A few weeks ago, the short documentary that followed professional disc golfer Will Schusterick was finally released to the public. Filmed and produced by Tim Jeffreys, “Shoestrings” gives you an inside look at what would turn out to be a championship weekend for Schusterick at the 2012 United States Disc Golf Championship.
From practice rounds to the very exciting final round, Jeffreys captured all of the action which turned out to tell one great story. Soon after the release of the documentary, we got in touch with both Schusterick and Jeffreys to learn more about how the project came together and if there is a chance of new disc golf videos from Jeffreys in the future.
All Things Disc Golf: How long have you been a film maker? What other projects have you produced?
Tim Jeffreys: I’ve been dabbling in film since 2011. My only other large project started in 2012 and is a full length documentary about America’s top marathon runner called “The 41st Day”. We have been filming for two and a half years, and the project is still ongoing.
All Things Disc Golf: How did the idea for Shoestrings start? These documentary style videos aren’t very common in the disc golf world. What made you want to highlight the both the sport and Will?
Tim Jeffreys: I had a break in filming in my other project in the fall of 2012 and I wanted to keep my skills sharp. I love disc golf and wanted to highlight in a way that had never been done before. I’ve always kept up with the sport, and since I spent a good part of my life in the Carolinas, I always made a trip to watch USDGCs since it was so close. I didn’t know him at the time, t was always very impressed with the way Will carried himself on and off the course and felt he would be a great subject for a film highlighting the sport. Knowing the fact that he was coming back to defend his 2010 title was the narrative I wanted to use to complement a general history of the sport for non-disc golfers.
About a month before USDGC I sent Will a message on Twitter telling him about my idea at around 8 a.m. one morning, we had a call a little bit later and I pitched him the idea. By noon, I had a flight booked to Nashville to start filming.
All Things Disc Golf: Will, when you were first approached for this documentary what went through your head?
Will Schusterick: I first thought about if it would distract me from being able to compete at the highest level. At the time I didn’t know Tim and didn’t know if he would be a distracting personality or not. Tim turned out to be the opposite and helped me focus more then anything else.
All Things Disc Golf: From the interviews to the practice and tournaments rounds, how much planning was needed to coordinate everything to make sure you had what you needed?
Tim Jeffreys: A few weeks before the tournament, I flew out to Nashville to meet Will and get some interviews done. We coordinated with Jonathan Poole at Innova for course access, and I want to thank him for all his help. Luckily I was very familiar with the layout of the tournament and the course, so I knew all the shots I wanted to get.
We were very fortunate to have a few guys willing to be interviewed and shot for the film: Nikko Locastro, Lavone Wolfe, Cameron Colglazier (much thanks goes to all three of these guys as well). We got down to Rock Hill a few days early. Matt, another filmmaker, and I stayed with Will throughout the week which made coordinating with him very easy.
All Things Disc Golf: It’s one thing to be followed with a camera crew for any tournament, but being followed for the USDGC is another story all together. Will, were you nervous about the possible distraction?
Will Schusterick: Honestly, I never once felt distracted. I have had previous camera men follow me around throughout the season and enjoyed it. I focused on playing well because thats what I was there for.
All Things Disc Golf: Tim, are you a disc golfer yourself? If yes, how long have you played?
Tim Jeffreys: Yes, I’ve played since 2005. Although I live in New York City now, I don’t get to play much, I still very much love it.
All Things Disc Golf: Shoestrings has been showcased in a few places and finally made its way to the internet a few weeks ago. What has it been like to see a project go from concept to reality like this? It seemed as if it was well received in the disc golf community.
Tim Jeffreys: Honestly, it was a big boost of confidence when we finished the film back in early 2013. I really didn’t care if anyone saw it or not, but we finished it. This was my first project on this scale, and to see it through from concept to finished product is quite an amazing feeling.
The fact that it played in three film festivals (Columbia, Memphis, San Jose) was just icing on the cake. Watching it with people and talking about it after was a very interesting experience. Now, since we’ve released it publicly, is a different experience. I’m so glad it was received well by the disc golf community. However, going in, I wanted to make a film that people who don’t know anything about disc golf could understand and enjoy, which I think we accomplished.
All Things Disc Golf: As the final round of the tournament unfolded, there was this natural level of drama when Ricky Wysocki was making his charge. Then, the subject of your film ends up taking the win. As a filmmaker, could you have asked for a better result?
Tim Jeffreys: Obviously we were thrilled when Will won, however the film wasn’t contingent on a victory from Will. I don’t know Ricky, but kudos goes to him for what he did on the back nine, I think we all were in awe of what he did. After the front nine I thought Will had it, but then Ricky started making amazing shot after amazing shot. Luckily we had two cameras going, one behind, and one at the basket, when he had the eagle on 13. I think the result is a testament to Will’s as not only a player but a person. He stepped up to 14, after Ricky tied it up and then proceeded to put his tee shot under the basket, and had a strong tee shot. That was the defining moment of the tournament, and the film. I felt truly honored to be able to capture and preserve that tournament for years to come.
All Things Disc Golf: Will, as a competitor, do you think Tim did a nice job of capturing the excitement of the tournament, especially the final holes of the final round?
Will Schusterick: Yes, very much so. With the equipment Tim had and only one other person helping he did an extremely good job.
All Things Disc Golf: After Ricky’s miss on 17, it was clear he was emotional and wish he had that shot back. Was it difficult to remain focused on executing your shot and not worrying about what just happened?
Will Schusterick: It wasn’t too difficult to stay focused after that. As a touring Disc Golfer you get used to random happenings on the course, its just how it goes sometimes. When it comes down to it you just have to stay in your own head no matter what other people do.
All Things Disc Golf: Can we expect more disc golf documentaries from you, Tim?
Tim Jeffreys: If the opportunity presents itself, absolutely.
All Things Disc Golf: Will, would you welcome a camera crew in front of you again for a documentary like this?
Will Schusterick: I would have to meet them first to make sure they aren’t a distraction, but more than likely yes.
All Things Disc Golf: Is there anything either of you want to make sure we cover or include?
Tim Jeffreys: I just want to thank the disc golf community for all the kind words about the project.
Will Schusterick: Thats all I can think of right now. I covered some more of the film on my website Schusterick.com.