944: Shoot to Kill Media

944 August 2009 coverIt’s been almost a year since I last wrote for 944 magazine (Las Vegas edition). There was no particular reason for this dry spell other than 944‘s editors stopped assigning me stories and I stopped pitching to them. Plus, much like the rest of the magazine industry, 944‘s freelance budgets tightened up (not as much as some others). But a month or two back, I was given an assignment out of the blue by 944 to do a profile of Ryen McPherson, who co-runs the video production company Shoot to Kill Media. However, you might be more familiar with his earliest filmed work: Bumfights.

Yeah, I had to interview the Bumfights guy. If you don’t know the story, let me sum it up: Teenagers from San Diego get bums to fight each other on film in SD and Las Vegas. Make it into DVD. Becomes a cult sensation and target of moral and legal detractors. McPherson and pals sell off rights to Bumfights but still end up in court, doing a short stint in jail after some bureaucratic confusion over community service time.

By all reports I could find, McPherson was an anti-establishment, anti-internet maverick who did time for filming homeless men beating the hell out of each other. As you might expect, I was a little anxious about our meeting. But the Ryen McPherson I found at a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway was a calm, reflective, tattooed 26-year-old, passionate about music and film and dedicated to producing the highest quality product possible. He excitedly showed me video clips on his Macbook. He freely admitted the Bumfights ordeal was a folly of youth but an education experience. And he revealed his fiercest ambition is to direct music videos — just for the love of the medium.

You can read the full article (“Killer View”) here, though because of 944‘s limited space, you miss some of the context I provided above. Shoot to Kill just finished a new music video for local band Lydia Vance’s song “Again Tomorrow.” Check it out at Shoot to Kill’s website (click on the song title). It’s both funny and shocking, but overall entertaining. And the music ain’t so bad, either.

Oh, I’m also still writing about local music for the Las Vegas Weekly. My last article, on electrocore band This Romantic Tragedy, ran a few issues back, and I should have a couple more stories in next week’s issue. Also: The Utopian webcomic is back from hiatus. In case you weren’t keeping track. And I have another 944 deadline this week. So things are good. Keep your eyes peeled.

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