Politicians have supporters. Artists have patrons. Exotic dancers have big spenders. Millennials have parents.
Long ago, filmmakers had studios to pay their way. But the business has shifted to a DIY (do-it-yourself) model and many of us rely on the support of fans.
That’s why we need your help to bring “The Ventures: Stars on Guitars” documentary to the world. Whether it’s $15.00 or $500 you can give, or even just a share on your social media—it’s all good and very much appreciated!
The Wilson family: Jill, Don, Staci & Tim
Started by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle in 1959, The Ventures went from humble beginnings in Tacoma, WA., to worldwide chart-topping highs and inductees into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the #1 Bestselling Instrumental Rock Group of all time. Their hits include: Walk, Don’t Run; Hawaii 5-0; Pipeline; Wipeout; Perfidia, and many, many other memorable tunes.
How did they do it, and what keeps them going as they celebrate their 60th year? Who among your favorite bands have they influenced, and what are some of the most surprising facts about The Ventures? In this family-made film, a true labor of love and passion project, you will learn the answers to all those questions—and more.
Don Wilson (producer) – Co-founder of The Ventures, Rhythm Guitarist Extraordinaire, “Mr. Teke-Teke”, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and Head Honcho! He’s been 100% behind this film from day one and provided several never-before-seen interviews over the past two years especially for “The Ventures: Stars on Guitars.”
Staci Layne Wilson (director, writer, producer) – Don Wilson’s daughter (and her mom is Nancy “Bunny” Bacon, cover model of Walk, Don’t Run Vol 2), 14-time award-winning filmmaker, and #1 bestselling biographer and novelist.
Tim Wilson & Jill Fairbanks (producers) – Don’s son (co-founder of Wilson Bros Guitars) and daughter (the Wilson family archivist).
Lisa S. Johnson (executive producer) – Guitar historian and author of the award-winning coffee table photo book “108 Rock Star Guitars” (which features Don’s and Nokie Edwards’ iconic instruments).
Jill & Lisa S. Johnson
Nina Helene Hirten (editor) – Experienced film editor, director, and singer (she performs electronic music under the pseudonym DEROSNEC). Nina has worked on blockbusters like Venom and Ant Man and Wasp, and will be bringing unique visual flair to the film in addition to editing it.
John Gulager (director of photography) – Cinematographer, photographer, and film director. He won best director at Austin Fantastic Fest for his feature film, Feast.
Michael Trapp (composer) – Credits include the soundtrack for Groupies, and his music has been on the TV shows E! News, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, That Metal Show, and others.
Robert Kruse (movie poster designer) – The official graphics go-to guy of the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend.
We're working on the film every day
We have scored some awesome original tunes by The Ventures themselves, and been gifted with several cool compositions by The Surfrajettes, The Neptunas, The Ninth Wave, Mick Radford, and Michel Perillard… with more to come!
We have the biggest names in music—Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan), Lalo Schifrin (Academy Award winning composer of The Mission Impossible theme), John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)—plus up and coming female stars like Liz Brasher, The Surfrajettes, The Neptunas, and Ruiko of The Whys—insiders including Seymour Duncan (premier pickup maker), Del Casher (inventor of the wah-wah pedal), and even the Surfing and Spying cover model, Pleasant Gehman (aka: The Princess of Hollywood). Here is a complete listing of everyone who’s in the movie
This does not include the countless hours of research, writing, driving and flying, posting on social media, combing through archives, endless internet searches, scanning photos, gathering footage, etc. The director is not taking a salary, and the producers are not being paid either: they’re only being reimbursed. These are our hard costs:
- “B-roll” Video
- Fair Use Attorney
- Errors and Omissions Legal Letter
- Music Rights
- Video Rights
- Soundtrack Production
- Poster Design and Key Art/Printing
- Film Festival Entry Fees
You can be sure that 100% of all funds will go directly into the making of the film. The Wilson Family and Lisa S. Johnson have financed “The Ventures: Stars on Guitars” up to now, but there is still much more to do and we need your help to make the film that the band and their fans deserve. Most documentaries cost tens of thousands of dollars, but we are using every trick in the songbook to keep costs down. Our goal is probably not enough to cover everything, but as stated above, even $5.00 will help!
We do have some goodies for folks who can afford to be generous: Anyone kind enough to make a donation of $75 or more will receive the Robert Kruse movie poster (choice of sizes), COA signed by Don Wilson. Those donating $100 or more will receive a specially commissioned painted portrait 11 x 17 print of The Ventures by renowned artist Peach Momoko. (Please be sure that we have your mailing address for U.S. shipping—those outside North America will receive digital copies.)
Sample poster by Robert Kruse (not the actual movie poster, which is being created soon), and original watercolor portrait of The Ventures by Peach Momoko
No money? No problem. Please, please share this fun-raiser on your social media! This is the story of Don Wilson and The Ventures that only the family can bring to life, but we need to get the word out. Just look at the URL above, copy, cut and paste. Easy-peasy!
Staci & Don
Note from Staci Layne Wilson:
If you’ve made it this far, I just want to say thank you so much for even considering supporting our film. I’ve written and directed quite a few movies, but this is my first documentary—and it is truly the hardest (but hopefully most rewarding) thing I have ever done. There are so many moving parts, not the least of which was single-handedly coordinating 34 interviews spanning several states and different countries.
When making a narrative film, you have a script to follow and a fictional story that won’t step on anybody’s toes. But documentaries are about real people. They grow and stretch and morph as they’re being filmed, always changing shape until the final edit. After a rocky start with a studio that dropped out early on, and broken promises along the way, I decided that I would finish making this film no matter what. I sold my Mosrite guitar collection to help pay expenses, I borrowed money, and I scrimped and saved, because this movie is that important to me. This is my Dad’s story and I am so proud to be able to bring it to the world as a filmmaker.
Thank you so much to all the lovely and loyal fans who have offered me their kind words, trivia tidbits, rare photos and videos to use in the film, and just plain encouragement over these past two years. You guys are THE BEST!
September 4 2019 UPDATE
Our official movie poster, designed by Robert Kruse (artist for Sun Records, Viva Las Vegas, and many more), is all done and will be ready by the end of this month for shipping to those who so kindly donated $75 or more. You actually have a choice between the film poster or specially-commissioned artwork by the famous Japanese artist Peach Momoko. I'll be reaching out via email within a few days to ask which image you would like, and where to mail it (USPS).