Discover more from Flashlight & A Biscuit
On college, memories, football and damn good burgers
Or: 'Hey, we made a documentary!'
There’s something about college football Saturdays in America that defies any attempt at rational explanation. Yes, every weekend hundreds of institutions of higher learning send their finest athletes to challenge one another for three hours (four with commercials). But the feeling, the energy, the vibe, the spirit, the soul of those Saturdays is magnificent, a shot of joy and warmth and adrenaline that you mainline for four years as a student … and then spend the rest of your life chasing.
The tribal element of college football is seductive as hell; throw in with the Dawgs or the Tigers or the Badgers or the Buckeyes, and you have a ready-made family that’s got your back in every sports bar on earth. And the price of entry is the right t-shirt.
Every college has its share of iconic venues, must-visit stops for visitors and must-remember touchstones for alumni — hey, wait a second, that would make a good crowdsource question:
What’s THE must-visit restaurant or bar at your alma mater?
So, back to the point. The go-to in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a diner called Rama Jama’s, a refurbished gas station located literally in the shadow of the towering Bryant-Denny Stadium. Rama Jama’s is packed full of Tide memorabilia, from photos to helmets to balls to lockers to name plates to programs. You look around at all this vast history tinged with a faint hint of burger grease, and you think, “Somebody ought to tell the story of this place.”
Well, somebody now has:
I’m very proud to present “Family Album: The Rama Jama’s Story,” the first collaboration between me and esteemed filmmaker Logan Busbee (who, coincidentally enough, is my son). We hatched the idea of telling the Rama Jama’s story one day while we were having biscuits and looking at all the memorabilia on the walls, and a year or so later, here we are.
We filmed the interviews and many of the outdoor sequences back in April during A-Day, Alabama’s spring offense-vs.-defense football game, which is why the stands look a little more sparse than they do against LSU or Auburn. Then Logan did pickups this fall during actual 2023 gameday weekends, which is why there are Ole Miss fans in the video and not Auburn or Georgia ones.
Along the way, we secured the approval of Rama Jama’s to film within, around and even on top of the restaurant:
And then it was just a matter of editing the interviews, storyboarding the whole piece, obtaining legal rights to use the music, writing the script and doing voiceovers, color-grading the images, filing down the sound, mixing the whole thing together, sending it to YouTube and promoting the damn thing. No big.
Along the way, we discovered about 800 different moments when we realized, “Yeah … we should have prepared for that,” whether it was a missing shot, an unasked question or an incredibly ill-timed car with bowel-rearranging bass rumbling right as our interview subject was saying a trailer-worthy line. Plus, we need to get our hands on a high-quality drone. Like, really.
One last note: friends, if you ever get the opportunity to create something with your kid, I highly recommend giving it a go. Watching your kid create and come up with ideas that are better than yours is an incredibly thrilling and rewarding experience. Here’s a pic of us at work:
Yeah, we probably need to take a more recent photo.
Thanks for watching our work, and for hanging out here. If you enjoy “Family Album” half as much as we enjoyed making it, it’ll be time well spent. See you next weekend, friends!
Land Cat, Georgia
This is issue #108 of Flashlight & A Biscuit. Check out all the past issues right here. Feel free to email me with your thoughts, tips and advice. If you’re new around here, jump right to our most-read stories, or check out some of our recent hits:
History hidden in plain sight in Williamsburg, Virginia
Power-ranking the foods of the State Fair of Texas
I tried Chick-Fil-A’s Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich and lived to tell the tale
What does “Flashlight & A Biscuit” mean, anyway?
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