I’m not the strongest swimmer. It’s not a big deal, I can swim fine, I just couldn’t ever be a lifeguard. So when our friend Eric approached us about directing a music video that involved me falling from a considerable height backwards into a body of water, I was somewhat concerned. But of course I was going to be a good sport.
So eventually everything comes together and here I am, first thing in the morning standing on a tall riser on the end of a pier that juts out into lake Ontario in the West end of Toronto. It took a while to get the specialty high-speed camera to operate properly, but once we were ready to roll it all happened very fast. Eric had arranged for Wes to execute the “push” I needed to have the right kind of uncontrolled fall. This isn’t something we rehearsed, it all just happened really fast, and so all of the sudden with the cameral rolling Wes is shoving me and I’m flying backwards wondering when I’m going to hit the water, and then falling some more.
The impact came unexpected, but didn’t necessarily hurt. That said, swimming fully clothed (in a long coat and boots, may I add) quickly became a challenge. With a bit of help I managed my way back up onto the pier. After a moment or two of gathering myself, I noticed that a frantic lifeguard was talking to the crew. I trudged over in my sopping wet outfit to hear her frustrated and repeating “But you CAN’T swim” as Eric showed her our filming permit. “Safe E-Coli swimming levels are around 80-90… but today it’s well over 900.”
So only moments after my slight concern about my impact with the water had been written off, I had something new to worry about. I had this bacteria-rich lake-water in my eyes, my ears, and held to my body by my soaking wet clothes. I immediately felt sick.
The final cut of the video is from that first fall. That moment of “OH SHIT” on my face is entirely genuine. If you look closely you will find particulates of crud floating lazily on the surface of the water around where I land. What kind of world is it when jumping in the lake you live next to is a major health concern? Does it make it any less beautiful?