About real southern men

Instructing you in the finer points of Southernness since 2011.

A Little Love from Southern Living

Guess which film gets a mention in Southern Living’s new blog post about Elvis Week? That’s right. Right alongside news of interest to Elvis fans headed to Memphis for the 35th anniversary of The King’s death is the mention of Duke & The King’s upcoming screening at Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham.

What? You don’t know about our upcoming screening at Sidewalk?

It’s Saturday, August 25th at 5:30 pm. Afterward, Duke will perform at Sidewalk Central, an outdoor concert venue, with accompaniment by Kyle & Kenny of Dread Clampitt. It’s a night you shouldn’t miss.

And you don’t have to. Get tix here.

real southern men:

Days 3 & 4 of our Nashville experience:

Originally posted on Real Southern Men:

Follow RSMs Wayne Franklin and Kris Wheeler on their adventures as they take their film, Duke & The King, to the Nashville Film Festival.

Day three of our Nashville adventure was fairly uneventful. Family and friends rolled into town; Kris and I watched a number of other music docs; the growing sense of angst and trepidation churned in my stomach. If making a film is like having a baby, ours has emerged screaming from a six-year gestation. We think she’s a beaut, but there’s always that chance that when others see her, they’ll give a us a sigh and say, “bless your heart.” Nobody wants baby pity.

My lovely wife, Kelli, drove up from Birmingham to be with us for the weekend, hoping to take in the full festival experience. She and I co-founded Birmingham’s Sidewalk festival many moons ago, but we’ve never been on the filmmaker end of…

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real southern men:

Check out day two of our Nashville adventure:

Originally posted on Real Southern Men:

Read along as RSMs Wayne Franklin and Kris Wheeler take their film, Duke & The King, to its premiere at the Nashville Film Festival. If you missed day one of their journey, you can catch up here.

Day Two of our Nashville Film Festival experience begins with a free bacon buffet in the hotel. Reportedly, there were other breakfast foods present, even on my plate, but I couldn’t get past the words “free bacon.” Even though I suspect many of the filmmakers had been up late the night before, many are up bright and early for breakfast. We’re independent filmmakers, which means for the most part, we’re all also flat broke. Free food wins out over a hangover any day.

At breakfast, we run into Tony the Detroit filmmaker we had met the night before. We talked about each other’s films, swapped war stories and generally encouraged one…

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real southern men:

We’re blogging our way through the Nashville FIlm Festival. Check out Wayne’s first post over on Real Southern Men.

Originally posted on Real Southern Men:

For the next week RSMs Wayne Franklin and Kris Wheeler will be blogging their experiences as they take their film to the Nashville Film Festival.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell, in his seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, says that the hero of any good story must vanquish forces known as Threshold Guardians who seek to keep him from completing his quest.

On our little quest to complete our film and premiere it at this year’s Nashville Film Fest, our threshold guardians look like software glitches, shipping mishaps, lost hotel reservations and, most notably, a 1997 Ford Expedition with a bad timing chain and a 2002 Chevy TrailBlazer with a bad case of the engine coolant gurgles.

After one rental car, a pit stop atop Mount Eagle and much dang strummin’ (that’s my Twanglish version of the German phrase sturm und drang), we finally made it to our…

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Big News About Duke & The King!

We’re pleased (totally elated is probably a better way to put it) to share the following good news:

Duke & The King will make its World Premiere at the Nashville Film Festival this April! Out of nearly 3,000 films submitted this year, less than 200 films made the cut … and only a handful of music documentaries. We feel very honored (and humbled) to be featured at this year’s festival!

The film will be part of the Music Films / Music City competition sponsored by Gibson. It will also be part of the overall documentary competition in the festival. We couldn’t be more excited to have this film, which we believe captures a fascinating slice of American music history, premiere in Music City, USA.

We want to thank all of you for the kind words of encouragement and support you’ve offered us as we’ve labored to complete this project!

We are especially grateful to our many Kickstarter campaign backers! YOUR generosity helped make this film (and dream) a reality!

And last, but of course not least, we want to thank Duke Bardwell for putting up with us and allowing us the privilege to share his compelling story — and musical gifts — with the world! We love Unca Duke!

So, mark your calendars for the week of April 19-26. You’re all invited to the premiere!

We will be posting more details as they become available. In the meantime, sign up for our mailing list so we can keep you in the loop on all the latest news.

24 Hours to Go!

After what seems like six years – as opposed to the actual six weeks – our Kickstarter campaign for Duke & The King is winding down in 24 hours.

We’ve been humbled, flummoxed, amazed and delighted at the process. For every person who has financially backed the film via this campaign, at least twenty more have told us how impressed they are with this project and how much they want to see it completed. In short, you guys have got our back … and that’s a great feeling.

Thank you all for putting up with the incessant tweets, blog posts and status updates from us as we tried to get the word out to everyone we could about the film. We know you have high expectations for the finished film, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that the film is as close to perfect as possible.

Until we meet at the premiere, keep Taking Care of Business!

If you want to get in a last-minute pledge, please click over to the Kickstarter page.

One Week to Go!

Specially framed "Bayou Country" single and promotional pic - autographed by Duke!

As of the writing of this post, there is just under one week to go in our Kickstarter campaign for Duke & The King. (Thirty minutes less than one week, to be precise.) What a ride it’s been!

We’ve had great weeks and slow weeks, days where we felt like kings of documentary cinema and days where we felt invisible. All in all, it’s been worth every moment for the things we’ve learned, the people we’ve met, the connections we’ve made and the groundwork we’ve laid for not only this film, but for Bayou Country, which will follow it.

If you haven’t backed the film yet, there’s no better time than right now.


Well, for starters, when we get six more backers at $100 or higher, we’ll give away a brand new iPad 2. That’s a 1 in 27 chance you’ll get an iPad. PLUS, you get all the rewards that come with your backer level. How’s that for a good reason?

Another reason: limited edition rewards. We’ve got collectibles for Elvis fans, Cold Gritz fans and for people who want boots hand-picked by Duke just for you … and autographed by the man himself.

And don’t forget about our production services rewards. You can get the services of Self-Proclaimed Entertainment (that’s us) for your commercial, music video, corporate film … heck, we’ll even do a really fancy wedding! In the process, you’ll save over $5,000. That’s nothing to sneeze at … unless you’re allergic to saving money.

So why wait? Click on over now and join our Royal Family!  There’s only a week left, after all!


We’re giving away an iPad!

iPad wordmark.

Image via Wikipedia

We’ve decided to sweeten the pot a bit for our backers. As of now, we have seven backers at the Baron level ($100) or higher. When we get a total 20 more at those levels, we will randomly draw one name to receive a free iPad in addition the rewards of their backer level. One in 27 odds of winning an iPad is not too shabby. I don’t know the specifics of the iPad other than it’s new … and it’s an iPad!

Click over to our Kickstarter project page to pick your backer level (Baron or higher, remember?) and get your name in the hat.

Kickstarter Says We’re Noteworthy

Duke & The King is New & Noteworthy

Our first 24 hours on Kickstarter couldn’t have gone much better. We came out of the gates like a house afire with backers snapping up rewards like hotcakes – to mix about a thousand metaphors. Everyone seems to be enjoying the preview of the film as well.

Apparently, someone at Kickstarter took notice as the film showed up front and center on their Discover page, under the New & Noteworthy heading. This is the page where anyone interested can start their browsing of projects seeking funding. It’s something of a place of honor, and we definitely were … honored, that is.

If you haven’t perused our list of rewards or watched the film preview, check it out. You won’t regret it.