Photo: Ryan Guettler
If you pay close attention to the credit lines for videos, there’s a good chance you will start recognizing names of guys who are producing some incredible videos. It’s a little tip I picked up on when it came to sorting through the endless sea of videos we see surfacing 365 days of the year now days. One name in particular that we always get stoked to see pop up is Dylan Pfohl. Dylan is one of those guys who learned a lot of his film techniques from BMX and has used it to push him into a professional career handling film projects all around the action sports industry. We wanted to know about his work and how he got to where he is today, so we tracked him down for an interview. Check out what he had to say!
Name: Dylan Pfohl
Huntington Beach, California
Sponsors / Hook Ups:
Mom pays for my health insurance which is pretty sweet.
Years filming and editing:
13 or 14
Photo: Danny Josa
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
Got a Mongoose Hoop-D for Christmas 2001, can’t remember why I wanted it. I didn’t ride it much the first few months until I saw an article in Wake Boarding Magazine about pro’s downtime hobbies. It showed my favorite wake boarder Shaun Murray, riding a BMX track that he built in his backyard. Our family’s house was on 5 acres of open land so one afternoon when my parents were on vacation I started digging up the garden.
When did you start getting into filming and editing? Was it because of BMX?
One time, when we were 11 or 12, my best friend Luke Willoughby came over and wanted to make a movie. He had done it at his buddy’s house and said it was awesome, so we convinced my mom to let us use her Hi 8 Handycam. Over the years, we produced such classics as Saving Private Jeffery parts 1, 2 and 3, Jim Blond 0007 and Attack of the Killer Tornados among others.
What was your first camera? What were you editing on?
The same Christmas I got the Mongoose, my aunt Kate got me an Intel Play Digital Movie Creator camera and editing software. It held 2 minutes of video so my brother Taylor would film my friend John Bican and I hit the jumps for a couple minutes, then we’d all run inside to check the footy. The editing software wouldn’t let you bring in music so I held the cameras microphone up to the boom box and hit play.
I’d imagine you’re working with a little fancier gear now. What are you currently working with?
Well my current favorite camera is an Olympus 35 RC fixed lens rangefinder loaded with Ilford XP2 Super, but that’s just for fun.
For work I use an FS700 and an excessive kit of lenses: 11-16, 24, 35, 50, 85, 100 and 24-105. There’s also an excessive amount of support gear but the one I’m most proud of is a slider that I sketched on paper, my brother modeled in Solid Works and my dad machined for me. I still edit in Final Cut 7 because I like it. I play with the little helicopter thing occasionally too.
Do you have a dream setup at all or are you pretty content with what you have now?
I’ll never be content. Carbon Red Dragon, Movi M10, full kit of Leica Summicron- C primes, one of those speed dolly things that they used on Red Bull Perspectives and an Octocopter might get me close.
Photo: Danny Josa
You have been making a name for yourself these past few years through countless amazing videos. Did you ever want to turn this into a career path when you first got started?
Yeah, once I knew I wasn’t going to be a pro hockey player or race car driver, I pretty much knew I was going to make videos.
You have been fortunate enough to turn this into a profession of yours. Did you ever go to school for this or was it pretty much all self taught?
Indeed. I have been very fortunate and I did go to school in Denver. I’d say 90% of my projects were BMX related and my teachers probably rolled their eyes every time. Graduated with honors though so who knows. I’ve learned so much more on my own just by practice and studying other videos.
You have a pretty impressive list of riders you have had the opportunity to work with in the past. Who are a few of the guys that you would consider your favorites to work with?
All my Colorado boys, Aj Anaya, Joey, Matt and Mat Olson will always be at the top of my list. The whole Peraza family is amazing, Guettler’s trips are a blast and of course Kris Fox.
Are there any pro’s out there you haven’t had the chance to film, but hope to get the chance at some point?
You have had the chance to work for a few different brands as well. Who are some of the brands you have worked with in the past?
Yellow Designs was the first to ever pay me in BMX, ESPN, SE Bikes, Mongoose Bikes, Leader Bikes, Deity, Index Ink, Fox and Red Bull among others.
I know you get into some non-BMX film work these days. What are some of the other things you film? Do you ever get into weddings or anything like that?
My focus these days is bikes of any size. In the past I’ve done everything from horror movies to music videos and yes weddings. I don’t enjoy it though so I only do those things in very specific situations now.
A few years ago you released your first full-length video, “Color”. Do you have any plans of doing another video like that?
No plans right now. I’d love to eventually but the circumstances would have to be right.
What are some of the projects you are currently working on?
Kris Fox and Joey Cordova both have videos in the works. I’m also trying to edit an Andrew Short piece that Kyle Cowling and I shot in Texas last year.
It seems like you’re always on the move. What are your travel plans looking like for 2014? Anything in particular you are really looking forward to?
This week I’m in Florida for a moto shoot with the Medium Creative Group, fly to St. Louis for Recon Tour, come home for a couple days probably go to Woodward then San Diego and San Francisco for Leader Bikes then straight to North Carolina for a Fox shoot. Home for a week then Tucson for Recon Tour. So yeah on the move a bit but looking forward to all of it!
Photo: Dustin Orem
Let’s say you got a fat budget to take any 5 riders anywhere in the world for one week to film. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
OG Parker Crew: John Bican, Taylor Pfohl, Gavin Malcolm, Josh Thurman, Chris Hughes, Nick Herrera, Andrew Waytashek, Jeret Litzsinger and Aaron Ninness. We would road trip and camp all around Colorado. More than 5 but we’re saving money sleeping in tents. And the reason why is because it would be awesome.
Is film work your only job or are you working another job to keep the fire burning?
I am very fortunate in that film is my only job. The last real job I had was washing cars at a dealership. That was in 2010 and I lasted 3 weeks.
Photo: Matt Lingo
Are you available for hire? How can somebody go about getting ahold of you?
Inquiries are processed by The Villain. Be careful though if he rejects your proposal he might taze you in the neck.
Do you have a portfolio website or anything like that? How can we keep up with you?
dylanpfohl.com and @dylanpfohl on Instagram
What kind of advice do you have for aspiring filmers out there?
Some tips in very specific order:
Read the Secret book series. That’s advice straight from Harry Mania so don’t skip it.
Keep the camera steady.
Don’t take life too seriously.
How do you feel about the current state of BMX with everybody having the ability to film and edit pretty easily accessible?
I think it’s great. Since I started filming before I started riding I have a record of my progress from day 1 that I will be able to look back on and enjoy forever. Everyone should have that. I don’t envy site curators that have to dig though hundreds of garbage video submissions a day though.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
At the beach.
Photo: John Russo
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks to my parents and family first and foremost, everyone that helped me get to where I am that I mentioned in this interview, anyone who has helped me that I may not have mentioned, everyone that has ever let me point a camera in their direction or put their faith in me on a project and to Kurt for the interview.
Anything else you want to say?