The World's Story is Yours to Tell
Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Dugglas Spalding and I am a tree truck-driving filmmaker. I’d like to make films full-time but I just love the truck driving too much to give it up. Tee hee hee.
Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
I grew up in Colorado, USA and have lived here most of my life. When I was young my parents moved out of the ‘burbs and built their own solar home up in the foothills. It was kind of a small farm with goats, chickens, rabbits, pigs, and two ducks. It’s given me lots of strange stories from childhood to bore people with now. I studied English and history in college, which has been entirely useful in my career of filling up my bookshelf.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
There was this Italian film “Cinema Paradiso” I saw back in the late 1980’s that was just enchanting. Perhaps because it was about a film director and the magic of movies, but that film always roused my desire to create my own films. Other films over the years have of course inspired me, but particularly the films of Jean Pierre Jeunet and Krzystof Kieslowski.
A number of documentaries have shown me the potency of film as a medium to reveal important issues. I see these films and I think “I could do that. I know a couple of stories that need to be told; a few people that need a voice.”
The technological advances of digital video and computer-based editing have also allowed me to pursue this insanity. It is amazing what can be created with a simple camera and computer. Ok... so not to kiss up to Vimeo, but recently I’ve been astonished and humbled by what “real” filmmakers are loading up to the site. Beautiful films!
Who or what do you most admire?
Do we admire those who resemble us or those who are different? I suppose I admire those people with qualities that I would like to strengthen within myself. I look up to those people who have listened to their inner passion and sought out a directed purpose to their lives, and to those that have risked everything for a cause larger than themselves. Obviously, Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. are on the list, but also people today like the Sea Shepherd crew, the gregarious Steve Irwin, Michael Fay (Explorer in Residence at National Geographic who walked across the jungles of Gabon and instigated the creation of 13 national parks in the country), the visionary Steve Jobs of Apple, and many other artists, musicians, and writers.
I am also constantly awed by nature. The rocks, plants, trees and all the animals scurrying around on the Earth are so interesting and complex. Weather, especially when I’m stuck out in it, always impresses me. The speed and force of an approaching storm is something to admire even if it is pounding me senseless. And after, the sun breaks through and the receding clouds are often spectacular. I’m fortunate to live where I can step out the door and experience the power and fragile beauty of the natural world every day.
What did you film on 10.10.10?
I decided to film something about trees. I started the day out filming the sun rising behind some trees near my house. A tree I had planted in my yard a few years ago had grown too large for the area, so my wife Heather and I filmed the process of moving that tree to a new location. After that, we interviewed some people who lost their home to a forest fire. The idea was to make a longer film combining a few more segments about trees, but the other bits didn’t turn out so well. I found that the three short films didn’t really go together as a single story, but worked okay as individual pieces.
What are you planning on filming for 11.11.11?
Since that’s Veterans/Armistice Day, I thought I might do something about that. I’m not a veteran, but I know a few of them, and I might interview them and their experiences of war and being in the military. I’m probably the exact opposite of a soldier so it should be an interesting challenge. I’m sure a lot of people will be filming something about Veterans’ Day too, so I hope it’s not too cliché of a subject. I think I might do another time-lapse as well. I found this great jumble of boulders and rock spires that could look amazing at sunrise, particularly if there’s fresh snow.