EVERYBODY LOVES TO STRUGGLE: I recently spent a few hours in Bryan Ingraham’s DogHouse Productions video-editing office. Some office, it’s more like the POW sweatbox in The Bridge Over The River Kwai–a four-by-eight plywood lean-to quite possibly held together by a Jimi Hendrix poster. Working temperatures range from 35 to 85 degrees. It’s a far cry from the swanky Newport Beach Business Park, but Ingraham wouldn’t have it any other way, surviving on to-go tacos, peanut butter cups and the occasional warm Mountain Dew.
These past few months Ingraham, a typical independent surf video producer, has spent countless hours holed up, editing Aqua Dulce, his new film which focuses on the women’s surfing movement. Three years and $15,000 dollars later, Ingraham finally sees light despite his eye sight diminished to 20-15 from a perfect 20-20.
Ingraham, stoked and perfectly comfortable whizzing around through the various tasks of his editing software, darts his sight from monitor to monitor, as content as a honeybee in the springtime. “My film started off as a happy-go-lucky thing,” said Ingraham. “I wanted to make a surf movie, and I saw the burgeoning growth of women’s surfing, and I put two and two together. Now it’s turned into this giant project, it’s really taken over my life. But it’s a great thing.”
Another indy video producer, Steve Wasylko of Tuffproductions.com, echoes Ingraham’s point. “The time spent on my project is unbelievable,” he explained. “Filming alone is time consuming-but that’s nothing. There are hours of logging, sorting, and arranging clips…and that’s before you even get to the editing process. The hourly rate, if you broke it down, would be ridiculous.” How does $2 an hour sound?
Ah, the working life of the independent surf videographer. A labor of love, as potently cliché as it sounds, is exactly what it is. “But it’s a great lifestyle,” explained Wasylko. “The travel, meeting great people, insane surfing and surf spots, the relationships you build. It’s all very appealing.”
Ingraham and Wasylko are not alone. There are plenty of “struggling but loving it” independent video producers out there. The market is flooded with the Josh Pomers (The Kill series), John Lynchs (Librium), and Chad Campbells (Fifth Symphony Document) of the surf video-production world. It seems everybody loves to struggle.
Except, of course, the big dogs.