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16mm Indie Filmmaking Blog

Some background garbage about the director:

My name is Eric Bickernicks; I started this project when I was 36 years old. You can learn more about my early childhood if you go to my "The Amazing Life Story! (so far)" page.

OK, so I wanna make movies. (Like, who doesn't...) Lemme give you a view of my professional background and training in video/film production. Back in middle school, I used to run around with John MacLeod and shoot stupid bits with an 8mm camera. We did the standard animation/stop motion gags such as: "man driving around on the seat of his pants without a car," or the usual "let's make things disappear" camera tricks.

I guess our first big production was "Revenge of the Roll." (Circa 1976) I stole about 50 rolls of toilet paper from my gas station attendant job and animated great hordes of toilet paper rolling around the halls of my apartment building, attacking people by mummifying them with strands of toilet tissue.

I remember taking a film class at night at Brandeis University when I was only a freshman in high school. I got to sit around with a bunch of bemused adults and was shown the standard method of 16mm filmmaking. I was basically shown how film editing was done, how a camera works, how to project audio mag tracks with your work print (even though I don't remember actually TOUCHING the equipment). I finally forced them into allowing me just to HOLD their precious Arri BL camera, and had my friend Andrew Gordon take a picture of me with it. (I struck the usual director pose, calling out directions to someone off camera.) I'll see if I can find that photo.

Didn't know what to do with myself after high school. I suppose I WANTED to go to film school. USC looked like a cool place to go, but I had no idea how to apply or what was needed from me. (I dunno...would I have gotten accepted with a short called "Attack of the Roll?") Ended up at Framingham State College because they were local, cheap, and they would let me in. At this point I was thinking of being a cartoonist or an animator. Art classes squashed that. ("CARTOONING? That's not REAL art!") Got into the video production course at Framingham State 'cause I thought it might be interesting, and perhaps it would be a way to continue making stupid short subjects. I was always an antsy kid with way too much energy. I had trouble keeping still for any length of time. I had a difficult time sitting through 45-minute classes in high school. When I had to sit through 2-hour lectures in college, I really started to become twitchy. Video production required you to move around a lot and lift things...well, this was for me! Got an A and a B+ in video production, basically failed all my other classes and dropped out of college. (I never even declared a major, that's how indecisive I was back then.)

I worked at the Sack Theatre in Natick, Massachusetts from about 1982 to 1984 as an usher. (Hey, at least I was in the movie biz!) Great job at the time, could watch any movie I wanted, play video games, eat as much popcorn as I could and drink as much caffeinated Coke as my large, 20 year old nervous system would allow. At the time I thought, "Hey! I'm out of school and WORKING! No more classes! HA!" It slowly dawned on me when I was able to witness the seasons change out the front door (without my income changing) that this type of job could lead obscurity?

At the time, cable TV was just being installed into the homes of America. To get these lucrative franchises, they had to offer a local production department to the town. I got a job in one of these departments at Adams/Russell cable TV in Norwood, Massachusetts, circa 1984. Not a lot of money, but I did learn how to shoot, edit and light for field and studio video production. I produced a few comedy shorts that went on to win an Ace Award for local production. You can see a few of them on my Biks Flicks page. Moved on to Continental Cable in Dedham, Massachusetts around 1988. Did more of the same, but I had more freedom to try even more outrageous stunts for a live audience. This is where I met John Horrigan and Martin Hanley. My boss/partner in mayhem Mark Gallagher was fired for some programming we had produced. I quit the same day he was "let go." I have a series of newspaper stories online that describes what happened back then on page three of my "The Amazing Life Story (so far)."

Around 1992, it dawned on me that I wasn't going to get rich working for other people. After getting a good dose of the corporate work environment within the cable industry, I started to have problems with authority. ("I may be an idiot, but my boss is even MORE of an idiot.") I figured it was time to start driving my own destiny, even if I was heading straight for a garbage dump. Around 1992 I started my own biz called "Biksco Media Services." I received a little inheritance from my grandmother and bought some basic SVHS video equipment. Started to produce training videos and promotional pieces for the most uncreative types you would ever want to meet in a pitch session. It is very frustrating to deal with people who "just don't get it." Why would anyone who is good at selling car stereos be good at creating an original, funny TV commercial? The most depressing thing is: I realized that everything I created professionally is disposable. This year's training video needs to be redone next year. The TV spot I obsessed over will not be seen by next weekend. I do all this just for a check? Will I ever pull this stuff out when I'm on a porch at age 85 and go, "Hey! You wanna see the training video I did for this large, dirt-sifter back in '98?" I don't think so.

Thus..dear reader...this is where I am at my life. It's time to create something that is important to me-a project where I don't have to answer to some committee. I'd like to know, when I'm hooked up to that heart monitor in some hospital room, listening to my last few beeps, I can think, "Fuck it, I managed to create a few things that gave me a few laughs, and hopefully someone, somewhere is still chuckling at them at this very moment."

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