The introduction was short, but formal. We presented you with the trailer for Se7en Signs months ago. You shook hands, made eye contact and some of you may have even fell under a deep spell of love. It’s a film about traveling, and who in this vagrant culture of ours doesn’t dig that? Well, good news. Se7en Signs just dropped and you can use that iTunes gift card your aunt gave you to buy it on iTunes. And for those who yearn to know a little bit more before they make the investment of that click, you can follow the Journey of Se7en Signs. The first in a series of ten webisodes is above, and the second is already live. And in the rare case that one might need even more enticement to purchase the film, read our chat with Se7en Signs director and former SURFING Editor Nathan Myers below. —Brendan Buckley
SURFING Magazine: Where did the name Se7en Signs come from?
NATHAN MYERS: Okay, this is maybe my own weird metaphor math, but we were giving $10,000 prizes to five filmmakers, I knew I was gonna shoot Trip #6… and the idea is that there are six trips, and the “seventh” is your own. Inspired by the movie.
We infuse lots of quirky roadsigns throughout the movie, which is something you pass everywhere but usually just zip past too fast to film or notice. I don’t know… I personally look for metaphors and meaning when I travel. I try to find a deeper meaning in everything. Signs pointing me along the way.
Compared to Innersection, Se7en Signs seems to put more of an emphasis on the filmmaker. What inspired that change?
Definitely the emphasis here is on the filmmaker. The emphasis of Innersection is always on the surfer, but in truth the guy behind the camera is putting in a ton of effort too. He’s there for every session. So, we did an Innersection film this year as well, but this project was about bringing the guys behind the camera into the lime-light. And the film is as much focused on scenery, culture and capturing the whole experience of a journey as much as it is the actual surfing.
Times are hard for a surf filmmaker. What kind of reactions did you get from the guys when you approached them with this project?
Each of these filmmakers had already submitted an Innersection part and were then chosen by the Innersection audience to win a $10,000 prize, and to be part of this movie. We covered their travel, helped them organize a trip, and the pay wasn’t bad either. They had to work for their “prize,” but in the end they come out with a film they can all their own as well. So, I’d say they were all pretty happy with the results. They’re all hard-working talented guys who love surfing….so, this is what they do.
Were the filmmakers in contact at all during the project?
I was in touch with everyone, kinda directing the “big picture”. I wanted all the pieces to fit together, but also wanted to preserve their individual styles, which is probably the best part of the movie. Because we have six different style of filming and editing, it’s constantly changing rhythm and pace. Like a good mix-tape.
Was it challenging to take five separate journeys and throw them all under one roof in Se7en Signs?
The biggest challenge in making this movie was not actually going on the trips myself. Like, doing a bunch of work to help them get ready, then standing on the curb and waving good-bye.
What did you learn from making Se7en Signs?
Filmmaking in general is never easy. Travel isn’t easy. Surfing isn’t easy. What I learn over and over in life is that the most rewarding things aren’t easy.
Facing challenges is most fun when you can do it with other people — that’s when you find out what they’re really made of, and what you’re made of. Many of the people involved with this project – surfers, filmmakers, musicians – I’ve never actually even met in person, but I feel close to them because we’ve all been part of this journey together. I have great respect and appreciate for all of them. And to end up with this fun-to-watch document of the little symphony of waves, music and images that we conducted together… that’s what it’s all about. Cheers.