By Samantha Hatfield   Published Apr 22, 2005 at 5:25 AM

{image1} Picture a world without music. Imagine if every last note of musical entertainment was declared illegal -- it seems impossible. Rodd Walker has portrayed such a concept in his first full-length film "The Return of Shamus Poole." But Walker's talents, ideas and artistic abilities go far beyond filmmaking.

A lifelong Milwaukeean, Walker's careers range from social work, commercials and modeling to acting with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and firefighting. His main passions are music, acting and film. In "The Return of Shamus Poole," all of these passions are rolled into one labor of love.

"It was something I wanted to do, and I didn't want to wait for someone to put me in a movie," Walker says. "Sometimes you just have to do your own thing. You can't wait for an audition to come through, you never know when they will."

Multi-tasker Walker wrote, directed, edited and acted in the film. He invested in a high-quality digital camera and wrote the screenplay in about two weeks, writing about seven pages a day.

"I had to revise a little bit here and there but it just poured out of me," Walker says.

He plays the part of Shamus Poole, the lead character, and does all of the camera work for scenes he was not in -- and even a few he was in. In the film, a terrible war declares all musical entertainment illegal. Poole is a music investigator who tracks down underground musicians disobeying these new laws.

Ideas for the film and some of his other works are inspired by a combination of personal experience and imagination. The film realizes that music is everywhere -- the birds, the wind, anything -- and once you hear it, no one can take it away because it's all around. When Poole investigates, the scenes are in black and white. Any scene with music is in color to show the world is a more vibrant place with music. "Most people have a really good connection with music and would hate for it to be illegal," Walker says.

Walker's interest in film developed over time, but he has been musically inclined for much longer. He is self-taught on the guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and drum machine. He wrote and performed several songs on the soundtrack including "No Mo' Music" and "Bounce."

"The Return of Shamus Poole" was not a one-man-show, however. Jackie Walker, Rodd's wife, helped edit, other artists contributed to the soundtrack, while a wide range of actors added their talents. All actors and filming locations are in the Milwaukee area, making some of the featured faces and places familiar to locals.

As for his next film idea, Walker may have a fire-fighting screenplay up his sleeve, based on his three years of experience in the field. Producing music has taken a back seat while Walker focuses on acting and writing. But, he's got an urge to return his focus to music and hopes to put together a CD, in a world where we don't have to worry about music being illegal.

"The Return of Shamus Poole" plays Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m. at the Miramar Theater, 2844 N. Oakland Ave. Admission is $5, and the doors open at 6 p.m. The box office number is (414) 967-0302. Visit Walker's Web site at for more movie details.