(SailorMan): I have been playing music for fifteen years mate. My mom says its time I get married.
(me): haha! go find a hot woman
(SailorMan): Mate, nobody is going to marry me. I don’t have money. I fought with my sister and I am now homeless. I can’t even have a girlfriend now…
(me): How come you still cool uh?
(SailorMan): I’m always cool bro, haha! Oh shit, I got to go for my band practice now…
Sailor Man was did not turn out to be like what I expected. I had a initial idea of portraying the people in the Band as literally “wasting their time”. I didn’t know anyone other than Gus initially. To begin with, Gus is one of the most talented musicians I have ever met (in fact he is one of the very few musicians I have met). Gus has the proficiency of playing various instruments. Though he was musically sound, I still couldn’t judge his level of skill on an industry standard. Moreover, I am an avid follower of the music industry. The others in band were also good on their part. It did seem to be like a fully functioning band. But, I don’t know…
Few months ago, I was driving past George street in the city. I saw some street artists performing violin through my car wind screen as I was thinking what their future would be. When I saw “The Poet” band as a whole, I remembered the same violinists playing back in the city. These guys had a similarity, their music belonged to the streets. Their only viewers would be the pedestrians and people driving by. Hence I wanted to introduce the band from ‘inside a car’. I wanted everyone to see them as how I saw them.
One thing I really admired about the Band was their dedication to music. This stirred up an instant respect for them in me. Though I wanted to portray them as only street artists, I wanted to make sure that each and everyone on the band looked confident and dominating. I hence mostly used elevated and close up shots for all the montage clips. As I expected, their music now feels more intense due to the framing.
I remembered Gus telling me that his girlfriend back in Brazil used to call him ‘sailor man’ as he wrote poems about the ocean and sea. I was even convinced that this was the story I was looking for. Gus wrote the whole story and the music in the memory of his ex girlfriend. Eventually I wanted to make all the band members look like they seemed to know nothing as such why Gus named his first single ‘Sailor Man’. But unfortunately, they all seemed to know Gus well. I indeed went in search of another direction.
All I knew was that Gus is the ‘Sailor Man’ himself. But there wasn’t enough supporting elements for my case. According to what Mason spoke during his interview was that most of the characters in the story were the portrayal of real people from Gus’s life. On answering my question, Gus told in the interview that the Pirate wanted to find his magical treasure from the other side of the world. Soon after that, Mason talked about how he met Gus who came all the way from Brazil in search of a musical career. I just realised that it all suddenly fit.
‘Sailor Man’ is the metaphor for any struggling artist’s life. When I told my dad that I wanted to become a film maker years ago, the first thing he told me was “its an ocean, are u sure you want to enter it?”. Gus on the other hand is literally on an adventure to find his success in life. I wanted to show struggle. I wanted to show dedication. I wanted to show novelty. Hence I did end up intertwining the story and the music together in the Film. This made my subjects look like people with values and principles. It doesn’t matter where we come from or who our audience are. What matters is what we believe we have in us. This film is not exactly about the band. It is about an artist, it is about Sailor Man.