We are always on the look out for new talent and Torrey Meeks (below right) is a brilliant up and coming Filmmaker, Writer and Director. I found out about his stuff when we did an interview with 17yr old French DJ / Producer / Remixer Madeon.
Later a video appeared of Madeon using a Novation Controller performing ‘Pop Culture‘ a ‘Mash up’ track containing samples from over 17 different tracks combined into one song.
Next thing I discover Torrey’s brilliant ‘Mash up’ video to go with the ‘Mash up’ track and from there I stumbled across his outrageous short film ‘Guaranteed Sex’, (written by Anthony Morcom) a twisted guide to sleeping with the girl of your dreams (watch it on the next page and let us know if it works!).
His short film The American Way was also included in Ridley Scott‘s YouTube documentary project Life in a Day. Currently preparing to make his first full length feature film we caught up with him for a quick chat.
How long did the Madeon video take?
From the time I decided to make it to uploading, 24-hours. I started on Friday night and finished Saturday evening.
Was it easy to work out the different samples and find the videos?
Finding the videos was fairly easy. Matching the samples was the most time intensive part. Making the video flow as a whole was the most difficult, because there wasn’t always a straight forward, obvious clip to use (i.e. the musician saying the words of the sample right to the camera).
Some sequences in music videos worked great (Madonna), but only if I cut the music video up and stitched together the relevant parts. There was a lot of slicing, dicing, speeding up and slowing down, and looping of video segments to make everything fit over all.
Because I was cutting to the beat so often, a section where the original music video would normally cut away from, say, an animated choir singing a chorus to the animated character skating his chair down a mixing board in a sound room doesn’t work. It’s too jarring to let the natural rhythm of the original music video take over when you’re cutting to a song that only samples a part of the underlying track, so I had to mirror the audio samples with its visual equivalent. Repeating a sound or a visual without making it feel repetitive and boring.
That’s the trick. It’s a fine line and you have to take it to the edge with this sort of thing.
How long have you been making films?
I’ve been filming for three and a half years. The word, “filming,” is probably too generous in describing my first attempts though. My first video projects are still online. At the time, it was just running around with a small camcorder and a PVC boom with grand visions of an amazing internet web series.
Did you go to college to study film?
Never did go to school. After getting out of the military in my early 20s (I’m 28 now) I looked into college briefly. At the time I had no idea I’d be making films one day.
At the age of 17 I read On The Road and I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was an idea I’d had for years, but that’s what finally pushed me over the edge. I’d never fallen in love with a book that was written by someone who went to school to learn how it was done, so I figured seeing the world and reading good books and writing a lot was the best way to do it.
It didn’t hurt that I was a terrible student. Uninvolved, failing half my classes, and bored out of my skull. I needed all sorts of remedial classes if I wanted to go to college. I bought a motorcycle, saved up money by working as a pizza cook at an Italian restaurant, and rode it across the United States instead. When I hit Miami I flew to Nicaragua to visit my brother, who was a missionary down there, got very sick on returning to the States, and had to find something else to do when I got better.
With no school and no resume I looked around at the potential jobs, still wanting to travel but not having the money, and became a long-haul truck driver. I couldn’t do it in a totally independent way, but I was still getting paid to travel.
While trucking I met my wife. We’d known each other online through our writing for years. I hitched a delivery up to Maine where she was working her first newspaper job at the time, proposed to her in the cab of my truck 15-minutes after we met, and we got married in a jam shop by a notary public two days later.
Being newly wed and trucking didn’t work, so I quit that job and picked up a small, practical book on how to get started as a freelance writer. I’d been telling myself for ages that I wanted to be a writer, but only had a spiral notebook full of bad poetry, an anonymous blog, and some short stories to show for it.
I figured I wasn’t a writer until I was making my living off it, so I wrote non-fiction articles for trade publications of all stripes. Stuff like Concrete Today, Towing and Recovery Footnotes, MaineBiz. They were good to me in that they paid the bills, but it was hard to wrap my head around the work because I wasn’t in love with most of the subjects. At night I worked on my fiction and novels. I slaved away like that for three years.
I’d bought a camcorder when YouTube really started entering the public conscience, but I was too intimidated to do anything with it for the first year. I knew my first attempts would be god awful from my experience writing, and I didn’t have the energy to delude myself about the quality.
One night after having a couple glasses of wine, I decided to go for it and posted a Craigslist ad looking for actors interested in doing a comedy web show. About six people showed up to the first meeting, so we went out and shot it.
At the time I’d never used an editing application, but I wasn’t too worried about that part. I counted on the pressure of having footage in the can to force me to learn editing. Whenever I got stuck, I ‘Googled’ tutorials…..