published Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Curtain Call: Eric Church movie showcases local writer

Roger Vaughn snapped this photograph of country star Eric Church during shooting of a 30-minute movie inspired by Church's song "Springsteen."
Contributed photo by Roger Vaughn
Roger Vaughn snapped this photograph of country star Eric Church during shooting of a 30-minute movie inspired by Church's song "Springsteen." Contributed photo by Roger Vaughn


Hometown: Chattanooga.

Education: Chattanooga High School, UTC.

Age: 45.

Vocation: Creative director, The Johnson Group.

Roger Vaughn, a creative director at The Johnson Group, is no stranger to a production studio. His video work with companies like Krystal has been seen regionally.

This weekend, however, Vaughn's work will be seen by potentially millions of country music fans when "Mixtape: A Film Inspired by the Song 'Springsteen'" premieres on CMT.

The half-hour short film was shot in March, and Vaughn served as the writer and co-producer. It was directed by Peter Zavadil. Over the years, Vaughn said, he has developed a relationship with Zavadil while working on numerous commercials.

Zavadil also has directed music videos, and it was his idea to something more with "Springsteen," a song co-written by country star and recent Riverbend headliner Eric Church.

"Peter is not only an acclaimed commercial director, but he has also directed a lot of high-profile country music videos. He's worked with everyone, and a few years ago he got hooked up with Eric Church," Vaughn said.

Zavadil directed the last three Church videos. When he noticed the positive attention that "Springsteen" got after its release, he pitched to Church's label the idea of shooting a video and something special.

"He pitched it and then called me and asked if I wanted to write a movie," Vaughn said. Vaughn did not need a lot of persuasion.

"The idea revolves around a mixtape and the idea that some songs bring back a memory," Vaughn said. "We came up with a story that we could tell that would dovetail with Eric's song."

"'Sringsteen' is about how certain songs can trigger a memory.

The movie is set in a small town in a time that is in the past but not specified.

"It's about a group of kids, and there is a love triangle. One of the guys makes a mixtape in hopes of getting the girl," Vaughn said.

Vaughn said filming was done in Murfreesboro for the parts that include Church and the rest was shot in Elgin, Texas, near Austin, where Zavadil lives.

"We didn't change much from the original script except some ad lib lines that were better than what we wrote and we found some holes or spots where we realized we could use some more of Eric's songs," Vaughn said.

The "Springsteen" video has been out for several weeks and peaked at No. 1 on the country charts. The song also reached the top. The movie will be shown on CMT Saturday at 10:15 a.m. and at 8:15 a.m. Sunday and will then be available at

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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