A DEEPER SHADE of BLUE: a film by Jack Mccoy
A DEEPER SHADE of BLUE – Official Trailer
a film by Jack McCoy
Tuesday, February 1st at 8:00pm
(Please note the schedule is subject to change)
SYNOPSIS: Master surf filmmaker, Jack McCoy ventures into a new realm with his latest feature, A Deeper Shade of Blue. This is not a surf movie, it’s a film about surfing’s deepest roots: in the subconscious; in ancient lore; in the craft of surfboard building; in man’s perpetual quest for a joyful relationship with the natural world.
“In eleven interwoven chapters, today’s leading surfers are linked to those who came before, for a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a surfer and the soulful underlying power of modern surf culture. This is a big picture of a memorable story, beautifully told. It is a film about feeling good to be alive…and it will make you feel good.” Aloha ~ Jack
Words of Wisdom by filmmaker Jack McCoy
Q&A by Desiree East
Legendary surf photographer/filmmaker, Jack McCoy, has twenty-plus films under his belt, including surf classic “Tubular Swells” (1977, co-directed with Dick Hoole). The film featured the likes of Gerry Lopez, Rabbit Bartholomew, Sean and Michael Tomson, Peter McGabe and more, exploring surf in Australia and Hawaii and untouched waves in Indonesia.
My husband and I – I’m sure, like many other surfers – have a stack of Jack McCoy’s films stashed in our library, that includes Bunyip Dreaming, The Green Iguana, Occy the Occumentary (…well, pretty much anything with Mark Occhilupo, as my husband is a huge fan – and a goofy foot, for that matter) and Blue Horizon, featuring the late Andy Irons.
McCoy’s latest film, A Deeper Shade of Blue, encompasses good company from surfers that we have all loved and been inspired by, including: shapers, Rabbit Kekai, Gerry Lopez, David Nuuhiwa, Joe Quigg, Barry Kanaiapuni, Phil Edwards, the Marshall Brothers, and Miki Dora; Australian legends, George Greenough, Wayne Lynch, and Michael Peterson; some of modern’s surfing’s best talent, Jamie O’Brien, Manoa Drollet, Jordy Smith, and 10 times world champ Kelly Slater; and influential women such as Hawaii’s beloved Princess Victoria Ka’iulani Cleghorn , television’s legendary Gidget, and today’s current champ, Stephanie Gilmore.
I feel very fortunate to ask Jack if he had a moment to share some sage advice with us in regards to his long career as a cinematographer, and here is what he had to say. (And thanks again, Jack, a million times over, for your never-ending generosity and embodiment of the Aloha Spirit. I know that we, as people – filmmakers or not – can learn something valuable from the experiences you share).
DE: There have been a growing number of aspiring and talented film students…what advice would you give to the next generation of up and coming filmmakers?
JM: Nothing comes easy. It’s all about commitment, hard work, and passion. Set yourself some goals and challenges at the start of each production, usually something you really want to understand or learn. That way, at the end of each production, you will have grown as a filmmaker. I also believe you get a better education by going out and doing it, learn along the way…we used to call it the school of hard knocks.
Also, Jim Freeman, the legendary partner of Greg MacGillivray told me before he passed away, that I should make the people around me, the people you bought your film from, the lab you worked with, the people who ran the editing facilities, thru to all of the people you met when you distributed your films, right down to the guy who you bought your lunch from, to make them feel like they are a part of your production and include them in as much of the experience as possible with you. Take them on the journey and of course the credits section in your film doesn’t cost you anything and do your best to try and not forget anyone. They were the ones who are the pieces of the puzzle that make the whole. Then, when you go make your next film, people will know you and put that extra bit of effort in to make your next film even better. Jim taught me that before I even picked up a camera and I’m still working with the people that are still around 35 years later.
Jim would sleep at CFI (the big Hollywood Lab where you’d process, work print, and create your release prints) during his entire production of lab work and got to know everyone from the prez to the janitor, and when I went there years later to make my own film, when they knew I was making something on surfing, everyone there would ask me if I knew Jim and I was always proud to tell them he and Greg got me going and were my inspiration and friends.
DE: Travel, Travel, Travel…If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what is one piece of travel advice you would give yourself regarding the challenges of traveling and working with your gear?
JM: Hummmmm The challenge for me in 1975 when I started to make my films was that my 16mm film and 35mm camera gear was so big and heavy and so much of it. We were making our first films and also publishing a surfing magazine that we’d write and shoot stills for, as well as other magazines around the world. You could say we had a few balls in the air at one time.
I carried with me two 16mm Bolex camera bodies, an Angeneaux 12-120mm Zoom lens, a 230, 385, 500mm Century lenses, and metal lens brace. About 4/5ths fit in one big Pelican Case. The 2nd Bolex, wrapped into a T-shirt, a Kernn 10mm, 25mm and 75mm, 17-85mm lenses fit in a little carboard box, wrapped in a T-shirt, assorted pieces and parts, all wrapped in T-shirts fit in another big Pelican. This Pelican also held two Nikon 35mm camera bodies with motor drives, one for Color slides and the other for B & W, in T-shirts.
(As a note, after a big days of shooting, I would not go to sleep until every bit of gear was wiped down, lens spit cleaned and locked and loaded for then next day so I could wake up and immediately start shooting).
For a tripod, I had a big heavy Miller fluid head, with big, heavy wooden legs that fit in a canvas Army surplus bag, that was wrapped up in clothes and wetsuits. A large backpack for 35mm lenses and tons of 16mm film stock and 35mm Kodak slide film. Back in the day you had security screenings at gates that were X-Ray machines that could zap your stock and turn it into a foggy mush if it went through. That was always hand carried. I also hand carried a 650mm Century telephoto still photo lens in a secure tube with shoulder strap, and a large plexi glass waterhousing for the Bolex that fit in a canvas custom made bage with rubber padding.
I guess you could call me the human pack mule when I’d turn up at the ticket counter. It always gave me a stomach ache when approaching the lady in uniform as to what her reaction would be. My partner – who had just as much gear as me – and I tried to put on my “meekish sheepish dumb American traveling film maker” look and then wait for the reaction. Most of the time we’d pull it off, a few times we were sent into major debt to cover the overweight we’d get slugged for. Even though I travel today with about 1/3 less gear, I still have to go through the stomach aches at check in since the weight limits are about 1/4 of what they used to be.
The one piece of advice I’d give myself then, and to some extent now……save up and hire an assistant!
DE: As artists, we tend to fall ‘in and out’ of creative mode, kind of like writer’s block. When you feel like you have a creative block, what do you usually do to get motivated…what is your biggest source of inspiration?
Nature. Tom Blake had a motto, “Nature=God”. Everywhere I look, the land, the sea and the sky, I see pictures and movies that bubble the juices. The challenge is ‘how do I tell the story’ and for me, the hardest part is starting. Once you start to lay the images, music and words down on your timeline, the rest follows. You can always go back and change it if it’s not working later, but for me, getting started really gets the ball rolling. The other source of inspiration is to not make the same film twice. Once you’ve made that sort of film, move onto a new challenge, keep the faith and hang on for one crazy ride.
A Deeper Shade of Blue was inspired by Blue Horizon. My objective was to show where surfing was at the turn of the century. For this film, I wanted to go deeper, pardon the pun, and share what I lived as a kid growing up in Hawaii. About surfing roots, about being a waterman, how surfboards evolved, about the loving and giving creed of Aloha. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really focused on living Aloha and I’m humbled to be able to share what I’ve lived with other through this film.
I keep rewinding in my mind’s vision library the day I met the Duke, his giant hand, and his big smile as I finally had the nerve to look at him and into his eyes. I’ve had that moment with a lot of my indigenous brothers all over the world.
My good friends, Derek Hynd and Garth Murphy have the same spirit within them and this film has kept us all super excited and stoked through all the ups and downs of this almost 5 year effort. Some days we’d discover something and jump and go nuts and tell each other how much we enjoy what we are doing. Even though a lot of you will know the story of ADSOB, there are millions of surfers out there that don’t and everyone comes away saying they were entertained and had learned something.
A friend told me early that if you and get just one person to take away some sort of feeling from watching your film, then you’ve been successful. I really feel blessed having made 25 films, each one a period of time that I return to when I watch them years later. For those who have seen them and taken something from them, I thank you for watching and sharing a part of my life, I’m very grateful and humbled. Aloha to you.