Lynch comments on family, riverfront development, filmmaking, and more in the magazine’s 20 Questions section here.
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Kelly Lynch, filmmaker, owner and chief creative dude at Lynchpin Creative, could be described as a train buff. After all, he’s heavily involved with the restoration and operation of Engine 765, the once and future attraction in downtown Fort Wayne. Future, if Lynch has anything to do with it. It’s the key to Lynch’s Headwaters Junction concept for the former OmniSource property. Find out what pushes his pistons as we play 20 Questions.
It’s not so much trains as what they’re capable of. Their capability to move and inspire. My grandfather worked for the New York Central (railroad) outside Chicago. He was in charge of all the steam locomotives. And one of my first memories was being on the 765 in pre-K or kindergarten. I wouldn’t know what it was like not to like trains. Why trains? Because planes are boring!
What do trains mean to you?
My love of 765 has given me my connection to Fort Wayne. It’s given me my appetite for history. There’s something incredible about forcing a 400-ton dinosaur to live again.
When you see that plot of undeveloped land at Fourth and Clinton, what do you see?
I see Headwaters Junction. People talk about how Fort Wayne has lost its swagger: Let’s bring the hustle and bustle back. This train brings people together. This is a place that’s cool to visit.
What do you dream about?
To me, dreams are free movies all night long. I dream of momentum.
What makes you happy?
To bring an idea to fruition or reality. To see the thousands of people come out to see the 765 come through town and to be a cog in a wheel that makes that engine run, it’s complete euphoria. And Golden Retriever puppies. They make me happy.
What makes you see red?
Anger is such an extreme emotion. I try to avoid extremes.
What do you fear?
Unfulfilled potential. Unrealized dreams. As an artist, you want to see what happens. With Headwaters Junction, I want to tell myself I gave it my all.
What do the words ‘big, bold and transformational’ mean to you?
What do they mean to me? I agree! [Laughs]. I’m making it really hard to do anything else (there).
As a filmmaker, when you have a creative idea, do you see in words or in pictures?
I see the pictures first, and then it’s my job to give words to it. My high school English teacher Mrs. White said I can squeeze words until they shout. Words are the bits of muscle that give connection to the (skeleton) of ideas.
How would you spend the $75 million Legacy Fund?
I think the (current) investment strategy is smart. Obviously, I’d make the train (project) happen. And I’d save some of it. When you create the appetite for big, bold and transformational, it creates a hunger in the people for that.
What will success be for you?
I feel like I’m creating intangibles. Unless that excitement generates results, it’s just a lot of noise.
What’s your favorite Fort Wayne memory?
One of my favorite memories is when a family friend allowed my cousin Sam and I to take their pontoon out on the St. Joe river. It was a gorgeous summer night, there were cigars, and it was just ideal, all not too far from the IPFW campus. As we drifted back north on the river, we noticed we could see the bottom of the river and by the time we both realized what was happening, we came to a stop on a sandbar. Without needing to think I had my jeans off and was in the water pushing the boat back off the sandbar and I noticed my cousin’s cigar floating by me. In a brief panic he had jettisoned the cigar but I still had mine squarely in the corner of my mouth as I climbed into the water. No sense in letting it go to waste. If there was one of those iconic summer moments, on a Fort Wayne river no less, that was it. Being out there made us feel like we could take on the world, sandbars or not.
You’ve spoken about how much you love Fort Wayne. What’s your favorite Fort Wayne location?
I find myself drawn to South Calhoun and Main Street. When you work in images, you work in iconography, and those are the icons of the city. I find myself parking at Fourth and Clinton envisioning more than I care to admit!
Your dad is Dan Lynch, who was the editorial cartoonist for The Journal Gazette for many years prior to his stroke. What lessons have you learned from him?
I was 16 when my dad had his stroke. I knew then exactly what I had lost. My path and DNA (comes from) him. As an editorial cartoonist, you have to give a damn about your community. It’s his fault I had the idea. All those ingredients to my passion were imparted by him.
What do you get from your mom?
My mom was ceaseless in trying to help my dad recover. There’s nothing but admiration in that ceaselessness.
You produced the popular rap video “My City.“ What do you hope it achieves?
That it creates an appetite for more. It should make you want more. Anybody can help tell our story, and this community needs more good storytelling. I’d like to see more people incensed about the projects.
What appeals to you about film?
It’s a grand storytelling experience. People can see the same image, and that’s really powerful, getting people to share emotions.
What’s the hardest part of producing for you?
Logistics seems so unromantic. (The) Citizen Wayne (short films) are a good example. I held off on doing it for months. Being confident enough to know when and how to start. It is so intoxicating to sit and dream about it.
What’s the best part about producing?
The shared creative collaborative process. Having the best people and the best places. The act of creation bringing everyone together.
What does Fort Wayne have to offer a young, creative person like yourself?
I’d like to say it offers people like me elbow room. There’s potential everywhere. If this city can create this experience, maybe it’s a place where people like me can expand on (their own) experiences.
Last May, Vera Bradley (via Britton Marketing and Design Group), needed to coordinate several days worth of shooting using historic railroad equipment. Any type of creative endeavor on a live railroad with vintage equipment can pose logistical and safety challenges to the client and the railroads alike, but we belong in those niches.Read more →