LESSONS | JESS KIMURA
Without a doubt, Jess Kimura has made a substantial impact on snowboarding. Since her breakout part in Think Thank’s Left Brain, Right...
A filming addiction that began as a youth pushed Colton Feldman to create his first snowboard film, Dump Em Out (2010). This experimental full length was well received and led him into four illustrious years filming and editing for Keep The Change, putting out projects that laid the foundation for many of his friends’ snowboard careers. Feldman nabbed the coveted Videograss cosign early in the KTC days via a Facebook message, eventually going on to film and direct his own VG flick, Videogracias. All while maintaining the We Are Frameless series residency for Dragon on the side. These accomplishments guided him into a reign of careful craftsmanship with Adidas Snowboarding, finely tuning their look and style through notable releases 3 AM, Blender and Hopes of the Highest. It sounds like as long as Colton’s good friends are still snowboarding, he will be filming them. We like the sound of that.
Written by Finn Westbury
The longest time it took to film a trick: Craig Cameron has tried to boardslide a rail eight different days, over the past two winters. We try it all the time. We’ll try it again soon.
Long lens or fisheye: Follow cam
Favourite project that you’ve been a part of: Videogracias
Favourite recent project that had absolutely nothing to do with you: House Call
Most amount of clips you filmed in a day: 6
Hardrives owned: 15
Home turf: Born and raised in New Hampshire, currently live in Portland, Oregon.
Filming for: 15 years
Yo, Colton. What popped off this past year?
I started filming a video with Tommy Gesme, Spencer Schubert and Derrek Lever. We were lucky enough to check out new places like Newfoundland and Russia. I’ve always wanted to visit Russia, it was tight. We had to end filming early due to COVID-19 but we’re going to keep filming this upcoming winter.
At one point you posted a picture of a piece of paper basically saying you had full permission to go crazy at a spot?
We found this rail at a university in Newfoundland but there were signs all over campus explicitly saying “no snowboarding.” Instead of setting it up in a hurry and rushing everything, Tommy and I ended up going into the main office and asking for permission. There were surveillance cameras everywhere, so it was our best bet. I have a video on my phone of Tommy signing all this paperwork. While we were in the office, another teacher pulls up Google Earth and shows us other spots in the town. “I used to snowboard on handrails, check this one out.” They sent out an email to the entire school saying the stair set will be off-limits, and then had a security guard stand at the bottom of the rail while we filmed. Little did this security guy know how long it takes to film a trick… guy was freezing, standing by me for three hours.
What makes a snowboarding video “good”?
That’s a hard question. There are good videos in every genre, whether it be a documentary, an AM video, a big budget company video, or an independent video like VG. I’d say a “good” video will generate an authentic emotional reaction. Make people feel nostalgic or hyped. Audio can play a big part. Sometimes I feel like music softens the footage, so maybe less music could be cool. Recently, I’ve tried to focus on the actual clips. Putting more tricks back to back in hopes of overwhelming the viewer.
Do you work through the summer to put yourself on trips or is everything self-sufficient as a snowboard filmer?
Fortunately, most of my snowboard trips have been covered by brands in recent years. In the summer I work as a groundskeeper in the morning and I edit in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. I’m more efficient on a set schedule. I work to pay my bills and keep a healthy routine.
How do you make money? Is it a season-to-season contract? Are they ever multiyear contracts?
Never a multi-year. There hasn’t been much job security with filming snowboarding. For me, that makes things stressful but also makes you think like, “That’s done, I made that. Let’s figure out a different scheme, or movie, or project to do this again.” Money has always been random.
Has your worth been increasing over the years?
[Laughs] It was with Adidas. That was a dream come true. Adidas gave those guys the option, “Who do you want to film with?” and they said, “We want to film with Colton.” I just snuck in the door.
What inspires you to keep going filming? Is it something that you’re gassed up on right now?
I’m excited to keep filming for this project with Spencer, Derrek and Tommy. This will be the first time we’ve had two years to film, and it’s our first independent video together since KTC. There’s a lot of pressure from it because it’s essentially made by friends and also for my friends, if that makes sense. This is a big chance to make our video.
Do you want to shine some light on the learning curve of filming snowboarding?
I think being critical of your work is the most important thing. Everything is constantly changing. Music trends, filming trends, tricks and clothing. I’ll look back at a video I made three years ago and cringe about what I thought was cool at the time. It’s all trial and error. The most important thing is to film as much as you can in the moment.
Do you have any defining moments in your life, or career, filming snowboarding?
When I was a kid, my mom took my brother and I to the Grenade Smell The Glove” movie premiere. It was at a small ski resort in New Hampshire called Cranmore. We were freaking out [laughs]. Danny Kass, Shane Flood, Kyle Clancy, and Scotty Arnold all signed my mom’s old station wagon [laughs]. Then they skated this wooden stair set before the premiere and I filmed it with a home video camera. The whole drive home we listened to this R.R. CD they gave us. That day, meeting those guys, kind of made the entire thing “real” to me.