Some Answers with Kai Neville


An update from Kai Neville’s enclosed editing dungeon
By Travis Ferré

Don’t die for a deadline. The signs litter the roadways across Australia’s back roads. But Kai Neville doesn’t agree. It’s go time. He’s been cooped up for over a month, in a black hole, under headphones piecing together clips for the shred opus Modern Collective that you’ve heard so much about. We checked in with him to make sure he is able to emerge and release the film on time.

SURFING Magazine: How pale are you right now?
Kai Neville: I look like a vampire out of Twilight or some shit. Maybe I’ll get a spray tan before the premier so people don’t freak out.

Describe the editing dungeon? Has it slowly deteriorated since the beginning?
It’s a mundane little hole. I painted the walls chalkboard black, which was cool for notes but now it just looks like a scene out of that tweaked Jim Carrey movie, The Number 23

What’s your daily ritual in there?
Wake up round eight. Java. On e-mails for a couple hours. Java. Then a delirious state of editing until around 1 a.m.. I didn’t plan for it to be this wild deadline wise, but that’s production. I got thrown an early iTunes release and clearing music is always a task. Sitting in front of all this ridiculous footage I do attempt to go for the odd slay too.

Is the movie coming together how you envisioned it?
Yeah it’s coming together. It’s close to what I originally mapped out, but surf trips always come into there own, so you can’t really plan what goes on. Still some solid work to do, I do enjoy the sections I’ve edited though.

Any hints on music?
If we can clear the complete soundtrack it would almost be a classic style, something that will hopefully stand the test of time and not bug the shit out of you in six months. I want to give it some depth. I have shown the boys a few alternate edits and they always go for the bangers.

What are you going to do when you walk out of the dungeon, with the final cut uploading and finished…?
Get loose; bail Australia for a two-week premiere fiesta in your fine country!

[Modern Collective is debuting a 30-minute edit at the New York Surf Film Festival Saturday night. Check out Kai’s progress at]