Filmmaker Feature: Matt Ching

Although Matt Ching dreams of not growing up, staying a kid forever, he has come to terms with his unavoidable adulthood which has slowly been creeping in on him. In coming to this realization, Matt figured he needed to get busy and make the most of his time, so he picked up a camera last year and has been at it ever since. We have focused many of our interviews here on Korduroy on established creatives and filmmakers, but Matt gives us some insight into a relatively new perspective on filmmaking. Although he is an Architecture and Community Design student at the University of San Francisco, it seems as though Matt is staying more busy with his camera, behind the computer editing, and having fun with his blog Dream Boat of the Sea.

A lot of people we have interviewed started out super young with a camera and had parents who influenced their path. How did you get started with shooting video? What drew you to filmmaking?

From Kindergarten to twelfth grade I went to a Waldorf School, which is an alternative form of education that has a strong focus on the development of the student’s creativity. It forced us to constantly work on a wide variety of art projects, so when I came to college I was suddenly removed from this routine. Last year as I was coming close to reaching my 21st birthday I became stuck in an existential funk that had me going on a lot of solitary camping trips in the wilderness as I tried to figure out the meaning of this life. I did a lot of reading while I was alone in the woods and I came upon this sentence: “If you don’t create, all you’re doing is taking”. For the life of me I cannot remember where I read this but it has remained lodged in my brain since then. After I came to terms with my eminent adulthood I decided that I had to return to a routine of creativity. I needed to keep my hands busy with projects of any sorts. I started painting, drawing, making music and shaping alaias but soon after, I saw the films Baraka by Ron Fricke and Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky, which inspired me to give filmmaking a try. I saved up and bought a camera right before I started this school year. Now I can’t stop filming.

What has been the hardest part of learning how to make and shoot films? What are some things that you have done to try and overcome that?

Trying to come up with different ways to approach filming is always difficult. You have to leave all your doors open to any idea no matter how ridiculous they sound. One day I decided to take my lens off and move it around while I was filming. I thought I was doing something unique. Turns out it’s a well-known method called “free-lensing”. Nothing is original these days, but it still bugs me.

Also, learning Final Cut Pro was tricky but there are so many YouTube tutorials these days that it wasn’t too bad. After Effects is the next program I want to learn.

As a student, where do you look besides school for alternate ways to learn and to get inspired? Is there any resources you have come across that have been helpful in navigating your path as a filmmaker?

I probably get the most inspiration from the different environments around me. If you silently observe your surroundings you can begin to interpret stories that are bound to places. The sea is where I have always felt the most power and emotion being churned about. Surfing is a time and place where I come up with a lot of my ideas. There is so much raw energy moving in the ocean that it is hard not to get motivated to think of something. Dream Boat Experiments was started as a way of expressing my continuous awe of the power, beauty and passion that is woven in the nature of water.

What are your aiming to do when you are finished with your education?

One thing I have been terrified of all my life is being stuck in a cubicle until I retire doing busywork for something I have no love for everyday from 9 to 5. I need to be outdoors and stay active which is one of the greater appeals of filmmaking to me. Being a surf-filmmaker is probably my dream career as of now. I don’t think anything can beat traveling the world to film people riding waves, except for being the people riding waves.

On your blog DreamBoat Experiments, your tagline is “creating expressions of stoke”. What has been getting you the most stoked lately? And tell us a bit more about your blog and what you guys are up to?

DreamBoat Experiments is the ongoing project I started when I realized I had to reintroduce art into my life. I called it  “Dream Boat” because it represents the two subjects it was originally about: imagination and the sea. When my good friend Derek Hanson came back from studying abroad in Oz, he said he wanted to start a surf/film blog. I told him that I had done just that over the summer and we decided to collaborate. Just recently our friend Eddie Herrera joined us and it has been a whole lot of fun.  Were just a group of friends that hope to express our stoke as creatively as possible.

Unfortunately, during the spring the surf at San Francisco is pretty awful so we haven’t been surfing much. I just picked up skateboarding with my roommates this year and that has gotten me stoked the last few months. I’ve been filming a lot of my friends that rip and will be releasing a short skate film “I Won’t Grow Up” before the summer. We also want to go on an unplanned trip this summer to Indo with the money we just won from the USF video contest to make our first full-length film about something we haven’t decided on yet. We’re going on a little adventure through Yosemite to Death Valley this Easter weekend to come up with an idea. If you want to stay posted on our projects Eddie just finished making our website: Dreamboatexperiments.com or just Dreamboatx.com

Check out Matt’s blog as well at http://dreamboatofthesea.blogspot.com/