In the beginning of the twilight days of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the poet Dan Hendrickson reached out to me about Nonsense is My Chicken, project he had been diligently working on during quarantine. He had made a film, piece by piece, during random moments over the last few years and saw the lockdown as a good time to wrap it up.
Now, if you are at all familiar with Dan’s work, or the work of his alter ego Henry Rifle, you know that while his style can be very unassuming the overall effect of his words and comedy can be unsettling in a very singular way. It’s not guffaw funny, mostly, but there is a very adapt sense of humor at work. He’s like Steven Wright by way of a winter bender in Fargo, North Dakota.
Anyway, I was happy to help him cut a short out of these many, many, short clips filmed with his various phones over the years. While Nonsense is My Chicken is technically, a film, I think it does veer into experimental film territory. Yet, it is also unique enough that it has not found a home in any festivals yet. I think that day will come at some point. There is a lot to “unpack” in this one, if you will.
This was a collaboration, but Dan’s hand was firmly on the wheel. I helped with the technical aspects; worked on getting the timing and pacing to where he needed it to be as well as the more routine aspects of working in the role of a video editor. I will say this presented it’s own challenge because Dan’s production didn’t leave me with any of the usual parts of visual grammar I like to work with. Honestly, I think one reason the project appealed to me so much was that it broke all of my internal rules of filmmaking.
Because of this, Nonsense is My Chicken holds a unique spot in my work history and I am happy to include it in my admittedly random list of creative collaborations. It doesn’t have the visual oopmh of the dance films, it doesn’t have the narrative arc of the indie shorts, but instead it has something very particular and unique in the way it presents the changing voice and vision of a writer and performer…
…and a shaving cream pitch man.