Ep. 6 The Rock-afire Explosion director Brett Whitcomb


Episode 06: Ryan Watt talks with documentary filmmaker Brett Whitcomb about his 2008 film The Rock-afire Explosion, exploring the creation and fandom of the animatronic band popular at Showbiz Pizza in the 80’s.

Brett discusses how he discovered the story, his influences and favorite docs, his more recent films and what he is working on next.

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Show Notes:

From Houston, now living in Birmingham

Bradford Thomason, writer

Chris Thrash, super-fan acquired and re-programmed Rock-afire in his house

Aaron Fechter, inventor of Rock-afire at Creative Engineering

Brett Whitcomb

Brett Whitcomb

Videos of Rock-afire playing current songs appeared on YouTube

Created naturally, were only planning to shoot a 10-min web video

Fans were all connected through a web forum by Travis Shafer: showbizpizza.com

No budget, bought some gear and plane tickets when they could

Original characters, songs, voices, dialogue all created at Creative Engineering in Orlando

Aaron Fechter coming on-board was turning point for film, providing access and footage

A few other Rock-afire bands have been reprogrammed and featured

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – On Netflix

County Fair, Texas –  most recent film

A Life in Waves – Suzanne Ciani, electronic music pioneer (now filming)

Used money from working as a DJ and Security Officer to fund production

Jason Connell, producer

Film Festival support and exposure has been critical

Raised funds for A Life in Waves recently on Kickstarter

Gang War: Bangin’ in Little, Rock on HBO

Les Blank, Allan King

American Movie, Dancing Outlaw, Hoop Dreams, Marjoe

Dream Deceivers: Heavy Metal on Trial (Judas Priest lawsuit)

Did not grow up aspiring to be a filmmaker, loved kung-fu movies

Put self through “Netflix Film School” renting 5 DVDs at a time of the masters

Rich Hill


Kickstarter Video for A Life in Waves



Next Episode: Orion director Jeanie Finlay


About Author

Independent Film Producer. Host of the 'Indie Film Picks' podcast. Board President of Indie Memphis film festival. Director of Development at New School Media, Inc.

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