After receiving a BFA in Cinematography in 1989, I moved from Tucson, Arizona, to San Francisco and landed a job at American Zoetrope. I received an MFA in Museum Education in 1992 and then homeschooled our three kids, K-8, which exposed me to the merits of self-directed learning.
Kids grown, I taught myself the new digital technology and produced my first film, “Steve Shirley Shark Tagger.” The 11-minute film was an official selection in four film festivals and screened for school groups, at nature centers and at Marine World.
I’ve been working on my current documentary, “Richard Beggs: A Sound Life,” for two years. Richard followed his interest in painting, classical music, and music recording, to work in sound for film. He received an Academy Award on his very first film, “Apocalypse Now.” As retirement looms, Richard shares insights from 40 years of experience creating motion picture soundtracks. The film includes behind-the-scenes footage and candid interviews with award-winning film professionals such as Sofia Coppola, Walter Murch, Gary Rydstrom, Randy Thom, Lora Hirschberg, and Skip Lievsay in locations around the country that add to California’s rich film history about post-production sound for film. Among Richard’s unique contributions are his choice, throughout his career, to give women a gateway into a male-dominated field.
“Richard Beggs: A Sound Life” has an educational purpose — to demystify Beggs’ profession, which is little understood, even among some film directors. A good film soundtrack is critical to a successful film experience, but few people know what goes into its creation. Ultimately, I would like my film to be screened, followed by discussion questions, in media studies programs, particularly those aimed at women and inner-city teens. I’m hoping that the film, which provides valuable, otherwise unavailable information, will inspire diversity in a male-dominated field.
At Intrinsic Lifestyle Productions, my documentaries are about self-taught learners who’ve followed an interest to success — charismatic people who have become experts in their field. Whatever the subject is that drew them in, that’s what I seek to learn about in order to share unusual stories. Once the film is made, I try to give it exposure by submitting it to film festivals and distributing it to nonprofits, ultimately to inspire viewers to pursue their own interests.
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