I do not recall how many times during those eighty-one years I have been approached by someone with a project. Books, translations, audiobooks, films. I have learned that most of these vanish as quickly as a bottle of Laphroaig, and with less satisfaction. Three men have started to make short films about me. One has not been heard from for years. The jury is still out on one. And one has actually created a film. Carol and I saw the final version last Thursday. It is due to be released this coming Friday.
Safe Harbor, which now owns the Skull Creek Marina, as well as more than one hundred other marinas, has decided to produce a series of short films under the title, Storytellers, about people who keep their boats in one of their marinas. I believe they asked dock masters for recommendations and Ben, who was then the dock master at Skull Creek, submitted me. I did not seek this and was not aware of it until Safe Harbor decided to begin the series with me and emailed asking if I would be willing to participate. I agreed, not to promote myself, but because as a writer I care about my words—I know that is inconsistent, but some writers do—and I hope that some who see the film will be interested enough to explore further and read some of my words who otherwise would not have.
So in April Johnny Harrington, who happens to live in Ocean Beach, California, less than a mile from where I docked GANNET in Mission Bay, and three other young men came to Hilton Head and filmed and interviewed me for parts of four days. They are very good at their jobs and I enjoyed observing them work.
The final film is just under nine minutes long. While naturally there are omissions in reducing eighty-one years, six circumnavigations, seven books, six marriages, another million or so words, and some other relationships, to nine minutes, both Carol and I like the film very much. I do not believe that I could be portrayed better in that length of time.
There are a few errors in the film. I did not have the opportunity to fact check it. Only one of the errors is of much significance and that is where in the opening title sequence it is written of me: ‘six time solo circumnavigator.’ As some of you know, while I have circumnavigated six times, only three of those voyages have been completely solo—the first, fifth, and sixth. Jill sailed with me a thousand miles of the second, much of the third, and part of the fourth. Carol sailed 10,000 miles with me on the fourth. I have always tried to avoid exaggeration or hyperbole believing that if you do it right, the plain truth is enough. So if someone comments that Webb Chiles has not made six solo circumnavigations, tell them Webb Chiles agrees.
As I said, the other errors are minor. A photo of THE HAWKE OF TUONELA is said to be RESURGAM and when that photo is shown RESURGAM is spelled RESERGAM.
I have notified Johnny of the errors, but it is probably too late for them to be corrected.
The film was premiered last Friday at a film festival at Newport, R.I. I am told that it received a standing ovation. I am pleased for Johnny and perhaps a little for myself, too. While it is my life, it is his film and he deserves all the credit for that.
There is a trailer on a Safe Harbor site:
I’ll post a link to the film after Safe Harbor releases it Friday.
I was paid for my starring role somewhat less than the more than $100,000,000 Tom Cruise has reportedly been paid for his starring role in TOP GUN: MAVERICK. I was paid my usual nothing. But then that helps keep my taxes simpler than Tom’s.
Carol flew back to Chicago yesterday.
I biked down to do some minor chores on GANNET this morning. I went down before 8 a.m. The temperature was a reasonable 78F, but with the humidity and no wind, I was soon drowning in sweat. I wore work clothes, which was a very good idea, because on my return after an hour to the blessedly air-conditioned condo, everything was soaked and is now out in the sun on our deck drying out.
Usually the extreme heat moderates here this month, but it hasn’t yet. The marsh is still broiling.