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DIY Filmmaking | The Lowest Budget Surf Film

Introducing… Mister Agent Terror Gnar Safari Chili Faction Is A Gigantic Seafoam Prune Chief. AKA – the lowest budget surf film ever made.

I just finished up a surf art boot camp. Over a one month period, Pineapple Luv and myself went to as many surf art related films, workshops, and openings as possible. One of the creatives we met was artist Alex Kopps who led a DIY filmmaking video workshop at RVCA during their Art of the Beautiful Losers: Make Something Workshop series.

Kopps is working on a much anticpated project titled Displacement, that looks more like an art film than a surf film. He is also a Gothic Dolphin, which can best be described as a clan of artists who celebrate surfing, DIY, the Bauhaus, spray paint, and chaos. Some of my favorite things.

Above is the video nine of us created during the workshop in under two hours. Alex patiently edited the video clips together into a completed film. In other words, he did most of the work and he clearly demonstrated what is possible with low budget gear. Someone at RVCA coined this the “world’s greatest surf film,” but I prefer the film’s original title instead….

Tip For Artists, Photographers, & Videographers

“Don’t let there be a reason to not finish your projects. Don’t let a lack of equipment stand in the way.” 

– Alex Kopps

This is solid advice coming from a film maker. Alex finds a way to finish his projects. He’ll use a consumer pocket camera, iPhone, or an outdated VHS video camera if needed to capture his videos. It’s a lo-fi aesthetic, but it’s also a DIY ethos that allows him to get shit done.

As an artist, there is an endless list of options to distract you from starting or finishing a project. I have heard students do this, and I’ve done it myself. Not having enough money, the right gear, or enough time are the most common excuses. However the worst excuse can be blamed on post modernism. “Oh that has been done before” is the worst psychological punch you could ever throw at yourself. Instead we need to ask “have I ever done that before?” Or “how could I do it differently?” Now go make something or start your own gnar-safari-chili-faction.

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Jay Watson
San Francisco Bay Area based lifestyle and people photographer Jay Watson shoots editorial, apparel, automotive, corporate, and sports subjects for commercial clients. Published in over 70 magazines.

4 Responses to DIY Filmmaking | The Lowest Budget Surf Film

  1. JW – That’s the best title for any work of art I’ve heard in a long time. The world needs more dada titles. Looks like you were shredding in the video. You know I’m a fan of getting fired up, and then sharing the fire. This blog post is on fire! – JR

  2. That was such a fun film to watch, but probably more fun to make. And, yes, a fantastic title. I’m now inspired to take on a project (and per your “Another Tip for Artists” post, I’ll try not to blow it off): I will write a series of poems composed using one pack of refrigerator magnets. A magnet cannot be reused during the same poem (a la Arnold Schoenberg), and every poem must use every magnet. Definitely the start of a gnar-safari-chili-faction.

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