Alan Chebot always had a creative streak — by the time he reached college he was crazy for jazz and played everything from the drums to the piano to the sousaphone, the instrument you can wear. But it wasn’t until the end of his college years that Alan realized he’d gone pre-med for his parents, not for himself. So after graduating (with a minor in music), Alan took a year off and sold stereo equipment, got into the whole consumer video-audio thing.
And boy, are we at OZY glad he did.
After his year off, Alan started studying film at Boston University. For his masters thesis, 22-year-old Alan had the audacity to just call up Art Blakey, the now deceased maestro of be-bop, and ask if he could make a film about him. Blakey said yes, and Alan’s first full-length documentary resulted. More than 30 years later, Alan has a whole, illustrious career as a director and producer in broadcast, film and video, including four full length documentaries and five Emmys — the most recent for a profile on President Obama, before he was president, in collaboration with OZY’s co-founder, Carlos Watson.
These days, Alan’s production company, Parallax Productions, has just wrapped its latest feature, Outermost Radio, about a non-profit community radio station on the tip of Cape Cod. It’s his first independently produced film since the Blakey doc, and Alan’s pumped to do more independent work.
What else gets Alan pumped? Anything on two wheels, from bicycling (he’s one of those guys who does 150 grueling miles per day) to motorcycles (he owns two of them). He’s a fairly extreme skier, happiest on steep slopes studded with tall trees, and he still plays the drums any chance he can.