Everynone make films that blur the borders between experimental cinema and documentary realism. Their work ranges from commissioned anti-bullying campaigns through to YouTube montages of laughter. It is unified in the desire to communicate an erratic and simplistic beauty and awe in the mundane and commonplace moments that make up life. We spoke to Everynone founder, Daniel Mercadante.
Everynone is a great name, talk us through what it means and why you formed the collective with Will Hoffman and Julius Metoyer III.
The three of us had been friends through college. We shared a mutual respect for one another for various reasons, and at some point decided it be fun to make things together. It felt good, it felt 'right', and we're still having fun with it.
Everynone is a name. Like Daniel is a name. Take it for what it is or isn't. It probably has a lot to do with everyone and everything, and a little to do with nobody and nothing. It's a symbol of something deeper within the work. But I'm glad you like it!
Short Film as a medium has really taken off in recent years. What first attracted you to the medium and what is the secret of its creative potential?
I don't think that there's any real secret to the power of short film. I've always been quite perplexed by the general time boxes that have been built for motion media. There are, and always have been, so many different stories to be told that require different pacing patterns and time structures. The mirroring of length seems completely arbitrary and sort of strange. The only 'new' element at play is that streaming video online has no set parameters. So, there is an openness to two to four minutes as opposed to longer films.
Perhaps being part of a generation that moves at a quicker pace makes me interested in this so-called short form film; but it really comes down to the flow of the story itself. The film can tell us what length it needs to be. Sometimes a two minute story can feel way too long for itself, I wouldn't call that a 'short' film.
You have been referred to as a 'visual journalist' and your films as 'documentary essays'. Do you feel what you do is reportage or art?
It's funny, we - as in Everynone - always joke about current events and how we find it to be fairly ridiculous that both documentaries and journalists are so obsessed with now. We like to make films that tell timeless stories, expose timeless patterns and truths. That said, we live now, we observe modern life, we shoot real people/places/things, so our work is inherently bound to current events. Is that reportage? Is that art? I have no clue - probably both, probably neither.
Your aesthetic is very distinct, playing on the simplistic beauty of everyday life. What are its essential elements and how do you communicate these visually?
There are no essential elements. All I can really say is that I have always found normal or everyday things to be utterly fascinating, complex, and beautiful; that communicating concepts and emotions comes quite easily and naturally. It's all right here in front of us.
Your films depict complex montages and you don't use pro actors. How do you go about getting all the footage you need?
We just ask people. When you come from a good place and want to share an honest energy, people like to be involved. If they don't, we either move on, or trick them into thinking we aren't photographing them!
Myself, Will, and Julius wear several different hats within Everynone. Generally, we've only needed the three of us to take a film from concept to completion. We experiment with different flows and working with additional people and will continue to do that, especially as our projects get larger and have more moving parts. We write, direct, shoot, and edit everything ourselves.
What can we expect to see from you guys in the future. There were plans to do a feature length using the same premise called Everyday right? What happened with that and is it still going on?
Everyday (working title) is absolutely still going on, it is changing shape constantly, which is exciting and challenging. Many of those changes stem from some of the thoughts on time for films that I expressed earlier. It's hard to make a feature length film. The term feature length seems old-fashioned.
As for other projects, we are constantly playing with new forms of expressing filmed content; look out for a piece called Ball in the very near future.
For more from Everynone take a look at their page.