Want to be part of the next Taylor Steele movie? Surfing's most prolific filmmaker talks about his next movie project, Innersection.tv, and how you should be getting involved.
By Nathan Myers
SURFING MAGAZINE: What is Innersection?
TAYLOR STEELE: Innersection is basically an evolution from my Momentum-style movies like Campaign and Stranger than Fiction. Everything's been progressing towards this. Over the last few years, the Internet has been diluting what I'd been doing with those movies, so this is a way to use the Internet's strong points to create a platform for surfers to show their best freesurfing.
How is the contest going to work?
For the contest, surfers upload their own section to the website and the best 20 sections will go on the video. There's four cycles, starting in March and happening every two months, and we'll pick five winners from each cycle. And that's going to be a movie, something you can watch online, iTunes…everything. Basically, the guys are competing for a section in the movie.
Are you the one deciding who goes into the final movie?
I felt that something this big should be opened up to everyone. So, if you sign up to be a member of the site, you're going to have a say in the decision as well as getting to see all the latest surfing clips.
What do you think it will take to win this contest?
I think it's going to take a section with a lot of diversity. You're going to need big waves, crazy new moves. Great variety. Good style. And then the editor is going to have to step up, pick a song that fits the surfer well, and edit it all together with a fresh style. So, it's really a huge collaboration between the filmer, the editor and the surfer. When all that comes together, I think we'll have our winners.
What's the reason for opening this up to other filmers, editors and surfers around world?
I think a lot of people have always felt like they could never get into one of my movies. They felt like this is an exclusive club. Now, it's completely the other way. Anybody can come in and have a section. Anybody could submit their part and be part of the next movie. That's what we want. New surfers. New editors. New talent. Everybody has a video camera. Everybody knows how to edit. There's all these surfers that I don't even know who are ripping. This is a great way to showcase them.
Why should filmmakers get involved?
I'm hoping the filmmakers take this as a platform to showcase their skills. It's a great resume piece for future jobs and hopefully just a cool thing to be part of. We're also putting together some great prizes for filmmakers as well that we'll be announcing later, but I think if a filmmaker uses this to show off his skills, there will be some serious upsides that are more lasting than prizes.
What about members of the site? Is there a membership fee or something?
Membership is completely free. But the best part about being a member is you don't have to wait a year to see the latest surfing. Now you get to see a surf movie every couple months. You get to watch a lot of high level surfing and vote on it to be part of something that's even bigger than that. So, you'll get to watch the latest surfing every couple months. And be part of the voting and decide who goes onto the final video.
How should people be judging the sections? What's the criteria?
I think people should just base their scoring on what's actually shown on screen and not a popularity contest of who the surfer is or what he's known for in the past. The judging should be about what he's actually delivering on this platform.
What should surfers who want to compete in this be doing right now?
Surfers who want to compete should already be gathering clips. A good 2-3 minute section is about 20 to 30 waves. They should look at what kinda waves have they been seen on in other movies, what spots, what airbrushes. And then they should do something different and make it look fresh. New waves. New boards. A whole new deal. Attack it like it's a big thing. Because I think they'll regret it if they don't.
How do you make it feel like a single section and not just a hodge-podge pile of clips?
It's distracting for me when I watch a section and I see a whole bunch of different outfits and a whole bunch of waves. You want to find a wave that suits a certain goal, then you wanna get five waves surfing with the same outfit, even if you're filming over a couple days. And then go to a new location and where a new outfit, and keep that the same for the whole time you're at that place. That way the sections has a better flow to it. That's what I prefer…but I'm not voting, so it's up to the viewers.
What about filmers? Any tips for them?
I think the filmer's goal is to be conscious of what you're trying to achieve at each spot and communicate that with the surfer. If the surfer pulls a great alley-oop, have him go out and do a rodeo or something different. Once you have one maneuver, you should check that off the list and move on to the next one. Good communication. New angles. Be creative and artsy, without missing anything. If you miss clips, you're pretty much gonna get barred by your surfer.
Okay, how about editors?
I think the main thing editors need to bring to the table is music. They need to research some new music that's not heard on the radio and other surf movies and find a song that's really gonna compliment the surfer. From there, edit to the breakdown, do something different where the song changes pace, maybe using big waves or long barrels…just be conscious of the breakdown. That's a good place to really show your stuff.
Everyone should be treating this like a mini-movie. This is a two-minute platform to show their stuff.
Anything members need to worry about?
You've got two months for each cycle to view all the sections. So, once we get started in March, members should start watching every section. It's important to vote on what you actually see, not just who your favorite surfer is. If a high-level surfer doesn't have it, make 'em work for it. Be true to the integrity of contest. Judge on quality, not popularity.
What are people competing for?
The reason this has evolved to this contest is that there are just too many great surfers right now. They all rip. So it's hard to shoot everybody and document it all in a way that's fair. This levels the playing field. Surfers can gather their own clips, submit it in their own way and present themselves the way they want to be presented. This is a forum to have your surfing seen and maybe be part of the next video.
And the final section is the best freesurfer in the world?
In the last ten years, the final section has really become something that is a prize in itself. Whoever gets the last section is sorta deemed the best freesurfer in that movie. So, we feel like that's a great way to reward that person, because that's a skill that's not being rewarded right now. The final section of this should be deemed the world champ of freesurfing.
Is this project a one-time deal?
The goal is for this to get bigger every year. This is just the beginning.
[Stay tuned to www.innersection.tv for all the latest updates and be sure to check the feature in the March issue o SURFING Magazine for more.]