Jeff Skinner’s discovery of his family history and the history of the family business, Skinner’s of Lockport, the longest-running hot dog stand in Canada.
Writer: E. Thomas Daniel
Director: Michael Linton
Producers: Jeff Skinner, Michael Linton
I’ve known Jeff Skinner for about 15 years and, during that time, we’ve had many conversations about what it was like for him growing up behind the counter at Skinner’s Hot Dogs in Lockport. So, when he approached me to create some kind of historical record or film of his family’s legacy, I was more than happy to oblige.
There was only one problem. Jeff had a broad selection of family photos from the turn of the last century until about 1945. After that, there was very little visual record. Even the Manitoba and Winnipeg Archives had very little in the way of photos. It’s hard to tell the story of a family legacy that existed from 1929 to 1973 without pictures to do it.
Sometimes solving a problem leads to a better solution than the one you originally had. We decided to take a first-person approach to telling the story, with Jeff working as the on-camera host, researcher and interviewer.
It transformed the film from our original idea of a more traditional “Ken Burns”-style documentary into something much more personal for Jeff. Sitting down with family and friends, he was able to fill in the gaps of his family history which, ultimately, became more relatable and revealing for the audience.
A copy of the film now resides in the Manitoba Archives, which was Jeff’s original intent.
About Michael Linton
Michael Linton has worked for almost two decades as a cinematographer, producer, director, animator and editor.
After working freelance in the late 1990s as an animator and cinematographer, Michael took up a full-time position as in-house producer at the manufacturing company E.H. Price Limited. He produced half a dozen product and corporate videos, earning him two nominations for best corporate video.
In 2004 Michael started Centric Productions to focus on creating advertising and commercial video projects for clients across Canada. Michael’s experience of video and film production is extensive – he works in various roles on every project he creates from writer and producer, to director, cinematographer, editor and animator.
Over the past decade Michael has produced and directed over 150 short form branded documentary projects for clients across Canada. His diverse production background, creative eye and technical ability have helped him develop an intuitive understanding for all aspects of production.