Hinckley’s story will be the subject of an upcoming documentary by Australian content cre
ators Glass Engine Entertainment. Earlier this year, three producers, including Neil McGregor and Lucy Becker, spent six weeks in the U.S., following Hinckley’s journey in music and his attempts to balance his hopes for the future with the realities of his past.
“I wanted to tell his story about his music because I think that’s really quite fascinating, but I think you can’t tell the entire story, that journey, without his past and everything that goes with it,” McGregor said in a telephone interview. “I think that’s really what makes it a compelling story.”
During filming, the production team documented Hinckley talking about his music, the challenges he’s faced and his past. McGregor said the film spends time exploring the polarizing nature of Hinckley’s desire for privacy and reluctance to dwell on the past with his dream of a music career, which unavoidably brings up conversations about his history.
“He’s putting himself out there for that, and there’s no way he can avoid that,” McGregor said.
The documentary, which has no release date yet, also looks at another unavoidable reality of fame, which is opening oneself up to public feedback, both positive and negative. In one scene, Hinckley reads out some of the comments he’s received on his YouTube channel, some of which can be harsh, Becker said, noting that Hinckley has a good sense of humor about it.
An important part of putting the documentary together was understanding that “you can’t create empathy for him,” McGregor said. “You can’t excuse the actions of his past. It’s a very tricky line to approach because the film that we’re making is going to dig up a lot of pain for people whose lives he damaged.”
“You’ve got to be fair in how you approach it,” McGregor added. “That’s one thing I wanted to do, is leave the unconscious bias aside and understand the person for who he is. Let the audience decide what they think from it.”
Nowadays, Hinckley lives in an apartment with his 7-year-old cat Theo, whom he rescued from the Heritage Humane Society. After devoting her life to looking after him, his mother, Jo Ann Hinckley, died in 2021 at the age of 95, and Hinckley no longer lives in the home he shared with her in Kingsmill.
After 35 years of “forced communal living” in the ward at St. Elizabeths, he likes the solitude.
In addition to working on his music, Hinckley spends his days painting, with Theo serving as frequent inspiration. Several pieces of his artwork have been sold on eBay.