The Slacker 2011 Interviews: Scott R. Meyers
Director Scott R. Meyers on Slacker 2011
By Marc Savlov, 9:39AM, Mon. Aug. 29, 2011
Austin freakrock legends Ed Hall are no more but that didn't stop Scott R. Meyers, the director of the Alamo Drafthouse's Slacker 2011 team, from re-weirding up the iconic Continental Club pickup scene.
This time out the end-of-the-night sequence features local outfit The Invincible Czars and Alamo/Weird Wednesday programmer Lars Nilsen in the role originally played by slam poet/Asylum Street Spanker Wammo.
Austin Chronicle: Do you recall your first impressions of Richard Linklater's Slacker?
Scott R. Meyers: I saw it on VHS in '94 or '95 at a time when I was searching for my voice as a movie-watcher, and when I saw it I really enjoyed it. I loved and was very intrigued by the format because I'd been watching Hitchcock and films like that and just seeing that more [linear narrative] style of filmmaking. At the same time I was watching all these obscure Jim Jarmusch movies but Slacker was very exciting because it was by this guy from Austin.
AC: Did Slacker have any impact on your own filmmaking, in terms of what assumed rules could be bent or even broken outright?
SRM: Oh sure, it had an immediate impact on me because I immediately went out and joined Austin Access television so that I could have access to a camera and go out and shoot my own stuff, which i did. Slacker made it all so tangible to me.
AC: As far as Slacker 2011 goes, when and how were you contacted about participating? And what did you think of the concept?
SRM: I thought it was an amazing idea. Not in the sense of remaking Rick's movie, but my philosophy early on in my career was that I wanted to make a movie and then remake it later. That was on my brain so when I heard they were doing this, I immediately contacted Bryan Poyser at AFS. I contacted them, not the other way around. My current profession is as an Assistant Director and I really wanted to be a part of Slacker 2011 so I told Bryan, look whatever I can do I'll do. He put me in touch with Daniel Metz and we began kicking some ideas around. Austin has such an overwhelming amount of independent filmmaking going on right now that I think this project is really an excellent opportunity for our film community's talent to shine.
AC: Your scene is at the Continental Club, which in the original film featured legendary local band Ed Hall. How did you approach the updating of that particularly weird sequence?
SRM: When Daniel and I discussed it we decided that it was very important to shoot it on 16mm film and we tried to use a some of the same crew members from Rick's film, like Camera Operator Ralph Watson. As far as the band, obviously Ed Hall is no more so we looked around at various groups and finally settled on The Invincible Czars, who we thought had a real good vibe as far as where they are in their career and the type of audience they attract. As for Lars, both Daniel and I thought of him as kind of the new Wammo in terms of having a really great following and that weird, Austin-y kind of charisma. Our Director of Photography, Peter Simonite, was really interested in making sure that certain details were referenced.
AC: For instance?
SRM: I think Rick's movie had a light stand that accidentally turned up in a shot and Lee [Daniel] had blacked it out. Our Gaffer, Scott Conn, who was also in the original, pointed it out because we didn't notice it and so we ended up putting a light stand in the shot. Not too glaring or too silly, just, you know, we wanted it to be there.
AC: Have you had a chance to screen the finished Slacker 2011? And do you think it captures the current Austin vibe?
SRM: I've seen a rough cut of it and yeah, absolutely I think it captures a good portrait of what's going on right now. Rick was the pioneer and now there's 24 teams paying homage to his original vision, which is what's really weird and cool and representative of both the city of Austin and the Austin film community.