At minute 5:23 of I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit a vintage blue pickup truck drives past the picture window of a distillery. Why? Why not? It’s a beautiful shot wordlessly capturing the timelessness of whiskey and distilling. It’s magnificent B-roll.
People want to know about the vintage blue truck. How did we get that shot? How did we know to get that shot? I cannot tell you any perils we faced. We had no budget for a picture car.
That’s not Scott and Becky Harris’s truck, parked out back, as a lucky useful prop. We did not have a permit to block off the street, to shoot a hundred takes. That truck was absolute happenstance.
The camera was on, facing the right direction, at the exact right moment, while we were filming a nicely lit, inert, bottle of whiskey sitting on a table. Sometimes, the universe just cooperates completely, and sends Jim Bob on a Walmart run.
After it passed, we all stood holding our breaths, laughing giddily. Had we actually gotten that shot, we murmured to each other? We had. Thank you, Nick Tucker and Dusty Oakley. Thank you, Jim Bob and universe. Thank you, Catoctin Creek, clear weather, and adept auto maintenance.
There is more to our story. At minute 4:04 you see a happy woman, with sparkling eyes. She doesn’t speak, nor is she identified. Unlike the truck, she isn’t incidental or accidental. Amanda France is the actual, indomitable human spirit behind I, Whiskey.
Her belief in this film is a testament to her unshakeable dedication and ability to confront obstacles I cannot imagine. She wanted us not to worry as we struggled. She wanted us to make the film.
“When? When?” Everyone asked. She couldn’t worry about the when. The when would happen, once we have all this what pulled together, she assured everyone.
At her core she is tireless and unrelenting. She will tell you, of course, she is tired, and relenting. She is actually an undaunted cheerleader. She will tell you, she is a perpetually daunted cheerleader muttering quasi-vengeful profanity under her breath. She doesn’t mind being perceived as occasionally reckless, if it makes you get out of her way. In this experiment she was our unwavering constant.
I don’t think we ever discussed what her vision for the film was, yet this film is her persistence. Day after day, she, with patience and grace, pulled this project off the backburner, and relit the pilot light when necessary.
She connected us with whiskey people, attended lively events and disheartening meetings, unraveled the intricacies of Indiegogo and film marketing. She procured a barrel of whiskey, sent and answered thousands of emails, reviewed rough cuts, rewrote the voiceover. These, and thousands of other unrecognized accomplishments. Most importantly, she discouraged naysayers without abandoning hope.
Amanda is the only reason this film exists, incontrovertible proof that actions speak louder than words. Thank you, Amanda.