CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER is a documentary portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse, featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard, and others. From CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER WEBSITE.
Director, Cinematographer, and Editor Doug Nichol talked about his documentary with our Gadi Elkon.
I don't own and have never used a typewriter. Like me, Doug Nichol could have said this just a decade ago. This changed when he read a fascinating article about the search for a particular model of typewriter. Now Doug has more than 85 of them and has taken 5 years of his life to devout to a documentary showcasing the importance of the medium through the eyes of people impacted by this "ancient" technology. California Typewriter is a documentary that will entertain, but will also inspire you to make a difference and most likely WANT to get a typewriter. Along this unique journey you get to see and hear from some iconic figures but also grow to love a small typewriter repair store and it's family of workers. Doug and I talked for nearly 20 minutes about his doc, but it's obvious that if there is one thing to take from the film it's the belief that this movie can help one particular place. But the film doesn't start with this place. Instead the documentary takes a unique mysterious opening and makes you wonder where it is going. Before long we are introduced to some fasinating characters that share a love of the typewriter but for varying reasons and rationales. As Doug takes us on an informative look into the people who love this machine we become more connected to them. Whether its an artist using them for his sculpting material, a man searching for one famous series of typewriters, a young woman who uses them to write powerful poetry, or the before mentioned typewriter repair store these people love the machine that's changed their lives. Tom Hanks, John Mayer, Sam Shepard (RIP!) and a few other familiar folks add their own connection to the machine. The doc allows you to see the innards of this delicate machine while slowly unraveling the inner emotion connected to the people who use it.
And now enjoy my chat with Doug Nichol who directed, photographed, and edited California Typewriter.
Director Doug Nichol: