Lock and Roll is not your typical skateboard movie. This is Will Black's first film, having jumped into filmmaking head first in order to tell this story.|
The story of Treaven Mitchell, a skateboarder from Jackson Tennessee who lost his father, a Marine veteran, in a mindless robbery. Treaven, who operated his skate shop out of part of his father's locksmith business, had to learn to cope with his father's death. The bond they had is evident throughout the piece as he remembers his father, Troy Mitchell, and how supportive he was in helping Treaven and the rest of his family.
In the end, Treaven comments on the importance of holding on to what you love and who you love. Wise words indeed!
Below is the trailer for the movie and my conversation with Will where he explains what motivated him to make it.
What is Sangloe Visions and what inspired the name?
I've wanted to start filmmaking for quite some time but was never in a place to fully get underway with it until around Feb. of last year. I had just known Treaven for a couple of months and we had settled on the creative pieces to start structuring the film that would eventually be Lock and Roll. In the planning stages of the film I started thinking of names to call the company to which the film would be assigned. Immediately after beginning that process, my grandmother passed away. For many years she lived on a street called Sangloe Place in a town in Virginia. I link so many great times in my life to that house on that street. So even though she had gone away, I wanted to take something small with her memory on it and start my new film endeavor under that name. Sangloe Visions was constructed from this and Lock and Roll was it's first resident.
Very nice of you to remember her in that way and the times you spent at her home. How did you meet Treaven?
During my senior year in college I became enamored with screen printing skateboards (and later apparel). That hobby turned into a small, local brand. It quickly began to gain traction and I actually met Treaven through that. I look back to those days a couple of years back and actually laugh. Here I am, this crazy skate brand owner who's a senior sport management major, still a bit unclear on what he's going to do when he graduates. I meet Treaven and he's this "pull all the stops out", "give it to me and I'll do it" type guy who builds his own mega ramps and jumps over cars. I pretty much fell in love with the guy from the minute I met him and started sponsoring him with some of our clothes.
You have probably seen a few skateboard films over the years. What made you wnat to do this one and what makes it unique.
They aren't anything in the vein of Lock and Roll but two of my favorites are Creature's Hesh Law and Emerica's Stay Gold. After hearing Treaven's story about his father I immediately connected with his story (to an extent). I was also in the Marine Corps like Troy, and we were both infantry during our time in. I had no idea Treaven and his family had been through all of the turmoil they had until after I knew Treaven for a while. I remember the night when I was standing in my living room completely still while Treaven replayed this whole experience to me. That was the settling moment that pushed me into filmmaking. Also, in the days following this, doctors found that his younger brother had a significantly sized tumor in his brain. He was immediately admitted to St. Jude and that family started yet another battle. I know that there are tons of families that fight adverse circumstances every single day. Treaven's family is one of those, and the story about Troy's life and Treaven's connection to it is something that just really spoke to me.
Tell me about what we will see in the film.
In October of 2009, Troy was robbed, shot, and killed by a complete stranger while on a routine service call. At the time, Troy had nothing on him but a wallet containing $20 and an old flip cell phone. The next day Troy passed away while his family stayed at his bed side and sang hymns. As time passed, Treaven became a husband and father himself, doing his best to emulate the kind of man his father was. Treaven keeps skating out of the remnants of a bond that was formed while running his skate shop inside his fathers locksmith shop.
Treaven is a skateboarder who was born and raised in the small rural town of Humboldt, Tennessee, just about an hour northeast of Memphis. His father Troy was a revered combat Marine veteran, faithful husband, father of seven children, and a hard-working small business owner. After exiting the military Troy became a locksmith and allowed Treaven to start a skate shop in his lock store, using it as an opportunity to teach his son about managing a business.
Lock and Roll is a short film that is narrated from Treaven's perspective, telling the story of his father and how it has impacted something he loves very much: skating.
Had you made any films before? If not, as a new filmmaker what did you have to do or learn in order to get started?
Lock and Roll is something I met in a head on collision. I knew nothing about film when I started it. I just knew I wanted to do it. I didn't study formulas; didn't study and obsess over previous works of others; didn't study the systems and methods that carried other people in other endeavors to the next level, I just did it. I didn't know it until after it was completed, but Lock and Roll breaks rules. It's a short yet has certain parts that play like a feature, I still don't care. For instance, we have a long opening and closing credits sequence as well as unused clips at the very end.
I wouldn't change any of that. It wasn't until after the completion of it that I knew Lock and Roll was a learning experience. At the beginning I never intended to be like, "OK I'm going to use this film as a training ground" because I think that would be disrespectful to not only the material but the people involved as well. I just went in with the attitude that I was going to do the best that I could, that sucking wouldn't be an option, that "compromise" wouldn't be a part of my vocabulary until this thing was done.
I learned to take chances and just deal with my environment. Being the center of attention is weird for me. We had one scene in the film that took about three passes to do. It was in an upscale area of downtown Memphis. The road we were on was flanked by high end restaurants on both sides. Tons of people kept staring and pointing at us each time we drove by. Even though it was uncomfortable I just remember thinking, "screw it, we're doing this until it's right".
We also had an incident where I thought we were going to get chased down by a bunch of psychotic rednecks. On our second block of filming, one of our drivers cut off this huge pick-up, and this is while I was filming out of the back. There was also a reporter back there with me and she was filming me. The guy came within inches of nailing the side of our truck where she was sitting. It was an honest accident but still very scary, especially for being in the back of a truck not buckled in. Some road rage and a waterfall of profanity ensued on the their part and I thought they were going to try and chase us or something stupid like that. But they went on. That stuff can jumble your thoughts for a few minutes but you have to shake it and keep going with your project, and that's what we did.
Now that you've been successful with this short will others follow?
I had a great opportunity to do a short piece on Rayburn Anthony, who's actually Treaven's father in law. Rayburn was signed to Sun Records back in the 60's. Sun was also the home of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a myriad of other rock legends. At 77, he's still living off his music and does regular Canadian and European tours. He also holds some stake in Jaxon Records in Jackson, Tennessee, a recording studio that's had artists from all over the planet come and lay down their country, blues, and rock albums. We did that short film in May and it was extremely fun.
As for now, I'm definitely looking for the next thing to film. I have to admit that it's a fear of mine though, not knowing when I'll find my next project. I'm just really picky, if the material is great but the people involved aren't, I'll probably turn it down. Lock and Roll was just a great experience because the entire process was so amazing. Everything from the people who helped, to the locations, to the people being filmed, and everything in between was just so organic with each other. For me it's all about the process, if you aren't having a killer time making the film then you're probably not going to end up with a good product.
Lock and Roll on IMDb
Lock and Roll on IMDb