No one wants to watch another movie about Abraham Lincoln because there are already hundreds of them. People want to see new and interesting untold stories. This is where Brian Kruger and Buddy Moorehouse come in. They both work at Stunt3 Multimedia. Brian is the Producer and Director, while Buddy is the Senior Creative Director. They are Emmy-nominated filmmakers, most notably for The Legend of Pinky Deras. Join your host, Jordan Levin, as he sits down with Brian and Buddy to talk about how they got into the film industry. Also, learn the importance of being a good storyteller and why the untold story is the best story.
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Brian Kruger, Producer And Director At Stunt3 Multimedia & Buddy Moorehouse, Senior Creative Director At Stunt3 Multimedia
I’ve got Buddy Moorehouse and Brian Kruger. These guys are in a class of their own. They’re comedians, actors, writers, producers, filmmakers and educators. What can’t these guys do? Welcome to the show. It’s an honor to have you both here.
It’s an honor to be here, Jordan. Thanks.
It’s great to be here, Jordan. Thank you for having us.
The three of us go back for several years. We first met when we were in discussions of our favorite documentary, which was called Speak for Yourself: The Jordan Levin Story. That was quite an experience to go through that journey with you. I would love to get your take on what was it about that film because you tend to have a history of developing history-type films. I’m curious as to what you guys thought of. What was it about that story that enticed you to get involved in that?
Speaking for myself and Brian would probably agree with me, one of the things that were remarkable about doing your story was that we came into it with not much knowledge about your world and what you had gone through. It was an educational process for us to learn about the challenges that you faced and how you and your family decided that you were going to deal with those challenges and the adversities that you face.
In a lot of the other films that we have done, we came into them with more of a feeling for how we thought the story was going to go from the beginning. With your story, it wasn’t that way at all. We were learning as we went along. It was a fascinating journey to be able to speak to all the people in your life to find out everything that we found out about it and then to try to put it all together into a documentary.
Mine was a little bit more personal with that. I wish I would have been your age and hung around with you because you are a blast. I want to play hockey with you. All the pictures that we had of the B-roll of you growing up, I went, “I wish I knew this kid.” You had so much energy and it was so much fun and the hockey and sports thing on top of it. “Outside of the deafness, I wanted to hang around with this guy.” That was fun.
I had such an amazing experience with that. That was my first foray into it. I was involved in the production aspect, understanding the timeline and understanding how long things take. One of the things that I learned in that process was being patient because there are so many moving parts to that. That’s true for all of us together. I appreciate what you have done. I would like to go back a little bit and talk about the beginning. You guys both started at Stunt Johnson Theater. You guys have always had this passion for storytelling. How does one go from entertaining to being a founder of a software company? Two parts to this. That is part of it. How did you guys get involved in Stunt Johnson?
Stunt Johnson Theater was the comedy group that we formed back in 1989. It was Brian and me and then three other friends of ours. We all thought we were funny, but we didn’t know if anyone else was going to think we were funny. We were in our twenties at the time. None of us were married. We wanted to see if the world thought we were as funny as we thought we were. We put an unusual act together, a lot of little, short, stupid comedy skits. Our first show was in March of 1989. We went to a comedy club in Ann Arbor and performed about a fifteen-minute show there. The audience laughed. We were hooked at that point, so we decided at that time that we were going to try to see where this went and make a go of it. We started writing more comedy skits and doing more things, getting more shows and performing all around the country. We went to Las Vegas and Los Angeles and all over the Midwest performing. It was a blast. For me, the most fun part was that I got to be around my best friends almost every night making people laugh.
We came from all diverse backgrounds. I was a teacher, Buddy was a newspaper editor, which comes into play in a little bit. As we got older, we did stand-up comedy for a long time and had a nice career and worked with some great people. It was great. We started to get older. All of our friends were married with kids, and we were still hanging around with each other like we were in the tenth grade, which was fun. We had to become a little more responsible. As that happened, we started to go into our different careers. Mine went from teaching into education consulting for Apple mostly. I got into the publishing world from there and into software for newspapers and magazines.
Buddy and I stayed close the whole time. We were still doing comedy then, too. The other guys in the group were still good friends. As my software business went on from about 2000 to 2010, this newspaper business was doing the same thing. As the internet was soaking up the newspaper print business, Bud was looking for something else to do. I was, too because I had software that supported the print industry at the time. We are looking for things to do. We decided to get together and do a movie. The first one we did was called The Girl in Centerfield. It is something we are still trying to market because it’s a great story. It is about the first girl to play Little League Baseball. Bud, was the next one that we did was Jordan’s or the one right after that?
It’s better to turn over a rock to find something new than to do the same thing over and over again.
We did about 2 or 3 more. We did The Legend of Pinky Deras and then Jordan’s film.
When you ask about telling stories, that comes from Bud’s writing because Bud has been the writer. Buddy and I did Stunt3 Multimedia. It was a nice fit. It still is. It works well because Bud is an exceptional writer. I’m not that great of a writer but I was working on the camera side of it. We both liked a good story. Yours was one of them, Jordan. When we got yours, it was way different. It was our first non-sports story. Although you’re an athlete, it was still a non-sport story.
Getting to learn everything about your world, we were astonished about a lot of things in that world. We loved meeting everybody in your world. We must have interviewed 1,000 people for that movie. You laugh about how long it takes and how much patience. We churned that out faster than we normally churn out anything. It does take a long time to do a movie. I hope that answered the question properly for you.
I would like to add to that the challenge that we have. It came into play when we did speak for your film, is that you need to boil everything down into a 45-minute or 1-hour documentary. There’s so much information and so many things. You are not writing a book about it. You’re doing a one-hour documentary on it. Having to edit things down and tell that story in such a clear, succinct fashion is one of the biggest challenges that we’ve experienced ever since we started doing documentaries.
We tend to distill things better every time we go along. That’s an ongoing process, trying to figure out how to get that into a workable documentary.
That is the thing. When you’re talking about production, there are so many moving parts to it. You’d film so many different things. You have to go back. That’s going to fit there and then you add something in. That has to come out because you have to be sure the story is being told. You have to understand and filter out the noise. Does the noise apply to the different scenes? Does that scene with that person fit into the story? I’ve been doing a lot of reading on production especially now that I’ve been doing the show and I’m learning more about what happens and what makes a good story. What I’m getting is making a good story is getting rid of the noises and what’s important developing that theme for that story.
When you have multiple people working on a project, the biggest discussion that Brian and I have when we make a film is what to leave out. We’ll do a great interview and then you’ll do 5 or 10 great interviews and then we start going, “We got to get this in. We got to keep this in.” Soon, we’re up to four hours. We go, “We need to start taking things out.” That’s where we have interesting discussions every time we’ll do any project.
That happened in your film, too. Bud and I struggled with that because your dad was instrumental in producing that movie and he said, “You got to interview this person and this person.” We liked all of them. All of them had a little different twist. It was like making Citizen Kane. It’s telling the story about somebody else through the eyes of somebody else. We had a hard time cutting any of that because they all came from different walks and parts of your life. In retrospect, I would like to cut some of that down but who do you cut out of that? Those are fun and great people that several years from now, when somebody looks at that and everybody’s gone. It’ll be cool because they’ll think, “All those different people had these great different stories to tell about Jordan.” It was a multifaceted gem. It was cool. It was a little different than anything we’ve ever done.
I had a ton of fun with that. I have no idea what to expect with all the stuff that we did. A lot has changed in a few years.
You’re married. You’re a father now.
With my CrossFit Bloomfield gym, people ask me, “Do you have kids?” I say, “We don’t have any kids. The gym clients are my kids.”
You have a bunch of them there.
That’s my bread and butter. That’s where I put my time and effort into making sure my clients are happy and safe and all that.
You look terrific. We want to know what you eat because we got older, and you didn’t. I don’t know what that’s all about.
Let’s talk about these Emmy nominations that you received for a couple of different films.
The first film that we were nominated for an Emmy for was a movie called The Legend of Pinky Deras, which is the story about the greatest Little League Baseball player of all time. His name was Art “Pinky” Deras. In 1959, he led Hamtramck, Michigan to the Little League World Series championship. It’s still the only team from Michigan and the only team from the Midwest ever to win the Little League World Series title.
Brian and I were out in Williamsport, Pennsylvania doing another documentary on the first girl over to play Little League. The guy we were talking to out there was telling us about this player named Pinky Deras. He said, “You guys are from Michigan.” We said, “Yes.” “There’s a guy there named Pinky Deras who was the greatest Little Leaguer of all time and nobody knows what happened to him. Nobody knows where he is and what he’s doing. We can’t find him.” Brian and I said, “This could be a story.”
We came back to Michigan, and we found Pinky. He was a retired police officer living in Warren. He’d been a police officer for almost 30 years. Almost the entire time he was a cop, all the guys he was riding with never knew that the guy who was in the car next to them was the greatest youth baseball player of all time. We did that documentary. We love doing that story. It got on television. It was on ABC, Fox Sports Detroit. A lot of times it was on the MLB Network. That got us an Emmy nomination.
Our second Emmy nomination came for a film that we did called Black and Blue that was about an incident that happened at the University of Michigan in 1934 where the football team was supposed to play against a team from Georgia Tech that year. Back then, teams from the South would refuse to play against teams from the North if they had an African-American on the team. Michigan’s best player was a guy named Willis Ward who was an African-American, whose best friend was Gerald Ford, the future President of the United States. Michigan capitulated to Georgia Tech’s racist demands and agreed to bench Willis Ward for the game. It’s an incredible story with so many different layers. That story also got on TV and that one also got us an Emmy nomination.
Create stories about what is forgotten rather than what is known.
I’ve been following you guys for many years. You guys talk about this stuff and it’s fascinating. It goes back to storytelling. Buddy, I’m talking, I’m saying to myself, “That’s your superpower.”
It’s not working out or fixing ourselves. You have a superpower but hopefully, it is storytelling. One of the things that Brian and I have always tried to do and was true in your story as well is that we try to find these stories that have either been lost to history or that people don’t know about. Ken Burns did a documentary on Ernest Hemingway. Everybody’s heard of Ernest Hemingway. They all know about that. We prefer to find these forgotten heroes, forgotten stories, stories like yours, which were things that nobody knows about or understands. We like bringing those kinds of stories to life. In the end, something with an educational component.
One of the most nerve-racking movies I ever did and it was short, I was asked by the Polish Sports Hall of Fame to do a short documentary on Stan Musial. Stan Musial was their first inductee. Like an idiot, I said yes. You don’t want to get into deep waters with baseball historians or Stan Musial historians. I did okay with it but that was gripping because I thought everybody’s written everything about this guy. I can only screw it up. It’s much more fun to turn over the rock and go, “Look at this.” You can tell it on your own terms. You don’t have armchair experts or University of Facebook graduates calling you out on your facts.
Each of us now, we have hundreds of stories in our head that we want to tell in documentaries that are the same thing, these great untold stories. We go, “We got to do that.”
A lot of the stuff with my documentary, you didn’t have any real background information. You learned all of that from us. The difference is all these other stories that everybody is producing, you can research the information. Both of you grasped that information. You were able to grasp it and then you started developing this whole story. That is impressive to be able to do that. For Brian, what do you think your main superpower is? Brian has the writing side. Would you say more on the video or in the education?
I am not sure about that. Buddy says I do sad video clips very well. I’m a decent presenter of our films in front of groups. I’m not sure if that’s a superpower or not. The communications part of that for me is to tell the story that Bud and I told on film in front of a group to put it into context. I’m decent at that.
Brian’s superpower is exactly that. When we do a film on something, he has this magical ability to take it to any audience and connect with them and let them know this is what this story is about. He’s so much better at that than I am. I’m decent at getting the story out there but then Brian can connect with the audience. He’s traveled all over the country presenting the films that we’ve done and connecting with those audiences.
That’s been an absolute gift for me for meeting all those people. If there’s anybody out there that wants to do this kind of thing, one of the best things is meeting the people that you show it to and have their eyes open up and go, “That happened? You know him.” That’s a lot of fun, the conversations afterward and the ancillary stories that come around it. That’s great. I wish I would have done this in my twenties. Bud and I started when we were about 50 or something like that.
Brian talks about this a lot, too. It is so much easier now to be able to do what we are doing than it would have been several years ago when we were little kids. Brian and I both made movies when we were kids. We had to shoot them with a Super 8 movie camera. The whole process took a month to shoot three minutes of the film and then edit it together. It was expensive. We didn’t have any money when we were kids.
Fourteen dollars is hard to come by for us in the early 1970s. It was $3.5 to buy the film and the rest to develop it. It was expensive. You got three minutes back that you couldn’t see until you got it back and then you’d punch each other in the arm because somebody got in the way or the lighting wasn’t right and you had to do it again. It was impossible. Now we have cell phones. Cell phones shoot things over and over again. I did a film several years ago. It came out in 2017. It’s called Where the Brave Dare to Tread: The Bob Arvin Story about a guy at West Point. Somewhere along the line, I was challenged to see if I could do a whole movie with an iPhone then. I shot the whole thing on an iPhone except for the drone shot that Buddy shot for me at the beginning of the film.
The last credit of the film says, “Shot entirely on an iPhone.” Wherever I have shown that movie, when the credits roll, that gets the biggest, “You did that.” That’s going to be a lot less common reaction. It was at West Point at the Omar Bradley ballroom and there were generals in the front row that went, “You shot that on your iPhone?” I held it up and said, “Yes, this one.” The point is it’s much easier to do it now and a lot less expensive. The quality is a lot better. Our Super 8 films are horrible because you had to light them. It was horrible. We weren’t able to have sound until 1975 or 1976. We weren’t good at that.
With this here, you can make an entire documentary. You can research it, shoot it, write it and edit it. You can do everything right on that. When you take the technology and the cost out of it then your entire focus can be on finding the story and telling the story. Anytime Brian and I ever talk to kids especially high school kids, Brian is an evangelist about it, he says, “You need to be out there doing films. I made movies when I was a kid. You need to make movies. All of you, right now. You have in your pocket what it takes to make a movie right now so go do it.”
I cringe when I see eight-second TikToks of dance and I go, “If only we had the ability to shoot something like that with sound.” It’s not just shooting it, you can research it, shoot it and edit it. If it’s a good enough film, the mechanism is there for you to shoot a movie, release it and have it gone worldwide the same day. It’s unheard of. Back in our day, it was a Super 8 movie. You’d never get it on TV. It wasn’t broadcast quality. You see it with viral videos that are horrible. I’d like to see better storytelling especially with kids because kids have cool things to say.
I love the explanation of the journey of how we’re able to get in with the film and sound to what you’re talking about now. I love how you were like, “Go for it. Do it on your phone.” Now that it’s easier, you want to allow these other individuals to have the opportunity to produce a film coming from the education as part of you guys. It goes both ways. Some types of people focus on quality and making sure everything is perfect. We spend all this money and then we come to find out that somebody did this whole thing on their phone and they did it at 1/15 of the cost of what it might be for an actual film.
You never know nowadays what it’s going to take especially with social media, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and all of it. What I’ve been noticing especially with podcasting which is another form of radio, talk show, and whatnot, everybody has an opportunity to get out there, be themselves, share these stories, and be as authentic as possible. That’s the beauty of what we see nowadays with the new technology versus several years ago.
People are starved for content for this information and everything like that. People are connected now because of their phones, computers, streaming devices on their TVs and all that. They are dying to see great stories out there. It’s never been a better time to be a documentary storyteller or a podcaster because there are so many people out there that are starved for this kind of content.
I was at the Apple store in Novi, which is near you in Michigan. I met a young kid working there. He had the Apple shirt on and he was helping me put a screen protector on my iPhone. We started to talk about what I did. He saw on the business account who I was, and he said, “I want to be a filmmaker someday. What should I do? Should I go to LA?” I said, “When you wake up tomorrow, make a movie.” He laughed and I said, “Seriously, make a movie. By 4:00, if somebody asked you what you do, you tell them, “I’m a filmmaker and I work at Apple.”
The same goes for podcasting. People go, “I want to do a podcast. How should I do that?” Go do one. It happens with novelists, too, “I’m going to write that novel someday.” Go write it. The next day if somebody asks you what you’re doing, you say, “I’m a novelist. I’m working on my next piece.” There’s a lot of psychological barriers for people to not do something. As Buddy and I get older, there’s no time like the present so go do it. I told that to the Apple guy. Why is that not true? Shoot your movie tomorrow. Even if you get one scene done, if somebody asked you, “What do you do?” Who doesn’t know you, you say, “I’m a filmmaker and I work at Apple to try to support my film business” There are not many times you can do that in life. You can do it now.
Brian does this wonderful series of videos called Guess What I Found. The concept is simple and brilliant. He will take his phone and drive out somewhere and find some interesting historic sites. One of them is the place where Henry Ford is buried. You would think Henry Ford has this enormous, elaborate grave but he doesn’t. He’s buried next to this church and in this tiny little grave thing. Brian did a video where the entire thing was him standing next to Henry Ford’s grave, which is right across the street from the old gas station and telling that story. It took him ten minutes to film that whole thing. It took him probably another five minutes in the car to edit it and he put it out on YouTube. Now we have this interesting and fascinating story about where Henry Ford is buried. It took Brian maybe half an hour of his time to be able to do that.
One of the best things in life is sharing your achievements with others.
I’m not boasting on that. The idea was I want to come up with a rule on the Guess What I Found series. I did about fifteen of them and they’re online. You had to shoot it, edit it and upload it all within half an hour. You couldn’t go weird with posts. One of them that I did was in Dearborn. They’re all local for a while. There’s a place in Dearborn where two roads cross and an X across the giant city block. It’s a neighborhood block. It doesn’t make any sense but I knew that those two Xs, long before there was a neighborhood, it was a landing strip for Ford Motor Company. Planes would fly there and they would land there.
If you look at it, it doesn’t make any more sense unless you get at the intersection of those two streets and you look down both sides like, “This is the oddest neighborhood I’ve ever seen.” It was built that way. Henry Ford built the neighborhood surrounding it. The houses face backward toward it so you would have a Flivver, a Model T plane, to put in the garage and take out and then take off on the airstrip. Now it’s a neighborhood. It’s little things like that. When you see it, put up a tripod, shoot it, tell them what it is quickly and then get it up online. If you do it as an exercise, it’s a lot of fun. Exercise and filmmaking are fun.
I love the way you guys are thinking because you found these things and your making light of them. At the same time, you’re educating me and everybody else on something unique. That’s what makes you guys unique, is that right there alone because not everyone does that. That’s what attracts different people to you. Every single group of people has their own stories and different stories to tell and that’s what you guys are doing. You guys are doing a phenomenal job. A lot of guys ask you about it. Buddy, you solved a mystery that’s called The Torch Murders. It’s something you’re working on and probably bringing that into the screen.
Brian’s doing The Torch Murders one, which is a different story. The one that I found out, my mom’s first cousin was a famous Hollywood actress named Jenny Maxwell who was murdered back in 1981. The family always thought the murder was never solved. Several years ago, I went out to Los Angeles and I found the police officer who solved the case back in 1981 and then wrote a book about her life. The life of this actress named Jenny Maxwell was famous in the early ‘60s. I wrote a book, the first book I’ve ever written, about her story and then how the murder was solved but no one ever knew it after that. That’s been an interesting process. Brian is working on a project called The Torch Murders that happened in Ypsilanti.
What about The Torch Murders? What was it about that story?
It happened in Ypsilanti. It’s one of those things, too where if you ask 100 people in Ypsilanti what were the torch murder is about and using that term, they wouldn’t know what it was. In 1931, four teenagers were killed in the summer and their bodies were burned in their car. The story went nationwide and then it went worldwide all within a couple of days. The whole crux of the story isn’t the murder. The murder is awful and it doesn’t have an upside. What’s interesting about it is the murder happened on a Tuesday at 2:00 AM. By Thursday night, all three murders of the four teenagers were on their way to Jackson Prison serving four consecutive life terms. It took authorities about 72 hours between murder and having the jail slammed behind them and swift justice that you don’t see anymore.
It involves mobs of 10,000 people in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor trying to kill these suspects. It involves Ford Motor Company and Harry Bennett, who is Henry Ford’s Chief of Security. It has all these elements of incredible cops and robbers’ stories that happened fast. Following the three murders and what happens to them, two of them end up dying and one ends up walking away in the late ‘60s on his own. We follow that story to its end. It’s called The Torch Murders. It was referred to as The Torch Murders from Australia to the London Times to New York Times to everything from the small college town of Ypsilanti in 1931.
Most of your stories are about Michigan history.
Write what you know.
We’re branching out into different areas. We started in sports documentaries, we did your film and now we’re in true crime. We’re hitting all the genres now.
You guys have done a wonderful job of pivoting. I could be wrong but to be a good filmmaker is not just about being about one specific sport. Ken Burns does all the sports stuff. I would have thought that it would be baseball. Was it baseball or something back in the ‘90s?
It’s baseball. That was good. I didn’t like how I treated Ty Cobb but that film was amazing.
I love the baseball stuff so I always appreciate those types of stories. What would you give everybody, you being a journalist, to be in that field? What advice would you give to upcoming journalists nowadays to help them excel in their careers?
The number one thing that I would tell journalists is that there’s always going to be a market out there for people that can tell stories. I don’t know if newspapers are always going to exist though. The best thing that you can do if you’re a journalist is learn to become a good storyteller and then learn to tell your stories on different platforms, videos, podcasts, writing as well. Don’t limit yourself to saying, “I’m going to be a newspaper writer. I’m going to be a print journalist.” That’s not going to cut it anymore. The number one thing you have to do is you have to learn how to become a good storyteller.
Brian, what about you in terms of education film? What advice would you give new people in the industry?
Trust your gut. What I mean by that is take a look at what you’re watching and reading and why it appeals to you. Make it incumbent upon yourself to find a younger person or anybody to tell that story to. Even if you can’t tell the story quite right, at least see if you can make them excited about it. I’ve learned that from being on the road. If you can make a group of people excited about something before they see it and even after they see it, you’ve done something. I have another bit of advice. I want to make sure it gets out on this. This is a new one of mine. As Buddy and I have done these films, every single time, there’s been somebody who’s passed away a few years before that we missed.
You can always chase your tail. With the film Black and Blue, had we done that in the early ‘80s, we could have had Gerald Ford and Willis ward in the story. If we’d had done it in 2004, we could have Gerald Ford in the story. You can never second guess who’s going to pass away. My point is this, value older people. If you want to talk about Emmy nominations and Oscars, those people are walking Oscars and Emmy nominations if you sit down and watch them.
I was at Hillsdale College with Buddy. Buddy does a documentary film class. He’s a professor at Hillsdale. They told a story about a football team in the 1950s. One of the guys that played on the team was there. That was heartwarming because they got him. Had they made that a few years from now, you don’t know if that guy is there. Pay attention to older folks. Don’t walk by them and think, “They got to get out of my way. They’re not relevant.” They are. Stop and talk to older people because they’ll tell you stories that you could make into amazing books, films, podcasts, anything else. Listen to people. You can get the younger people later. The old folks, stop and talk to them.
What you said there is dynamite. To sum everything up, what we’re talking about here is the entrepreneurial spirit that you guys had as kids, beginning with the films and all of that and learning how to solve problems. You know how to do these things with different films, editing, sound and all that. You have the whole transition of writing, journaling, podcasting, video, all of it. It’s one heck of a journey. I hope you guys continue this journey. I look forward to following this journey. I love the fact that you guys always have something different going on. That’s what makes you tech, trying something different. That’s what people need to understand, people who are reading, do not be afraid to try something different and new. You never know where you’re going to end up.
We have failed in some of the films that we’ve done. The only way you’re going to make a great film is if you make some bad ones, too. You cannot be afraid to fail and you got to do it.
I have two questions. Let’s start with Buddy. What did you do to recalibrate? Your mind is going 1,000 miles an hour. What do you do to ground yourself?
I do like to go to the gym. The thing that helps me wind down at the end of the night is I go on this website, NewsPapers.com and I look up old newspapers. I’ll go back into the ‘20s, ‘30s or in the 1800s and spend hours looking up old stories and newspapers. That calms my mind down. It gets me thinking about, “I want to do a film on that, too.” My relaxation time is history and looking up old historic things but particularly newspapers. The thing I like about newspapers is when you read an old paper, you are reading history as it was written with no filter through the ages. You’re reading it as it was written. It’s cool for me to do that.
Kids should start making movies because they are the best storytellers.
I appreciate that. It makes me think about it. We’re reading what happened. You don’t have all of the biases and other things that we have nowadays. It’s story-time at that time. It was exactly as it is. Now, who knows what? Brian, what about you?
About the same thing. I like to read a lot of biographies. To wind down, I get away from my screens because I do a lot of editing and a lot of stuff online. I produce a couple of podcasts and I do a lot of stuff with electronic content. I like to get in my car and drive as far away as I can. It’s easier said than done. You can go North. I’m in Michigan. I go North into the Thumb Area and I find small towns to walk around. I’ve got one that’s as nerdy as Bud but probably weirder, is I like to walk through cemeteries. I get steps in walking through cemeteries. I have found many interesting things and you look at the names and you think, “What’s that story?” You look at something that might be odd and be like, “What’s that? That guy’s here.”
Here’s a great point with that. I was in Harbor Beach, which is on the coast of the Thumb, North of Port Huron. I was walking through this old cemetery and I came upon what has got to be the most impressive tombstone I’ve ever seen. It was on the ground and it said, “Attorney General. Mayor of Detroit. US Senator. President of the Philippines. Supreme Court Justice.” That was Frank Murphy. Frank Murphy is somebody that I’m kicking around to do to a documentary on because I cannot believe nobody has done anything on this guy. He died young. That guy did everything. At that tombstone, I stopped and I was like, “What an accomplished guy.” That happened from a remote walk in a cemetery. I did a mini-doc on that, too because I was stunned. I had to set up my tripod and tell a story.
That is phenomenal. Did you plan that or you happened to be walking?
It’s twisted. The first time I saw the tombstone, I didn’t film it. The first time I saw a tombstone, I was amazed. I had to go find out everything I could about Frank Murphy. I knew of him but I didn’t realize he had done all that. I went back and did that one.
My last question while I’m on you, Brian, what brings you joy?
My wife and my son. My son is in medical school. He’s great. I miss him. He’s out crushing the world. My wife is great. Family does all of that.
How about you, Buddy?
The same. My family, not Brian’s. I like his family, too. I love spending time with my family. My wife and four kids, I love spending time with them. Watching documentaries brings me joy, too. Seeing other people tell stories, I love that, too.
You guys chose the right industries. If we would want to get ahold of Brian and Buddy, please tell us what’s the best way to get ahold of you guys to take a look and see what you guys do.
Stunt3.com has contact information for both of us.
That’s the best place.
That’s how you’ll find us.
It’s been an absolute blast. We could keep going forever but we all have things to do.
We have stories to tell.
About Brian Kruger
Brian Kruger grew up in Ypsilanti taught at Ypsilanti High School in the 1980’s. He was part of the Ypsilanti-based comedy group, Stunt Johnson Theater, and they headlined around the country working with legendary comics like the Smothers Brothers and Rich Little. He moved to Grosse Pointe in 1998 and founded the software company, Woodwing USA. Woodwing developed a system for magazine publishers to create virtual publications in the cloud so writers and page designers could work collaboratively all over the world.
In 2009 he sold the company and started the film company, Stunt3 Multimedia to make historical documentaries. Since then, he as produced 9 feature-length documentary films, two of which have garnered Emmy nominations: His first film, “The Girl in Centerfield” which he made with fellow Ypsilantian, writer Buddy Moorehouse, chronicled Ypsilanti’s Carolyn King, who as a 12-year-old in 1973, fought for the right for girls to play Little League.
In 2011, Kruger and Moorehouse wrote “Black and Blue- The story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game” told the story about Georgia Tech demanding that Michigan bench it’s only African American player, before it would take the field against the Wolverines in 1934. Last year, Kruger screened his film, “Where the Brave Dare to Tread- The Bob Arvin Story” about Ypsilanti’s own Captain C. Robert Arvin, West Point First Captain in 1965 who was killed in Vietnam in 1967.
He is currently working on “The Torch Murders” the story of a shocking crime here in Ypsilanti in 1931, that had national reverberations. That film is set to release in March and he is here to talk about that today.
Connect with Brian:
About Buddy Moorehouse
Buddy Moorehouse is a longtime journalist and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker from Michigan. His films have appeared on ABC, PBS, Fox Sports Detroit, and the MLB Network. He’s also the Vice President of Public Relations and Media for the Michigan charter school association and teaches a class on documentary filmmaking at Hillsdale College.
Connect with Buddy: