A music video for the Napalm Clique, highlighting the social and educational value of hip hop. Trevor Parham talks to the Post about the video.
1. How did you get interested in film making?
Parham: I started making short films and stop-motion animations with my siblings when I was nine years old. My parents had just bought a Hi-8 camera, so we took every chance we
could to get our hands on it.
2. What was your role in the film making process and what kind of production team do you work with?
I was the Writer/Producer/Editor of Revolution. Forming our production team was actually pretty organic… After writing the treatment and sharing it with the Napalm Clique, I brought in the other arm of Eklectyk Creative Media, Aled Ordu, to develop a narrative and direct the film. From there, I just pulled together a team of close friends to form our crew: Our co-director and camera operator was a neighbor in my apartment building. Our Director of Photography was an old friend from high school, who was working as a commercial photo assistant, and had never worked in video before. Our Assistant Director was also a close friend from high school who produces music (and had also never worked in video), and our hair/makeup artist was brought in by our DP.
All of our cast, crew, and extras were just friends of ours. We sent out a mass text message a day or two before the shoot and had about 60 people show up for an all-day Sunday shoot. Some of the people I hadn’t even invited, because I hadn’t seen them in years… they just showed up because they heard it was the place to be.
3. Describe the inspiration for your film
The lyrics inspired me to choose this song for a video. It seemed like each MC was trying to educate the listener… it wasn’t just one of those, “ooh, I’m so great!” tracks, but instead, sounded more like, “hey listen to what I’ve got to tell you, it’s important”. They each had a different perspective, which made me feel like they were each teaching different subjects in school. In particular, the Fred Hampton Jr. interview I had shot a while back made me think that we could make the second MC a History teacher, showing a film to his class. From there, I just tried to elucidate Fred Hampton Jr.’s interview as much as possible by incorporating clips of the historical revolutionaries he described.
4. In what ways has Oakland influenced your filmmaking and artistic aesthetic?
To quote Davey D, “Oakland is the land of the hustle”. Oakland hip hop artists like Too Short and Mystik Journeymen have been known worldwide for their independent hustle, selling CDs hand to hand on the street in every neighborhood they could travel to. Most of my friends make music, and hustle their work in the same way, so when I first started making videos, I would just go out on the street with them and sell my DVDs along with their CDs.
As for my artistic aesthetic, I’ve just always seen Oakland hip hop artists as innovators, always taking the state of the art in different directions. Groups like Digital Underground and Souls of Mischief had really clever styles and always seemed to have fun with their art, but most importantly, something about what they did would always make me think. For me, that’s what I strive to do with my art– break the mold, while having fun, and making people think.
5. How would you describe the indie film scene in Oakland/the bay in general? Specifically for Black Filmmakers?
The indie film scene in Oakland is different than other cities like New York and LA. There’s not a big industry presence, but the arts really thrive here, so most of the work is really rich and vivid. If there were more of an industry presence here, then the Bay Area indie film scene would really be a force to be reckoned with. Look how well we do with Technology and Music! People in the Bay just have a progressive mindset, period. If you exposed more of those creative and innovative minds to filmmaking it would totally change the game, just like we have with every other industry.
I actually don’t see much from the Oakland indie film scene too often, but whenever I do, it’s got that Bay flavor to it. As for Black Filmmakers in Oakland, I find that a good amount of film is either about music or social change.
6. Would you move towards major distribution and studio support or are you focused on indie work?
I’m definitely open to studio support and major distribution, but that will never motivate my work or my creativity. I’ll keep doing what I do the way I like to do it, and if it gets picked up, it gets picked up. If not, I’ll still make sure it gets seen. I’ve just always walked to my own beat.
7. Where can people see more of your work? What’s next?
People can see current work from Eklectyk Creative Media on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/eklectyk. You can also see other work on the video’s website, www.revolutionthevideo.com, or on our company website: www.eklectyk.com
We’re currently working on some more Bay Area music videos and other short projects that address education and social change.
The Revolution screens, Friday June 6 at 7:30. Go to www.sfbg.com