Next week Epokhe will be releasing a new short film called Beauty Pockets, which you’ll be able to see right here at What Youth. Today though, we thought we’d give you a glimpse behind the scenes of the trip, which you can find accompanied by the beautiful photography of John Respondek and Grady Archbold in What Youth Issue 3.
Have a read of the story Kai Neville penned for What Youth Issue 3 as well as a ton of behind the scenes imagery.
I’m getting dizzy. Usually I tell stories and share my emotions through moving imagery. I’m not a writer. I don’t know how you label yourself as a writer. Or know anything about proper writing form. I also don’t know how you say you’re a writer. Like a professional writer, is that when you get a book deal? Like being sponsored for surfing means you’re pro? Professional book writers? Nonetheless, right now, I am writing.
I am still not a writer. And I think that’s why I’ve struggled working on short films. Its something I have always wanted to do and will do one day, but I can never write an ending. Maybe that is an ending? I’m not sure. I have scenes strung together in my mind and on a notepad, montages of the way I see the world, but I don’t know how it ends.
Recently we were on the road filming and I was down on the beach. The ocean was really blue. Extra blue. I love the ocean. It’s beautiful. I am a writer. As I’m filming this guy comes along. He was jittery, all over the place. He was eating bread from his pocket and told me he was down the beach writing poetry. He had dropped his pen in the water and asked if I had a pen so he could continue writing. I looked at his notepad, it was full of scribbles. He was a writer. The local surfers later told me later that he had a bad acid trip and never came back to reality. He was fucked. Sad and scary how you can just lose your mind…but honestly, its not easy staying sane either.
I never write. And I don’t read that much either. I love filming things and listening to music. Lines and stories always pop into my head as I film, I can never get it down on paper in time though. I tried carrying around a recorder and noting things as they happened, like Hunter S. Thompson did. I couldn’t stand the sound of my voice though. Hunter sounded like an eccentric, drunken, ranting and mumbling Elvis, just oozing steez and energy. I sounded like a dick head.
I have dreams to surf more in the future. I would love to do less on the computer. I hate digitally connecting with the world. I love conversing and meeting people. Barfly. But e-mails, social, tweeting… fuck. The problem? I spend 10 hours a day on a computer. I don’t enjoy that part, but it’s a necessity. I’m totally in tune with all that shit as you have to be. Otherwise I would be a filmmaker living in a shit hole, broke and hungry, filming with my old Canon XL. Maybe that would be cool? I always thought being broke was the only true way to be creative, you have nothing, forcing yourself to create awesome shit from very little. Lower East Side vibes in the ‘80s. Trying to live a dream. Be heard. Work on something you love and try to make enough money to surf, live in a nice place on the beach, hopefully have enough spare change to be a camera enthusiast, purchase some Tim Walker and Mark Borthwick books. Drink wine in the $15 to $20 dollar bracket. That’s the dream.
Maybe I’ll go big one day and release a Hello Kitty Collection for Epokhe. Facebook will buy What Youth, I’ll dine with Spike Jonze and Scorsese. We’ll make some headphones, Dion will be spraying us nightly with bottles of expensive Champagne in Hollywood.
Have you read the Gotcha book ‘Going Big’? It’s fucking incredible. Those boys went big. Michael Tomson gave it too me one day at his place, we sat down in his office in Laguna and he told me stories. I went there to say hi and talk about Jordy Smith’s film. MT was a big influence on Jordy. He came up with this scene straight out of 24-Hour Party People, where Tony Wilson meets God.
“Tony, you did a good job,” God says. “Basically, you were right. Shaun [Ryder] is the greatest poet since Yeats … It’s a pity you didn’t sign The Smiths, but you were right about Mick Hucknall, his music’s rubbish and he’s a ginger.”
You do need to watch that movie, and MT was onto something but I just couldn’t see Jordy playing God. But boy did I meet a man that day who had been on one wild ride. It fascinated me. Maybe I’ll work on MT’s biographic film one day, the real story. He has been through it all.
Back on the road, myself, Dion and Mitch brought Creed along for this road trip. We just signed him up with Epokhe. The team needed some youth, someone to just run around, surf and hopefully be stoked on what we were doing. Creed fit like a fucking glove. He lit the boys up on this onshore right slab, he occasionally lit up a cigarette as well. When I first called Creed the first question I asked was typical: “How are you doing?” He replied, “Just cruising.” And boy is he ever. The kid knows more about music than I do, he shreds on a skateboard, can hold his piss extremely well. The kid is only 18. He is someone we would like to project on the youth. Someone being himself. His agent isn’t in his backpocket. He is a product of a subculture and now he’s part of this gang of friends running ‘round shooting and making things.
I’ve spent so much time outside of Australia over the last few years, I’ve always begged to see more of the world. Any sniff of a wave somewhere and I’d be gone. I’m fascinated by humanity, different cultures, all the fucked up beautiful things you find on the road. Big cities, bars, landscapes, isolation, lunatics and talents…anything that makes you stop and pull the camera out. I love those moments. Those people. I made a film called Jean about that. Unexpected gems. Growing up in Australia it obviously didn’t feel foreign and I like to feel lost. Australia was not as exciting to shoot. I think the years of escaping looking for something else have given me a new love for the place I was born.
The allure just makes me want to hit the road, red dirt. Nick Cave on stereo. Small country pubs. We stopped in at the pub every afternoon. Different to dive bars in the U.S. where sometime you feel the local patrons may stab you, this is full of the good old boys. Victorian Bitter on tap, so, so cold. They look at you and laugh. We looked different.. but they were welcoming. The first beer down is pure joy.
We got up at 4 a.m. to shoot sunrise silhouettes in the water. Have we lost it? Water angles? At Sunrise? Peeling Creed out of bed each morning was gnarly. He was baffled.. It worked out. though, the waking up early I have never appreciated light so much. And I have never appreciated beer so much either after getting up at 4 a.m. Christ. The second beer down and we hit the doggies. Greyhounds running around after a little bunny rabbit, with names like Pound On Tubby, Suss Man’s Boots, Planking. I have a method with the dogs: bet on the wildest name. Disregard all odds. The method worked and I came out ahead. We told a lot of stories. I don’t remember any of them. You’re not supposed to. You’re in the moment. I have a really bad memory anyway. I tell people it because I live in the moment, look to the future. But some things you never forget. We played pokies, I got a feature, via syndy. A syndicate is where you and a few other people throw the same amount of money in the machine and watch the machine eat that money. But we got 3 pyramids, or was it money bags? We were pretty twisted at the time. Three pyramids equals feature, features are bad ass.
Now we just need to keep these times going. Spend our money or more and more road trips. Less office, more journey.