I’m sure that soon after the first Schwinn Sting-Ray was blasted off some California soil, there was someone with a Super 8 camera there to record the action. Over the next few decades the correlation between riding BMX and filming continued to grow and today, it’s not uncommon to hear people say “we’re going filming” instead “we’re going riding.” Although many riders have cameras, make videos, and consider themselves “filmers”, riders like Mike Mastroni, Darryl Tocco, Charlie Crumlish, and Christian Rigal have all put in enough time and skill behind the camera—as well as in front of it—to earn their stripes as both professional riders and filmers.

Mike Mastroni

Mike was lucky enough to have Alex Raban around to film this 180 wallride-180 out during a Volume trip to Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Zielinski

What are your filming responsibilities? Who do you work/ride for? And what are you currently working on?
I film full time for Volume and handle TM duties. I’m also staff filmer for Demolition, as well as do TCU how-to’s and various other TCU videos. OSS used to be my full time thing, now not so much, but I’m sure if we did another big trip I’d be involved there too. I ride for Volume, OSS, and The Garden Shop. All of this year has been devoted to stacking for a full-length Volume DVD—besides that, just the usual videos and product promos that come with the territory for both Volume and Demolition.

Do you think being good at riding and filming makes you more appealing to a potential sponsor?
Yeah, absolutely.

Have you ever felt like your riding has suffered because you spend so much time filming?
I feel like it’s kind of a blessing and a curse. On the one hand I don’t really get to ride that much, but on the flipside it’s kinda forced me to use my imagination and make the things I do count—which in my mind makes my riding better. I guess in that way, being behind the camera so much has made me have an instant sense of what’s gonna look dope and what’s not, ya know?

How do you find a balance?
[Laughs] I really don’t. I probably film 95% of the time. But again, if I find something I’m really hyped on, I will definitely find the time to get it done.

When you go on a team trip as filmer and rider, is it difficult for you to make the transition from behind the camera to in front of it?
I just film on pretty much every trip I go on with my personal riding being kind of an afterthought. It’s much more important to me that my guys have productive days and are satisfied with all their footage. I get real hyped on what everyone else is doing, though. So really, at the end of the day if everyone gets clips I feel like I made that happen for them and that’s just as rewarding, if not more rewarding, than getting clips myself.

Do you ever get a chance to go on riding trips and leave the camera at home?
Unless I go riding or looking for spots or whatever by myself, then no. But that’s what I’m into—I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you have a go-to person who you can relay on to film you and get results you’re happy with?
I have guys like Zach Krejmas who I fully trust to film me. Other than that I usually just give the camera (and a detailed set of instructions) to whoever is most qualified on that particular trip. [Laughs] I always feel like a dick doing that, though, but whatever, I know I’m not gonna use it if it doesn’t come out how I want it.

Do you have any tips, advice, or words of wisdom for any upcoming riders who could potentially be sponsored for riding and filming?
Watch BMX, skate, and even snowboard videos and study the filming techniques, learn to skateboard, and get a proper camera set up with a real fisheye. If that means shooting SD or using a DSLR or something a little more affordable so be it, your results will be a lot better then trying to make good things come from a shitty wide angle lens. Besides that, just stay active on your bike, never stop trying to improve what you’re doing. Oh yeah, and have fun with it! Get funky, film everything, that’s how you get the best b-roll.

Darryl Tocco

High speed manual-to-180. Sequence: Fudger

What are your filming responsibilities? Who do you work/ride for? And what are you currently working on?
For the past seven years I’ve been staff videographer for Kink Bikes, coupled with eight years on the pro team. Right now my duties include producing monthly web content, social media video sharing, and filming on all of the trips we go on. Duties vary on what projects we’re focusing on as a brand, whether it be small product promos or full length DVDs like Squash It. As of today I’m working on web sections with Chad Osburn, James Steele, Dan Coller, and Aaron Smith, along with all the other guys stacking footage for whatever.

Do you think being good at riding and filming makes you more appealing to a potential sponsor?
I think so, yeah. Jay Roe put me on Kink originally and he was aware that I knew how to use a camera, so I think it made it a bit more appealing to him. These days, I think most companies need a staff video guy in place already. Videos and team exposure are everything, without those things you’re going to be dead in the water.

Have you ever felt like your riding has suffered because you spend so much time filming?
For sure. Large Kink trips don’t leave me with much time to ride, and riding alongside my friends is what motivates me the most, so when I’m filming all day I’m unable to push myself on certain trips I guess. Riding street with a camera bag sucks as well, and if I roll up to something I’m psyched on after carrying the bag all day, my head tends to be in the wrong spot so to speak. Being able to pedal freely and jump curbs keeps me loose and makes me feel like I’m actually riding, not just pedaling around with 30 pounds on my back.

How do you find a balance?
I guess just making sure I’m riding all the time when I’m not filming. I think the hardest thing about it is keeping confident if you aren’t riding a ton, I’ve gone on Kink trips and by the time they were over my confidence is shot to shit. That goes away once I get home and get back to doing my thing, but it definitely can mess with my head on the road.

When you go on a team trip as filmer and rider, is it difficult for you to make the transition from behind the camera to in front of it?
Sometimes. A lot of the stuff I film takes me a while, and I don’t want to take up an hour or more trying to get a trick when there are 10 other dudes wanting to put it down—that kind of plays into my head if I’m trying something. All the Kink dudes are super supportive of me getting stuff done though, those guys are my best friends and they get me psyched. Helps me get motivated for sure.

Do you ever get a chance to go on riding trips and leave the camera at home?
Eclat trips are incredible. They always hire an amazing filmer, and I’m left to pedal freely and do whatever I want. I think Paul Robinson has made being a pro rider a priority for me and Eclat, and it’s meant a lot to me. Those trips are so fun and we go to the craziest places, so that has been amazing. I always look forward to them because the team is so fun to travel with.

Do you have a go-to person who you can relay on to film you and get results you’re happy with?
Jay Roe is handling my stuff nine times out of 10 and he usually gets the job done. It’s not the luxury of having a professional, but Jay has learned a lot and I can usually trust him. Dan Coller is really on point behind the camera and he’s been coming on more trips with us, so I have him to help me out as well. I’m not complaining too much [laughs].

Do you have any tips, advice, or words of wisdom for any upcoming riders who could potentially be sponsored for riding and filming?
Let your resume speak for itself. There’s no better way of getting your name out there than producing solid videos and being a good rider to boot. Be ready to drop everything at a moments notice and don’t pass up trips or opportunities. Don’t be an asshole, and don’t talk too much shit on the Internet; the wrong people will see it, trust me. BMX is small, everybody sees and hears everything. Lay low, and do your thing.

Charlie Crumlish

Charlie had his good buddy Craig Passero on the video camera while he busted this half-cab into a LA ditch. Photo: Zielinski

What are your filming responsibilities? Who do you work/ride for? And what are you currently working on?
I ride for OSS, Lotek, and Merritt. And work for The Come Up plus freelance for a bunch of people. At the moment I’m working on finishing the sixth BMXFU DVD, and just getting started with an S&M video project. Most recently, I started talking with Matt Roe this morning about shooting an edit here in Austin.

Do you think being good at riding and filming makes you more appealing to a potential sponsor?
Yeah, no doubt. As time goes on and the industry moves forward, as BMX evolves, I’m seeing a lot more riders who are good at filming. I feel like I know more riders who are comfortable with a camera than riders who aren’t—and that’s dope. Lately, BMX seems to be focused as a whole on producing higher and higher quality content. With all of us being a little more critical of what everyone is putting out, it’s fair to assume that more and more riders pick up a camera every day to see if they can make something like that really dope web edit they watched this morning.

Have you ever felt like your riding has suffered because you spend so much time filming?
I think it’s the opposite. If I am filming, sometimes I’ll catch motivation off of my friends getting clips on a day when I’d normally just chill. Vice versa, if you’re trying to go get footage and your friends are in chill mode, you can make them film you get a clip and it makes them want to get into it too.

How do you find a balance?
I think I need both ends of the spectrum. Editing too, that’s like another balance point for me. I ride until my body can’t handle it, then I take a break and film someone else try something. Later that night, I’ll move clips around and it helps me start thinking about riding again. Spots I want to get clips at, tricks I want to try, you see what might have gone wrong with tricks you didn’t end up getting… All of these things are pretty important to keeping my motivation up.

When you go on a team trip as filmer and rider, is it difficult for you to make the transition from behind the camera to in front of it?
Once in awhile I’ll have to set my bike down when I don’t want to, but I am definitely getting better at dealing with it. More often than not, being behind the camera motivates me to go ride once I set it down after the clip. I used to hate it, but nowadays it’s a nice little break where I can sit and think about the spot. More often than not I’ll notice a trick or a line I want to do while filming someone else.

Do you ever get a chance to go on riding trips and leave the camera at home?
I never leave my camera at home, it’s sort of an extension of my body. Sometimes it does hang out in the hotel or the van, though. I’m lucky enough to have Scott McMenamin shooting on Merritt trips. I help out, so does Brennan and Brandon Begin, a few other dudes, but being mostly a rider is awesome. I can dive in and focus 100 percent on the riding side of things. I wouldn’t be able to do that all the time though, I think I would get burnt out without a balance.

Do you have a go-to person who you can relay on to film you and get results you’re happy with?
I’m lucky enough to have a bunch, actually. Devon Lampman down here in Texas knows my glidecam better than I do. Craig Passero and I always film each other on OSS trips, unless Mastroni is around. Navaz and I started shooting together a bit this year and have plans to work on a few projects soon. Back home in Fuville pretty much everyone is pretty decent at filming. Thanks to everyone I just mentioned for holding it down, it really does help the riding side of things knowing that the dude filming you is being thoughtful about how to make the clip look good.

Do you have any tips, advice, or words of wisdom for any upcoming riders who could potentially be sponsored for riding and filming?
Don’t jump into it to try and make money. You’re going to need to do this shit for a good few years before anyone is going to give you a job. I definitely didn’t get into it thinking this would be a job of any sort, I just can’t put the bike or the camera down and things worked out somehow—probably because I was having fun. I guess my advice would be enjoy yourself, push yourself to create artwork you’re stoked on—both with the camera and with your bike. Lastly, make a ton of videos. Make videos every day if you are serious about honing your skills.

Christian Rigal

Combinations of grinds and gaps are one of Christian’s specialties—here’s a gap to lengthy one. Photo: Fudger

What are your filming responsibilities? Who do you work/ride for? And what are you currently working on?
As of right now I’m just keeping busy filming and editing stuff for Markit. Although the video is done, we’re still working on some promos, team edits, leftovers, etc. Aside from that I don’t really have any other responsibilities right now—it’s nice. I’m doing some random freelance work and side projects, as well as a few things with my sponsors. But now that our DVD’s finally done I’ll have a lot more time to work on some new video projects—I’ve got a couple cool ideas I’m excited to mess with.Riding wise, my sponsors are United Bike Co, Demolition Parts, Markit Denim and Etnies shoes. They’re all awesome and I’m lucky enough to do video work with them as well.

It seems like I’ve got a lot of stuff in the works right now. I’m editing a Markit Zero promo and trailer, stacking clips for a Demolition edit, filming Connor Lodes and Dennis Enarson for their own Demolition edits, filming with Nathan Williams, filming a Glen Girbovan edit, I still need to edit a Bill Macpherson video, and there’s some others I’m forgetting. It never ends [laughs], but I love it.

Do you think being good at riding and filming makes you more appealing to a potential sponsor?
I guess it could, but that’s a weird way of looking at it. If a company is paying you as both a rider and a filmer, then that’s legit, but if they just sponsored you for a hookup on filming, then that’s false. I actually prefer filming for the companies I ride for, that way I can just go on trips and ride/film all day like normal.

Have you ever felt like your riding has suffered because you spend so much time filming?
Yeah, a few years ago I felt that way and decided to switch things up. I was doing a ton of freelance work since my main source of income was filming, but I was going on so many trips that I barley had time to ride, and when I did I felt pretty sketchy. It was hard to pass up trips when I needed the money, but riding has always been my main focus so I had to figure something out.

How do you find a balance?
I started to really prioritize the filming jobs I took on, as opposed to going on every random trip that came up. I felt like I was spreading myself too thin, all these trips were overlapping and I couldn’t put all my efforts into stuff anymore. Slowing things down left me with plenty of time to focus on riding and filming for the companies that I was really stoked on. I might not be making as much money as before, but I’m more than happy to be riding and filming all day without worries.

When you go on a team trip as filmer and rider, is it difficult for you to make the transition from behind the camera to in front of it?
No, I’m really used to it now. The only downfall is when daylight or security is an issue, but you can’t do much in those situations, anyway. I just try to scoop out and film my stuff first so it’s done and out of the way, I always feel bad taking up time when someone else has something to film.

Do you ever get a chance to go on riding trips and leave the camera at home?
Yes, but only on United trips [laughs]. It feels so crazy every time I fly somewhere with no camera bag—I love it though. Those are always my most productive trips, too. I get to ride around and jib the whole time instead of just looking around real quick and setting up. I could definitely use more of those trips in my life.

Do you have a go-to person who you can relay on to film you and get results you’re happy with?
Yeah, that would be Connor Lodes and Dennis Enarson. I’ve been filming with those two since I got my first camera. They’ll mess some clips up here and there, but for the most part they always kill it. It’s nice to know that I can trust them to film my clips because we’re always riding together, I’d be screwed without them!

Do you have any tips, advice, or words of wisdom for any upcoming riders who could potentially be sponsored for riding and filming?
I’d say that the balance is key, you’ve just gotta figure out what works best for you. Anyone can get good at riding bikes or filming, but few can keep up with both. Stay dedicated.