Sunday, July 17, 2016


About eleven years or so ago, I came up with the idea to do a chase-related DVD featuring nothing except behind-the-scenes type stuff, basically just a 90-minute mash up of various bits and scraps, mostly focused on "what you never see" or funny type stuff. The inspiration struck while doing production on "A Perfect Spinning Circus." I had decided to place an easter egg after the credits, which consisted of about 5-10 minutes' worth of that very idea. I enjoyed the process so much, I thought "this might make an interesting feature-length video."

Fast-forward to now, past several years of not being able to move forward with the project for whatever reason, and the idea is finally starting to see fruition. As most any artistic endeavor, this one too has morphed from the original idea. What started out as just a video of table scraps has now become a full-on documentary, albeit atypical. I decided to focus on the people exclusively, and leave out anything about the act of physically chasing storms itself. Oh, there's bits and pieces scattered throughout of actual chase footage, but they're used in the context of the original idea, not as a way to show "what chasing is."

Beyond the premise, what makes this project unique happened quite by accident. The aforementioned delays, for literally years and years, that slowed production, have now created a work that despite being released in 2016, features footage shot predominantly in 2007. Add in even older material from 2001, and this DVD will be full of footage that will be 9-15 years old at the time of its release. So you end up with a documentary that's already odd (because of concept/directing) and features still-active chasers, but as they were nine to fifteen years ago. That was never the plan.

Oh yeah, the title is "Not Your Father's Storm Chaser Documentary."

Originally I had intended on giving this production away free, as a gift to anyone who purchased one of my storm chasing DVDs. But then interest seemed to increase the more I mentioned the idea, and it seemed there were enough people willing to pay for it that I then decided to offer it for sale. I took that idea into production, and have been eagerly banging away at the project since. I've been offering sneak previews of certain portions of the project as I go along, but the feedback on these nuggets has been - to be kind - underwhelming. So underwhelming in fact, that I've been more surprised than disappointed. Once again, it seems I took a great idea and simply took too long to bring it to life. I guess it's inevitable, even if I personally disagree: everything has a shelf life now.

I was so blown away with the lack of response that I considered not releasing it at all, and making it a "those involved" exclusive only, just handing copies out to everyone featured in the documentary. I may still do that. I may still offer it as a free gift for those who buy DVDs. But it will definitely not be available for purchase as a stand-alone item.

It's been a cool experience, going through hours and hours of old footage, from a time in my chasing career that seems a lifetime away. Lots of great memories, and a lot of laughs. I see so many parallels between our old footage and much of what is out there today. The difference being, nothing we did was being broadcast live or shared with the world via social media as it happened. We were just living our lives, doing our thing, and the only people who knew anything about it was us. The world didn't know, because the world didn't care. It didn't need to.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

'Til Death

You ever have that moment when you realize that what you had previously thought was just "the worst year of my life" is actually just your life now? It happened to me, slowly, over the last year. After years of repeat blog posts lamenting about how horrible a stretch of a chasing we were stuck in, the only difference being the dates and times they were posted, I finally figured it out: Hey Shane, welcome to your life now.

Chasing dreams (if you're not independently wealthy anyway) is a complicated mix of risk, chance, hesitation, timing, environment, guilt, and lots and lots of deep thinking about it all. When you're young, or just new to something, it's all about the risk. You just say "fuck it" and go hell bent, because you don't have it yet and you desperately want it. It's easy to ignore all other components because you're so singularly-focused on that dream. Then things start to happen slowly over time, and each new thing introduces a new part of the Chasing Dreams Equation. What you'll find you're left with eventually, is a whole bunch of crap you have to look over, analyze, weigh out for pros/cons/relevance, and finally make decisions on. Big decisions. Painful decisions. But also "I did the right thing and I feel good about that at least" decisions.

I had a great run. I chased almost twenty damn years throwing caution to the wind, ignoring my life, and all those other silly parts of the CDE that come after risk. I regret none of it. I still long for it. But those days are over. To rebuild my chasing career, I will have to find a new path, a new method, a new philosophy going forward. Because the old way doesn't fucking work anymore.

For me, the battle I've always fought wasn't dealing with the pain of missing out, hell that's easy (bottle of wine and ignoring social media for a few days). My battle has always been with myself, fearing that becoming responsible and dealing with missing out while taking on more life responsibilities would harden me to the point of losing my passion. In other words, becoming so good at being a good loser that I'd lose my lust for winning. I still fight that battle every day, and the fucked up part is, I honestly don't know if it's even an issue. Part of me thinks I'll always be trying to find ways to get out there and video tornadoes, regardless of where I am in life. Most of me in fact. But that tiny percent that keeps whispering "Hell dude, a few more years of missing out and you won't even care anymore" keeps me on edge. After all, I didn't sacrifice the prime of my life just to get those prime years....I did it for the rest of them.

'Til Death.