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While working on another documentary in upstate New York, I came across a peculiar individual. I was shooting inside a hotel when a long hair, bell-bottom and concert T-shirt wearing guy walked in. He just didn’t fit the aesthetic inside the hotel and I was immediately drawn to him. There was something about his unique apparel and cool and collected persona that made me want to talk to him.
After striking up a conversation, I discovered the man, Alex Rodriguez, collected records for a living. It’s not something normal you hear everyday, but Alex isn’t an everyday normal man. He travels around America, looking for rare and very much sought-after records for a living. How amazing is that? I was also taken aback by Alex’s passion for, and encyclopedic knowledge of, vinyl and all genres of music. I just knew I could sit down and talk to him for hours, so we agreed to reconnect when we were both back home in Los Angeles and talk further.
After meeting Alex, I had a lot of time to think about our encounter and ideas flooded into my head on a daily basis, leading up to when we finally met up and reconnected in Los Angeles. There, I explained to him how most of my past work was in the social action space, but that I always loved music and was very interested in exploring it more. I continued by telling him that I wanted to dive deep into his story and proposed joining him on his next record collecting trip to and document his journey across America. Surprisingly, Alex was immediately in, but stipulated there was one catch: we’d have to leave in a week.
Now, I am the father of four and my wife had just gone back to work for the first time in almost a decade. It was also the beginning of a new school year. Timing is often not typically on my side and this project was no different. But there was something about this I couldn’t deny was special. I sat with my family to discuss the vision for this film and asked for their blessing. I also had to convince my business partners of the venture and corral a group of misfit crew of filmmakers to pull it all off. I’m happy to say everything worked out. About a week later, we were on the road, traveling the country, immersed in vinyl culture, creating Record Safari.
At the time, it was hard to know if I was making an impulsive mistake or intuitively seizing the moment with this opportunity. Alex and others in his profession have a contagious passion that immediately struck me as a story worth sharing and it didn’t take long before I was completely assured that I made the right decision. Whether you’re a vinyl fan now, have been in the past, I’m confident this road trip documentary will inspire you to become one, as it did me.
-Vincent Vittorio, Producer & Director