Before The End: Searching for Jim Morrison

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BEFORE THE END: Searching for Jim Morrison

Wild Child. Erotic Politician. Young Lion.

The Shaman. The Lizard King. The Changeling.

Hippie Adonis. Bozo Dionysus. Mr. Mojo Risin’.

Amazing lyricist. Pretentious poet. Beautiful wreck.

The epithets affixed to legendary iconoclast Jim Morrison, many by his own tongue, reveal a genuine paradox: Morrison appears to have been whomever his audience demanded he be at any given moment. Nearly 50 years after he seized the zeitgeist amidst one of history’s most revolutionary decades, and based solely on his having fashioned [however ironically] the quintessential rock star prototype, his impact as a performer remains largely confined to the domain of parody. And yet Morrison’s electric ghost haunts each new generation. Such a persistent enigma deserves investigation. But where does that leave James Douglas Morrison, the human being? In the independent documentary film Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison, the spotlight is turned on the flesh-and-blood man behind the myth, as well as the boy who begat the man.

Jim Morrison is one of the twentieth century’s most mysterious and misunderstood figures. Morrison tore the seal off of reality and functioned as a blind taste tester for a counterculture that, through experimental daring and the questioning of authority, contributed immensely to societal evolution. But that was just one facet of his fascinating life. Following his reported death of July 3, 1971, his brief chameleonic existence of 27 years left his legacy open to vast misinterpretation, a practice that continues to this day.


For almost a half-century, a mountain of media has accumulated in Morrison’s name. He is an enduring figurehead who was forged during the incendiary 1960s and is best known as the primal and profound singer-songwriter of The Doors. Foreshadowing the punk movement, Morrison screamed, incited riots, ingested hallucinogens, and drunkenly spat at his followers. He also crooned, gave erudite interviews, studied theatre and film, and strove to be acknowledged for his poetry. Endemic to controversy, with each passing year his notoriety only grows. So where does truth end and lore begin? Who was Jim Morrison, really? When did he choose to embrace such contradictory extremes? What set him on his mercurial personal journey? Why is he continually portrayed as a one-dimensional sex-drugs-and-rock & roll cliché? And is there actual proof of his death in Paris? With Morrison not present to defend himself, his methodology has been appropriated by the speculative powers-that-be, not to mention those in the business of keeping Jim chained to the image of a crowned lizard in leather pants.

The story of The Doors has been told numerous times. Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison documents Jim Morrison, with particular study given to his formative years, childhood through college, via the family and friends who experienced him as a person, as opposed to a persona.


  • BTE features exclusive interviews with those who knew Morrison the boy and/or man, and not just the rock star myth: Bryan Gates, Ron CohenJohn Huetter, Jim Merrill, Bill Thomas, Randy Maney, Stan Durkee, Bonnie Randall Boller, George Greer, Nick Kallivokas, Jim Jones, Philip O’Leno, Rosanna Norton, and Katie Miller, among many others.
  • The majority of those interviewed elected to speak about Jim on-camera for the first time, including his brother, Andy MorrisonJeff Morehouse, Jim’s childhood friend and George Washington High School classmate; Ash Jones, his Alameda High School swim team coach; Ralph Turner, his medieval history professor at Florida State University; Bill Adams, Morrison’s UCLA film instructor; Elizabeth Buckner, friend and star of Jim’s first UCLA film; and Gareth Blyth, roadie for The Doors.
  • Hours of off-the-record conversations with Jim’s first girlfriends, Tandy Martin and Mary Werbelow, helped put puzzle pieces in place. Further illuminating discussions were shared by Anne Morrison-Chewning, Jim’s sister and executor of his personal estate, Frank Lisciandro, Jim’s friend and film collaborator, who helped copyright owners of his poetry gather his work for posthumous publication, and Alain Ronay, Jim’s UCLA roommate and friend who visited him in Paris just prior to July 3, 1971. All were generous with their time and personal memories.

The truly real Jim Morrison is finally coming into focus…
Be a part of his legacy by helping produce the definitive documentary on James Douglas Morrison!


We are hoping to raise $50,000, technically a small sum in Hollywood terms, but a huge amount to us! It takes a lot of money to make a quality documentary film, particularly for an independent, husband-and-wife production team. From the gear [professional video cameras, audio equipment, lighting, etc], to air travel, rental cars, meals, and lodging expenses, to the musical score, graphic effects, editing and post-production costs, to the big one: legal fees.

If we are to create the definitive Jim Morrison documentary, we must work with the attorneys and representatives of Morrison’s estate in order to license the rights to archival film, photos, poems, lyrics, music, letters, drawings, etc, some of it never before seen or heard! The funds we’re requesting barely begin to cover the spectrum. And that doesn’t include the time and energy we’ve spent and will spend on this labor of love. We are grateful to work toward sharing Jim Morrison’s true story with you, especially in today’s corporatized world, where Jim’s strong example of never having sold out shines like a strange beacon from another time. Jim Morrison challenged authority in all its forms, even his own, and he vehemently protested against ignorance. With that in mind, we believe a candid inquiry into his personal and professional life is important to history, and thus a worthy investment.


The more donations we receive, the more comprehensive the documentary will be. We are pouring our heart and soul [not to mention our own money] into this project, and we’re doing our absolute best to bring you the most insightful look into Jim Morrison that we can create. We’re already blown away by what we’ve learned about Jim via his family and friends’ recollections, and we can’t wait to share them with you and have you be acknowledged for helping make this documentary a reality! Our goal is to release Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age on July 3, 2014, in commemoration of Jim’s passing and celebration of his life. Ideally, the film would see a limited run in independent or art house movie theaters, but we plan to distribute it digitally, as well as on DVD, at the very least.

For over three decades, myriad articles, books, biopics, and documentaries have promised to render the “real” Jim Morrison, but they’ve generally amounted to hyperbolic, gossipy rock-star depictions of Morrison’s tenure with The Doors. Few have delved into Morrison’s formative years. And none have fully fleshed out Morrison, the human being, and who he actually was as a person. During the early pre-interviews for the film, Jim was described as “a fucking jerk” and, conversely, “a lovely person inside.” [Those two descriptions alone came via two separate sources in the space of three hours!] But no one is “black or white,” and we suspect the real Morrison looms in the gray areas between. Collaborating via Fundraising will allow us to explore those areas and make it possible for the human Jim Morrison to reemerge.


Sincerely,Jeff & Jess FinnLos Angeles, CA July, 2013


* MEMBERSHIP SECTION: Please note that the membership section of the website most likely will not be activated/available until after Before the End has been released, as we don’t want to pre-release interviews and photos/video that will appear in the film. Once BTE has been released, you will receive a password [by email] that will instruct you on how to access the membership website. If we can activate and add anything to the BTE membership website before the film’s release, we’ll contact you via email.

** ASK ONE [1] QUESTION: The question should be answerable, i.e. “Did you ever see Jim cry?” and not “Did Jim go to heaven when he died?” or something similar.

*** LITHOS: Contributed by

Risks and challenges

As an independent, husband-and-wife production team attempting to afford Hollywood-caliber legal fees and licensing of copyrighted archival materials that are vital to fleshing out a high-quality documentary film, we’ve learned to believe in our goals. After tallying budgetary costs, we firmly agree that reaching our funding goal will allow us to bring the human Jim Morrison to you in all his vibrant complexity.

We believe $50,000 is the minimum amount we’ll need to complete this documentary. Our greatest risk is the possibility that the movie may consist entirely of “talking-head” interviews [albeit fantastic talking-head interviews featuring wonderful insights into Jim Morrison] without much supplemental footage [vintage Morrison photos, poems, lyrics, etc]. Our biggest challenge is to secure and implement that supplemental footage while working within a very limited budget.

This is not the first time we’ve been presented with this situation, as we made our previous documentary, Strange Septembers: The Hill Abduction & the Exeter Encounter, on an extremely limited budget with very little supplemental footage. So as not to release a movie that was essentially comprised of talking heads, we overcame that obstacle by thinking outside the box in terms of graphics and animation. Strange Septembers has garnered interest from distribution companies, so our creativity is proving successful.

We so appreciate your contributions! And our pledge to YOU is that we will create a lasting, true portrait of Jim Morrison’s human side, and in the process hopefully undo four decades of lies, hype, and misinformation. With you on our side, we will secure the funding that is necessary if we are to take on the various legal fees, archival licensing, and copyright clearances.