Dirt Road to Psychedelia: Austin Texas during the 1960s Interview with Scott Conn
I have been working on films as a lighting technician since ’92 but, having gone to film school I wanted to make films. I had made some short films on super-8 and and 16mm, then I decided to do the story of the Vulcan Gas Company, which was the main psychedelic venue in Austin and much of Texas during the late ’60s. As I asked people about it, they would tell me that to really understand it I would have to go farther back in time, then farther back again until I was in the folk era. So in reverse I was shown the thread of how Austin counter culture and music developed. It drew me in. As I worked on it, it became more and more important to finish it and to tell the stories as best I could.
The some of the footage at the park was from police surveillance films. Apparently they were just out in the open shooting film of the people enjoying themselves at an outdoor show. It was a different time. Video copies had been circulating around town for a while, but it took some digging to find. Other film of other outdoor shows were from a super-8 project from a student at the time.
Finding and contacting the people in the film was easy for some and difficult for others. Many were in town and I found them in the phone book. Others required more persistence. Still others weren’t interested in contributing.
At the moment I’m starting up on a similar documentary on the Austin and Texas punk rock scene, 1977-1990.
Slacker was one of the first films for me to work on. I was credited as ‘key grip’, but that was mostly because I was helping out enough that when credits were being claimed I asked, and they said okay. I helped out with the lighting mostly and later helped log footage and separate takes in the early stages of editing. I worked with Rick this past October on his latest film, ‘Bernie’.
Dirt Road premiered at the Austin Film Fest, Oct. ’07. It took ten years to complete. Several times I was pulled away with work and did nothing with it for 4-6 months, and other times I wasn’t sure that I was going to finish. Tracking down persons and traveling to them took time as well. It was a solo operation, so there was no dividing tasks. Way too long, I know, but a lot of factors added up to a long-ass time.
A good future plan for me would be to complete the punk rock documentary by 2013. I don’t want it to drag out like the other one.
I’ll let you know if I come up with other bits or stories. I hope that you can do something with these answers. Feel free to follow up.