SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It may not be a profession like medicine or the law, but it does take some thought to become a professional pogo-ist.
“i like to say stunt comedian,” says Chadd Dietz… more widely known as “Wacky Chad.”
“You know, I do street performing too as well. That’s kind of like the art form, busking, where you ask for tips at the end of your show… I ended up just kind of like ‘Oh, this is really fun.’ So as soon as I ended up making money, I was like ‘I don’t need to get a job.’”
Freelance filmmaker Isaac Dietz has been following his brother Chadd’s journey for more than a decade. As glamorous as show biz might seem, neither career guarantees a big payday. “We had like 20 dollars in our bank,” says Isaac, “And we’d be like ‘Hey, can you just send me like ten dollars so I don’t get an overdraft fee?’”
Pogo stick stunts have taken Chadd Dietz from the south side of Syracuse around the world and to national TV. He largely taught himself how to turn flips. “Like he was one of the first five people in the world to learn how to do that, so there wasn’t like YouTube tutorials on how to do that,” says his younger brother Isaac.
The idea of a documentary never entered their minds years ago, when Isaac started recording Chadd’s early classroom visits and other appearances. But after capturing thousands of hours of performance footage, they realized that “Becoming Wacky Chad” might be a story worth telling.
Chadd helped assemble some of the footage, using his intimate knowledge of his pogo routines. “I would always edit the footage as though I was editing a promo video. Like, all the best stuff, not the story like this is like… So he would kind of drill into me, Like, ‘Hey, no, I want to show these things,’ and I was like ‘I don’t wanna show that!’”
After more than ten years of work, the film was finally finished earlier this year. “We were getting into other film festivals like the LA Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival,” says Isaac. “But we were like ‘Has Syracuse accepted us??’ Because we really wanted to be able to show our friends.”
They get their chance, when “Becoming Wacky Chad” premieres here at home with a screening at the Syracuse International Film Festival on Saturday, October 23rd at 1:00 p.m. at the Redhouse on South Salina Street in downtown Syracuse.
You can find out more about the film and watch the complete trailer at BecomingWackyChad.com.
The 18th Syracuse International Film Festival gets underway with a selection of festival films on the stations of WCNY on Monday, October 18th. In-person screenings and guest appearances begin on Friday, October 22nd at the Redhouse, with additional screenings at Syracuse University’s Shemin Auditorium (in the Shaffer Art Building off the Quad) on Sunday, October 24th. Check out the complete schedule of films and speakers at SyracuseFilmFest.com.