Jeff Santo is a man of extraordinary character and respect for others. He has persevered through his life to achieve his film-making goals, helping many others along the way. He gives what he can to help others and always holds the highest regards to the film industry and the people within it.
Kale Slade: You’ve had a wonderful and vivid effect on various folks with your documentary, how has it changed your life personally?
Jeff Santo: I think making this film has given me a greater appreciation for what I have accomplished over the years. I know now there is a certain respect for weathering the struggle and standing your ground for your vision, no matter if that vision hasn’t been embraced by the system. Sooner or later, if you believe in your talents, and you are talented, someone or some audience will eventually notice.
Kale Slade: What is your next step forward in the film industry?
Jeff Santo: Making another film. I’m a filmmaker, that’s what’s in my blood. But for indies to really move forward in this industry, I believe there needs to be a new distribution system for the indie filmmaker… where we can control the selling of our films. It doesn’t exist right now and that’s unfortunate… but perhaps our fortune will change if enough talented ones understand this.
Kale Slade: Who most inspired you to become involved in this business?
Jeff Santo: I grew up in a baseball clubhouse and on a baseball field. My father played for the Chicago Cubs and I got to hang around guys like Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Leo Durocher… all these famous athletes. So my childhood was like being in this great movie. Not too many kids got to experience shagging flyballs in Wrigley Field during batting practice or taking a month off of school every year to go to Spring Training in Arizona. I lived a unique life as a kid and I knew it. That uniqueness eventually lead me to writing about that great movie I lived as a kid, those larger than life characters I hung around with in that clubhouse… it all fed to a very creative outlet for me. Then the business part of it followed.
Kale Slade: How often do you feel connected with other film-makers?
Jeff Santo: I have to say, not very. Troy and I formed a special bond as filmmakers because when we first met there was no BS between us. Personally for me, it was like I met one of my father’s teammates I hung out with as a kid. He had that ballplayer toughness and fun about him. We just hit it off, plus, we both just finished our first films while living in Hollywood. Not too many people in Hollywood at that time(before the digital explosion) directed a real film, unless you were already famous. It was really hard to make a film back then, so I guess we also had that in common. Today it feels like everyone thinks they’re a filmmaker, so it makes it hard to connect with the real ones who have the experience and appreciation for the craft. It’s a very humbling experience making a feature film, if you’re really in it and it’s real, your life changes. Those are the filmmakers I want to connect with but we all seem to be scattered out there, on our own. Hopefully, more of us will get together.
Kale Slade: How do you give back to your many fans?
Jeff Santo: My father had many fans. I’d be a fortunate man, if one day, I had half as many.