A conversation with ‘Faces In The Mirror’ creator Boyd Tinsley
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • February 12, 2013 @ 8:00am
It has been one of the most rewarding projects that he had ever worked on.
Boyd Tinsley may be known by many as the incredible violinist for Dave Matthews Band, but you can now add “film creator” to his impressive resume. An idea years in the making, Tinsley has combined his love for music and deep connection with fans to create “Faces In The Mirror”—a film scored to music.
Speaking with Tinsley about the film, he was beyond thrilled to be bringing the movie to Buffalo for an intimate screening combined with a live concert event. Joined by local musician Tim Britt, the night will include some incredible music and an opportunity to meet Tinsley in person.
Inspired by “gatherings” he would host during tours with Dave Matthews Band, Tinsley saw this film as a great way to get to know his fans even better, by sharing this project with them—one very close to his heart.
You can catch Boyd Tinsley along with Tim Britt at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25 at The Forvm in Amherst. Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased through TicketWeb. For more information on tickets and details about “Faces In The Mirror,” head over to the Facebook page or the film’s website.
Check out our interview with “Faces In The Mirror” creator Boyd Tinsley below.
“Faces In The Mirror” has been described as a film scored to music—Can you explain a little bit of what that means?
Boyd Tinsley: The movie is pretty different than others have been approached. It’s kind of the way I see things. I love movies and have watched a ton of them, but I never went to film school. I never wanted to learn how to make a movie. I wanted a movie that both spoke emotionally and through the music. I love movies where music and what’s going on, on the screen share emotion.
This film has music throughout its entirety. What we did at the end to achieve that goal was to make it an experience. We rough edited the scenes but we made it fit. We danced the scenes around the music. We told the story from the music—and of course, the director did go to film school.
Explaining it to him, he thought I was completely out of my mind. Then it came to a point that it was just the way I made movies. Not sure if he will be able to make them in the traditional way again or not. It was great and we were fortunate as far as editing was concerned. We had great people working on the film, great shots and great music.
With so many good shots, our part was to identify the best and arrange them right away. It’s a different kind of process. I have to admit, the rock operas of the ‘70s and ‘80s influenced be in the sense that it was a movie with a music base.
I like to feel something when I see a movie. Some people go just to follow the plot and hear the dialogue. I’ve got to really feel something. Whether it’s good, sad, elated, scared—I want to feel something and that’s what I wanted to make.
When did you first get inspiration for a project like this?
BT: It’s something I had been thinking about for years, since about 1996. I love the videos we did like “Crash Into Me” with director, Dean Karr. He was really out there and really creative, we became good friends. That video was so visually beautiful and dreamlike, it really reflected the song visually. They came from the same bittersweet and haunting place. I wanted to make a movie because of that video.
Over the year I started writing stories and characters and how I would approach the movie, having the music come first. I started thinking about that about two or three years before the movie.
There wasn’t any rehearsals or practices. The guys had as much of the story as I did and I just told them to play it from the heart. All the sections came out on the spot and in the moment. When we were shooting the movie, we played the music to get everyone in the same vibe and place. It was a common connection to the shoot, with the actors, crew, directors, everyone was absorbed in it, thereby became part of the movie.
What kind of feedback have you received from your fans and peers on the film?
BT: I’ve heard awesome things from fans who have reviewed it on iTunes and for the most part, they gave us 5s. People have good things to say about it. We’re working with Snag Films and when we showed it to them, they thought it was a beautiful movie. Fans, peers, musicians, the actors—it’s all been great feedback.
We achieved what we set out to do and it really gratifies me. The time we spent on it was worth it. Three years from beginning to end, it was basically a two-year editing process. Although it wasn’t complete in straight time, I was still working on the film while playing on the road, on the bus and in hotels pulling double duty.
We could have ended the project at any point, but I wanted to make sure we could feel every part of this movie. One emotion after the other. To stay in the same without being lost by something, it meant we had to feel everything along the way. We also had to make sure every scene had a big moment and we were able to do that. In the music, we were fortunate to have those big moments and drama. Because it’s from the heart, it’s been incredibly gratifying to see people appreciate it.
Do you have a favorite part of the film?
BT: Honestly, the music was definitely my favorite part of the project. Creating music and getting the musicians and making those pieces into songs. Almost as much, I loved editing the film and putting the movie together in the end.
No matter what my day was like, I always knew at 11 o’clock I was going to be working on this movie. It was just like going into the soul of this film world. You really have to put your heart and emotions into it.
Buffalo is thrilled to be one of the cities screening “Faces In The Mirror.” Any fond memories from visiting before?
BT: I love Buffalo. Buffalo is one of those places that has an intense love for DMB. Every time we go there, I love how much you guys there appreciate it. We feel that. That really makes a difference and it meant a lot to me when my Twitter followers from Buffalo reached out to me about this movie.
They were really vocal about it and really wanted the film to come to Buffalo. It was one of the most consistant places that we heard from. We did a small screening of the movie a while back there, but I wasn’t there. I promise I will be there this time and have music, the movie and a get together for everyone.
Buffalo is one of the most special spots on the tour for “Faces In The Mirror” and I can’t wait to be there.
What can fans expect from this screening?
BT: The way we do anything is very spontaneous. I really didn’t decide to do a tour of the screenings until the beginning of January. It came out of the “gatherings” I do with Twitter followers after shows, where I can meet fans and interact with them. I did that at every city on the DMB tour and I figured, if we can do this while touring we can definitely do it with the movie too.
It’s something I wanted people and fans to be involved in. For me, when I first came up with the inspiration, I knew I was going to make it a movie. I didn’t have a clear answer as to why, but I didn’t need a clear answer. I’m figuring it out as I go.
Talking to fans on Twitter, then running into these cool people in person, it really affects me. We go to these gatherings and we can see it. People hug me and I hug them when we meet and it really is a true opening of the heart. I’m giving a good one of two minute hug there, it’s a true and open connection.
That’s how I’ve approached the entire movie. It’s all from the heart so far and the heart is going to lead us there. It spreads love, made friendships, has changed my life and continues to grow as people see it. It’s cool because the screening is an experience and a little concert. We mixed the music to be a little bit loud, almost as much as the movie itself. I wanted it to be free and open. I don’t like rules. It really is just letting go and doing what your heart wants to do. It’s really f*cking cool.
Would you consider making another film with a similar concept to “Faces In The Mirror?”
BT: I definitely intend to do that. That part of your question is interesting though. The way I made this movie was with freedom. Without being so locked in. It’s almost like, in making the next movie, we’d have to do it like the last one. That seems contradicting to me. I’m thinking about ideas and when I have the inspiration, I’ll get everyone together and we’ll go for it. It’s important to let go and have the movie dictate how it’s going to be made.
I have elements and different scenes and general pieces of characters and plots—not the whole story. The same way with this movie, we didn’t know how it was going to end. There’s always going to be this openness to it. It completely comes from the heart.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.