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Let’s Start a Revolution

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Like many creative projects, Kristin Catalano’s Let’s Start a Revolution isn’t exactly what she set out to make. While visiting family on break from UCLA, her cousin took her to see Trolley, and the rest, as they say, is now available for sale at Exclusive Music Company. “I wanted to do a documentary on my family originally, but my grandparents weren’t very cooperative. I still want to do that. . .it was more like, ‘Wow you guys are so good.’ It was very of the moment, very right place, right time. It really helps them as a promotional tool, too. And they were really into it, especially Pauly.” Let’s Start a Revolution chronicles a few months in the lives of Eric White (of Heathrow) and Paul Wall (Trolley, The Nice Outfit), and explores what it’s like to be 33 and still gone on rock and roll, but wondering if that break is ever going to come. Originally a project for her documentary class at UCLA’s film school, Let’s Start a Revolution provides a glimpse into many aspects of the underground band experience — everything from practice to day jobs to just hanging out, along with interviews and, of course, the music. Now based in Los Angeles where she’s developing a screenplay that she hopes to shoot in Milwaukee, Kristin spoke to me about Let’s Start a Revolution. -Were you involved in the local music scene growing up? “Not myself as a musician. But my brother in law was in The Elevators, so me & my sister would always go to their shows. I think the local music scene is really good.” -There are scenes of Eric and Paul up early in the morning. Did you follow them around all day to get a sort of slice of life thing, or was that just one particular occasion? “I was always there. At that time too, my cousin was going out with Pauly. Not at the first visit, but they’ve been going out for a year now. My cousin’s my best friend, so we hang out whenever I’m home. . . It all came together, strangely. Good timing.” -How long was the shoot? “I actually started in December. That’s when I first met them. Eric was moving in at the same time. . .I just thought it was hilarious, all these bands that lived together. . .I didn’t have a really well-thought out plan. . .I guess it was three times, a couple months each. The first and second time were more sit down interview, the third was more follow them around.” -It’s interesting that Paul and Eric are both the frontmen, that Trolley and the Nice Outfit and Heathrow are sort of “their” bands, and they live together. It sort of provides for a nice comparison, since both of them have a lot to do with what happens to their band. Was this just a stroke of luck? “Yeah. And that they really support each other too. I was really surprised. There’s no competition between them.” -There were a lot of shots of Paul and Eric doing everything in a way that involved music. Were they just like that all the time? [laughs]”Yes, it’s the funniest. That’s what they’re like the whole time, there’s always watching music documentaries. . .there’s always something on the CD or DVD player, they sing back and forth. There’s a lot of game nights. And there’s always someone practicing in the basement. One thing that’s funny too, Paul will check his e-mail constantly to see if he got a record deal.” -I’d guess that The Nice Outfit getting accepted to South By Southwest was unexpected. As a documentary maker, how does that kind of thing affect the film you’re making? Were there other events you were planning to focus on before that happened? “Originally, I wanted to focus it on ageism in the music industry, I really wrote out kind of a journey in my head. But then when I sat down and asked them questions, they didn’t give me anything for that. . .it was a problem for a lot of people in class, and the teacher said you just have to go with what you have. Like the title. I was watching the footage, and it kind of jumped out at me.” -Why stop where you did? Both Paul and Eric seemed to be at turning points, with The Nice Outfit having a successful showing at South By Southwest and Eric getting certified to teach. “I felt like it was a good ending. I should’ve gone to South By Southwest, but I had a deadline, it had to be finished by June. . .Plus I was feeling a little annoying by the end, always asking them questions. And I had 24 hours of footage [laughs]. Had to buy another hard drive.” -How’s the feature that you want to shoot in Milwaukee going? “Pretty good. I’m on my third draft, I’m actually sending my first act to a producer that I know tonight. You try to get the money and attach a name star, and then shoot it in Milwaukee. . .that’s really scary though, at the same time. That’s one of the nice things about living out here [Los Angeles]. . .people just like you are doing it, no more or less talented. You can do it if you have the drive and the talent.” -Are you trying to get Let’s Start a Revolution into any theaters or film festivals? “I submitted it to a few. It got into New Filmmakers in New York. And one in Tulsa. And I just submitted it to the L.A. Film Festival. Next year I’ll submit it to the Milwaukee Film Festival. -Is there anything you’d like to add? “I think in the end. . .first of all, they all really liked it. I was scared at first, I was wondering if they’d be mad or anything. I was happy about how much of their music I could include. Ultimately, one of my major goals was to put their music out there.” Let’s Start a Revolution is available at Exclusive Music Company and at www.easterrecords.net.
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