Daniel Danger (left) and Jay Ryan (right) are two of the subjects of Scout Shannon’s new documentary about screen print artists, ‘Just Like Being There’.
If you’re a visual artist of any kind, you’ll probably enjoy this movie more than I did, but that’s not saying much. Director Scout Shannon is a full-time independent film editor, and his latest feature documentary really showcases his editing talents because ‘Just Like Being There’ does a great job of illustrating many interesting lives in the short span of 81 minutes. Take Daniel Danger, whose best friend and probably the love of his life was taken from him at the age of twenty-two, or Jay Ryan, whose young daughter is the source of all his inspiration. The thing these two and dozens of others featured in Shannon’s exemplary doc have in common is that they are screen print artists. They create gorgeous posters for rock and hip hop concerts (and sometimes movies).
The key to this movie is its tone. It’s laid-back enough to introduce you casually to these creative and inspiring people without being obtuse, but also sensitive enough to really dive into some of the artists’ lives and careers while also investigating the divide between film poster screen-printing and concert poster screen-printing. Shannon pulls off an admirable feat to keep a strong sense of tone throughout the film, as the amount of artists and musicians involved is staggering. It doesn’t feel like talking heads because there’s enough art, emotion and music to keep you fully engaged. This is a really enjoyable little doc that I think any creative type will love. (And the nods to some of the greatest alt-rockers of all time like Spoon, The Thermals and Archers of Loaf are really appreciated.)