Meet Doc Side Media, the documentary duo and Hempfield alumni behind 4 paranormal-themed films – LNP | Lancaster Online | Episode Movies

Ghosts of long-dead soldiers, mysterious forest creatures and UFOs descending on the deserts of the Southwest are among the usual suspects in horror films, but for two Lancaster-based documentarians, these subjects are more than standard scary-movie characters.

For Tyler Transue and Chris Ruppert — two 37-year-old Hempfield High School grads who bonded decades after graduating over a shared love of filmmaking — focusing on the paranormal is a way to explore the unknown and share different perspectives.

Since founding their digital video production company, Doc Side Media in August 2021, Transue and Ruppert have released four paranormal-themed documentaries, including Ghosts of Gettysburg, Secrets of the Sasquatch, and their most recent film, In Plain Sight: The Intelligence Community and UFOs” and are in production on a fifth.

“In Plain Sight: The Intelligence Community and UFOs” — an 81-minute documentary featuring interviews with former military and CIA intelligence officers and other experts on what they know and can disclose about UFOs — was released earlier this month and is available to buy for downloading and streaming on Apple TV, Prime Video and other platforms.

Stay open

Transue and Ruppert are not out to prove or even believe in the existence of extraterrestrials or other paranormal phenomena. That’s not really the point, they say.

“We are not filmmakers pushing our specific ideas. We try to let these people speak for themselves,” says Ruppert. “I’m a very skeptical person. I think it’s pretty easy to tell when you feel someone isn’t being honest, but all of these people (who were interviewed for the films) seem to me to be 100% honest and believe what they say. We’re just trying to give them the respect to get their stories out there, hopefully in an interesting and compelling way.”

The key, the filmmakers agree, to making a good paranormal documentary is to keep an open mind. And for Ruppert, maintaining an open mind to other viewpoints came through a practice often associated with the paranormal: hypnosis.

“My therapist asked me if I wanted to do hypnosis and I said, ‘I’ve seen movies, that’s ridiculous,'” says Ruppert. “Eventually she convinced me and it turned out to be more of a guided meditation. It was very effective. That was one of the turning points for me to try and stay more open.

“We have all these preconceptions that we bring about things, but I don’t know everything and haven’t experienced everything like everyone else,” says Ruppert. “I think everyone would be better off if they kept an open mind. I’m not saying believe everything, but at least listen to people. That’s the mindset I had going through all these documentaries.”

Tyler Transue, one half of the Doc Side Media team, on location.

Black Knights to Spooky Nights

Though the Class of 2003 grads grew up on the same street and occasionally played in the same backyard football games and attended Hempfield High School together, they say they didn’t really know each other at school.

“Chris and I are both independent filmmakers,” says Transue. “As far as I know, none of us were in the AV Club in high school.”

Nearly 20 years after graduating, the two bonded via social media over a shared passion for filmmaking.

About six years ago, Transue says he took his son’s toy dinosaur on a whim and shot and posted a trailer for a fictional movie called “The Dino Slayer” on social media. This little trailer sparked a fascination with all things film and soon Transue was investing in cameras, drones and other film equipment.

“I fell in love with filmmaking,” says Transue. “It’s kind of a 10,000-hour rule. I just kept pushing myself and doing it more and gradually getting better.”

Ruppert has also invested his hours. He says he’s been making films with his friends since he was a student at Hempfield and recently wrapped up filming on an independent sci-fi horror feature film that he wrote and directed independently for Doc Side Media

In August 2021, Ruppert approached Transue and suggested the idea of ​​making paranormal documentaries as the topic is always popular and the films would be interesting.

“I thought, ‘I’d definitely like to do that,'” says Transue. “That was the first push to get Doc Side Media up and running.”

Dynamic duo

In just over a year, the prolific production team of Transue and Ruppert have already created a remarkable work with Doc Side Media. The two use their respective abilities to maximize their performance. Ruppert, a freelance videographer and graphic designer, handles editing and commercial design, and Transue, a former industrial sales representative, handles much of the on-location interviewing.

For documentaries, interviews are a necessity. Finding and securing authoritative and interesting sources willing to speak on camera is always a challenge, but this is where Transue puts his skills as a salesman to good use.

“I’m just a curious person and I’ve always been an extrovert,” says Transue. “It’s a numbers game; If you ask enough people, someone will say yes. So there really is no harm in reaching out to people and trying.”

When Transue heard about a UFO-related press conference being held at the base of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC by a woman named Angelia Schultz, aka Anjali, he decided to attend and record it with Anjali’s permission. This footage, along with other interviews, including one with Clifford Mahooty, a Zuni elder who had previously appeared in the series Ancient Aliens, led to what became Conscious Contact: Full Disclosure (2022).

For Doc Side Media’s latest film, In Plain Sight: The Intelligence Community and UFOs, Transue went into rush mode once again, flying to Albuquerque, New Mexico on a Friday night; then drove to Roswell, New Mexico, through the night and shot B-roll footage with a drone camera; and back to Albuquerque for an early afternoon interview with a former Air Force counterintelligence officer on Saturday; and returned to Lancaster directly after the interview.

The duo’s UFO content comes at a time when governments around the world and organizations like NASA are forming committees to study UFO-related phenomena.

“We hope that we can destigmatize these types of issues so that more people are happy to share them,” says Transue.

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