I got to know Max as a colleague, when he started an internship in our office when we still ran Monster Skateboard Magazine. Ever since he’s been a friend but nowadays you don’t see him that often at home in Cologne cause he’s traveling quite a lot. Most of the time with the Vans squad since he is filming for the brand and is also the German teammanager.
I got my first three-chip DV camera at the age of 14 to film friends, because there was no filmer. I thought everybody could film with it, but because it was my camera, I mainly filmed in the end.
I got myself a VX at some point and went from the village where I come from to the city where I met skaters who had smaller sponsors. Then I was invited by a company on their Barcelona tour, because I already filmed with their riders. And I really started filming when I moved to Cologne and got myself a HD camera.
"Sometimes you go from one tour to the next and you have to do laundry, send footy, or do the bills on tour"
Sometimes yes. [laughs] Back then it was just that I wasn’t skating well enough to get sponsored and go on tour. But I wanted to go on tour. So I just thought: Then I will become a filmer.
You shouldn’t be greedy from the beginning and ask for excessive rates and per diems when you are just starting out. First you have to get a foothold and wait and see. If you stick with it and are good at it, then it will work out. But you won’t be able to live on it after half a year. Otherwise just be nice and cool with the people.
You just have to be friends with the people you film with. If you’re working with someone on a project that you can’t get along with, it doesn’t make sense.
There are no sponsored skaters in the village, so you have to move. In Germany mainly to Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart. And there you have to be good so that the skaters want to film with you.
It’s good if you know many spots and many people in other cities. You should be patient and not constantly say: Last try. And you should suggest tricks to the skaters.
Sometimes yeah. There are skaters who do a lot of what the filmer suggests but there are also others who have their own vision and suggest how to film it even better.
I thought it would happen when I moved to Cologne and filmed with Willow and Vladik [Scholz]. That’s when I got my first money, but the point when I could make a living from it was only three years ago when I joined Vans.
Most companies don’t have any permanent filmers. If you do get a job like this, you can always go on tour and earn money regularly. But you can’t really choose that.
I once filmed a video that I never got paid for. At the beginning I did a three-week tour for little money and at the end I found out that the other filmer got 20 times as much. But I don’t regret it, the tour was awesome. I wouldn’t have dared to ask for more even then, because I thought they would just ask the next filmmaker. It depends on what you want. Money or good times on tour – and I always wanted to be on tour.
The only thing is when I pick an angle that is far away from the others, the trick takes forever and I see the rest of the crew sitting together and laughing. Then I think I’d rather be over there now, but when I go over, the angle sucks. [laughs]
"You just have to be even more drunk than the skaters"
Writing bills, doing taxes – I let that slip once in a while... It’s best to come up with an idea and suggest a tour, find the spots for it. And either the company organizes the trip or you get the money and have to book everything.
Yes, but you simply must not do that. You just have to be even more drunk than the skaters. [laughs]
I film with the HPX-170 and an Extreme Fisheye. I also have a Super 8 camera and an AGHC 160 and a VX1000, but I only film with the HPX. You definitely need certain cameras for certain companies. With a VX you can’t really add anything to a big video these days, because everything is HD.
For me there is none. Those who only go out with their friends are often even more motivated than those who get paid. Because they are motivated to get there, to get paid, and because they just want to go out with their friends and present them in the best possible way.
The best paid jobs are big contests with big main sponsors, energy drinks. This is the thing you want to do the least, but it pays the best.
I think I was traveling more than half the year last year, but when I’m in Cologne, I film here as well. You have to be flexible. Sometimes you go from one tour to the next and you have to do laundry, send footy, or do the bills on tour. You have to be at home on tour.