"Can we take these beers with us? We could show you the office." I'm sitting at an outdoor cafe with seven twentysomething guys. They're the boys of Super!Alright! (www.superalright.com), a self-described "film and video collective" consisting of 10 members, all dudes, all in their 20s, and all modeling what might be the future of commercial-media production.
When Gates Bradley and Erik Horn, high school buddies and founding members, got together in 2004 to produce a music video for Canoe, the work kept coming. Says Bradley, "We knew a bunch of really creative people, and we wanted to build a support network." Creating everything from stylish music videos (which have played at SXSW, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and MTV2) to national commercials and video installations for band performances, the crew has amassed an enormous amount of professional and creative cred.
Other members include J.P. Garrigues, Jose Flores, Ehren Coker, Christopher Rose, Adreon Henry, Rich Cornelisse, Jesse Hill, and Kevin Schneider. Their reach is broad. Flores edited Hector Galán's documentary Los Lonely Boys: Cotton Fields and Crossroads, and other members of the collective worked on motion graphics for the project. When I ask how you define a member, Bradley answers with a smile: "Our friends that keep hanging out and won't go away. Truth be told, all these people are my best friends."
All products of a high tech generation, they embrace the DIY ideal. "This organization is indicative of the next generation of artists," Horn says. "Equipment and money is no longer a hurdle just pure talent." And the talent is apparent. Their impressive résumé includes ads for Nickelodeon, local furniture store Urban Living, and a rather inventive music video for local band Tacks, the Boy Disaster. The idea behind the video is loosely based on the exquisite corpse theory. Each person produces 20 seconds of the video before passing it on to the next. "When it says director," Horn says, "it'll just say Super!Alright!" They're also developing 3-D visual projection behind bands and a video blog with local blogger the Austinist. Having rented a space on the Eastside, they've spent the last seven months renovating it into a first-rate office and production studio. Touring the space, I can see it's in need of some basics, like walls.
"We're supposed to be finished already," Coker says. "We gutted it ourselves."
"And now we know how to frame walls," Horn inserts. But they're bringing in some professionals to finish the job. Just like everything else, they did most of the work themselves, exceeded expectations, learned a lot, and weren't afraid to ask for help.
"This is not glamorous, as much as we would like to make it," Coker says. "But we're pushing something, and all our hearts are in it, and that's amazing."