Meet the Filmmaker: Tim Davies
It’s a healthy time for UK surf filmmaking. Tim Boydell’s Innersection is out there on the world stage representing, Uncommon Ideals by Chris McClean and Mark Waters is up for a Surfer Poll award and Mickey Smith has established a reputation as a cutting edge creative of the highest order. Joining this line-up is Welsh filmmaker Tim Davies, whose Strange Beautiful LIFE series brings the globe trotting adventures of himself and Alan Stokes to the screen. We’ve seen tropical beaches, Norse Shore barrels and the French summer time highlife. Following his London Surf / Film Festival Shorties screening, we caught up with Tim to find out just how he got started in the ‘biz and what the future has in store for their cinematic pilgrimage.
CN: So who is Tim Davies and how did he start making films?
TD: I’m 26 and am a proud Welshie, hailing from Swansea which is such a cool place to grow up. Fun waves and a city on your doorstep. My Dad got me into surfing, he travelled a lot in his younger years and growing up always told tales of Morocco and New Zealand which definitely stirred something inside of me. I studied ‘Moving Image Productions’ in Plymouth Uni which most people would think was where I learnt how to do what I do but all they taught me was how to shoot a close up, write a script etc. and not one lesson on how to edit!! From the get go all I wanted to do was make surf films with wicked music and cool editing! So I would go into uni in the morning, hire out about £10k’s worth of equipment and disappear to Porthleven shooting all weekend.
I met Alan about 5 years ago in Costa Rica, I think he was threatened by my big man turns and fins free surfing so he politely asked me to film him, haha but we hit it off straight away. Were pretty similar in the way we look at things, don’t take life too seriously and try and have fun with everything that we do.
Where did the idea for Strange Beautiful Life come from?
The idea for Strange Beautiful LIFE came in Costa Rica this year. I love seeing new videos online but theres never any flow between videos so thought this could be a great platform for having something regular for people to follow and enjoy.
Each episode has a different feel – you seem to be trying different techniques and angles. Do you think it’s important to keep pushing yourself as a filmmaker?
For me the key thing for the series is variety, no one wants to see a load of episodes all the same so thats why each one has a different flavour. From destinations, music, waves, surfing and edit style. Were trying to portray each episode in the culture and style of that destination. It pushes you as a filmmaker and its also really pushing Alan’s surfing as he wants to show variety and is constantly trying new things.
Where do you look for inspiration? Who are your major influences?
It’s easy to find inspiration these days with so much free content online but I still think Taylor Steele is the most talented film maker. I love how he blends amazing lifestyle and landscapes, good music and obviously the best surfing. Kai Neville nailed it with Modern Collective but Lost Atlas was a little too weird for me!
Do you have a piece of music in mind before you start editing, or does the music come once you have a good idea of the how the footage will work
Music- ahhh the key ingredient! It’s pretty tricky as we don’t have any budget for music so have to find either unsigned artists or artists that just love what were doing and want to get involved.
What we normally do is go on a trip, have my ipod jammed with music I have found, then just wait for one to jump out at us for that particular video. You have to be careful though as you may find one you love, play it all trip and by the time you get home to edit you’re over it!
How much of the process do you think is creative and how much do you think is technical?
A bit of both but I think its mostly creative, just knowing how you want to portray things through film.
What’s it like working with Alan? What does he bring to the table?
He’s a legend, has such a good work ethic and has got an artistic eye for things too. In the last episode we wanted to get a real French flavour so would spend days driving around trying to get the shots we had bouncing around in our head. Many a folk would have got bored but he powered through.
What piece of advice do you wish you’d been given when embarking on your project?
Ahaha there’s too many as I’m pretty clumsy- Beware of rogue set waves in Scotland when filming off a pier and don’t try and make yourself a stool to sit on whilst filming, it will end it tears!!!
Where are you hoping to take the project?
We want the project to grow in regards to art, music, destinations and surfing. I hope people understand that this isn’t a big commercial campaign, its just myself and Alan trying to have some fun and sharing it. We do have some cool ideas bouncing around though so lets just see if we can pull them off.
What are your goals as a filmmaker?
I just want to keep doing what I love and what we’re doing at the moment is a lot of fun, I hope everyone is enjoying.
Tim Davies is…
A clumsy, forgetful, fun loving bloke who’s most happy either on the beach or in the pub.