• David Ullman

STEVE: Finding Rhythm (2004) Documentary Trailer


“Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to embark on a musical experience—an experience we like to call STEVE.” So began the first concert of the band STEVE (of which I was a member) on this day 21 years ago. It’s also how this newly assembled trailer for the 2004 documentary, FINDING RHYTHM opens.


[The following are excerpts from a longer, multimedia essay at https://www.davidullman.net/finding-rhythm, where you can also link to the full documentary—with or without band video commentary—and much, much more!]


Though this was the third feature-length project I'd produced about the creative activities of myself and my group of friends, it was the first approached from the outset with the intention of capturing the elements necessary to tell a story. It's also the first time one of these autobiographical projects actively facilitated the very endeavor being recorded, making it possible and creating the space and circumstances in which to spend time with friends I'd otherwise not get to see as much.


As my good pal (and podcasting partner) Palmer observed around this time when one of our mutual friends asked how to hang out with me more often, "basically... you have to make a show."


At the time (2000), I was working two jobs—7am to 9pm. If one of those jobs wasn’t a cable access center gig where the band could also rehearse, I wouldn’t have been able to be in STEVE. WCTV’s studio and gear were free to non-profit producers—as long as they provided the station with programming. If it weren’t for that arrangement, there’d also be no STEVE documentary.


21 years later, I feel a mixture of pride and embarrassment about this project. It's odd and perhaps more than a little self-indulgent to make autobiographical documentaries. But I've come to embrace it. I filmed another in the fall of 2019! I feel fortunate to be able to tell these stories. With each new album, movie, or [more recently] podcast, the larger story deepens and expands, and I continue to learn about myself and my friends through these projects.


Perhaps these ventures are sometimes vain, self-aggrandizing, and esoteric. But they can also be critical, revealing, and universal. I’m starting to see these stories as more than just those of myself and my friends. There are tons of creative people like us all over the world toiling in obscurity, who work long hours at their jobs while also making time for their art. Folks who stay up late, get up early to tell their stories—and those of their friends and family. Folks who write and “sing their songs”—both literally and figuratively.


I do it not just to engage my creativity, but also to facilitate these friendships I value so much—whether we're "making a show" or not.