The Jon Bon Jovi Story”


Even should you’re not a Bon Jovi superfan (which director Gotham Chopra and producer/editor Alex Trudeau Viriato positively are actually), Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story has one thing for you. The four-part sequence, now working on Hulu, is a lot greater than “just” the story of one of many greatest rock stars on this planet.  

Sure, for anybody who loves Bon Jovi the band or Jon Bon Jovi the person, the episodes are bursting with iconic moments and beforehand unseen gems. But there’s a lot extra to it past chronicling an illustrious profession. At its core, it is a story about belief, laborious work, endurance, and resilience. It’s additionally about household—the type you’re associated to by blood and the type you’re sure to by sweat and tears.

In this installment of Made in Frame, we’re honored to have been invited into the method of constructing this extraordinary sequence by the crew behind the digicam—in addition to by the person in entrance of it, Jon Bon Jovi.

Only in My Dreams

Pretty a lot each child who ever grew to become a rock star started by dreaming that sometime they might be like [insert idol here]. In the case of Jon Bon Jovi, the Led Zeppelin poster in his suburban New Jersey bed room represented the tantalizingly unimaginable. But one thing occurred within the Asbury Park music scene within the Nineteen Seventies. A brand new form of rock star emerged, a working-class poet, within the type of Bruce Springsteen and the musicians who fashioned the E-Street Band. As Bon Jovi says within the first episode, that’s when he realized that being a rock star could possibly be “possible.” 

Dreams, paired with want, are sometimes mistaken as the easy system to success. With this sequence, director Gotham Chopra and producer/editor Alex Trudeau Viriato dug deeply into the arduous street Jon Bon Jovi has traveled since his early teenagers to attain his well-earned recognition as one of many enduring greats of rock and roll. No spoilers: there is no such thing as a success with out severely laborious work, bumps within the street, and sudden detours. 

I Believe

Gotham, together with Tom Brady and Michael Strahan, is a co-founder of Religion of Sports, a manufacturing firm devoted to creating sports activities documentary content material. Among the greats whose tales Gotham has informed are Brady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Steph Curry, and plenty of extra.

Gotham directed and Alex edited the ESPN sequence Man within the Arena.

Jon Bon Jovi, who is aware of and admires Brady, sought Gotham out after watching the 2021 docuseries Man within the Arena, which Gotham directed and Alex edited. Bon Jovi was impressed with the best way they dealt with Brady’s story. “It was the ancillary stuff that Alex put into the edit that caught my eye because I’d known Tommy’s story,” he says. “I’m a huge Brady fan, but this took me on a subliminal journey with some of the ways that they technically were shooting this docuseries.”

So how does a sports activities documentarian pivot to telling the story of a rock legend? Consider this: elite rock stars are created from a lot the identical stuff as elite athletes. Playing tons of of multi-hour stadium exhibits a 12 months to tens of 1000’s of followers is, in some ways, no much less athletic a feat than enjoying a season that ends in a Super Bowl or an NBA championship. You might simply as precisely have titled the Bon Jovi sequence Man within the Arena.

When Bon Jovi and Gotham met in Los Angeles for the primary time, Bon Jovi knew he had discovered the suitable director to inform his story. “I thought, ‘There’s no need to meet with anyone else or discuss this any further with him.’ I put that trust in him, and I left it to them,” he says. “The creative control was in their hands. That was the wise thing to do, not be a producer, not to have a vanity piece, not to create a puff piece, to trust that they were going to do that.” 

“I make docs about human beings, incredible elite performers. This is now set in music, but in this case it’s very specifically the same thing,” Gotham says. “It’s a guy dealing with an injury, trying to come back and get to the place he once was. It’s a comeback doc. And the qualities that define Jon, like the anatomy of his greatness, are very analogous. What makes Jon special is his unwillingness to give up, his resilience, his endurance, his accountability as the leader of a team. So all of these things I see in Jon Bon Jovi, I see in Tom Brady, Steph Curry, all the athletes I’ve worked with.”

(You Want To) Make a Memory

Once awarded the venture, Gotham determined to place his personal band again collectively, selecting Alex as his key collaborator. “Alex is a gifted filmmaker and storyteller,” Gotham says. “As a director, I get a lot of the credit, but you’re only as good as the people you put around you. And I couldn’t choose anyone better than Alex as a producer and editor on this.” Alex likewise introduced his longtime assistant editor, Charles Farrell, onto the venture. 

Thank You, Goodnight begins on the very starting. Bon Jovi gave Alex and Gotham entry to his private library, which dated again to his childhood and early days as a excessive schooler performing his first gigs. Gotham additionally captured copious new interview and live performance footage with Bon Jovi, following the latest incarnation of the band by their restricted 15-show tour in 2022. He sought out present and former members of Bon Jovi to spherical out the story with different factors of view. Perhaps most notably, he elicited considerate and candid reflections from Richie Sambora, who discusses his time with Bon Jovi and his determination to depart. 

“Everybody has different memories of what happened, how it happened, and why it happened, because it’s all filtered through the lens of emotion. Trying to navigate what’s the truth or what’s the shared truth is a challenge,” Gotham says. “Then you have the new members of the band who came in under different circumstances, so it’s really an ensemble piece. And there really is no objective truth. It’s all subjective. Everybody has a different version, certainly when they’re recollecting it 30- or 40-plus years later. I’d say that was the biggest challenge—trying to do justice to everybody’s perspectives and memories.”

Originally, Bon Jovi had imagined that the sequence can be structured as one episode per decade. But actuality took him on one other journey—one which formed the sequence to be much more intimate. After the 2022 tour Bon Jovi determined to endure surgical procedure on an atrophied vocal wire. As the driving pressure of his band for 4 many years, the wear and tear and tear on his physique was greater than even his disciplined self-care regime might overcome. Gotham paperwork his determination to proceed and his street again in unflinching element, as Bon Jovi works by the in depth rehabilitation to regain his voice.

Jon Bon Jovi allowed Gotham (and, by extension, us) to see the actual man, at his highest highs and lowest lows. “I’m not afraid of opening an artery and saying, ‘Bleed,’” Bon Jovi says. “Let’s just show it all.”

Labor of Love

Showing all of it meant going by a lot of footage. “The explosion of the band coincided with the explosion of MTV and VH1, so the band was always covered by the media,” Gotham explains. “We had 40-plus years of incredible archives to sift through and make sense of to build that origin story.” Which meant that Alex and Charles had greater than 80 hours of archival footage to cull by—in all kinds of codecs—along with the newly filmed materials.

Alex watched each second of it. The two-year venture, which started in April of 2022, demanded the form of meticulous care that he and Gotham held themselves to—and knew Bon Jovi trusted them to ship. And because the footage got here in and the present-day story unfolded, the sequence took form in sudden methods, juxtaposing previous with current because the filmmakers found the themes and threads that tied the band collectively, or conspired to unravel it.

Although the method of constructing this present was painstaking, there have been a lot of components that made it much less daunting. For one, Alex and Charles have been working collectively in Premiere Pro utilizing the integration, a mixture Alex had already come to depend on throughout Man within the Arena, which was in post-production on the peak of the pandemic. 

Given the success of the distant workflow throughout that venture, Gotham, Alex, and Charles all felt comfy replicating it for this one. From a expertise standpoint, Alex and Charles have been in a position to simply entry cuts and property by utilizing Productions, a part of Premiere Pro. Likewise, Alex and Gotham have been in a position to simply share scenes and cuts by whereas Gotham was on the street with Bon Jovi, permitting them to at all times preserve shifting the venture ahead wherever Gotham may need been.

It’s My Life

If you have been to solely watch the MTV footage, Bon Jovi embodied the rock and roll dream with their adoring crowds in far-flung places and chart-topping singles. But as Alex and Gotham weave the current day interviews into the story, it turns into clear that being a member of Bon Jovi took a toll on every of them.

As they married and had youngsters, a few of them introduced their households on the street. Others skilled the guilt of absence or went by divorces. Most skilled burnout after seemingly infinite years of touring, craving for relaxation and a semblance of normalcy.

Bon Jovi was like a household—though within the early days, a wild one.

It’s a well-known situation for a lot of filmmakers, who maybe much less publicly and glamorously work lengthy hours within the pursuit of a inventive life. As was the case with the younger Bon Jovi, the selection to forfeit steadiness for achievement was a no brainer. Similarly, many (in the end profitable) younger filmmakers throw themselves headlong into initiatives that demand the identical form of single-minded dedication and focus. 

Until they aren’t as younger and wish to have households of their very own. Like Alex did. Now a father of three, Alex is obvious in regards to the significance of discovering the steadiness between a profitable profession and household life.

“It took months, maybe years to get that balance right, of when I could be accessible to my family and when I could not. Remote work is great in that you’re at home, but now you’re actually balancing your home life with your work life. I’m there to make dinner, I’m there to walk my kids to school, and I’m there to be engaged with them throughout the entire day, while making sure that when it’s time to work, that’s when I’m focused. But I can still be a dad, I can still do my job,” he says. “Just because you’re a filmmaker or you’re trying to make it in a very hard industry, doesn’t mean you need to put all that aside.”

Now you’re truly balancing your property life together with your work life. I get to see my children ten instances extra as a result of I’m working remotely. Adobe and have opened that world for us to do this.

During the pandemic, when distant work grew to become crucial, many individuals within the business bemoaned the dearth of in-person collaboration. As the pandemic waned, we entered a interval that we known as “the new normal.” Four years later, distant work is, in lots of instances, normal working process, with an increasing number of folks embracing the work-life steadiness it affords. 

And that’s largely as a result of the instruments assist distant workflows so seamlessly. “Adobe and have opened that world for us to do that,” Alex emphasizes. “At the end of the day, I get to see my kids ten times more because I’m working remotely.”

All I Want is Everything

But steadiness isn’t the endgame in itself. Because what it means for Alex is that when he’s happier, he’s extra inventive. He’s extra in a position to dedicate himself totally to his work through the hours he’s working as a result of he’s much less prone to have anxiousness about lacking out on household time. 


What’s even higher is that as a result of collaborating by advantages the whole course of, it in the end leads to a greater finish product. According to Gotham, “ is the most valuable tool probably in our entire process because it’s not just me and Alex. We have an incredible team surrounding us: assistant editors, producers, graphic designers. A big part of this film is the composer and the subject—who definitely had opinions and wanted to be involved. So was an invaluable tool to be able to share, make notes, and make sure we know who is making the notes. It’s a really critical tool in the evolution of the storytelling.”

Alex significantly cites the significance of music inside this venture. Although they judiciously used lots of the basic Bon Jovi songs, there have been additionally locations the place they wished one thing completely different. “Having Tico [Torres] on drums and David [Bryan] on the keyboard, it’s hard to hear when other people are talking. So you have to be really balanced about when you’re using a song to celebrate it or when you’re using a song to move a scene forward,” he explains. 

Gotham and Alex introduced composer Miles Hankins in to assist create the rating. “We didn’t always want rock and roll underneath Jon—we actually wanted something more cinematic,” Alex says. “It was about Jon going through his struggles in what we call the story of Jon today. It was completely separate and had its own identity. And we used live instruments, live recordings, to give it more of a raw, authentic feel.”

I’m rather more involved with capturing the emotion of a narrative earlier than you are worried in regards to the narrative. It’s, like, ‘How is this supposed to make me feel?’

Gotham, likewise, emphasizes the function that music performs within the reduce. “I give a lot of credit to Alex. The editors I really love to work with use music to find the pace, mood, and tone and then we edit to that. I’m much more concerned with capturing the emotion of a story before you worry about the narrative. It’s, like, ‘How is this supposed to make me feel?’”

It’s Complicated

And that’s the place it turns into particularly difficult. Retrospectively, you’ve got the historical past that was documented by mainstream media as a glitzy rock and roll pleasure trip. Contrasting with which might be the present-day interviews with band members, household, and associates who assist contextualize the previous.

And then you’ve got Jon Bon Jovi, who (for essentially the most half) willingly admits Gotham into his interior sanctum to seize a few of the rawest and most intimate moments of his present-day life. The belief therein is misplaced on neither Gotham nor Alex. 

“I was on tour with Jon back in April, two years ago, when he was really trying to figure out where he was with his voice, and it wasn’t going particularly well,” Gotham says. “You could feel the tension. There was no way we were going to be able to capture that with a big presence. So I had to grab a camera and slip myself into the dressing room. I got yelled at and kicked out of that dressing room a few times, and then I would slowly fade myself back into it.”

“To some extent, there’s risk associated with that of him just saying, ‘Fuck off, get out of here.’ Which he did, actually, in hindsight, say a few times. But I don’t get my feelings hurt and just gently come back, and it pays off. As we all know as filmmakers, those are the moments you’re really searching for.”

The filmmakers, after all, made essentially the most of these moments, additional testomony to Bon Jovi’s belief. “To watch Jon go through that makes him very relatable,” Alex says. “Everyone knows him as the superstar, but he’s dealing with emotions and family just like the rest of us. And your job as the editor is to find those moments that people can relate to and tap into and they can see, these aren’t supernatural beings, they’re humans. To me, the best documentaries have that balance of entertainment and the human elements that make everything relatable and real and true. It’s not just some fabricated, ‘Look how great life is and how amazing everything is.’ It’s far more raw and real when you get it right.”

There are a number of of these quiet, intimate moments all through the 4 episodes. But in stark distinction is the sequence Alex constructed to point out simply how demanding and exhausting the band’s schedule was within the early days and on the peak of their recognition. “I read a biography about the band and they talked about how many shows they did in the eighties. They did 240 shows, took a few months off, and then did 240 more. They went to Taiwan and then back to America and then Europe. How did they do a three-hour show and then sleep four hours and do it again? I was exhausted just reading about it,” Alex says. 

“I wanted that to be reflected in the editing and pacing of those sequences. It should feel exhausting. I wanted [to use] so many images to not overwhelm or confuse you, but to make you feel like you’re taking it in the way they were experiencing it,” he provides.