I was enrolled in Keith’s video production class at Ivy Tech State College in South Bend, IN in 2003. Class consisted of film viewing, analysis of elements of mise-en-scene, form, film terms and studio production techniques. We collaborated in groups towards class productions as well as our individual projects. Keith was preparing to shoot Flying Tiger and asked me if I would like to intern on that shoot in the sound department. I had some previous courses and experience in recording independent rock music and a love for movies and was happy to be invited to participate in the making of an independent film. He provided a copy of the script and asked for input. Student interns were also involved in the preproduction process, choosing talent and learning filmmaking disciplines.

Flying Tiger was filmed in rural Missouri under modest means and conditions. Throughout the filming of Flying Tiger, which followed a real natural disaster in the form of a tornado that cut a swath through the town, there was a sense of work, adventure, friendship and family mixed in with ticks, mosquitoes, insect repellant, dusty roads, orchards and livestock. Long hours dedicated to filmmaking were punctuated with laughter, serious concentration and the creative processes backdropped by the beautiful Midwestern landscape. I came home exhausted, having met new friends, eager to someday work on another film.

Last year Keith sent me a script for Gutter King which we filmed in Orlando on the RED digital camera. Sticking to a tight shooting schedule we knocked out shots of our young hero trading sweat-filled punches with underground fighters in urban central Florida. Running and gunning, we shot the dramatic action during Kendra’s last stage of pregnancy, with their daughter being born during filming. The labor of love that is the film was contributed to by an ultimately dedicated crew who above all wanted to make a film. Florida’s heat, breezes, rain and metropolis were the setting for strenuous, speedy action of not only the characters of the film but also the filmmakers. In the downtime, we watched movies (because we all love movies); we talked about movies, ate amazing food, looked to the sky, checked the weather, and went out and did it all again.

--Joel Szymanowski, South Bend, IN - Nov 18, 2009