The Jack Schlatter Documentary

The Jack Schlatter “Thanks for the Memories” Project

For the thousands of us who were touched by Jack Schlatter, there burns an ever-present desire to distill the magic that existed while we were in the presence of our dearly departed teacher, mentor, friend, colleague and brother.  Trying to explain Jack to those who did not know him has been, and continues to be frustrating, and ultimately our words fail to adequately capture the essence of an experience that literally changed our lives.  For many, our experience unfolded when Jack was our teacher.  Beyond the classroom for a fortunate few, he became a lifetime friend and brother.  For others, it was a one chance meeting when Mr. Schlatter showed up as their substitute.  And yes, make no mistake about it, he could powerfully affect the life of anyone in just one class period, one speaking engagement, or even a momentary conversation in the line at the grocery store or to the waitress who served him.

For those of us that were closest to Jack, we have often talked about capturing the essence of the atmosphere he would create wherever he appeared, but especially in the educational setting, such as his Drama programs at the various schools in Orange County where he taught: Iaasc Walton, Sycamore, Katella, Oak, Mcaliffe, and the many schools in Grand Junction, CO, where he was a substitute in his final years.  The energy around this project was peaked a few years ago when he made his final Transition and we gathered for his memorial.  As we lamented his departure from our physical lives, for all of us, the question was: now what? Creating something was not about motivation, but rather about time and the resources to be able to do something.

As Jack so fervently believed, circumstances and divine intervention can combine to create anything.  So in this moment, we feel the time is right to launch this quest to capture the essence of Jack Schlatter and then share it with everyone who knew him. Then, in kind, we could share with our friends and family.  And if we do adequately capture his Spirit, who knows who else might be infused with his optimism, his laughter, his undying love for whomever happened to be in his presence.

This effort will take serval different forms.  Bill Bevill has talked about putting together a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” type book in which many of us would contribute stories about our interactions with Jack.  I am now fairly established as a documentary filmmaker and intend to create a documentary about Jack and his influence on our lives.  Who knows what else might be out there waiting to be created…poetry, music, song, art, and etc.

The Documentary Process:

A Documentary is built on powerful, insightful interviews.  The only way to get this done is for the documentarian, interviewee, cameras, and lights to come together in a quiet space.  Obviously, we are all over the country at this point.  Sounds like an adventurous road trip!

In June, 2018, I will pack up the Prius with my cameras and lights, and begin a journey around the country to meet with and interview those that would like to share their stories about Jack Schlatter and the impact he had on their lives.  Throughout this coming summer I will head from the Northeast westward across the northern route of the country.  The rest of 2018 will be spent on the West Coast, and then by 2019 the journey heads eastward via the southern route of the country.  Once the route and schedule are planned, it will be announced via social media and a crowd fundraiser.  We will identify “must have” interviews and hopefully coordinate the journey to meet up with these individuals.  However, I foresee there will be many others that would like to share their story as well.  The documentary creation process is incredibly fluid.  Yes, there is a plan, but the details and creation process are constantly morphing into something unseen from the beginning.  You just never know what is going to arise in the filming and editing process…it really is a leap of faith in so many ways.  (Needless to say, Jack Schlatter specialized in leaps of faith!  He often crashed and burned, but just like Don Quixote, he always mounted his steed, picked up his lance, and went after the next windmill.)

In support of the process, we are mounting a crowd-fundraiser through GoFundMe.  Anyone can contribute to help support the financial needs of the project…most of those will be related to travel and the final editing process.  I have all the filming and editing equipment.  I am in a semi-retirement phase so I will be able to support a part of the trip, but certainly not all of it.  Here are the different ways to support the project:

Ultimately, when the film is complete, we will have a premier screening…most likely in Southern California.  We will put out the date early and certainly, it will be a reunion as well.  I would estimate this event to occur in 2020.  For those who cannot make the screening, the film will be posted on-line for everyone to experience.

I predict we will end up with hundreds of hours of footage.  The final film will be around 90 minutes.  Obviously, lots of interviews and footage will not be in the final product.  Here’s a possible remedy to that:

Every interview will be edited into a shorter version and posted on line for everyone to see.  As the journey unfolds, I will create short highlight videos of the most recent interviews and post them online.

Accountability and transparency are critical to any project like this.  As the project unfolds, the Board Members will be charged with keeping track of many details, but especially the finances.  The Board will post periodic financial updates as well.  We have decided not to create a non-profit for several reasons like cost and technicalities.  However, make no mistake that this is a “not-for-profit” adventure and all of us involved at this point are financially secure.  The Board Members are:

Bill Bevill
Marjie Blevins
Susie Elghanyan
Noel Laflin 
Mark Till

God love ya,
  • Alexandra Rodriguez 
    • $25 
    • 35 mos
  • Allison Duffy 
    • $20 
    • 37 mos
  • Jay Green 
    • $50 
    • 38 mos
  • Todd Chesebro 
    • $50 
    • 38 mos
  • Laurie Mason 
    • $50 
    • 38 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Mark Till 
Mountville, PA
Noel Laflin 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more