Some consider Daniel Johnston a genius. Director/writer Jeff Feuerzeig has created a film about the troubled musician and painter that believes so too. Johnston was a typical artistic teen, who made films, drew in notebooks and wrote songs. When he reached college, he started developing the first signs of manic depression, which would define the rest of his life.
Johnston believed at an early age that he was destined to become famous. In college, he became obsessed with a pretty girl named Laurie Allen. However, she was already dating a mortician student, who she would later marry. Two decades later, Johnston still writes songs about her today. Once his parents believed graduating from college was an impossible task for him, Johnston bounced from relative to relative, where he continued to write music. One day, Johnston ran away and joined the carnival. A bizarre incident would leave him stranded in Austin, where he quickly inserted himself into the local music scene. When MTV came to town, he inserted himself on the air too. He was on the rise, but his mental illness just knocked him down time and time again.