Scouts Honor Available On iTunes
For Mac Smith, there are two specific events which led to the creation of Scouts Honor.
The first came in 2009. While working at Skywalker Sound, Mac was pulled into a recording studio by John “JT” Torrijos. John had been making recordings of drum corps performances since 2007 with the goal of making the recorded performances sound just as good as the live experience. In ‘09, JT was brought in by Drum Corps International to record the DCI West regional performances for release as Audio Performance Downloads. Mac heard the magic JT had worked in making 5.1 recordings of the Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard and realized that this high quality experience would be incredible in a movie theater.
Less than two years later, Mac’s fellow Madison Scouts alumnus, Tom Tollefsen, is watching a PBS miniseries, “Circus”. What caught Tom’s attention was that the miniseries focused on the behind the scenes activity of the big top world. This planted a seed with Tom of how to tell a story about the drum corps activity, specifically the Madison Scouts, with a similar focus. Tom’s girlfriend, who also knew Mac, must have read Tom’s mind, as she told him “You and Mac should make a movie about the Madison Scouts!”
Tom and Mac, who both share a huge love of films and filmmaking, began talking to each other over the next few days. The conversation grew to include Madison Scouts corps director Dann Petersen and then executive director Chris Komnick. This led to Tom and Mac joining the Scouts for a week on tour in 2011. JT also recorded one of the Scouts’ performances in Summerville, South Carolina. The team now had plenty of footage, but they didn’t have a story to tell, understandable considering they only were on tour for that one week. Tom, Mac, and JT now had a decision to make – Could they move forward and make a documentary? Thankfully, the decision was YES!!!
Of course, making a movie isn’t cheap, but the timing of Scouts Honor was fortuitous in that it coincided with the rise of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Scouts Honor even started out as an Indiegogo project, but that did not go as planned and the decision was made to focus fundraising on known contributors such as fellow Scouts alumni, family, friends, and drum corps fans. The majority of crowd funding was handled directly through the movie’s website, www.scoutshonormovie.com, and specific campaigns were created to focus attention on each major aspect of the movie’s creation, including licensing the music for use as the soundtrack of the film and raising enough funds to put together the “rough cut” of the documentary.
The music licensing aspect was particularly challenging. As the drum corps activity has discovered, it is difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to get the rights to perform, record, and release music, whether it be for the field or for a documentary. Add to that the fact that Mac, Tom, and JT didn’t even know what the Scouts were playing for 2012 when they made the decision to make Scouts Honor, making it tough to focus on what licensing they needed for rehearsal and performance footage from the season. There was even a chance that the corps song, You’ll Never Walk Alone, would be denied to them. If that had occurred, it is likely that Scouts Honor would not have happened, but, thanks to the hiring of a music supervisor out of LA with relationships to music publishers to assist with licensing issues, most of the licensing the Scouts Honor team wanted was obtained.
Scouts Honor has gone through two major phases of release – Theatrical and DVD/Blu-Ray. Today, another release milestone is achieved as the documentary is now available on iTunes. This is a movie which speaks to drum corps die hards, documentary lovers, and the average filmgoer. Even if you’ve seen the movie in the theater or own the movie in your personal collection, it is well worth the $10 to get the digital copy for yourself or for somebody you think should experience it. You can find Scouts Honor in iTunes by following this link.