Mildred Achoch talks with David Hughens about film, music and schizophrenia!
What exactly is your musical background?
I pursued a musical career for about 13 years as a singer/songwriter and guitar player. You can check out the last band I was putting together at what's left of the website: http://www.pureethyl.com/
I checked out your online portfolio. Love the "Kiss meets Cash" poster for Pure Ethyl!
Thanks for the compliment. I was living in Nashville when Johnny died a few years ago and I
had always wanted to try and meet him. I think he would've gotten a big kick out of that picture.
So what's the status of Pure Ethyl? Does the band still exist?
Pure Ethyl died when I left Nashville 3 years ago. After 13 years of pursuing music, I finally got tired of ramming my head against the bloody brick wall.
Have you directed any music videos?
When you watch Elvis' Grave, you will see that there are several "music videos" within the film, so I guess I have directed music videos.
Do you think it's easier/better to start out as a feature/shorts film director then go on to directing music videos or vice versa?
I think shooting shorts or music videos is the way to start. They cost less money and take less time and they tend to be more experimental (forgiving in their adherence to a strict set of rules), unlike a feature length narrative. Plus, it is easier to find a band that wants a video and is willing to pay for some of the cost while giving you a chance to play around with your style. My big thing is I believe you should always tell a story, so the idea or script is king. It must be absolutely rock solid. The script is the most important part. It is like the foundation of a house or the drummer in a rock band -- without which, you don't have diddle. There are so many films that are style over substance and I don't really care for them. Give me a good story every time. So, make sure you tell your audience a story every time you shoot, whether it is a music video or a feature.
Part of your bio reads: “David was only the second person to make a homegrown feature film in Alabama, and at the age of 22, the youngest to do so.” Has this situation changed in your hometown?
The number of filmmakers in Birmingham has grown in leaps and bounds since I shot my film in 1989. And I believe it is directly related to the Sidewalk Film Festival --
http://www.sidewalkfest.com/. I wish it had been around back when I was starting out. The guy running the festival called Elvis' Grave the Grandfather of independent films in Birmingham. High praise for little ol' me.
How would you describe yourself?
I often tell people I'm schizophrenic -- I'm not really, but I do have many sides to my personality. That way, "we" are never alone -- always someone to talk to! I feel like it is really good for "creative" types to be this way, because it gives you a lot to draw from. If you have many different interests, you are more likely to experience many different things.