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FREE HANDS FRIDAY featured guest Dan Chapman

Free Hands Friday (FHF) is a weekly interview session started by Gene Perry. This 56:15 minute session streamed on 3/14/14, focuses on EMMETT – the documentary, featuring Dan Chapman interviewed by Jim Reilly.

If you watch this, it will explain a lot…

With Q & A, personal pix and clips, I share my thoughts on process, new directions and what it’s like making your first feature film during The Great Recession.

The Google Hangouts forum doesn’t exactly do justice to my clips or audio. This medium is so low rez that it makes that part a little hard to watch. I think the ideas come across anyway.

A couple clarifications:

I say “I dropped out of music school and became an artist.” What I meant to say is that I switched majors in college, from a music major to an art major. Coming from the pop/rock world, I didn’t sight read music, so I felt too far behind all those classically-trained students who could.

Describing the vintage accordion shot as “Emmett and three brothers,” I misspoke. It shows Em with two brothers Jerry and Ronny. I wasn’t born at the time that picture was taken.

Upon watching it again, I realize I didn’t fully answer Russell’s question. My goal for the end product is a full release which includes theatrical, broadcast, DVD and VOD/online sales.

The hour went by very fast. I had so much more to show that time didn’t allow. I didn’t get to play that segment entitled “To be or not to be.”

Thanks for the participation and heartfelt questions by Russell Keating, Matt Tate and Dean Pascarella. I’m so happy Jim Reilly could host.which he did excellently despite having broken his collarbone playing hockey a couple days earlier!!! Talk about pain. What a trouper! I’m very grateful.

Emmett Stick Setup

Emmett Chapman has been making The Stick for 45 years, since 1969 at the time of Woodstock. In this picture from 10/17/10, Em is sets up one of his six thousand wood instruments in his upstairs office, taken from my photo session for Bob Culbertson’s book.

Emmett on one of his many Stick setups


EMMETT – This is a story of good old-fashoined American Stick-to-itiveness – And how one man’s desire led to a discovery that would transcend national boundaries.

Happy Independents Day, Emmett! You are the most independent person I have ever known.

Emmett in his Stick making shop circa 1980. A converted basement garage of his home in Laurel Canyon.

Screening “EMMETT” at STICK NIGHT Bel Air

I’m happy to invite all my friends to the coolest event. Open to the public.

STICK NIGHT Bel Air is the culmination of a three-day seminar put on by Free Hands Academy. It’s in Bel Air just off Mulholland Drive and has been planned for the 24th this month. Learn more here:

I’m proud have been asked to show my 42 minute docu-in-progress at this beautiful outdoor venue with a Q&A following the screening. The event features solo performances by five distinct players, all with completely different styles, who play The Stick. I’d like to encourage anyone who knows me to come see what I’ve been up to during the seven years that I’ve been working on my still unfinished documentary. Welcome one and all. – Dan Chapman

$10 donation at the gate or call 858-386-9384 or

VIRGINIA SPLENDORE in memorium 1/10/65 – 5/8/11

This is a video I made with Virna Splendore, who is a bellisima persona. We arranged a Skype interview on 7/17/10 from her rustic studio in Casaprota, in the hills above Rome to me in Los Angeles. I shot her also at the World Stick Concert in San Jose 2003. She is a rare human being and she plays a rare musical intrument, The Stick. She will be deeply missed. With much love lost so tragically and needlessly. — Dan Chapman

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Emmett - a documentary by Dan Chapman

This is a documentary about my brother, who has been a role model for me all my life. Thousands of people in many countries have also been influenced and inspired by him. This film is a window into an unusual creative community. The Stick has been used by groups like Aerosmith, King Crimson, Santana, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Robbie Robertson, Paula Cole, Tangerine Dream, The Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soliel, among many more from around the planet. – Dan