I Pledge Allegiance to Myself is a portrait of Daimon, a 17 year old runaway trying to find a sense of self in the middle of the early 80’s punk explosion. A brush with Hare Krishnas introduces him to the idea of bhakti, the concept of devotion, something he cannot find in the suburban landscape. Daimon takes off and dives headfirst into the music scene with the other punks.
He joins a band and is thrown into a world of testosterone, drugs, and music. Though it promises community, he is still unsettled. Daimon must figure out his own moral boundaries in a world defined by the rejection of traditional codes. As the band gains popularity, its members are faced with the cost of success in a landscape littered with lost souls.
It took a year to write I Pledge Allegiance To Myself (originally called Bhakti Boy) and many of the stories were taken from my partner's real life. He grew up in the 80's Seattle punk scene. The idea of Maggot Brain, a snake headed angel, was derived from the Hindu mythological character, Ananta. I'm always looking for opposing forces in a story. To me, that's what makes an interesting tone. Butt two opposites against one another and you have a tone...keep digging and it might get interesting.
I had a shooting budget of 85K and I had absolutely no idea what the fuck I was doing. I had produced, written, and directed a short film before this film and it was such a disaster I have no idea what gave me the confidence to think I could make a feature film but I was desperate to make a feature film, to be a feature film director, that I plowed forward.
I think the most interesting aspect and what I did correct on this film was the casting. I found Daimon, Vinyl, and Loud in Seattle. I found Dean in Philadelphia. I knew they had to feel like a real band so I brought the Seattle actors to Philly for 3 weeks before we started shooting and I made them start a real life band. Christopher Morson (Daimon) was the only actor who didn't know how to play the instrument his character played so he learned the basics of bass...very quickly...and I had the band play live shows in Philly. I believe they played 3 live shows and had band practice nearly every day.
Production was fucking crazy. We basically had no crew. Christine Meyers and I basically didn't sleep for the entire 18 day shoot. We wore several hats and somehow we had the tenacity to never give up. There was one major disaster day when we lost a day of footage. But it was one of those shoots, just like I AM THAT and 24 Frames Lalla, that had magic up it's sleeve. Problems always ended up working out and more often than a not a problem would lead to some magic I never could've imagined in my mind.
It took me a couple of years to edit the film. I did it by myself. And by the time it was finished I decided I didn't like it and I never released it. But it is actually complete! If you'd like to watch the film, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the private link.