CCAD student Darrin Faires makes his best shot with Harpoon

HARPOON: Trailer II from Darrin Faires on Vimeo.

On Wednesday, May 8, Columbus College of Art & Design’s campus will come alive with art, design, food, and activities as part of OhioHealth presents Chroma: Best of CCAD | The 140th Student Exhibition.

But before that, there’s a lot of work to be done.

Among the students putting the finishing touches on projects for Chroma is Darrin Faires (Film & Video, 2019).

Faires, originally from Glouster, Ohio, is creating a visual album (think Beyoncé’s Lemonade or FKA twigs’ M3LL155X) for KILYO, a Columbus electronic/pop performer in whom he’s found a kindred artistic spirit. The pair, who originally met online, started working on the project in July 2018.

Below, Faires, who in addition to his CCAD studies also works full-time for Memorial Hospital in Marysville as a Digital Content Specialist, discusses the process to bring his senior thesis to fruition.

On working with KILYO to create Harpoon:
KILYO is a local musician who makes electronic pop music. We met online a couple of years ago and he shared his music with me. I knew I’d love to make a music video for his album Harpoon, which he released in 2016, because it’s so visual. It’s thematic. There’s a narrative there. We narrowed the album down to five videos (Ceiling, Submarine, Dark Narcissus, Everyday Jesus, and Problem Like Maria), which follow a singular character through a breakup, with each song representing one of the stages of grief as the character is going through this breakup. He uses other characters to cope, to explore and understand his pain.


On his filming locations:
We filmed everywhere. We had 13 shoots just in CCAD’s studio. Altogether, there are 28 different shoots. We shot at OSU RPAC, Worthington Pools, Franklin County Fairgrounds, Myrtle Beach, Buckeye Lake, Olde Towne East, Downtown, Bossy Grrl's Pin Up Joint, Canzani Auditorium, and the First Congregational Church. First Congregational welcomed us, two gay kids, one dressed as a nun and a rockstar version of Jesus, with open arms. I’ve been surprised by how lucky I’ve been with locations. I think once people saw the script and heard the source material, the music, they were excited. OSU and Worthington Pools waived rental fees—we’ve received a lot of help with this.


On the biggest challenges in creating the visual album for Harpoon:
Financing has been difficult. By the time we get done the budget will probably be $3,200 to $3,500. That’s a lot of money for two kids who don’t have any.

CCAD student Darrin Faires (Film & Video, 2019) at work on Harpoon.

Photo by Madeline Anson (Film & Video, 2020).

On working with a large crew:
I thought the crew was going to be my biggest challenge, just judging from previous seniors’ thesis projects—nobody could get a crew together. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so organized, I have clock-in Excel sheets where people can say, “I can work this week, but I can’t work this shoot,” so people aren’t burdened with coming to all 28 shoots. That’s really helped me. And I’ve had five or six people who were just always there. They loved the project and were passionate about it.


On Harpoon and his plans for the future:
After Chroma and the thesis show, we’ll start submitting it to music video festivals in Toronto and Pennsylvania. I want to be a director. I love music and fashion, so Harpoon was a combination of everything I love. I would like to direct films, whether independent or feature-length. I haven’t done a music video since Video 1. This is me really stretching my legs, showing what I can do. But after I’m done with this, I probably won’t do music videos for a while, since I just did five. I’ve never directed a group or a project this big, so it’s really given me a foundation. I feel really comfortable managing a project this big and executing a vision.


On working in CCAD’s Student Agency:
I started in the Student Agency my sophomore year. Work here was a blessing. I became more technically savvy and I learned how to organize things better. With the last campaign I worked on, I was put in charge of the video project and that gave me a better understanding of leading a group and managing people.


On crafting a visual album:
Each of these videos stands on its own. They tell a bigger story together. We scripted and we wrote everything together to be one massive piece. There are tons of Easter eggs and things that go back and forth between videos. In order to fully experience it, you have to see the whole thing.


On lessons learned while creating Harpoon:
Planning, planning, planning. Lots of stuff for this, I’d never done before. I’d never shot underwater. I’d never been to the ocean. I’ve never shot using fog—that was the first time I’ve done all these things. Next time, if I do I’ve never done, I’ll test it beforehand.

The opening in Ceiling took four days, and I think that video is going to be the strongest for it. We spent a day on production design itself, a day on lighting, and two days for filming, so there was a lot of time for just that once scene.


On showing work at Chroma:
It’s scary, because most people don’t know who I am, but it’s also satisfying to have a big audience like this. That’s why any visual person makes something, for it to be looked at and seen.

Don’t miss OhioHealth presents Chroma: Best of CCAD | The 140th Student Exhibition on Wednesday, May 8. Parking, admission, and activities are free and open to the public.