Gary Davis is ready to unveil his second feature film, but will somebody -- anybody -- please just let the guy write the music for a major motion picture? "You need to create your own opportunities," declares the 43-year-old Royal Palm Beach filmmaker/pianist/composer/martial arts instructor. And so he has. Writing music for his own movies, he ventures, will pave the way to composing for a big-budget Hollywood flick.
Davis' She's a Spy Too?, the second feature-length movie made by the admitted James Bond freak, premieres tonight (Thursday) in West Palm Beach. (It follows He's a Spy? from earlier this year.) "I have all of the James Bond film scores from John Barry," Davis says of the English composer, noting one of his inspirations to write film music.
A pianist since age twelve and the nephew of renowned jazz organist Richard "Groove" Holmes, Davis was managing local fast-food restaurants until three years ago. "That taught me how to be the businessman behind my movies," he claims. He is already everything else behind his films: writer, producer, director, and -- of course -- music composer.He even stepped in front of the lens for a cameo in He's a Spy?
As for the new film, Davis notes that "it was shot in Palm Beach County by a bunch of volunteers, up-and-coming actors. It's not a low-budget movie but a no-budget movie." Footage for the action-espionage thriller about a tangled web of Navy intelligence officers and CIA operatives was shot and edited with camcorders and VCRs. "It was all done with machine-to-machine editing," Davis reveals. Still, today's consumer equipment is a giant step up from what Davis used for his early film doodlings back in his hometown of Camden, New Jersey: a mid-Sixties Brownie movie camera purchased with Christmas money. By age eleven, he reminisces, he and his friends were shooting their own monster movies.
These days the third-degree black belt in karate makes movies while balancing his schedule teaching martial arts, spending time with his wife and daughter, and doing his weekly cable TV show He. The weekly half-hour local entertainment program -- which airs every Friday at 5:30 p.m. on Channel 44 in Palm Beach County -- was the genesis for the Spy movies. When Davis received a rash of media attention regarding the original fifteen-minute version of He's a Spy? -- taped for the TV show -- he decided to expand it to a full-length feature.
"The movies for me are a way to escape from reality, and science interests me," observes Davis, whose father was an electronics technician. "And though they're not really science fiction, I love all of the high tech gadgets in the Bond movies: the cars, the mechanical things. And John Barry's music."