Friday, February 7, 2014

Do It For Johnny

   OSTROW & COMPANY AND THE COLFAX GUITAR SHOP are proud to represent a true story about “In-Deppendent Filmmaking”: Do It For Johnny.

     When four Hollywood hopefuls set off from Colorado in a second-hand RV nicknamed the “Turtle” to get their script (entitled "Narcophonic", based on the real life story of Colfax Guitar Shop owner Scott Baxendale, who hand crafted and designed the Depp custom guitar), encased in the back of a $4,000 custom-built guitar, into the hands of one of the Industry’s biggest stars, Johnny Depp, they didn’t realize that it would be the beginning of a two year, 14,000 mile odyssey through the landscape of the contemporary movie business. This amazing journey is a true example of the innovative spirit and passion of the independent filmmaker. 
     Is Hollywood as impenetrable as notoriously thought? Indie filmmakers, Haylar Garcia, Darcy Grabowski and Scott Baxendale spent two and a half years finding out. In 2004 they completed a bio-script based on the colorful life of Baxendale as a celebrity guitar builder and musician turned vicious criminal. Longing to do the story justice they dreamed of attaching a big star, and even more importantly a star who could actually play guitar. It wasn't long before their sights became transfixed on ex-musician turned actor Johnny Depp, who at the time was just off a career-catapulting role as Captain Jack in the first Pirates film.        
     As they brainstormed ways to get the script to Depp, something dawned on Garcia (Writer/Director). The process of three nobodies from Denver, Colorado trying to get the attention of one of the biggest stars on Earth, and more specifically getting him to read their unknown, unsolicited, and unfunded screenplay would all make for a great documentary. Knowing their pitch would have to be simple and powerful, and wanting to stand out from the masses competing for Johnny's attention, the actual subject of the screenplay (Scott Baxendale) built Depp a custom, one of a kind electric guitar and in the spirit of fusing the two art forms of film and music, Baxendale would construct a special chamber into the back of the instrument, a chamber without words, the guitar and script would say simply to Depp: "Look, this is what the film is about". What followed was a two plus year adventure, which took them almost 14,000 miles around the US in search of their hopeful star. This amazing journey is a true example of the innovative spirit of the indie filmmaker, the urge to follow your dreams no matter the odds, and a document to the state of the contemporary film and entertainment industry.

      In 2002, filmmakers/musicians Haylar Garcia and Scott Baxendale began work on an epic screenplay, which takes place over 30 years in Rock & Roll history, and chronicles the true-life events of Scott Baxendale's life as a well-known "Master Luthier" (guitar-maker). As the team of independent filmmakers began to envision the script's jump to film, they knew first and foremost that not only would they need an incredible actor to achieve the twisting lead of Scott Baxendale, but the film would require something more from it's leading man. It would require someone with an absolute passion for music, someone who could actually play a guitar. Someone who knew firsthand the innate evils and frustrations, as well as the artistic rewards and dreams of the Rock & Roll lifestyle. After researching all that they could about countless musically inclined actors, the name "Johnny Depp" could not be denied. But was this choice even a choice at all? Could these two filmmakers and their small indie production team find a way to get the attention of one of the busiest, most sought after and most elusive thespians in the world? They needed a plan... 
     As the fourth draft of the script became finalized in late 2004, Garcia and Baxendale hatched just such a plan. What better way, they thought, to show Mr. Depp the importance and vision of this film than to have him look into the fine mirrored finish of Baxendale's workmanship itself. Maybe Depp would look at it and say, "I want to be the man who made this guitar." So the blueprints were drawn up and wood shavings began to fly as Scott Baxendale began work on a masterpiece. 
     Over the course of the next few months, Baxendale would build a custom design, solid-body electric guitar for Johnny Depp. And to top it off, in the rear of the instrument would be a special chamber, meant to house and display the film script they so desperately wanted Johnny Depp to read. The filmmakers hoped that this original and unlikely method of approach and delivery might be enough to get Mr. Depp to consider them. But then arose another problem. Nowadays, a Baxendale guitar sells for anywhere from three to six thousand dollars, and having this masterpiece instrument valued easily at four grand or above, the problem became the preservation and protection of the guitar. After all, how would they get it to him? Pop it in the mail to an address in the French countryside and hope for the best? Send it to his agent or manager and pray it didn't get filed with the mounds of fan mail streaming in every week? Of course not. And so began the hunt. With the help of their indie production team and Johnny Depp fans around the world, Writer/Director Haylar Garcia and Master Luthier Scott Baxendale would set out on a quest to hand deliver this guitar and script to Mr. Depp himself. After all, how hard could it be to track down one man and hand him a guitar case? Then they asked themselves, "Why not film the process, the search, and the outcome as well?" Thus was born the documentary... 
     The filmmakers wish to thank everyone along the way who helped them out, believed in their dream and a shout out to all the amazing people they’ve met along the way!

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