Monday, October 9th, 2006
Think all the offbeat topics for documentaries have been taken? Megan and Mallory Schuyler, 21 year old twins, are currently producing a “rockumentary” based on a genre of music inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels.
The full title of the film is Wizard Rockumentary: A Movie About Rocking and Rowling. Mallory explains, “As the title hints, this documentary is about the creativity that J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series has inspired in her readers, particularly the evolution of the fan music known as Wizard Rock. There are currently dozens of bands across the country, and internationally, that have written and recorded songs from the perspectives of a multitude of characters from the novels. Pick a character and there is most likely a band for him/her/it…for instance, there is Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Remus Lupins, The Whomping Willows, Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons, etc.
“Primarily through MySpace.com, these WR bands have created a positive online community for themselves where they can share their music and even sell merchandise,” she continued, “A supportive fan base has developed, and the WR bands have found themselves with an audience of thousands. Now many of the bands are performing live and some are even touring the nation. Dedicated fans of all ages show up at libraries, coffee shops, and night clubs to meet them and hear them play—many dressed in Harry Potter gear or wearing WR T-shirts. In fact, these musicians of varying skill have become celebrities to a select population of Harry Potter fans.”
Megan believes her “stubbornness and a sense of justice,” are strengths that have helped her throughout the filmmaking process. “I have really firm beliefs about portraying people fairly and accurately, and that it is the responsibility of the documentary filmmaker to act as a historian would: become an expert in the subject you are covering by letting those involved teach you. Mallory and I have spent so much time building relationships and becoming friends with the fans and musicians in the Wizard Rock community, that we are now very much a part of it. We will do the scene justice because I feel we have an understanding of it: we now listen to practically nothing other than Wizard Rock, while we’re cooking, in the car, or whatever. We eat, sleep, dream and live this project, and I think that will put us to the advantage, compared to someone who may be viewing it from the outside. For I am sure the surface value of Harry Potter bands probably comes off as a bit strange to say the least! But if you are able to experience it for what it really is, you can see that it is a positive creative force that is about literacy and musicianship and a supportive community of friends with an awesome common interest! And through our Wizard Rockumentary, Mallory and I hope to suck as many lucky people into that experience as possible!”
Ultimately, Megan and Mallory have found making this film and exploring the Wizard Rock phenomenon to be inspirational: “This project and the bands that it documents personify creativity, nerve, and perseverance. If nothing else, we hope that this documentary will inspire people to follow their dreams and do what they love. You CAN start a band. You CAN write a book. You CAN make a movie. We are two twenty-one-year-old girls who have traveled across the country of our own device, meeting incredible strangers along the way who we now count as friends. We’re taking a chance with our time, money, and energies for something that we love and we are having a freaking blast! Take a risk and follow your heart and enjoy every moment of it. Wizard Rock on!”
Those wanting to learn more about “rocking and Rowling” can visit Megan and Mallory’s website at WizardRockumentary.com.