The inside scoop on Sick Birds Die Easy (in the column) plus outtakes; Long Low Signal, Betty Jean, Lincoln Exposed tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 1:53 pm February 6, 2014
Ross Blockley from a scene from Sick Birds Die Easy.

Ross Brockley from a scene from Sick Birds Die Easy.

by Tim McMahan,

In this week’s column, an interview with the Nik Fackler, Sam Martin and Ross Brockley, the stars of Fackler’s new film, Sick Birds Die Easy. Fackler separates the real from the unreal, the fact from fiction in this documentary that isn’t a documentary but kind of is. You can read it in the current issue of The Reader, or online right here. Go ahead and read it now and come on back, we’ll wait for you…

With the column being more of a review and description than a Q&A, there was a lot of leftover interview content that didn’t make into the 1,000-word news hole. Hopefully much of what I missed was covered in a story that (I was told) was being written by Leo Adam Biga, The Reader‘s cover story writer. That said, here are a few details:

— Sam Martin’s soundtrack is as central to the film as the visual footage. Martin seamlessly combines the style of music he’s known for with a sublime score that perfectly accentuates the mirth and madness of every frame. “All the score work was done after a (mostly) final cut was done,” Martin said, “but while Nik was editing I gave him a hard drive of everything I recorded in the last two years so he picked (music) out of that hard drive. After that I tracked all the score work.”

“It was like a treasure chest hard drive of amazing music,” Fackler added. As I mentioned in the column, the DVD version of the film comes with a separate copy of the soundtrack.

— Fackler said the film’s budget was a little less than $100,000. His producer was Steve Hays of 120 dB Films, who Fackler had met when his film Lovely, Still premiered in Toronto. “(Hays) whole concept was ‘Let’s make a film that’s kind of like this new genre that’s popping up that’s a hybrid, kind of like Paranormal Activity.’ Initially I wasn’t interested in doing it, but then sent him a one-page concept.”

Hays gave the green light and Fackler proceeded to shoot more than 500 hours of footage that took a year and a half to edit between tours with Icky Blossoms and Tilly and the Wall. The entire time Hays was breathing down his neck for a print to hand over to various festival committees.

“It was good having that pressure to get the film edited,” Fackler said, but added. “I’m really burnt out on editing. Editing this film really took a lot out of me. I’m ready to put that hat away.”

— I’ve been a fan of Ross Brockley since he played the slacker son in the series of commercials with the pitch phrase: “What do you think this is, a Holiday Inn?” Brockley becomes the central figure in this film — you love him, you hate him. I asked why he doesn’t do more work and Brockley said his main focus these days is his organic farm operation located south of Lincoln called Brockley Farmaceuticals that he’s operated for the past 14 years. The farm was partially paid for by his Holiday Inn work. Still, Brockley hasn’t turned his back on acting. “It’s not like I”m passing up roles and offers all over the place,” he said.

— Dana Altman of North Sea Films, who is seen running a camera in the movie and plays a minor role, is said by narrator Fackler to be giving up film making to buy a farm of his own. “He did buy a farm,” Fackler said during the interview. “It’s so beautiful, I think if Dana had his choice, he would be there full time, but you can’t take the film maker out of him. He’ll always love film.”

— As for Fackler’s future: “I don’t know what I’m going to do next,” he said. “I like to have small goals and work real intensely one thing at a time. I don’t like to have all my eggs in one medium. Right now the focus is releasing Sick Birds and then music full-time. I’ve started writing a new script. Film will always be a part of my life. I don’t see being a musician and touring into my 40s and 50s.”

If you don’t have tickets to next Tuesday’s screening of Sick Birds at Film Streams and you want to go, you better get them soon. Fackler implied sales have been brisk. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out. And though it will be available on DVD and Video on Demand, it’s worth seeing on the big screen. Details/tickets are available here, and the after-party at The Slowdown should be (as the kids say) off the hook.

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A couple shows on the radar tonight.

New band Long Low Signal headlines at The Waiting Room with The Love Technicians, The Sub Vectors and Let Alone. Interestingly, LLS plays tomorrow night at Slowdown, apparently prepping to go into the studio. I have no idea what they sound like. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, tonight at Slowdown Jr., Betty Jean of The Betties is hosting a CD release show. Joining her is Travelling Mercies and Matt Cox. $5, 9 p.m.

And in Lincoln, it’s night two of Lincoln Exposed. Get the deets here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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