RIFF Movies Archive

A Clown Short of Destiny

United States, 2005, 24P HD, 24P Standard Def, Mini DV, High 8. VHS, SVHS - Color - 115

Chad Calek

Cory "C-Bone" Brown, Ryan Barrier, Alexis Bassett, Joe Ansley, Chad Calek, Curt Smith, Mark Adelman, Snoop Dogg, Nick Hexum, Sean "Slug" Daley

Chad Calek

Chad Calek, Justin Holstein


In 1995, filmmakers Justin Holstein and Chad Calek began documenting Calek’s band, 35 Inch Mudder, attempting to “make it big” as a band from Des Moines, Iowa.In a town that originally lacked an original live music venue, an illegal radio station war erupted, which pitted Calek’s 35 Inch Mudder against a band named Slipknot. Slipknot would go onto sell millions of records worldwide, becoming the most successful metal band on the planet, while 35 Inch Mudder emerged as the leader of the Des Moines, Iowa local music scene, a scene that many national publications dubbed “The Next Seattle”.But in a very short time, Slipknot would do the unthinkable by launching a bizzare campaign to discredit and destroy their hometown music scene, leaving friends and fellow bands confused, shocked and appalled by Slipknot’s actions. Without a voice to respond to the worldwide media attack launched by Slipknot, the Des Moines music scene, in less than two years, went from being one of the most promising young music scenes ever…to a shadow of what it once was. Slipknot’s plan worked to near perfection.But they forgot one thing. They forgot that Calek and Holstein’s cameras were rolling… the entire time.

From being the driving force of a nationally known Midwest rock band to producing his first feature film at the age of 22, the story of Chad Michael Calek is one of determination and resolve – attributes that are reinforced through a rare combination of business sense and artistic vision. Today, his company, True Player Entertainment, is dedicated to bringing innovation and originality to the entertainment industry.As a student at Iowa State University (ISU), Calek was hired by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Gartner, former NBC president and editor of the Des Moines Register. Under Gartner’s aegis, Calek carefully honed his writing skills while also becoming the “voice” of ISU through his freelance writing for the student newspaper. His talents were quickly noticed by USA Today, which consequently published several of Calek’s columns for their national college readership in “USA Today On Campus”.Concurrently, Calek was pursuing his love of music by becoming the bassist for35” Mudder, the nationally-known Midwest rock/rap band that is credited with putting the Midwest music scene on the map. Mudder’s first single rocketed to #9 nationally at college and metal radio stations in only eight weeks, which led to the band showcasing their explosive live show to over a dozen major record labels in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.Calek’s leadership of the band resulted in sold-out shows in nearly every venue in and around Des Moines, Iowa, from city halls to stadiums and arenas – as well as opening engagements for platinum acts ranging from Limp Bizkit to Motley Crue. The band’s efforts and its impact on the Midwest music scene were chronicled and applauded in a SPIN MAGAZINE, HITS MAGAZINE, REQUEST MAGAZINE, and other regional and national publications.Not content with his accomplishments to date however, Calek began collaborating on a screenplay, “The Private Public”, a story of the difficult price of maintaining honor and integrity in a college setting. He also moved from being “in” a band, to recognizing the need for expert and caring management that could champion unknown talents through the music and recording industry. The result was a period of accelerated and extended growth for Calek and his fledgling company.At the age of 22, he single-handedly raised the majority of all funds necessary to transform “The Private Public”, which is also the first script Calek had ever written, from paper into a feature film – while also personally recruiting stars from MTV’s “The Real World”, “Baywatch” and other venues to star in the effort. Calek also recruited Dana Altman, who is the grandson of famed director Robert Altman, to direct the independent feature film. Through hard work and determination, by the age of 24, “The Private Public” was bought by Showtime (and is currently airing worldwide on the famed cable station), and was released internationally on DVD by Ardustry Home Entertainment.As he also took on management of selected emerging bands, Calek realized the need to be headquartered in Los Angeles. With his company being officially incorporated and funded in 2001 with the help of his business partner and aunt, a former Fortune 500 executive, Calek set out in for the West Coast to establish True Player as a presence in the Los Angeles area. He was laterCALEK BIO - Page 2joined by his wife, Laura, his high school sweetheart of 15 years who today teaches first grade in the Malibu school system.It was this move that placed him in the epicenter of the entertainment industry where he quickly began carving out a reputation as an emerging leader. With a growing stable of bands under management in partnership with Curt Smith of “Tears for Fears” (who had years earlier taken 35” Mudder under management), Calek’s also began producing and directing cutting-edge music videos, which have appeared on MTV, MTV2, The Box and FUSE. At any one time, True Player has a number of music video projects underway for bands throughout the U.S. and in Canada.One of True Player’s most prominent bands, Index Case, was singed by No Name/Elektra in 2003, then Mortal/Universal in 2005 and is now on a nationwide tour. Index Case also appeared in one of Calek’s Gen-X style commercials for Mountain Dew and Pepsi, which have been aired and seen throughout the United States. But still hanging onto his burning need to create his own music, Calek began work on his first solo record, known as “In A Crowded Room”. After three years of writing and recording, the “In A Crowded Room” record, which Calek wrote, produced, sang, mastered, mixed and played every instrument on, is set for a 2006 release.Throughout this period of company and personal growth, Calek continued his film production developments and accomplishments. “A Clown Short of Destiny”, Calek’s most recent film prodject, is a documentary detailing the triumphs and travails of emerging bands as they reach for the top of the music scene – the result of hands-on film footage taken during 10 years on the road and behind industry scenes. The film explores and showcases the sometimes brutal and real truths of the recording industry, including the questionable actions of Slipknot, a band from Des Moines that has become the most popular rock band in the world today. The film has already generated interest from distributors and the film festival industry.Filming is also currently being completed on “44 Core”, the story of the fierce and intensely competitive subculture of men’s slow pitch softball. “44 Core” – the specification for the weight of a softball, tells the story of players who are obsessed in their search for the ultimate victory as a measure of greatness in their lives. With well over 10 million players in the multi-million dollar softball industry, the film will also reach anyone who has long held onto the vision or a dream of “being the best”.As he continues to lead and establish True Player as the home of independent film and music, Calek – a product of the Midwest who was born Eglin Airforce Base in in Florida – is committed to the highest in professional and artistic standards. With P.T. Anderson, Spike Lee and Wes Anderson as his favorite directors, and “Election”, “Magnolia”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “Bottle Rocket” and “Do the Right Thing” as his top film choices, he has set a high level for his accomplishments.But supported by his wife and and his other love of his life, his two dogs – Capone, an English bulldog and Mr. Hobbs, a Staffordshire/Labrador mix – along with his extended network of working partners and relationships, Chad Calek is sure to continue his unbreakable and successful track record. With his writing, music and creative abilities supported by a dedicated work and business ethic, Calek intends make True Player a positive force of change in the industry today.




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