Almost Cut My Hair is a no budget surf film. Forget high street surf shops and surf brand sell-sell-sell mentality. Here’s an interview with the film’s director Ryan Lovelace; A shaper, surfer and filmmaker. Watch the film, read the interview and plan your next surf trip to California.
Almost Cut My Hair – Interview with Ryan Lovelace
The surf world is all over Almost Cut My Hair. What kind of reception have you had for your film so far?
Insane. It wasn’t even supposed to be a big deal at all, just a footnote in where I’m at right now with my work and my tastes – Then it just took off. I’ve travelled all over showing it this summer and the trailers and sections of the movie I’ve put up have gotten more views than I could have ever expected. I won Best Feature at a film festival in Portugal, even…talk about unexpected!
I can’t help but make comparisons with George Greenough in Crystal Voyager. The creative, short innovative boards and quality waves. I get lost in the trailer let alone watching the film. How much of an influence was Greenough on your film?
I can’t say that there is a heavy direct influence – we’re surfing the same waves that guided his work so there is a heavy correlation and connective thread in that alone that has a lot of weight, but his work rarely influences a decision or a board I make.
He so well did what he did, I don’t feel a need at all to replicate or re-do his work. There is so much middle ground that he wasn’t willing to sacrifice in his pursuit for performance surfboard-wise…My fun comes in exploring the middles that didn’t get expanded upon back in the day.
In the movie realm, there was a little more relation in that I wanted to create something honest again – something that doesn’t pump logos or anything in your face, no agenda, no pretence. Just good surfing set to good music. Something that takes you away a little bit and makes you REALLY want to surf. I can see easily how it looks like I’m taking influence from his life or projects but honestly I’m just doing what I want how I want, with whatever resources I have.
You’ve got the shortest board with no fins, sliding down the face on the rail. Totally new to me, is there a name, style etc. for this type of board/surfing?
I just call it finless, Derek Hynd (the dude, when it comes to this stuff as far as I’m concerned) calls it Far Field Free Friction or FFFF. Whatever, its fun as shit to play with and there is absolutely no rule book and as far as I can tell it’s the only truly original thing to be played with in surfboard building right now.
The board in particular is called the Rabbits Foot, it’s an ongoing project and the sessions in the movie are research sessions, if you will, hahahaha. We’re finding what does and doesn’t help, what I can do to enhance certain feelings that seem to be going in the right direction – what accelerates and what drags, what spins and what bogs. You’ve got the two best finless surfers in the world in those two sections, Ari Browne and Ryan Burch, so I’m getting some solid work done.
Can you buy these boards or is it pure DIY?
I’ve been shaping custom boards for about 9 years now and I’m not stopping any time soon. Everything in the movie I make on a regular basis here in Santa Barbara, though I ship boards to the UK and Japan regularly; and travel and shape custom boards through southern Europe, Australia and Indonesia in the down season here (June through September).
The finless boards are a conversation for sure before I’ll make one for you, but if I get the sense that the person is truly invested and understands why and how they work, and doesn’t expect to surf it in purely shit beach break, then I’m in. The boards aren’t limited to good waves, but to learn to ride one without a wave that’s going to give you feedback like that is very hard.
The soundtrack feels like the musicians have got surfing in their blood too; can you tell me about the guys who wrote it?
The soundtrack is all friends of mine and people I’ve met through my adventures. I’m extremely picky about my music when it comes to videos – creating a feeling through sound is easy, but I really wanted to make sure to orchestrate the right ones for the movie.
All the songs were recorded by the artists in side projects or albums, or sent along through email as a, “hey, what’s up” (Travers Adler and Johnny McCann’s tracks, namely), and I saved them over the past few years. There are a few songs in there that are newer and some that were recorded years ago (Freshwave and Landon Smith’s) and I’ve been saving for the right project.
The opening section I recorded on my iphone at my buddies house while he was playing around on the piano (Nicholas Cook), and one I asked a group that I know in New Jersey (The Washmen and the Fisher) to record for the movie in particular, and that’s a cover of David Crosby’s Almost Cut My Hair.
The soundtrack is available at Almostcutmyhairfilm.bandcamp.com
How to make a surf film? Can you give any budding Go Pro or 16mm artists the heads up on a surf movie making?
Have fun. Play with it. If it doesn’t give you chills or make you pine to surf it’s not done. Try to convey what the surfing is – if its pumping tubes, yeah maybe an intense song is good…though it never hurts to F with people a little bit and show them a new way to watch a clip.
What have you got planned next?
I have one film project idea, but it’s not gonna be rushed and may not happen. With Almost Cut My Hair I gave myself a deadline, a concrete finish date that I made public in order to keep myself on it. But until I do that with the next project I won’t say what it is or if it is at all. It would blow your mind though, I promise. But aside from that, just building more boards and playing in the ocean. Trying to lead a positive and productive life!
For information about Ryan Lovelove’s surf film Almost Cut My hair visit: Ryan Lovelace