Former FCB’rs celebrate songwriters with new doc

All Starts With a Song

Former FCB Chicago creatives John Godsey and Anthony “Chusy” Jardine’s new documentary, It All Begins With A Song: The Story of the Nashville Songwriter, had a special public screening at the Nashville Film Festival on May 17.

In production for two years, the 82-minute film explores Nashville’s songwriting community — their creative processes, their inspiration, their struggles and the impact their songs can have on everyday life. The project involved 80 interviews with songwriters and industry figures and more than 100 hours of footage. Songwriters featured in the film include Jessi Alexander, Garth Brooks, Mac Davis, Bob DiPiero, Mikky Ekko, John Hiatt, Brett James, Claude Kelly, Shane McAnally, Keb’ Mo’, Brad Paisley and Ray Stevens.

The songwriting documentary is a follow-up to the 2013 film created by the NCVC, For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville, which chronicles the 130-year evolution of how Nashville became Music City. For the Love of Music was awarded silver and bronze lions at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the category of Branded Content & Entertainment.

“This kind of film is a complete departure for a destination marketing organization,” said ButchSpyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “At the heart of Nashville’s success as a destination is our music and creative community represented best by our songwriters. Through them, we present Nashville as a unique, authentic and creative destination unmatched anywhere in the world.”

My favorite line from the trailer, “I’ve had about 500 of my songs recorded. I’ve had 42 top 20 singles. I had 25 of those songs end up being number one. Which means, no one knows who the f*ck I am.” Watch the 5:29 trailer below:



Jessi Alexander, one of the singer/songwriters featured in the film, said, “Finally, a movie that captures the day in the life of a Nashville songwriter and the poets that create the soundtrack to our lives. This film gives viewers an inside look into the ups and downs and the highways and heartbreaks that lead writers to pick up their guitars, put pen to paper and pour their hearts out — beginning the journey of a song that goes down in history. Songwriters are the unsung heroes in Nashville, and now we have a movie to tell our story.”

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Creative Director turned Exec Producer John Godsey

The doc was produced by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, along with Godsey now Executive Creative Director at VML, Kansas City and directed by Jardine of Plan A Films, based in North Carolina. Godsey worked at FCB Chicago from 1997 to 2003 where he left for JWT Detroit. He is currently North American Chief Creative Officer at VML. Jardine was a Creative Director at FCB Chicago from 1993 to 2002. He also served as ECD of FCB Rio de Janerio from 1994 to 2004.

According to Godsey, who served as Executive Producer, Story Editor and Editor, the project was a labor of love. “We had 100 hours of interviews. I did almost every weekend on it last year. I still had to do my CCO gig. We are entering it into Cannes Lions this year thru VML. They also supplied a producer on it, Kelli Shannon. Got a standing ovation at the special screening Sunday night in Nashville so that was very rewarding. It is basically 20 feet from Stardom for songwriters.”

Jardine of Planet A Films

Director Jardine added, “The line between content and advertising is vanishing. And it’s visionary agencies like VML that have gone beyond wiping their feet on the welcome mat of the concept (branded content that no longer smells like advertising), passed through the antechamber, and have entered whole hog into that glorious realm where advertising and entertainment live together. I don’t know what sort of volumetric would be involved but I suspect that this film will have a more lasting effect on the Nashville brand than any series of artful shots of the city coupled with a clever voice-over. Hats off to Mr. Godsey and Mr. Spyridon for sharing that point of view.”

The film is currently being shopped global distribution.

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.