The Smoking Contest

I used to make videos when I was younger for funsies. They were very simple and very few people saw them so we just did whatever we wanted. I became friends with Brandon who’s actually a very skilled videographer and editor. Because I liked making stupid films and Brandon actually knew how, we made several films together over the years.

The Smoking Contest was an idea for a video in which two guys decide that they’re going to smoke and exercise until one of them dies–the one who dies wins. They win money.

Brandon filmed, edited, and directed the video, and he played it on a local public TV station where he volunteered. Apparently people we knew saw it and thought it was a statement piece against smoking and the dangers of smoking.

Well truth be told that was not our original intent. It was just something cool we wanted to do. Thanks to friends like Brandon, when I got obsessed about putting an idea on film we could make it happen. No matter how dumb it sounded. And no matter how dumb it truly was.

Shane and I were the smokers in the film, Brandon and our friend Jordan were the trainers/coaches who yelled at us to smoke harder. So basically for a whole day we had to take shot after shot of us doing intense physical exercise while actually smoking cigarettes. Not just holding them in our mouths, but actively smoking. Because we didn’t have special effects, the only way to commit to the idea and make it look real was to literally spend hours simultaneously smoking while exercising vigorously.

We ran as we smoked. We biked as we smoked. We did push-ups and pull-ups and chin-ups as we smoked. We fried cigarettes and carrots in a frying pan as we smoked. For one shot I had to get as much smoke as I could into my lungs and then yell long and loud, take after take, so that smoke would be coming out in thick clouds while I yelled.

It was horrible. Cigarettes are disgusting. And although Shane and I were regular smokers during that period of time he quit smoking immediately after filming. I quit soon after.

If you or your loved ones would like to witness and be inspired by the smoking contest (original footage) please follow this link below: