This weekend, Bellingham sound man, filmmaker, author and all-around great guy Bob Ridgley will be premiering his new film, Bean to Bar, (trailer) a film about artisan chocolate. Bob is well-known throughout the community as one of our finest independent filmmakers, and as a guy who really knows sound. I thought it might be good to write a bit about Bob to encourage people to go see his film, and to just blow-up one of our town's greats.
If first met Bob when started running the Bellingham "Projections" Film Festival with Alice Clark. Bob had something like 5 entries that year. And, on top of that, he had a hand in the production of nearly every other local film on the roster. He kind of presented himself as this wild guy, with awesomely cool Sammy Hagar hair, and his films proved that, in fact, he was a wild guy. What I didn't know then, but came to find out over the years, is what an incredibly generous person Bob is. He helped all of those other filmmakers for free. He supported, and continues to support more independent films than anyone I've ever heard of. He'll show up and do the late nights, the early mornings – whatever it takes. Normally, Bob is doing sound for these guys, either in the field, or mixing in the studio. But, he's also quick to jump in and grip, what-have-you.
At Hand Crank, Bob and his staff at Binary Recording Studios have always been our go-to audio guys in town. Bob always gets great sound, but with a cool, laid-back attitude that isn't always the norm with guys I've worked with over the years. Yes, he'll make you do the take again if it needs it, but he's so sweet about it you don't mind. And the quality of his audio is always top-notch. AND, if you have a problem with your sound because you were stupid and didn't hire him (I'll have to tell you a story about "losing" the audio file when interviewing homeland security director Richard Clark sometime), he'll always try to figure out a way to fix it for you in post.
Bob is also a great businessman/philosopher. As you know if you're in the biz, it can be a real roller-coaster – feast or famine. One time, early on with the Crank, I was freaking out as usual about not knowing how I was going to stay in business the next month. Bob just laughed and grinned his cheshire grin and said, "You know what I've noticed after being in the biz 20 years? The work always turns up. Somehow, it always turns up." And you know what, he was right. It did, and it does. That's a cool cat.
What you have here is one of the many people that make B'ham such a great town to live in, and make films in. Go see his movie this weekend if you can (I'm on a shoot in Vancouver, so alas, cannot), and if you can't, but make films, make it a point to seek out Bob at Binary so you can find out what's up.