Almost one year ago legendary snowboard filmer Mike "Mack Dawg" McEntire decided to hang it up after 20 years in the business. From his first release, "New Kids On The Twock" in 1989 to his final movie "Double Decade," he has been pushing the limits of what was possible in action spots filming. Dawger consistently had the best riders and along with his films they pushed the progression of snowboarding year after year. But a change in his life, coupled with an increasingly bad distribution model for snowboard movies prompted Mack Dawg to do the unthinkableand hang it up after two decades of being the best. Rumors have been running wild since his departure from the scene so we caught up with him to great the real story on what he's been up to.
It's coming up on a year since you decided to stop doing your year round, full time snowboard movie projects. How are you feeling about that decision now?
Do you think it was the right choice to change it up?
Do you have any regrets?
Is there anything you miss about it?
Sure. The biggest thing I miss about filming snowboard stuff is all of my friends that I worked withlike my crew and all of the riders. A lot of them were like family to me. We all hung out for so many years. I still keep in touch with many of them and see them and hang out with them so it's totally mellow.
What projects are you working on now?
I have a lot of stuff going on. Most immediately I've been doing freelance work and shooting with my new RED camera as much as possible. Since this is an ESPN.com interview, you should know that I worked on the new X Games 3D project. I used two RED cameras when I shot the X Games last year. I haven't seen the show yet but I heard it turned out really good and I know there are a bunch of my shots in there.
The main thing I've really been working on is developing my skillset in cinematography quite a bit more than I was able to do with snowboarding.
Let's see, what else... I've been producing segments for Mike Hatchett and the Standard Snowboard Show on FUEL TV. In next year's shows there are going to be sections called the Mack Dawg Files. Basically, I get around four to six minutes per episode where I get to highlight one of my guys that I worked with a lot over the years. I did some cool interviews and I'm going to do six high end pieces for that show.
I helped my friend make a Western movie. I did some boom shots for that. That was obviously really a huge change of pace for me [Laughing].
I've been filming dirt biking for five years now... you know, I put out On The Pipe 5 with Jay Schweitzer. Obviously this is our fifth movie and it's a great project. It has an awesome tribute to our buddy Jeremy Lusk who passed away last year. I'm proud of that movie. Jay and I have also been working on a long term project on the evolution of moto jumping. It covers everything from the early "Dare Devil" days all the way through to the guys that we've been filming like Robbie Madison and Ryan Capes where they're pushing 400 feet on their jumps. We're going to be putting a teaser out for that one real soon. That movie is ridiculousthe footage doesn't even look real. It looks like some E.T. thing when a guy hits a jump going 100 mph and flies 400 feet...it just doesn't seem like it could be possible.
I shot a television pilot for these folks out of Santa Barbara called "Banging Bars." It's a motocross reality show that is looking like it will probably get picked up.
I've been trying to back-catalog all of my old snowboarding footage [Laughs]. Mitch Nelson, a pro snowboarder and really good friend of mine has been helping me with that. Endless. I'm getting some of that to the guys at Bear Mountain for their new movie.
I've been kicking around a few other ideas that I really can't talk about because they are really good ideas and someone might snake me on them.
Can I assume we'll get the scoop when you do decide to talk about them?
The main thing I've really been working on is developing my skillset in cinematography quite a bit more than I was able to do with snowboarding. When you are shooting snowboarding, you have to have a light package and be fairly run-'n-gun. You have to be able to move real quick. Some of the bigger rigs and filtration systems are just too big and heavy to carry around. I've been able to really try and take my scene to a different level since I made the change. That's what I've been working on more than anything I guess.
Down the road, do you see yourself working on more Hollywood cinematography-type projects? What are your ultimate goals?
I have a couple of feature film scripts that I've been working on. One of them I think is really good and I'd like to direct, produce and shoot it. It would be a smaller budget, not super crazy but just a really good story with really, really broad appeal. I also want to work on commercials.
I guess what it comes down to is my wife and I just had a new kid and the snowboard thing was real cool but it's a lot of traveling and I'm getting pretty old and I was stoked to be at a point in my life where I could take a little break from the grind and hang out and help raise my daughter. It was just really important for me to spend time with her and teach her what's up.
Is family life is treating you well then?
Oh yeah, we're doing good. I've got two dogs, our little daughter Taryn McEntire and my wife Catherine. We've got our house here in Oceanside and our house up in Reno. So when there are waves we like to be here and in the winter we can be near the mountains. We have Squaw Valley passes for next year so I'll be getting to ride. When you are a snowboard filmer you don't actually get to snowboard.
Anything else off the top of your head that you want people to know about?
If you want a sick commercial or an insane viral web piece hit me up at mackdawgproductions.com and we'll set you straight [Laughs].
Are getting more surfing in these days?
Oh yeah. I surfed this morning. I'm about four blocks from the beach and there's been good surf all summer.