“Seamus!” Belts out a loud voice. It’s my roommate Tim. “Get your shit together dude, come on. It’s already peak tanning hours, and you’re inside sleeping.”
I abruptly lift my head up off the pillow, look around the living room with a bird’s eye view from my homemade loft and think to myself, “Holy shit, what the hell am I doing?” It’s just past 10 in the morning in Boulder, CO. It’s early June. Situated on top of my sleeping platform—crafted from two-by-fours and plywood—I aggressively rip the sheets off of my body.
“What, are you butt naked up there?” questions my roommate impatiently. I can feel each of my pupils trying to adapt to the light at different wavelengths, causing me to think I’m still tripping. To some, this would instill concern, but for the majority of people I spend time with, this is the norm.
Before I climb down my ladder, Charlie Owens, a brown-haired, hillbilly-looking lunatic, walks through the front door. He’s carrying a handful of PBR cans as if they were the last of his possessions. He’s dressed in black pants, black boots and a full torso neck brace. “Chuck!” I cry out. “You get laid last night?”
“Nah, dude, I ended up walking home and passing out,” replies Charlie. “What’s the word though? You guys ready to turn up? I’m already down two cold ones and Brogan said he’s got some beer over at his place so we should probably start making moves.” As one of the youngest of the group, Chuck isn’t worried about being looked down upon for drinking so early in the day. Living down the street is close friend Jon Brogan who shares the same outlook.
At this point, I experience a wave of F.O.M.O., forcing me to expedite the process of getting dressed. In the bedroom below my loft is Clayton Vila, a surfer-turned-skier from Block Island, RI. “Someone get Clayton up and tell him we’re going,” I mutter as I step into my Timberlands. Normally, summertime calls for Tevas and bathing suits, but when you’ve been on a multi-week bender, being able to stomp out glass when the opportunity presents itself certainly beats the fear of succumbing to tan lines. “Where the hell is Sean, anyways?” I question while looking around.
“He’s over in the office,” answers Chuck before making his way across the wooden deck outside the apartment to rally the troops. Originally from Scranton, PA, Sean Jordan spent his earlier years skiing around the Pocono Mountains before moving out to Colorado.
After pushing open the door to apartment 7, Chuck finds Jordan, accompanied by executive producer Nick Martini and cinematographer-editor Isaac Sokol at the computers. Alex Martini, producer, is in the loft shuffling through camera gear. The office is quiet and dark on account of the shades being drawn and a sour smell emanates from the 30-gallon trash barrel filled with empty beer cans and Jimmy John’s wrappers. In the other room, laying face down is a fully dressed, semiconscious Cam Riley—the director. There are no sheets on the bed and his shoes are still on.
This is the off season.
Watch: Stept Productions’ Ten and Two trailer
Months earlier, outside of these same apartments, we were packing a walk-in trailer—to be towed behind Cam’s F-150—prepping for a season-long trip that would come close to driving each of us to the point of no return. Sick of watching footage from the previous winter, we collectively agreed to dedicate ourselves to the frost season. Clayton would work on his upcoming solo project while Chuck, Sean, Cam and I would film for Stept’s new movie. Our goal was to spend the winter on the road, with New England as a starting point. Despite the possibility of hurting ourselves, there were no alternatives. This is what we do.
Our crew consists of past, present and future college students who serve as the cinematographers, photographers, athletes, editors and music buffs of our operation. True to our roots, we shoot a large portion of our film projects on the East Coast. Filming back east is favorable for a few reasons. In addition to knowing the lay of the land, our efficiency is usually heightened as we’re able to save money by staying with family and friends. Eventually, we’ll head west, stopping at numerous locations along the way and taking turns paying for lodging, beer and gas.
Looking back at the 2013-14 season, it seems impossible to recount everything that went down. There were moments of triumph as well as instances of defeat. As a result, this piece focuses on the here-and-there of our operation from my perspective. It is a series of recollections from the months of December to July, ones which I believe to be a truthful representation of our season as a whole.