How long have you been filmmaking and where did it all start?
Eighteen years ago my loving parents bought me a SonyTR700 Hi-8 camera, a SonyEVC100 Hi-8 recording deck, and a bulky titlemaker. Hi-8 was revolutionary for a lot of us young skaters that wanted to make cool videos of ourselves. It’s classic to think about equipment for an amateur back then. Non-Linear editing was a myth. If you could do a cross dissolve, you were from another planet.
Where did you find the inspiration behind ‘With A Side Of Victor’?
Since being introduced to downhill skating, I always wanted to make a downhill film that felt like a street skating film. I come from a street skating background. I knew that I was living in a moment where I was surrounded by some of the best downhill skaters in the world, ready to shred as hard as they needed too for me and my camera, primarily because of mutual respect and the passion that I was showing for this project. The group session was first, and then me and Louis filmed his session. To me, after I captured Louis last trick (the 50mph standup slide) along with everything he did before it, I felt this project could be special and it was important to convey that to everyone else.
Here’s a cool twist, what really happened to George and AJ were injuries after the group session. George broke his ankle and AJ compound fractured his shoulder, both skating. There both solid now, but it was a big production hurdle out of many to deal with at the time. Chance Gaul, a young Laguna ripper was dialed up and ready to shred with Matt K at one of the sketchiest hills in southern California. That session was nuts and I felt visually it came out the way it needed too. Then Budro and Luna’s session went down, the last session. Daniel Luna is another up and coming ripper with a great style and a heightened maturity for being just 15. That session brought him up a level. Budro is the manager of the team and is truly the most experienced downhiller I’ve seen. Graceful style, and a great road awareness that is key.
When the last turn was nailed, the film was completed in my head. Now Victor, he’s been with S9 since day one and he has more skateboard knowledge then anyone I’ve ever met, and he truly shreds. He approved of the story idea and he was willing to show us he had a few acting chops. I think he did a really good job for being somewhat camera shy and not being an actor. I wanted to keep the dialogue in the film simplistic, fun and kinda ridiculous.
Tell us a little about the making of ‘Lundberg Loses It’.
Me and Erik Lundberg were neighbors at the time. He was kinda floating around the house with an open mind and some free time. We had made a video called “Coffee & Judas”, which was received stokingly amongst the downhill community. I’ve always been attracted to the concept of losing, primarily because it seems like in this society, winning is everything, but sometimes we lose, and it’s OK. Losing has been the theme for a few of my films. So since he was losing his balance, losing a race, and then joyfully losing his mind on a sick hill, I felt we had a really good compelling story. Me and Erik were in sync creatively and he was feeling good on his skateboard and I was feeling good holding a camera. Im actually proud to say we made a really good film for under a $100 bucks, and because of that I was able to make another film with a tad bigger budget.
What has been the most amazing project(s) you have worked on?
In 2007, I was on a TV show for aspiring filmmakers called “On The Lot”. Unfortunately, It only lasted one season. I was very inexperienced with the resources that were given to me. The short films I was making were too weird, twisted and off beat. The 8PM Fox viewing audience wasn’t having it anymore, so I got the boot. But before the boot, I was able to direct a short I called “The Losers”. It was about a father named Professor Loser who steps in for his injured son to skate a downhill race. Since he’s a physics professor, he applies his knowledge of gravity to skating and he’s able to make it down the hill in one piece. He loses the race, but in the end he wins because his son is proud of him and he gets a chicks phone number.
That was my introduction to downhill capturing and it was also part of my subconscious for “Lundberg Loses It”. We got to close a whole street off in downtown LA, a huge production crew and reality TV crew all relying on me. It was a big learning experience about delegation and collaboration with a lot of other people as a director. I have a lot of respect for filmmakers who can pull it off. To make a big budget movie, it’s an incredible task, a level that I am not at, but am striving to get to.
What is the main message to your audience in your videos?
I would say work hard, be kind to others, respect your elders and just keep learning. In filmmaking, you can do a lot with a little. Get to know your equipment and cherish it. Care about your work. If you really believe in something in an artistic realm, follow through, and try not to be concerned with the response. There are a lot of different folks out in the world, so someone will like it. If you can stoke one person out, then that’s cool. I say do you what you want to do, but don’t harm others doing it.
From a cinematography perspective, where do you want to take your work and what are you looking to achieve?
I would say my filmmaking style up until now has a “organized chaos” or “stream of consciousness” vibe to it. I strive to lock the viewer in from the very first shot. All my films until now have been cut in a way to match the feeling of what the subject in the film is feeling, “Lundberg Loses It” is a good example. There is a certain tension that I want the viewer to feel. A lot of my work up until now has come from a place of pain , it goes back to the passion, it’s been good and bad. I feel much more calm these days, so I see my cinematography becoming more relaxed and drawn out. Though there will always be some tension. I would like to start focusing more on the lighting vibes of a scene, the composition, and of course to continue to do somewhat original storytelling, whether it’s hard to understand or not. At the end of the day, I just do what I do.
Are you currently working on any new projects? Any insights?
I’m currently in pre-production on a music video for a very talented cello player, though nothing is official until the camera starts rolling. Hopefully it will be presented to the world by late May ’13.
What is your ultimate dream project?
I guess professionally, like most filmmakers, we dream of making a successful movie that we’ve written. Though an original 30 minute short film would be the first realistic dream. Personally, to just be calmly content with life and to except the path I’m cruising down. Whether there is a movie or not, I just want to enjoy the journey. It’s cliche but it is a dream project.