Profile: Jared Raab

Photographer / Jalani Morgan Assistants / Hansel Alanzo and Lorne Bradley

Jared Raab’s filmography is vast and fascinating. He has been putting out experimental music videos for some of Canada’s quickest-growing talent – bands like Diamond Rings, Young Empires, OhBijou, Snailhouse, The Arkells and Born Ruffians. But he’s also got his hands deep into other areas of film production and editing. I sat down with him to talk about his work to date and upcoming releases. We also talked about rain and listening to Joanna Newsom in the Hart House camera club basement, but those are stories for another day.

Can you speak a bit about what you’re working on now?

I just finished up a feature film with the crew from Nirvana the Band the Show (NTBTS), a zany web comedy show I got involved with right out of school.

Right, the show was generally awkward. Like pretty painful?

Yeah, it’s pretty painfully awkward. It’s rough around the edges and very irreverent. But it sort of developed its own Internet following – as just about everything does if you do it long enough.

The stuff we did for NTBTS was about a couple of guys trying to get a gig at the Rivoli on Queen Street. For them it was like playing at Carnegie Hall.

Their attempts to get a gig go at the Rivoli range from threatening the owner to trying to break in while it’s closed. But we did it all without the Rivoli knowing. We even went so far as to steal a staff list and prank called the entire staff for an episode.

We just finished a feature film. It’s shot the same way as NTBTS but the content is completely different.

What type of film is it?

It’s documentary style – about these two high school kids who start out making a class project. But the project stars to balloon… they show themselves getting horribly bullied. It escalates until one of them decides that the film should be about them murdering these guys that bully them

Have you ever tackled serious material with that crew before?

No, but it’s surprising: comedy and horror are right on the border with each other. If you’re making comedy that’s real enough, it is kind of sick.

It will be fascinating to see how the release plays out.

So how did you get involved in music videos?

Right out of school I just sort of got snapped up into this world of insane video installations. I’m a bit of a technical nerd so it was great. The fact that I was working for experimental filmmakers made me realize that you can experiment as a means to an end… and music videos are a perfect excuse for that.

Can you speak to The Diamond Rings I’m Just Me release?

That was definitely the last big budget release.  If you know Diamond Rings, the aesthetic in that video is a kind of already him. He is lasers and 1980s future and vogue dancers.

After that, I did one for Young Rivals that’s out right now that was a great experiment. I worked with this really talented computer programmer who did location tracking with a projector. You could rotate the projector around the room and beam it at a wall almost as if it was a window into this 3D environment.

Are there any filmmakers that you look up to in particular right now?

I kind of creatively grew up on people like Michel Gondry.  But now there is a whole new breed of music video directors who are doing really interesting technical post production.

Daniels are a US Director team who I think are just the fucking shiznizzle. Really amazing effect-based concepts.

Some Canadian directors who I think do great work are Winston Hacking with Exploding Motor Car and there always seems to be something strange and interesting coming from Scott Cudmore. I also love the work of my friends Nadia Tan and Maya Bankovic, who recently did a great Arkells video.

Be sure to check out the  feature film Jared produced called The Dirties, screening this weekend at Slamdance 2013.