Jake Price has led an interesting career path. From an up-coming Salem-Oregon am with a TWS checkout and some shots in a Whitey movie, "Minibike" as his friends and mentors called him, jumped straight into shred movie production, working on Robot Food's seminal "Afterlame" film. After several full-length projects, including "Ir77" and "In Short," Price is heading up the shred department at Volcom TV, masterminding webisodes like Stoneyour.tv and Blizzard Bizarre.
When he's not waist-deep in powder with Jaime Lynn and other Volcom heads, he's making fun of it all on what we have to call BAF.com -- a little blog project that has somehow spiraled into a nexus of evil shred influence. Minibike is about to set down his duffel bag for a few months in NYC, so ESPN sat him down to talk turkey about filming, blogging, and the true meaning of "Shantics."
How did the BAF blog come about?
In 2004, I was filming for David Benedek's "91 words for snow." We were all in the RV brainstorming for movie names and I came up with "Board as F--k". Obviously, that wouldn't fly with the distributors. I always really liked the name, though and thought it would be perfect for a website. I have zero web design knowledge, and with the technology out there it's easier than ever to have a website. It was actually Bobby Worrest's Coors Lite blog that got me fired up, which is funny because he posts about once a month, and I still checked it three times a day. My theory was, as long as we post more than Bobby, our site would be rad and people will check it out. We (Austin Smith and Curtis Ciszek) started BAF. Within weeks Todd Richards came on, and it's been so fun ever since. We can do whatever we want.
When did you realize it was more than just you and your friends getting a chuckle out of it?
What? People actually check it? We get thousands of hits a week, so people must like it. We had a strategic marketing meeting and decided that our goal was to make it the next keyboard cat...
Have you had to retract any content, yet?
There was a while there when I was getting anthrax mailed to my house.
What post has gotten the most attention?
I can't say a specific post. I can say a specific topic, anything about the Donimal (Donny Stevens). It all started with the "Donny Poll™," a poll making fun of Donny until he got laid (3 year drought). Needless to say, he got tired of being dissed on and after nine months took down a swamp donkey. Eventually, Donny got too cool for BAF and got the opportunity to intern at Transworld Magazine. I think in the long run it has created a career path for Donny as becoming the new "Dingo".
How did you make the transition from an upcoming am rider to a full-blown filmer and director?
I love snowboarding so much that it eventually took me down that road. Hard work and being at the right place at the right time. I never aspired to be a full-on snowboard filmer. Really, I just wanted to do whatever it took to be able to snowboard and be in the snow everyday. If it means wearing a 70 pound backpack and standing around watching dudes ride neck deep powder, I'm down. I've been so lucky to work with all the talented people that have enabled me to do this. I have to give a big thank you to Jess Gibson and Pierre Wikberg for taking their chances on hiring a kid that had no idea how to film 16 and showing me the ropes. I learned from the best in the business. My first day filming for real was shooting Hampus Mosseson, Jakob Wilhelmson, Josh Dirksen and Louie Fountain.
What's your take on the current state of the "snowboard film"?
It's pretty funny really. Most videos these days are the same thing that Mack Dawg and the Hatchett brothers have been doing for 20 years. The only thing that changes is the riders and the music. People work so hard to basically create the same thing they made the year before. It would be nice if a video could be appreciated a bit longer. I've felt that as soon as every production company finishes their film, they are on to the next one right away. There is not much of a thought process between. I'm sick of everything just being about stealing songs from the newest skate video and using it in their snowboard video and not even being called out on it. I would like to see more films with a creative vision and unique outcome.
Don't let anyone validate your lifestyle. If you think what you are creating is cool, then it probably is. Stick to your guns and do what you want.
You've worked on some fairly "artsy" projects, as well as a more narrative-driven snowboard films -- was that a conscious choice? Did you want to make something different?
I'm bored with the trick, trick, trick videos. When I dedicate my life to a year or more on one project, I want to make sure that time investment is worth it in the final product. I will most likely turn down any project that sticks to the mold of a regular snowboarding video.
Some might say you were a pioneer in miking riders as they shred, and using that audio to make a more complex background. What were you after with that technique?
I always loved the sounds in skate videos. It adds another dimension to the film -- if you watch most snowboard videos, it's weird that there is no sound when people are shredding anything but a rail or jib. I like to give the viewer a sense of being there watching it with their own eyes. Hearing the screams and yells after someone lands a trick is a big part of the excitement.
You were around when shred films went "back" to being filmed on video, not 16. What's your take on why that happened? What about the benefits of each medium? What's your preference?
Carrying around a 70-pound bag with a 16mm camera and tripod is enough of an excuse to shoot Video. I prefer shooting 16mm when the budget is there, no video camera or computer filters can replicate the look of 16. Lately, I've mostly been shooting with an Elph camera. Just a point and shoot digi camera with a taped on fisheye lense. I love the feeling that the viewer could have filmed it or been there at that exact moment. I'm not trying to go out there and exaggerate or create a fantasy world with dollys or cranes. I just want it to be pure shredding in a way most people can relate to it.
What do you watch for inspiration?
Powder hitting my goggles. Face shots inspire me to keep going. I strap in my snowboard almost everyday. This last Winter I rode more days than ever. 150 plus?
You're moving to NYC for the fall -- what are you most hyped on about being in the city? Scared?
I wouldn't really consider myself moving there. I have a house in Oregon, but have slept in my own bed maybe 30 nights this Year. I live out of a Dakine duffle bag and go where the action is. These days, I edit from a laptop computer and can work from anywhere in the world, might as well take advantage of that.
If you had to pick a favorite project, what would it be? Why?
They are all my favorite for different reasons. "Afterlame:" You have to start somewhere. This somewhere happens to be a classic. "December:" My first chance to film/edit/direct and go to Europe. Travis Parker and Andrew Crawford fart more than most. "91 Words:" The diversity of filming for this video was so fun, hanging out with David Benedek was inspirational. "Gap Sesh:" Creative angles and one subject, a massive jump."1r77:" This was snowboarding, make-it-up-as-you-go-spontaneity, and so much fun to hang out with Lukas Huffman, Shandy Campos, and Andrew Crawford. Back to the roots, real snowboarding, and my favorite crew to this date. "In Short:" Camping in Alaska was an experience. This is the only video I can show my grandparents and they can actually see what my job actually entails. "Mt. Lab 1.5:" Working along side Pierre Wikberg and filming guys like Devun Walsh, Iikka Backstrom, and Bjorn Leines was all time! "Wandering Winterland:" Going back to Shandyland and Noboarding with the lost boys. Volcom's "Stoneyour.tv:" Board As F--k TV has enabled me to create a raw view of snowboarding -- No BS, just fun and sending it at all aspects of life in a less serious tone. "Blizzard Bizarre:" Rocking every night with Jamie Lynn and shredding everyday with the amazing riders on the Volcom team.
I've had enough experience in the past 15 years snowboarding and filming that I'm to the point with whatever project I'm working on, people trust my judgment and give me the freedom to do whatever I want.
What's your best Andrew Crawford story?
I met Craw when I was 15 years old. He took me under his wings and has done so much for me over the years. To this day, he is the best person I have had the opportunity to meet in the snowboarding world. We have been best friends for a long time and honestly there are just so many crazy memories. Andrew lives his life at a million miles an hour and is the most rock and roll dude out there. I guess to answer this question: Go buy ir77 from the BAF store and watch the "Guts" section. Those are by far my favorite edits ever. I am laughing thinking about it.
You've also had a decent amount of the Shandy Campos experience. Any all-time highs from that you want to relate?
Shandy Campos is my favorite snowboarder to film. He is so fun to watch and his riding has so much character, he just makes everything look hectic and so wild. Most snowboarders out there make it look too easy and it gets so boring. Shandy makes the mountain his bitch.
What advice would you have for the legions of little kids out there with video cameras and iMovie?
Have fun with your friends and film it. The technology is there; you can create whatever you want. Don't let anyone validate your lifestyle. If you think what you are creating is cool, then it probably is. Stick to your guns and do what you want.