Reel Talk: Tim Burnham

For bodysurfers, this movies is a long time coming. Tim Burnham has set out to tell the story of the famed “Wedge” wave in Newport Beach, California, and to fund the project, he’s turned to Kickstarter for community support. He recently reached his funding goal for the film, but every little bit helps make the film more spectacular. We asked him a few questions to learn more about his plans for the film. Take a read, and then check out the Kickstarter and consider donating before the campaign closes in 10 days: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dirtyoldwedge/dirty-old-wedge.

The Wedge Newport Beach

So you met your goal with plenty of time to spare! How does it feel? What happens now?

It feels insane! We were blown away at how receptive and generous people have been. It goes to show how much the Wedge means to people. Whether they go to surf it or just watch, a lot of people throughout Southern California have some sort of story about the place.

We still have 10 days to go on the Kickstarter campaign and are still pushing to raise as much money as possible. The more we have to work with the better the end product will be!

The idea of blending archival footage with contemporary interviews seems cool. Is it hard to get ahold of the never-before-seen footage?

We have a huge selection to work with thanks to a group of guys who have consistently filmed the Wedge dating back to the 60’s. Guys like Bud Browne, Tom Lynch, Dave Demao (Thump), Dale Kobetich, & Mel Thoman have all documented the wave extremely well and haven’t released the footage to the public. Our goal is to take the best footage from each of these guys and tie it into one piece that everyone can enjoy.

How long have you been wanting to make this film? 

I have been wanting to do this film for about four years now. In 2011, Keith Malloy made a movie about bodysurfing called “Come Hell or High Water.” He did a whole segment on the Wedge and talked about how Wedge could have a whole movie made about it just based on the different characters he met within the Wedge Crew. That’s really the spark that lit the fire for me.

Tom Lynch and Mel Thoman had tried to do a documentary back in the early 2000’s but due to some unforeseen circumstances, they weren’t able to complete it. Part of my goal with this project was to also finish what they started. With their blessing, we’re making it happen.

What are your distribution plans for after it’s made?

We’re hoping to get in some local film festivals to start and if people are receptive to it then we will push to get it in some bigger venues. For now we’re just focused on making a great piece for everyone to enjoy. Whatever happens after that, we’ll see.

In the Kickstarter film, you show a couple of the crew members. Is that everyone? Is it hard to make a film with such a small team?

Our team is small and that’s how we wanted to keep it. We all have the same idea as to what the film should be like and each of us brings our own unique contributions to the project. My partners Jeff, Edwin, and Jack are incredibly talented and have been working in the film world for a really long time now. Without them, this thing wouldn’t be happening.

We have a number of contributors that will be filming this summer but as far as the post production team goes, we’re pretty much dialed in. This definitely helps with keeping our costs down too. It’s tough to do it this way but I think it will work out in our favor in the long run.

Will this film be different from others that you’ve done?

This is actually my first film so I’m looking forward to the experience.

Is everyone pretty stoked to talk to you about the Wedge, or has it taken some convincing to get people on camera? 

Everyone is super stoked to talk about the Wedge. Like I said earlier, everyone seems to have their own personal stories about the Wedge and it’s been fun hearing about them. A few people have been a little nervous getting in front of the camera but that’s pretty standard I think. The local crew of guys have been really supportive and want to see this film made just as much as we do which is great.

What did you learn from the Kickstarter process?

Kickstarter has been an incredible tool for us. We didn’t want to go the full corporate surf company sponsor route so we thought this would work best for us. We wanted to maintain control of the film and knew that if we presented the film in the right manner, people would be stoked to help us out. Kickstarter allows people to feel more connected to a project from the beginning and it really sets a positive tone from the start. This is going to be a fun journey and we’re really looking forward to seeing it come to life!

*Photo credit Ron Romanosky

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