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