Adjust Your Tracking is having its Philadelphia premiere at PhilaMOCA this Saturday @ 8pm and in anticipation for that I chatted a bit with co-director Dan Kinem about his documentary and the resurgence of VHS as a format. I really enjoyed chatting with Dan not only about what went into putting together this great doc on the format, but what he thought about the recent resurgence of VHS as well. I hope you not only enjoy this interview, but also decide to check out the documentary as well this Saturday!
First off, why make a documentary about what many consider to be a dead technology?
Well, I don’t personally consider it dead. It can’t be dead if there are still so many movies you can only get on VHS. Without the format, the collectors, and the documenting of said format, so many interesting pieces of film and video history would be lost forever, so I think this documentary HAD to be made.
This is a subculture of film fans and a movement in film culture that deserves to be filmed and explored. I think many think VHS is dead solely because they don’t appreciate movies enough or don’t care to do the research.
DVD is great, but it will never replace, or “kill,” VHS.
So, what do you think is behind the recent renaissance of VHS? I know some folks collecting weren’t even alive when the format was in its heyday?
Well, I don’t think you needed to be alive during its heyday to appreciate it.
No matter how old someone is, a lot of their early experiences involving film were on VHS and people want to remember that. I think that is the main driving force in the resurgence: nostalgia. People don’t want to let go or forget their youth. But I also think people are remembering what made VHS so good, and that’s the amount of interesting material that was released.
It is almost like digging for treasure trying to find weird and cool movies and videos that not many people know about.
You funded Adjust Your Tracking via a kickstarter that ended almost a year ago, now were you already in production, because you actually completed the doc pretty quickly considering?
Well, we were already in production at that point, but not super deep into it. We hadn’t done a ton of interviews before the trip around the country. I just tried to pack as many interviews into the budget and time as I could and then when we were done filming we just edited as much as we could in between being full-time college students.
I think when people see the final product they will be amazed at how much was done for so little money. I don’t think we spent over $4,000-5,000.
I of all people know film collectors can be an eccentric bunch, are they any stories you can share about some strange interview or incidents during the shoot?
There were countless crazy incidents that happened while shooting the movie. A whole documentary could be made just about filming this documentary.
We got lost on top of a mountain looking for bigfoot, nearly died multiple times, met some of the best people I’ve ever met, got yelled at at video stores, happened upon a bull testicle festival, and saw some of the most impressive VHS collections around.
The film will show off some of that, but the behind the scenes extras will attempt to document the rest of it.