"I am Tim Cawley, and I’m a writer/creative director at Mullen. I have worked at ad agencies in Boston, Minneapolis and Chicago. I’m [also] a drummer, and somewhat decent guitar player, and less than somewhat decent singer.
”I started as a drummer, and one day my singer didn’t show up for band practice in Freshman year. And I said, well I’ll try and sing from behind the drums, and I did that for a while. And then I took a job when I was 25 at Carmichael Lynch, and it was in winter in Minneapolis, and I didn’t know anybody in Minnesota. And I said ‘I’ll just accept the fact that I’m gonna have no social life for six months…and I’ve always wanted to play guitar. So I’ll use this social downtime of being alone in my apartment, and I’ll learn to play guitar.’ So I started this art project called ‘The Days’ and I counted the number of days I played guitar, and I learned to play guitar out in the clubs. So like my first concert ever was ‘The 213 Days Show’ and I only knew like maybe ten songs that were really easy, but people came out. And then we had ‘The 280-whatever Days Show’ and it was a little bit better. And it started to get a following and people started to come out and be part of the band. And then I made the ‘776 Days’ album where I like wrote my own songs, these simple songs, and then it grew from that. But then the days got too high, and I should have been better than I was. You know, if it’s like 6000 days and you’re still not awesome… So then I said ‘I’ll just call the whole thing ‘Pretty Good,” and that’s what it’s called now.
"So the film I think is pertinent to anybody who would be your audience because it’s about how you think stuff up. I had made two short films that played festivals around the world. I wrote and directed them. And they were fiction films, and I was thinking like ‘Geez, I’d really like to make a feature film while I’m young and have a lot of energy.’ And I was like I’ve written all these scripts and was having trouble getting the money. And I was like ‘I’ll just make a documentary’ and I’m like ‘But what should it be about?’ And I kinda thought about how difficult it was to actually like make a film. And I’m like ‘Well why don’t I just make a film about how hard it is to make stuff?’ And that’s what it was born out: of my creative curiosity of how people’s brains work. And I was having a conversation with my dad who’s a chemical sales person, and he was saying that he was putting together this deal for some complicated chemical deal, and he’s like ‘It’s what you do with your films and your advertising and your music.’ And I’m like ‘Woah, woah.’ But then he was like ‘No, you know I had to conceive it, I had to sell it through, I have to keep idiots from screwing it up.’
"You know, there’s kind of like some similarities here. So that’s what I did, I interviewed cancer scientists, and comedians, and chefs, and songwriters, and artists…fifteen different disciplines, all creative. Some were obvious, you know like painter. Some less obvious like a scientist. And it’s fun for me to see you cut from how a cancer scientist solves a problem to a comedian and they’re talking about the exact same thing. Or a chef, and a political cartoonist.
"It was fun to just be around these people. And they were curious about advertising and that sort of stuff. So yeah, I made this film, and it’s played in festivals around the world. It’s been a fantastic adventure. We screened at the Cleveland film festival, and we were doing two theaters simultaneously of 800 seats, completely sold out, side by side. It was like mind blowing. Because it starts out and you go, ‘Can I even make a film?’ ‘I’ll get like a couple people together’ and it was like when you’re little and you go into the woods with your video camera and you’re trying to make like the Blair Witch Project or something. That’s how I’ve felt this whole time, and then all of a sudden like a thousand people show up in a theater to see it.
"So that was really amazing…And now I think it’ll be out by the end of the year, like on iTunes and Netflix and all that.
Below you can watch the trailer for Tim’s documentary “From Nothing, Something.” Also look for it on Netflix and iTunes soon!