Inspired to make films

Freddy Camalier Muscle Shoals with Keith Richards

In this blog post, Greg "Freddy" Camalier '86 shares why adulthood has made him appreciate his Landon experience even more... and reveals how he got into filmmaking. Freddy is the founder of the film production company Ear Goggles Productions and made his directorial debut with the Sundance Film Festival hit documentary Muscle Shoals, which he made with his friend and fellow Landon alumnus Stephen Badger '86. The film tells the story of two iconic sound studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where music legends such as Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones recorded songs. Freddy is currently developing a TV series with Elektra Records and a fictional film that he wrote. Muscle Shoals has been optioned to be TV series produced by Johnny Depp among others. At Landon, Freddy played lacrosse and worked with at-risk youth through the Big Brother Program. This blog post is taken from a phone interview with Freddy. (Pictured above, L to R: Freddy, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Stephen.)

I was at Landon nine years, fourth through 12th grade, and I regret not coming in third grade. Looking back, Landon had a tremendous impact on me. First and foremost, the friendships, they run so deep, a lot of them are still intact. When you're young and Landon is all you know, you don't necessarily appreciate it, but as you get older, have kids, and experience different parts of the country, you realize just how special a place like Landon is. It's an incredible opportunity to attend a school like Landon. Not only does it provide a top-notch education but also it gives you these friendships that last a lifetime.

The life lessons I received at Landon stick with me to this day. The teachers and coaches leave marks on you. The impact is huge. You're also with the same group of guys every day through these formative years of your life, and that's a really unique thing to be a part of.

At Landon I had to do a video project for a class. My buddy Doug Briskman '86 and I made a comedy — and it was really funny. I didn't make another film again until Muscle Shoals. I had not done anything creative in quite some time, and I was missing that aspect of my life when I serendipitously fell into the story of Muscle Shoals.

Stephen and I were driving cross-country as I was helping Stephen on his move to New Mexico. We didn't take highways. We took backroads and went through the South with just a road atlas to guide the way. We were driving late at night, getting tired, so we pulled out the map to see where we wanted to sleep for the night and saw Tupelo, Mississippi, in front of us and Muscle Shoals behind us. Steve said, "Would you rather have the birthplace of Elvis or Muscle Shoals?" We were music fans, so we knew of Muscle Shoals being a recording mecca for great artists, but we had no idea of the totality of the story. We turned around and drove backwards on a 1,700-mile road trip to sleep there. We were blown away by the history and feeling of the town. So we delayed our departure the next morning and that was the genesis of making a film about the town and people of Muscle Shoals.

That film, a project of passion between two friends, is a perfect example of the lasting bond of friendship that Landon fosters.