’s worked with a wide variety of artists from Moby to Switchfoot, Jonas Brothers to Cold War Kids. SIRONIA marks his first narrative feature film, and he is currently in pre-production on his second. Dickerson recently relocated from Hollywood to Austin with his wife and children.
I grew up behind the Orange Curtain in Southern California where my dream of being a film director was born. My family would go to the movies almost every weekend, and one October evening in 1979 we saw The Champ.
We went back two weeks later to see little Ricky Schroder idolize his boxing father, Jon Voight.
I cried again.
Even as a little dude, I realized this was a powerful medium if one could fully grasp what drama was coming and yet still be emotionally charged. I asked my dad, “How does it do that?” He explained to me how films worked and the guy at the helm was a “director”.
Amid schoolyard aspirations of being a fireman, dating Olivia Newton-John, and someday owning a Sony Walkman–I declared, “I want to be a film director”.
I wanted to be a part of stories so powerful they could make you cry. Twice.
CUT TO: Hollywood, CA – 2009
Living in Hollywood. Happily married. Two Kids. Well over a hundred music videos and commercials.
Zero Feature Films.
My wife’s mother is given six months to live so we abruptly move to Waco, TX to care for her. My colleagues call it “career suicide.”
It is in this season, away from the hustle, that the idea for Sironia is born with my crazy talented singer+songwriter buddy Wes Cunningham and actor+writer Thomas Ward who lived in Waco.
CUT TO: Austin, TX – 2011
The lights go down on the Premiere of my first feature film Sironia at Austin Film Festival. After production wrapped and my wife’s mom passed away, we had moved to Austin the year before. The season of “not another one” eye-rolls at a CA migrant had subsided – Austin is now home. Thirty-two Octobers had passed between The Champ and Sironia at Austin Film Festival. The journeys of life had shifted my desires from wanting to be a famous “storyteller” to one who was driven by the stories he had to tell. The themes of my first film are everything I’d hoped to share at 24 frames per second, and the fact that it premiered in the city that was becoming home was beyond profound.
CUT TO: Austin, TX – May 21st, 2012
It’s no surprise I fell in love with the Alamo Drafthouse when we moved to Austin. Tim League is a filmmakers’ hero — from programming to stellar projection to text free viewing. Monday night’s screening at The Drafthouse is a more recent dream-come-true as the kind folks at Austin Film Festival begin their Audience Award Film Series.
At every Q&A, I’m hopeful that no one asks me about what sparked my interest in directing. FULL DISCLOSURE: It wasn’t until I was deep into a career in commercials and music videos that I shared my director-desire-origin story to a gaffer, who revealed my dreams were built on a REMAKE of the 1931 Academy Award winning film by King Vidor.