Inside the Edit: Mike McKay’s ‘Chaos Theory’

5 things to watch for in 'Cause & Effect,' an artistic take on Idaho paddler Ryan Bailey

Cause & Effect, the latest installment in Mike McKay’s ‘Chaos Theory’ series, captures Idaho paddler Ryan Bailey in his element. Check out Chaos Theory: Free Will, the debut of McKay’s series featuring Mexico’s steep-creek stalwart Isidro Soberanes, and read about McKay’s inspiration for this artistic series of abstract paddling profiles. Here, McKay offers five things to watch for in this latest edit to provide a broader picture of everything that goes into production.

Bailey's Zen Sequence (:15): We worked our way down the South Fork (Payette) over the course of a day. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have been. I want to go back and paddle that whole stretch. The Sawtooth Mountains are majestic. The first night of camping up there was one of the coolest places I have been. The campsite we chose had wolf tracks when we got there. I was pretty stoked on that.

While McKay goes inside the mind of Ryan Bailey, here photographer Mike Leeds goes inside his ride.

While McKay’s latest ‘Chaos Theory’ installment goes inside the mind of Ryan Bailey, here photographer Mike Leeds goes inside Bailey’s one-of-kind ride.

Thomas Brown (2:38): I actually found this bucket drummer on YouTube. Originally he was slotted for the third episode but in the end the fit with Bailey was what I was looking for. Since there was no way of reaching him through YouTube, I figured it was a shot in the dark to find him in Portland (White Salmon is where the third episode was shot). It was a Saturday and I drove into the city core and immediately as I crossed the Morrison Bridge I could hear him. I parked and ran toward the sound of drumming and found him within 5 minutes. I ran up to him: 'Are you Thomas Brown????' He was clearly startled. 'Yes,' he said. 'I drove all the way from Ottawa to hear you drum!!!!'
It clearly caught him off guard, but in end we laughed about it. I was so excited to have found him.

Portland drummer Thomas Brown

Portland drummer Thomas Brown

Group shot (2:45): We really wanted the group to explode on the screen but only had a short timeframe to do so. Since the North Fork is always moving we had to have two cameramen leapfrogging roadside with the group to shoot them at various locations. We shot with two FS700s and a drone. Logistically it was extremely hard considering we only had about an hour to do so.
Happy with what we got out of it, but a shoot like that could easily take a whole day on its own.

Bailey leads a group of paddlers down Idaho's North Fork Payette toward the confluence with the South Fork at Banks.

Bailey leads a group of paddlers down Idaho’s North Fork Payette toward the confluence with the South Fork at Banks.

Banks Crew: Such a ragtag mob of kayak dirtbags, raft guides and paddling drifters. It was definitely one of the coolest scenes I have been to. It is a story all on its own and Bailey embodies it well. Not only that, he captures the heart of the story with Banks Mag. It was cool to be in the scene for a brief moment.

Music: The last section of music was composed and recorded by my good friend Dale Lawrence and I. The guitar work in the film is actually us on camera.

— Check out some classic video from Banks Mag.