Nerdcore rapper Raheem Jarbo (a.k.a. Mega Ran) recently announced the “Director’s Cut” edition of his autobiographical documentary, “Mega-Lo-Mania.” The film focuses on Mega Ran’s personal story, his recent tour with soul/funk band, The Lo Classics, and his performance at PAX.
Directed by Mike Cardoza,“Mega-Lo-Mania,” has already been the recipient of two successful Kickstarter campaigns, and was originally edited and cut for a total run-time of about 40 minutes. This being the musician’s first steps into the film making world, he and his associates were unaware that most retailers and festivals required films be around 60 minutes long to consider them for sales or shows. The second Kickstarter campaign dedicated itself to funding the “Director’s Cut” edition that expanded the total run-time. More performance footage, additional interviews, and more in-depth explanations of the history of the chiptune/nerdcore musical movement were included to lengthen the documentary.
Megan Ran was kind enough to sit down with us and discuss a bit more about his jaunt into the film industry, and shed some insight into his personal feelings on his career.
Jesse Tannous: What was your main motivation for starting a documentary about your life, career, and the music you and your fellow artists perform?
Mega Ran: I tell my story on stage in different cities, states, and countries all year long, and time after time, someone comes up to me and says “you should put this on film.” I didn’t know a director, so when I finally met one, Mike Cardoza, and he made the same suggestion that all these other people did, I knew it was time to make it happen. I feel like our story as indie guys who travel all over, our ups and downs and our major successes are totally something that people can be inspired by. So we got to work.
JT: Based on your most recent Kickstarter campaign for the “Director’s Cut” edition of your documentary it seems like you had some pretty big surprises when it came to the film industry. What surprised you the most?
MR: It was the cost of everything. I mean, getting your film distributed alone costs more than creating an album. I just had no idea. Everyone who reviews films wants to be paid, every festival you want to submit to wants pay, it’s like everyone knows how expensive a film is to make, so they figure if you have the capital to do it, you have more to pay people to distribute, advertise or promote it. It’s ridiculous. Even if I had 10 million dollars, I don’t think I’d pay $100 for a cheeseburger…. I mean, it’d have to be a REALLY GOOD cheeseburger. But these promotional avenues, we don’t even know if they’re good, they just charge an arm and a leg to weed out the not so serious inquiries. It’s rough.
JT: Did these unexpected challenges turn you off from doing more films in the future? If not, what may viewers still be in store for?
MR: I don’t know if I will for a while, it just takes so much money to do a film, and to do it right…so for now I’ll be sticking with albums, since I know how to create those. I’d have to come up with another great theme for a movie first.
JT: After all the time, money, and effort you and your associates put into this film, was it worth it? Any specific reason why?
MR: Oh it’s been worth it, to be able to add “film maker” to the resume is amazing… the film is great, the people have been pleased in the places we’ve screened it, and the story is told in an amazing way. Totally worth it.
JT: You left a career as a teacher to pursue your musical career. Do you feel like you have something to teach through your music? If so, what?
MR: More than anything, I feel like I want to teach people that hard work can go a long way, and that life can change your trajectory at the blink of an eye. My story in itself is an example of perseverance and triumph, and giving the world something that it didn’t have before…I feel like that’s all every musician wants. So I want to teach the listener that they can change the world with an idea, and with action.
Interested viewers can pre-order “Mega-Lo-Mania: The Director’s Cut” from Mega Ran’s official website, as well as sample or subscribe to his latest album releases.