20 YEARS OF MADNESS is a documentary following the makers of a mid-90s Public Access TV show from Metro Detroit as they reunite 20 years later to create a new episode and reconcile their teenage dreams with the realities of adulthood.
20 YEARS OF MADNESS will follow Jerry White Jr., founder of the Public Access TV Show 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS, as he returns to his hometown to reconnect with the friends he grew up with as they discover whether the magic of their show was a fleeting youthful experiment or a creative community they will share for the rest of their lives.
Jerry, now 36, and a recent MFA graduate from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, never stopped believing in the show and the potential of its collaborators. But as he gathers the crew he will have to confront years of resentment, rebuild burnt bridges, balance challenging personalities and juggle the many responsibilities inherent in filmmaking. Will the vibe still be there when the gang gets back in front of the camera again after so many years? How will the skills learned in film school translate to the show’s guerilla filmmaking style? Can the new episode revive the community they used to share, or will this be the final show?
Our documentary crew will fly to Michigan for the month of July and go on location with the 30MOM crew as they shoot episode 15. We’ll rent a house that will become the show’s headquarters as people come in from California, Oregon, and Georgia to reunite with those still living in state.
20 YEARS OF MADNESS will make full use of the hundreds of hours of video footage shot over seven years in the 90s including completed shows, unfinished skits, and the group’s own extensive interviews and documentary coverage of their lives.
We also have full access to the hundreds of finished tracks and musical experiments created by the various bands and side-projects of the 30MOM crew. Combined with their photography, drawings, comics, fine art, and zines, this archival material will be stitched together with the present day documentary footage to tell the story of an artistic family that transcended the individual accomplishments of its members.
30 MINUTES OF MADNESS premiered on March 5th, 1992 in Oakland County, Michigan. The show is a bizarre video mixtape of improv and written skits, non-sequitor vérité samples, and experimental video art. 30MOM embraces the 90s DIY grunge/punk counter-culture — unpolished and sincere. Some inspirations include Liquid Television, Saturday Night Live, Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, The Monkees and the trash art of John Waters and Andy Warhol. The 30MOM vibe lives on in shows like Jackass, Mr. Show, South Park, and Tim & Eric Awesome Show.
The 30MOM crew were outsiders, punks, skaters, nerds, freaks, weirdos, burnouts, theater geeks, and artists. What started in high school as something fun to do on the weekend became their driving passion. For the core group, the show was their life and would hopefully be their future. They continued to make episodes into their 20s, started a production company and moved in together. But they grew up and split apart, gradually at times and violently at others. Some of them moved to Los Angeles to follow their dreams while others remained in Michigan.
While the show had a small audience during its original run, it has achieved a cult following over the years. Their vault of video, music, photography, and artwork is a time capsule of the era: the 90s, the last pre-internet generation; when having access to video equipment and editing facilities was a minor miracle, and a broadcast television audience was mind-blowing.
20 YEARS OF MADNESS will be a vivid portrait of an underground community held together by the desire to make art for each other and the memories of their friendship and creative collaboration. We look forward to sharing this story with all of you!
Yesterday’s weirdness is tomorrow’s reason why.
–Hunter S. Thompson