A&E’s two-part Biography event “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On” offers an intimate look into the country music superstar’s life. Director Al Szymanski explains why the project was a stand-out experience. (Documentary premieres December 2 and 3 at 9p.)
What attracted you to the project?
Music is a major part of my life; both as a voracious listener and as a passionate fan of live performance. I’ve done all kinds of shows on all sorts of subjects, but I’ve never had the opportunity to work on a project focused on music, or a musician.When the Garth Brooks project presented itself, I felt like I’d found one of those Golden Tickets.
In an environment where viewers have so many choices, how do you make a show stand out from the pack?
It’s all about the storytelling. You can dress a production up with slick graphics, effects, camerawork – try to fool the audience with sparkly beads – but if the storytelling is uninspired or confusing or predictable, you’re screwed.
Personally, I never think about making a show that will “stand out” while I’m in the process of making the show. I do think about the people I meet along the way – subjects and crew – and I try to make sure that when the work is done and we move on, when I look into my metaphorical rearview mirror those people are smiling and waving … not flipping me off.
What will viewers be surprised to learn about Garth Brooks?
He has three amazing daughters. This is the first time Taylor, August and Allie have appeared on camera and talked about their father. I was blown away by how poised, smart and well-spoken they are. If it’s fair to judge a person based on the children they raise, then Garth is one Helluva’ guy.