Grant McCord Talks About His Coming of Age Story Teenage Badass – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2020 SXSW Film Festival is coming up fast! In order to best prepare you for the event, take a look at the films in our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series.

Check out our Q&A with director Grant McCord as he tells us about his film Teenage Badass, which will World Premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition.

Teenage Badass is based on my 15 years as a professional drummer. I attempted to make a version of this film three times before finding the right concoction. It was important to me that this movie be as authentic in its musical representation as possible. – Director Grant McCord

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Grant McCord: This film is my zany interpretation of the ups and down of being in a band with your friends. The back door deals, the petty drama, and the emotional immaturity of being young and ambitious.

What motivated you to tell this story?

GM: Teenage Badass is based on my 15 years as a professional drummer. I attempted to make a version of this film three times before finding the right concoction. It was important to me that this movie be as authentic in its musical representation as possible. Which meant not only finding a unicorn like Evan Ultra but Mcabe Gregg, Dillon Lane, and Tucker Audie. All actors who could rip on their instruments.

One of the things that drove me to filmmaking as an artistic obsession was countless singer/songwriters who were terrible decision makers. I constantly found myself as an “out of luck drummer” no matter how hard I worked. It all comes full circle with this cluster of miracles that became Teenage Badass.

What do you want the audience to take away?

GM:A majority of your favorite band members, who are accompanying the songwriter have zero control. I want all the up and coming bandos who watch this movie to first, get it in writing. Second, follow your dreams relentlessly (victory by attrition). Third, harness the will power to overcome the Kirk Stylo‘s of the world. Lastly, if this movie makes you sweaty or nervous then I got news for you: you are a Kirk Stylo.

What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?

GM:I was starving to holy death sitting in the parking lot of my local vegan hang out when my writing partner, Matt, called me. I would have cried, but I was too hungry. So, I just sat at the counter eating my soup thinking to myself “You mother f*****s don’t even know!”. Then I jumped over some plants in the parking lot–post soup.

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

GM: A movie about a band should have its premiere at one festival and one festival only: SXSW.

Do you have a past experience at SXSW that impacted your decision to come back?

GM: I moved to Austin in 2006 to play with a band. Upon arriving with a Uhaul full of my stuff, the singer/songwriter said “you know that tour we had planned? I don’t think it feels right. Instead we should just play in people’s living rooms”. Now I’m premiering my first feature film about this subject matter in Austin? Sweet, sweet, life.

Add Teenage Badass to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!

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Teenage Badass – Photo by Ryan Neal Cordwell

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