Justin films more than just handrail kids. photo: courtesy of Videograss
Vegas-born Justin Meyer is the lead filmer/editor of the newly created Videograss productions. You may have seen his work on Transworld in the form of “Sunday’s in the Park” or his famous “Titties and Backflips” video. “We hired Justin cause’ he’s the best filmer and editor in snowboarding, and he knows what’s up, and he rips on a snowboard,”Nima Jalali. Basically, whether you’ve seen his work or not you will, and if you truly care aboutÂ snowboarding, you’ll like it.
Justin: Long long ago, when I was not as good at skateboarding as my friends, I manned the camera.
Yobeat: Preferred equipment?
Justin: VX-2000/HVX-200, Final Cut, and a laptop.
Yobeat: How did you get involved in snowboard filming?
Justin: After high school I moved up to Big Bear and moved in with Joe Carlino, I borrowed his camera sometimes to make Bear Mountain web videos.
Yobeat: Was that your first job? Sundays in the Park?
Justin: Yeah I think so, although that was just something I did extra for fun while making web videos for the Bear site.
Yobeat: You’ve also worked at HCSC in the summers filming camp videos haven’t you?
Justin: I worked there for the past two summers making videos and loving life. Most magical place on Earth.
Yobeat: You filmed an edit of boys backflipping a big titty lady, how?
Justin: I got a homie from Vegas who always brings this stripper snowboarding. I don’t really know her story at all, just every time I see him he tells me how he’s got this girl that wants to take her shirt off for the camera, so one time I took him up on his offer.
Justin (middle) survives long cold nights for you.
Yobeat: What is your current project?
Justin: It’s called Videograss.
Yobeat: How did you land that gig?
Justin: Over the years Nima had always been talking with me about making a video, and I guess he just got serious this year. Him, the Hakkers, and myself decided to go for it. At the same time Mikey (LeBlanc) and Darrell (Mathes) were planning on making a video, so rather then compete with that we all joined up and decided to start a new video deal.
Yobeat: How do you feel the project is working out? Do you have any other filmers?
Justin: The project has gone amazing, a lot better then I had expected. Couldn’t have made it happen without the right crew. Everyone involved are good friends and are on the same page. And of course the Ozzy Jan Snarski and the Thunderous Sean McCormick (the other cameramen.)
Yobeat: Has Videograss given you the opportunity to travel?
Justin: Yeah, I traveled a bunch this year.
Yobeat: Best places? Worst places?
Justin: Best was Japan, not because of productivity but just the experience. Worst was easily Flint (Michigan).
Yobeat: Why was Flint so miserable?
Justin: It was our first trip. We got there and it started to rain on the little snow that was there. All the spots were either crazy loopy kink rails or just fucked. All we filmed there was bashing up a few abandoned houses. But then we drove to Grand Rapids and it snowed and everything got better.
Yobeat: How does the Videograss dynamic work? Are there younger and older crews?
Justin: We didn’t always have set crews, we mixed it up a bunch. Sometimes we were piles but most of the time got shit done. We had a good time.
Yobeat: What sets Videograss apart? How will it be any different than the other 400 projects milling around?
Justin: We didn’t have a focused approach. I tried to stay away from fancy filming of any sort, and just focus on the snowboarding. I think a lot of videos these days are focusing on the filming aspect and forgetting the actual snowboarding to an extent. Kids are hyped to be on a dolly behind some bush when they don’t realize they just filmed a nosepress from the front in slow motion.
Yobeat: Sounds like a very skate-influenced film style. Are you aiming for the rawness you find in a skate flick?
Justin: For sure skateboard influenced. Our whole crew is skate influenced. Most videos are influenced by some Moto-X bullshit, or some kinda stuntman shit I would think. There are only a few influenced from skateboarding, and even fewer that do it legit.
Justin hates this photo, but at least it proves he can do more than press buttons.
Yobeat: Do you enjoy being a filmer?
Justin: I don’t, I had more fun snowboarding.
Yobeat: Is cameraman your backup plan? Were you just not good enough to ride professionally?
Justin: I for sure never had plans to make it snowboarding. It’s just more fun than standing behind a camera. But I still have a lot of fun filming and being a part of snowboarding.
Yobeat: High points of being the filmer?
Justin: I guess being a part of the progression. It takes two to capture a moment you know, and being one factor in that equation is pretty awesome.
Yobeat: Do you enjoy watching people slam through an LCD screen?
Justin: (Laughing) No.
Yobeat: What are the worst slams you’ve ever seen?
Justin: Too many. Long, long ago there was a kid in Big Bear that tried to ollie over this wall to a two story drop, and he clipped and flipped to his back. I think it was a Monday Mallet on TWS like three years ago.
Hard at work.
Yobeat: Who are your favorite riders to film?
Justin: Johnny Miller, Louif, Larry, Darrell, Nima, Bradshaw, Joe Mertes, Jared Johnson, everyone in the VG crew!
Yobeat: Who is the whiniest person you’ve ever shot?
Justin: Oh man let me think. Are you searching for me to say Desiree? No, she’s not too whiny.
Yobeat: Have you ever gotten frustrated filming someone?
Justin: Scott Stevens is the ultimate perfectionist and will do a trick perfect 100 times in a row just to make sure he’s got it solid. Then once he’s done, he’s got four more tricks he wants to get at the same spot. But frustrating or not, that’s why I love filming with the guy.
Yobeat: On the flip side, have you ever “blown the shot?â€?
Justin: That’s all I do.
Yobeat: What do you think of the snow video market these days? Who is blowing it?
Justin: I don’t think anyone is blowing it, maybe some people just care too much about how they film something rather then what they are filming.
Yobeat: The future of Videograss, where do you fall into the mix?
Justin: Future looks good! We are going to keep making videos every year for quite some time to come.
Yobeat: As a filmer, do you have any long term goals or ambitions?
Justin: My roommate Johnny Miller and I talk about building a mini golf course/bar/skateshop/bowling alley/pizza joint. Johnny wants strip club too, but I don’t think that is too family friendly.
When you film all you do is wait for riders.
Yobeat: No plans to go Hollywood?
Justin: Yeah, I don’t think so. Would be fun to make a movie one day, but I don’t see myself doing it seriously.
Yobeat: Does freezing temperatures and standing around ever get to you?
Justin: I try to stay out of the cold. Although it is better than being hot.
Yobeat: How do you think all the kids out there making homie movies can get into the industry?
Justin: Just keep doing it, and eventually it will work out, unless you are just an asshole, then it will never work out and just give up now and go to college. You can go make a really amazing video with an old thrift store VHS shoulder mount thingy or even something like an elph camera. It’s not about what you use to make a video, but about the video you make. At the same time, you are less likely to get a job with a big crew or a company if all you have is a point and shoot camera that also does video.
Yobeat: How can up and comers get to a point where they are being offered jobs?
Justin: Well I think you have to put in a lot of work and take the time to meet the right people.Â Work hard, don’t give up, don’t be a douche bag, and make sure you know everything about snowboarding. Just because you know everything about your frame rates and hi-tech camera doesn’t mean you know anything about snowboarding.
Yobeat: Do you have anyone you want to thank?
Justin: Fuck yea, Amber, Beans, Molli, Johnny, Nima, Lance, Mike, Mikey, Darrell, Sean, Jan, Think Thank, Jesse Burtner, Preston Strout, HCSC, Transworld, Joe Carlino, Joe Mertes, too many more.