Big day today. Billy Joel posted our campaign on his social media and the front page of his website. I remember the day we interviewed him. Three Baymen and myself took a clam boat across the bay. Billy met us on his dock, dressed in a classic wool Pea Coat. I only slept an hour that night. He’s a recording artist, what if my audio cables seem cheap. He’s been interviewed a thousand times, what if my direction is amateur. Would he be nice, would he be impatient, would it all seem a bother to him? They told us we would have an hour with him. I checked my gear a hundred times before we left.
What was Billy Joel like? An old friend. How was he to direct? Like we’d talked about the film for hours. But we hadn’t. Three sentences from me and he raised his hand to say, “I’ve got this.” And he was right.
An hour came and went but Billy stayed. We talked about his boats, we talked about him buying my wife Tracy a sandwich ten years prior, and we talked about this film. One of his first questions, he asked me with a wry smile, “So who is producing this film?” I looked over my shoulder to find no one standing behind me. “I am,” I answered, and for the first time in my life I did not go on and on. There was no convincing Billy Joel that I am any more than simply me. He’s Billy Joel…
Sunday came in like a lion. Five boats, including one barge with a boom to lift our 1/2 scale hydraulic dredge from the bottom. Three divers, underwater cameras, currents, lines, hoses, pumps, support crews, the huntington harbormaster and on and on. At one point during the madness Painter turned to me and quietly said, “All because of you… Your drawings, your vision, your fault.”
Painter lied. This is not because of me. This is the Baymen’s train, and Painter is at the helm. All I wanted was one specific shot on Sunday, of our dredge, driving through the bay bottom like all the other hydraulic dredges in this bay do. We nailed parts of the shot, but we failed to get all of it. I knew it would be difficult. That’s why I’m here two weeks. Friday we go again. Never surrender.
Special thanks to the following very special people who are helping make this happen:
Billy Painter, Doug Rodgers, Fred Menges, Bill Fetzer, Bob Wemyss, Steve Resler, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Kaiser, Mike Ohlstein, and the Huntington Bay Constables Mike and Brian