Flamethrower Interview #1: Jeff Springer, Documentary Film-Maker

Springer Documentary film-makers tend to be inspiring people because their greatest desire is to tell someone else’s compelling with little thought of money or fame. Jeff Springer is just such a person, but with the vision and perseverance to turn his passion projects into something inspirational for others to see.  He has an easy laugh, an intense stare and an internal compass that always points in the right direction, and some amazingly hilarious stories about wind-surfing in Greece, drum circles in Russia and the beauty of the mountains in Afghanistan.

Along with his producing partner Chris Metzler, he produced/directed/edited the AMAZING John Waters narrated film “Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea” which is an unusual documentary in that it is just as entertaining as it is poignant and informative (a hard combo to find!)  It went on to win 37-awards for BEST DOCUMENTARY in various film festivals and was aired on the Sundance Channel.  When you read the sincere (and long) reviews on IMDB about the film, you can see that they really touched a nerve with their film.  They have just been hand-picked to produce a documentary about a major rock band that is in early pre-production stages.

1)  What is your mission, life’s work, purpose for living?
Jeff Springer: Creating. Even if it wasn’t films, I would always want to be involved in creating something in my life, even if it was just in my spare time. The satisfaction from creating something out of thin air is just miraculous to me. That is what brings magic into my life. It seems to come from somewhere else, but without it, I don’t feel I would be human. Even if you are a decidedly uncreative person, I feel that everyone needs something creative in their lives, if that be cooking or music or home improvement or gardening or writing something or creating a holiday card or whatever. We all need a little of that magic that makes us human.

2)  How did you figure out/choose a mission for your life?  How old were you when you chose it and how long did it take you to get to the point where you felt like you were realizing and living your mission?
JS: I found out in high school. It helped there was a video program around, but I was always interested in images, words and stories. Making films was the perfect way to combine all three. From that early age I knew I wanted to be involved in filmmaking, but it took years and years to figure out exactly how and what. I feel like I am still on that journey to realize my mission.

3)  Tell us about one (or more) speed bumps that you hit on the way to figuring out and/or realizing your mission.
JS: Time and patience. It took way longer than I would have imagined, but that is part of the journey. And that is the true test. If you really want it bad enough, you will stick it out and do what it takes to make it happen. If you are not willing to go through the trials and tribulations of making your dream a reality, then maybe it isn’t for you. Often time people think they want to do something, until they start doing it. Time and difficulty is the test to see if you really want to accomplish your dream.

4) What words of wisdom would you give to someone who is searching for their life’s purpose?
JS: Do what you love. Or else you will regret not having tried. And even if you think you know your life’s purpose, you might not truly know until you try to do it. That purpose can change in unexpected ways. Don’t be afraid to change along the way.

5) What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
JS: A fine whiskey

6) What is your favorite book?
JS: “This Monster Lives: The Inside Story of Some Kind of Monster” by Joe Berlinger

7) If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
JS: Eminem. “Loose Yourself”

8) What motivates you?
JS: Learning about life. There is always more to know and discover.

9)  Any fears left to conquer?
JS: People.

10) What do you do to unwind?
JS: Bike with the wind.

11) What most stood in the way of you realizing your mission?
JS: Self-doubt.

12) What tools did you need to acquire along the way to realize your mission?
JS: Experience.

13)  What gave you the courage to blaze your own trail?
JS: Fear of boredom.

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