Two guys from Los Angeles show up in Oklahoma City because they’re going to shoot a music documentary.
It’s not a joke; it’s how “Chevy Bricktown Showcase” got started.
The mini-documentary series, which recently began its second season, features two local artists per episode playing tunes at Bricktown locations like RedPin Restaurant & Bowling Lounge, then interviewing each other.
L.A.-based Tommy Smeltzer and Kevin Muir have been in and around film and music for years, and they were tapped to shoot the show, as Smeltzer’s sister lives in Oklahoma.
They had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
“I’ve been really impressed with the quality of music here,” Muir said. “I’m from Athens, Ga., and I had no idea what we’d find. I was amazed.”
But they didn’t just sit back and marvel. They got down to work, turning out 26 episodes in the first season. The second season recently started, and you can watch the new episodes each Friday at WelcomeToBricktown.com and at YouTube.com/ChevyBricktown.
Smeltzer said there’s a charm to them that isn’t found in other docs.
“The interview stops being an interview about two minutes in, and they get lost in the conversation,” he said. “It’s not that much different than a watercooler conversation. It’s their version of the water cooler.”
Most often, the musicians compare notes on their experiences.
“Our goal is to shine a light on the working-class, middle-class musician. We want to show that it’s a valid line of work,” Smeltzer said, “and it is work — not sloth and debauchery.”
It also shines a light on Bricktown. “One of the artists, Ryan Lawson, said it best: ‘There are tons of people who would say that Oklahoma City is boring, but you’re just not looking hard enough,’” Smeltzer said. “Every night of the week, there is something happening.”
According to the filmmakers, even with the Bricktown backdrop, it’s the subjects that shine through, due to the unique nature of the project.
“We said, ‘Let’s get rid of the host,’” Smeltzer said.
Added Muir, “We’re telling this story from an insider perspective, not an outsider perspective.”
That creates an avenue to get to know musicians in new and deeper ways than just music.
“I hope the show drives people to artists, which will drive people to a show, which will drive them to Bricktown,” Smeltzer said.
The call to action is the bottom line on why Smeltzer and Muir are looking forward to their contracted third season.
“You watch the show to remind yourself that there’s some living to do out there,” Smeltzer said.