Sacramento-born, LA-based skate kid Sean Stout is the college drop-out who founded Terror Eyes TV, the experimental video platform profiling straight-up talent with no pretense.
Equipped with only a Panasonic HPX 170, 22-year-old Sean Stout hangs out with bands, artists and interesting people, and films them making music. Beginning streaming the sessions on his self-constructed online portal back in 2007, the lo-fi project saved his passion for filmmaking, which was quickly fading under the college film course that didn’t accommodate his creative techniques. Quickly garnering a substantial following from the online communities he was tapping into, Terror Eyes became affiliated with Tape Op Magazine, Sargenthouse record label and Studio A2B2 which helped his brave D.i.Y venture establish respect from peers and competitors. Chatting about his reasons for Terror Eyes’ being, he simply states, “I just try to document nuances that I think people would be interested in seeing in a creative way. It’s something I think about a lot. I don’t like to give away too much visual information so as to keep some sort of mystique, which is why my shots are always moving and generally very close up. I try to make ‘video portraits’”.
Sean’s focus and vision is sincere, fresh and original. Hoping to reveal true character, personality and the individuality of his subjects, the person he films is the one behind the lens, not the celebrity or artist. Working with young hopefuls, Sean is personally affected by what he does and wants his audiences to be too. He makes the case that all good music should be seen and not just heard.
i-D Online caught up with the session maker to find out about Sacramento, skating and his good sounds.
When did you start making your own short films/ music videos?Young, fourteen or something. Originally I was making goofy skate videos and short horror skits.
Why did you decide to name your project Terror Eyes TV? I came up with that name about five years ago, back when I was still just making skate videos. I was at a very strange dance party and my friend Judd was dancing like a mad man and at the climax of whatever the song was, (probably Ludacris or something) he got super excited and yelled “TERRORISE THE NIGHT!!!” I thought that was really funny and rad at the time so when I started the video website I called it ʻTerror-eyesʼ so I guess I didn’t technically come up with it… I actually donʼt like that name anymore, and that is a very goofy explanation, but it’s true!
What are your creative processes when filming and editing? With filming I actually try to eliminate a ʻprocessʼ and embrace improvisation. With editing I just try to make sense of everything and keep the piece interesting.
Who is the team you work with? It’s mostly just been me for the past couple years… I have been living in Sacramento for the past year and a half and there aren’t many filmmakers there who are into documentary style work. Sometimes I would work with my friend Dennis Brodsky on music videos and what not, Robby Moncrieff would occasionally do audio for me and Robert Khour (seetheleaves.blogspot.com) sometimes blogs for me, but I never really had a set ‘team’. I just recently moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles to work with the fine folks at Sargenthouse, which is a dream come true.
Which artist has moved you the most when performing a session for Terror eyes and why was this? Hmmm… The Nat Baldwin session gave me the chills pretty bad (see film opposite) I think at one point you can see the camera shake a little, which is awesome. Something about his voice, his face and the way he sings – his delivery is VERY intense. Something about that gives me this weird feeling like Iʼm in over my head filming that moment. Every time I film something with Zach Hill I want to run up a big set of stairs as fast as I can like Rocky and punch the first person I see at the top. He is also very intense when he plays.
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