Tyler Bell: Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
Interview by Dan Caban
How many 18-year-olds do you know who are not lucky enough, but good enough, to be able to make a living by doing what they love? Tyler Bell is one of those 18-year-olds. By filming his friends surfing he has developed a passion and love for documenting the sport he has grown up with and his new website – a clean and simple canvas to put his creations on – provides a basis for his work to be shown to the world. Meet Tyler Bell.
CW: How did you initially get into filmmaking?
TB: Just living at the beach and being a surfer really. My dad is pretty creative, not in the filming industry, but he is in the creative industry and having him overlooking you the whole time, it helps. I kinda have it in my blood I guess to do something like that. And then surfing and having all my mates surfing and everyone getting alright made it easy. There are so many good surfers from where I am from so I guess it kinda had to happen eventually. I had a camera in my hand from a young age as well so I developed into shooting the boys and having a love and passion for it.
It must help having the Northern Beaches surfing lifestyle you live in.
Yeah, everyone is trying to do it, which is epic, 'cause there are so many people you can talk to and hang out with who are doing the same thing. It’s good and bad, but mostly for the best I’d say. Just being here with all the really good surfers and skaters, musicians, artists, everything pretty much. Having that around is so epic.
Being open to so many good surfers from the area, do you have any favourites?
From the Northern Beaches obviously guys like Kai Otton, Sam Page, Luke Cheadle, Nick Riley and then guys from Narrabeen way like Davey (Cathels) and Cooper (Chapman) and then Jordy (Lawler), who is shredding so hard. That is pretty much all the guys who you would regard as being ‘the best’ in regards to shoot who stand out, but there are so many other guys who are just doing their own thing which is cool.
What about the clip you managed to shoot with Nick Riley for O’Neill?
Yeah we went over to Indonesia for three weeks and we were just over there to do a little webisode series that O’Neill is doing for the Lose Yourself Somewhere campaign. Jordy’s (Smith) clip and all the other are online now so they wanted to do one of all their team riders, so we went over there. The waves in Bali were kind of average, we were in Canggu and Keramas but it was just kinda your average Bali clip, you know? So we wanted to go over to Sumbawa, and that place was amazing, up there is just out of hand. Anyway you stand on the beach, you’ve got an amazing backdrop, it’s so epic. Then you have the pumping waves, and we were lucky enough to get one of the best swells of the year to date was when we were there. It was super lucky we were over there. So that was such a good trip, I was so stoked to be a part of that.
Is that the trip to Sumbawa you pulled the clip together for Coastalwatch?
That clip was from Super Suck, one of the gnarliest lefts… like ever. Ry Craike, Matt Hoy and these three Hawaiian dudes; Koa Smith, Alex Smith and this other guy, who were pretty much putting everyone to shame, were all over there. Unfortunately I couldn’t use any of that footage though, even though it was pretty much the best footage I have ever shot in barrelling left handers. They e-mailed me when they were still over there and because they were shooting for their blog called Last Name First Tv, I couldn’t use it, but I sold my footage to them so they can make a video for their blog. It’s going to be basically mind-blowing these barrels they are getting, and they have such a good guy editing. I basically gave all my footage to them, and they had another guy over there filming who was covering another angle. So the two angles are going to be looking into this left barrel and looking out of it, it’s going to be pretty sick to watch.
You must be pretty stoked to have your footage with names like Koa and Alex Smith as they are becoming big things in Hawaii.
Yeah totally, those guys are pretty much the next big thing coming out of Hawaii. I guess it’s all about networking and getting yourself out there so I was pretty happy to both be over there and to be there the same time as them. It was pretty sick.
What about some of the other clips you shoot that aren’t surfing like the commercials?
Well I get most of that television commercial work through my dad’s company. They are an advertising agency, and they have begun to do a few advertisements now. It’s pretty much the best experience to see how that stuff all works, because you see how much work goes into it. There's so much more than you would have thought that goes into the production of it all. Also to look at the hierarchy and see and meet who is high up and who is working for who, and who is doing their own job. It’s a really good job to do just because it’s different and a good experience to keep on doing and I’m always hoping it will maybe lead to some more stuff within that field. It’s definitely something I want to get into, seeing as shooting surfing is so hard to keep going with. You have to be able to do some other stuff.
And you’re showing your good enough to only be shooting surfing now instead of a regular job?
At the moment I’ve been lucky enough to be only 18 and be making a living off freelance filming. I’m hoping it just keeps going the way it is and jobs and offers keep popping up as they are and just keep networking myself. I take advantage of everyday and count myself lucky to not be out doing a trade or something. It’s so sick to be able to do something that I love and make an income from it as well.
Are there any particular filmers you're influenced by?
Yeah well there are the Kais (Neville) and the Taylors (Steele) and the Rileys (Blakeway) who are all just absolutely killing it right now and basically running the whole thing. So yeah definitely to be something like that is what I want to do, but now there are so many other people out there who are doing their own thing, which is still so rad, and who are nearly the same level as all them. But of course Kai, he is pretty much the king out there right now, so I really want to look into doing something like he has by starting his own production company right now by making What Youth and have people working for him.
He is such a business man, you know? He has it all down pat and now he is just pretty much running the show. The whole What Youth franchise and company with the website is just next level.
What about your new website you just made?
Well I made this new site like last week; it’s only been live for a few days (at the time of interview). It’s just something with all of my work up there which is easy to view so when I send my work through to someone it’s not just a massive list of crap on there. It’s got your contact and is an easy viewable site with all the different range of stuff I’ve done. I think it is definitely something you need to get yourself out there.
Young, Free, Alright! is an editorial series presented by Coastalwatch and Arnette where every fortnight we'll be showcasing and profiling a young and up-and-coming photographer, filmmaker, blogger, artist, musician, shaper, surfer or whatever that we've been digging. The rad and creative groms of Australian surfing. Alright!
To see more of Tyler Bell's excellent work, hit up his fresh to death site here.
To see more Young, Free, Alright! profiles click here.
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