2020 - A Weird Year
Weird - I feel is one of the best words to explain 2020, a year filled with darkness, anger, stress, and hate. Many lost loved ones, jobs, and most unfortunately, respect for each other. However, light seemed to shine through the darkness consistently. People have been granted new beginnings, time together, and have been given the opportunity to reconnect with their true selves. It’s been a year with repetitive and extreme ups and downs. I think weird hits the nail on the head.
So what’s up with this video? Just like 2020, it’s weird, but nothing more than me trying to experiment with new concepts and practice unique forms of narrative. I wanted to create a video where the viewer can experience the story through the imagination of another person or character, I wanted that character to be in control of the story (their imagination) and I wanted the character to be battling with their attention span. Doesn’t make any sense? Great, let’s break it down from the beginning.
In July of 2020, I had the idea to create an experience told through the mind of someone else that is individually invested in its own, unique experience. At the time I had recently started my study towards the art of screenwriting and true filmmaking. I didn’t want to use unreleased footage because there was a strong chance it would be awful, so I went through my hard drives and sorted out my favorite footage since I started filming. The Outer Banks, Hawaii, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Cali and more. So I thought it over and made a list of things I needed to do to create this weird idea…
Need a character.
Need a setting for the character.
Need a way for the character to change the scene.
Need a narrative that will progress throughout the video.
And this is what I came up with...
Character = Mr. Bean.
Setting = A business that allows people to experience videos in a way that they are in control.
Mr. Bean will change the scene by changing the music, as if the motion picture was already there and he will change the scene and the mood by changing the music.
A narrative will also be told through the music with the words, and by chronologically using music from each decade.
It was a lot, and a lot that had nothing to do with surfing. I worked for about two weeks and almost finished a rough cut of seven and a half, weird minutes. Through sound design and stock footage I created a setting where Mr. Bean walked into a building to experience a new surf video. He begins by starting a record. Throughout the video he changes the record to change the scene and then progresses to a CD player and eventually his phone as music progresses with time.
Luckily enough for me, I have the brilliant mind of Tyler Nilson, a successful Hollywood filmmaker and the director/writer of the Peanut Butter Falcon to test my concepts on. He started his film career with plans to make surf movies, so he doesn’t treat surfing like most people in Hollywood do. He understands what is good and bad from a perspective that we haven’t seen in the surf world, hence why his feedback is so valuable.
There’s a feeling when you’re watching a movie in the theater when the movie isn’t reaching the audience; the energy is tense and the attention just isn’t really there. It’s a powerful thing that everyone in the audience feels together and even more powerful when it happens with only two people in the room. Other than the surf clips, the video was lost, it didn’t make sense and it was poorly delivered. Tyler recommended several ideas to help save the idea. He understood my main goal which allowed him to realize I wasn’t delivering. I decided to give up on the idea and make something different.
An Outer Banks Love Letter, became my new project. I wanted to create a cinematic reel about my home. I started working with my favorite footage from the Outer Banks and shooting new B-roll. Coincidentally, a few days into editing, Surfline reached out to me about creating a visual representation of the Outer Banks for their premium series, Out Front. Several months later, that project was released.
December 2020, I wanted to make some sort of highlight reel with my favorite stuff from the entire year, BUT, how do you make something interesting and appealing using mostly footage that has already been seen? Well, obviously it would be a great idea to use my concept that didn’t make any sense and overall wasn’t good. Let’s get started.
I sorted through my 2020 footage and came up with five scenes...
-The swell of December 1st on the Outer Banks
-Nick Marshall in Hawaii
-Pipeline at sunset
-Bo Raynor and the Outer Banks
I knew I wanted to create two different, and detailed settings:
#1 - Mr. Bean’s Setting: I drew up what it would look like if it was real, not sound design.
On the right side of the room, Mr. Bean sits in his recliner holding a TV remote.
On the left side of the room is the front door and Mr. Bean’s TV which is set on the news.
For 2020, what’s more relatable than being bored, sitting in your house with the news on?
#2 - Mr. Bean’s Imagination: A colorful, ocean filled reality where he watches surfing. His imagination controls the music, the color, and the mood for each scene.
Now I had to figure out how to make it make sense. I knew the settings needed to be very different, so I created Mr. Bean’s reality as a black and white, dull reality. During each scene change, we jump from his imagination to his reality, the color begins to fade and the sound is suddenly drowned out. Then Mr. Bean returns to his imagination and experiences color and surfing.
Before Bo Raynor’s part at the end, Mr. Bean changes the channel on his TV from the news to the Powerball announcement and we hear him rustle his ticket out of his pocket. He obviously doesn’t have faith in his numbers as he states, “What a waste of time.” At the end, the color fades out, showing we are back to Mr. Bean’s reality and we hear the Powerball numbers being announced from his TV. It sounds as if Mr. Bean has won. He stands up from his chair and rushes through the door ending the film.