Thursday, November 15, 2007

One California Year

Going through some old boxes in my basement, I found a notebook with papers from my freshman year of college. I went to LMU film school for a year and a half, fulfilling the California dream I'd formulated in middle and high school. I brought a surfboard, but only surfed once or twice at windblown El Porto. I didn't have many friends down there. None who surfed. So I did the typical freshman thing: drinking, studying and walking around Hollywood.

I took my film classes pretty seriously, discovering Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Jarmusch, vintage Coppola, Scorsese, Truffaut. I made a short movie in my Film Production 101 class that was selected to be shown on the campus big screen. It was a super-8 vignette about an epileptic painter named Rabo.

But film seemed too production-oriented and formulated for me. Too much organization and delegation to others between the initial creative impulse and the final work. And Hollywood freaked me out. The next year, I quit film school and moved back to Oregon to study painting.

In the basement notebook I found some critiques of my first films from fellow students. One name in particular stood out: Jason Baffa. I remember him well--we hung out on occasion, as a matter of fact. I borrowed his film splicer/viewer to edit one of my films. He was one of the more motivated and articulate guys in the class. He was also a surfer. Now, he's making some of the most artistic surf films out there, including One California Day and Singlefin Yellow.

Thinking back now, I'm pretty sure he offered to take me surfing. I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to some better breaks with him and gotten obsessed with surfing back then... totally obsessed like I am now. Would I have stayed in California, surfing my way through film school?

The making of One California Day.

The Byrds - My Back Pages

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live a few blocks from LMU. Singlefin Yellow is one of my favorites, I'll have to check out his new film.

Enjoying the blog, keep it up.


Kevin

G said...

I see a movie in his future..."One Stormy Oregon Day."

surferbrat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
surferbrat said...

surferbrat said...
Or better yet, maybe you'd be the lone person chosen to represent some of the surf that exists north of Santa Cruz, that was left out in the movie. Still the best surf flick this year, tied with Thread that is. How funny, I wish I haphazardly realized I went to photography school with, oh, say, Dustin Humphrey or Jeff Johnson or some of the other surf photographers out there dishing up the inspiration. I like to dream about the years prior when I could've (should've) been surfing. =)

Patch said...

Was that during the Hank Gathers era at LMU?

Anonymous said...

Great flick.
A quality soulful movie.
Baffas nephews, the Coffin brothers, rip hard.

Chum said...

The year after Hank, I think!

writer said...

"Or better yet, maybe you'd be the lone person chosen to represent some of the surf that exists north of Santa Cruz, that was left out in the movie."

Yeah and he can draw pictures of the spots and name them.

Why is it some surfers will favor movies that focus on the soul aspect of surfing and then want to destroy whats left of the soul of surfing?

Gaz said...

I still want my T-shirt......

Gaz said...

Any chance you can convert the Super8 film about Rabo onto a Youtube clip, and post it here.

Jeffery said...

I watched Jason run over a fat kit on a purple pop-out the other day with one of the best drop knee turns in the South Bay.

tres_arboles said...

I want to see O.C.D. but haven't heard about a Seattle date yet. I like Singlefin Yellow alot. I even went out and bought it. Wouldn't exactly call it "artistic" but that's OK. Just a good surf flick with an organizing principle to it; and Tyler seems like a pretty cool guy.

On the other hand, I think art-film/surf-film thing is going off the deep end. Sprout struck a nice balance between each with the focus remaining on the surfing, the surfers, and the boards. Thread, although nicely shot was just too diffuse to even be called a surf film. Maybe Trefzs intended that. After all, there are plenty of really poor surf videos out there consisting of nothing more than surfing and a punk or rap soundtrack.

But I'm gonna have a seizure if I have to endure one more of those opening shots where the camera flicks through the yellow/red/green filters in quick succession, then settles into the full color shot. It's like the surf/art film cliche shot of the decade, and Thread has them in spades.

Nice Blog, Chum. Gonna add you to my line-up, if you don't mind.

David