If ever there was an example of food porn, it would be found in Eric’s work portfolio for his production company, High Beam Media. He’s worked with a bartender at Heaven’s Dog to learn how to double strain a cocktail and talked pickles with Alex Hozven, owner of Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley. Here, he talks to us about filmmaking, food and ditching your cell phone once a week:
SCOUT: All the best artists start young. What are some of your earliest memories of filmmaking?
ERIC: When I was growing up, we shot family videos in Hi8 film. That was back when we were tape to tape editing. One of my first big projects was a music video cover of Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” It was loosely based on the real video, but we definitely took our own liberties.
SCOUT: You must really love food, and telling stories about food. You spent four years working at CHOW.com building up their video program. How’d you get that gig?
ERIC: I basically weaseled my way in as an intern. At the time, they were approaching video and needed help developing it for the web. I had done some video, but not in a commercial space. They kind of let me go wild, and I was able to come up with most of the video franchises you still see on CHOW.com. CHOW was an awesome magazine before it was strictly online, and it was just a lot of fun figuring out how to transform it in to the web space. During my time there, we were nominated for two James Beard awards, won two Webbies and an Emmy for the Obsessives: Soda Pop video about John Nese and his Soda Pop Stop in LA.
SCOUT: You obviously know a lot about the restaurant scene here in SF. What are some of your favorite spots?
ERIC: One of my favorite things to do is bike out to the beach, then circle back to Outerlands for brunch or lunch. I’m really excited for Suppenkuche’s new beer garden. In SoMa, I love Radius and Una Pizza Napoletana. If I was eating dinner by myself, I would go to Bar Jules. My Father’s Kitchen has this rice porridge that is absolutely stellar, and they serve Blue Bottle. I love what Nosh This is doing, and recently featured him in a vendor profile series I’m doing with ForageSF.
Forage SF Vendor Profile: Nosh This from High Beam Media
SCOUT: You’re doing a great job making us salivate with all your food videos, but that’s not the only part of the film world you have your paws in.
ERIC: I founded the The Disposable Film Festival with Carlton Evans. In 2006, I came across these disposable digital camcorders made by a company called Pure Digital. You could buy them at CVS and record about 20 minutes worth of video, drop the camera off at the pharmacy and get a CD with your video back. It kind of changed the ballgame for me when I came across a device that could allow anyone to be a filmmaker. We put out a call for videos made with barebones cameras, and our first year sold out two shows. The Festival has grown so much since then, and the current videos are now on a world tour.
SCOUT: That is super awesome! Looking at your portfolio, it seems like you have an ever-flowing fountain of creative ideas.
ERIC: There are two projects I’m working on right now that I’m really excited about. The first one is called Heart 2 Heart, and it’s basically having a video conversation with your phone, and addressing your phone like the companion we make it out to be. Our phones do so much for us, but it’s really a one-sided relationship. The project looks at how deeply we’re ingrained in our phones. The other project is pretty simple. It’s called 4geturcellsundays, and it’s just that: leaving your cell phone at home on Sundays. It’s a bit of an argument between nostalgia and examining altering your lifestyle. I’m going to add printable, foldable beds to the site soon as a reminder to let your phone stay home and rest for a day.