Up-and-coming local video artist Sean Stout creates online shows you actually want to watch
Sean Stout holds up a point-and-shoot digital camera, pops a photo of a crowd of skateboard enthusiasts out front of Tower Theater and a handful of them shout back, “Terror Eyes!” The next day, Stout’s at 28th and B Skate Park, tracking Nike-sponsored skater Omar Salazar with a high-definition video camera, zigzagging between ramps and skaters. Another day, he’s in his living room shooting Teddy Briggs performing a song. And later that night, Stout sits alone at a desk in his kitchen, working on the final cuts.
A paper with the words “Note to self: Music/audio levels/vocals/design takes a long fucking time—stop waiting till the last minute. [Heart]—you” is posted above his desk with a Lurk Hard sticker.
While most Sacramentans throw Lost parties or, forbid, TiVo It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia reruns, local skateboarder and video artist Sean Stout quietly ushers the masses toward TV’s future. On IntheCutts.com, Stout and Apollo Cutts create skateboard-themed featurettes that draw tens of thousands of viewers. And TerrorEyes.tv, Stouts music-video and photo/blog hub, features first-look vids with artists such as Mistah F.A.B., Zach Hill, Carson McWhirter and Dirty Projectors.
The 21-year-old Stout, who attended The Met high school before traveling to Philadelphia, New York City and Portland before returning to Sacto, knows how to hustle and get work done. He just returned from South by Southwest, then Los Angeles, and he’ll be busy all summer crafting new TerrorEyes.tv projects and traveling to NYC with friend and collaborator Cutts. The following are excerpts from a chat with Stout during a Friday happy hour in Midtown.
How did you feel about SXSW this year?
Last year was crazy. It was my first year—film all day, see as many fucking shows and bands at nighttime. It was easier last year, because Dirty Projectors played, and they’re my friends and I could tag along with them. But this year—maybe I’m getting old?—I’d film all day and then I’d be burnt out. I’d just want to go home and go to bed.
I’ve seen a ton of local hip-hop videos, good and bad. Tell me about your video for local hip-hop artist Bloe.
Yeah, well, I watched a ton, because I hadn’t seen much of those. Like, have you seen that Doey Rock video that was shot at My BBQ Spot on J Street?
That video’s pretty rad. … We didn’t have an idea [for Bloe’s video], and we just showed up one day and he’d rented an ice-cream truck, and three girls showed up … and, yeah, I just tried to film every shot hand-held with weird angles and stuff. And it’s crazy affected in post-production. … There’s green-screen stuff and words behind him … and superimposed ice-cream cones in hands and all this crazy shit.
You’ve hung out with a lot of young musicians in a lot of different cities. What are your observations?
I think that Sacto has the highest concentration of uniquely talented people that are amazing, but especially the youth-music scene and youth-art scene. But I feel like it was better three years ago; it was the best scene I’d seen out of anywhere. But people moved and it kind of died down. When S Street and Fools Foundation was still going, though …
Why do you stay in Sacto?
I was over in Portland and just kind of wanted to take a break. But then In the Cutts’ stuff came up, and that’s why I was originally going to come back here and hang out for a little bit before I went somewhere else. But then that happened and got really big really fast, so I just kind of stuck around for that. …
It’s fun here. It doesn’t really matter where I am, because everything I do is completely Web-based.
Is that weird?
No, I embrace it. I think it’s cool.
I guess it might be weird for most people.
Because they have to go to crappy jobs in actual buildings.
I mean, you can fake so much shit through the Web, it doesn’t matter where you are.
What’s the skateboard scene like here?
[T]here’s a lot of attention in Sac now for skating. It always had this kind of raw, punk-rock reputation. But now kids are getting snatched up left and right by companies. People are moving here; Chris Ray, who made the last couple Transworld videos, just moved here, which is big because he’s out of L.A. and his videos are cool. Lurk Hard is tight, which runs out of Sac, and the dude Gino who runs it has a lot of things coming up that’s amazing. Everyone’s just working super hard.
Do In the Cutts and Terror Eyes pay off financially?
It comes together. It’s not, like, stressful anymore. I can kind of, like, plan stuff. And hopefully, in the next couple months, it will be super solid. But definitely, there have been no-food days and shit like that. But that’s OK; I’d rather have it like that than be serving someone food.
How many people watch In the Cutts or Terror Eyes?
It depends who’s in the video. The [John] Cardiel episode or The Hundreds episode got 10,000 views in a couple days. … But [In the Cutts] has only been around for four months so far.
Do you watch real TV?
No, I haven’t had one in probably, like, seven years or something. I think it’s dead.
Because why would you pay money to watch stuff on TV when you are limited? You can change the channels and stuff, but I think the future will be integrating the two, Web and TV.
You don’t like any current filmmakers?
You know, I can’t say that, because I haven’t been that up on that. … I check out Tower [Theater] sometimes, but the last good movie I saw was The Band’s Visit—you should watch that.
What is it?
It’s about an Egyptian police band who goes to Israel to play a show. They get lost, and it’s this kind of dry comedy, but that was probably one of the better movies I’ve ever seen. It was at the Tower for a really short run; the last thing I saw there was The Road.
I can’t be into—and I know this is so dumb—movies that are really easy to make fun of, because if you go to the movies with skaters, they make fun of anything. And The Road, it’s so easy to make fun of. … Same with Avatar. Did you see it?
Same thing. Visually, it was amazing. But also too easy to make fun of.
How will you monetize Terror Eyes?
I’d be pretty selective about ads. But I don’t even know, dude, like there’s so many ways that you can do it. … There’s not really a skating section anymore, but product placement and stuff—that’s how. Or, if someone wants to pick it up, make it a subsidiary of somewhere else.
But then you’d have to travel a lot more.
Cool. Right now, this summer will hopefully be a lot of East Coast shit. That’s what I’m saving my money for. That’s where the music scene is.
But you can do this anywhere?
For me, it’s Internet. It doesn’t matter where I am because I’m inside, online all day.