Videos are important to any kid whose into BMX, especially when they are first coming into it. They can inspire, open your eyes to new things, have a lasting impression and most importantly, make you want to ride. With that said, the person behind the video is equally as important.
In this case, it’s Ryan Navazio. He is directly responsible (in one way or another) for many of the modern classics you know today. Anything with his name on it, people will check for.
I threw Ryan some questions touching on his early projects, all the way to what he’s got going on now, so continue reading on. Enjoy!
To start things off, we need some basics. Tell us how you became, or what got you interested
I’m not really sure. I think I was always into the idea of filming BMX, but I remember after seeing Seek & Destroy I was set on buying a camera. At first I didn’t even want to put the bike down to film, but I loved to edit. I think it was through editing other peoples footage all the time that helped me understand filming more. The first time I used a non-linear editing system was in a high school video production class. I was never one for extra curricular activities, but I was hooked on editing and I would stay after school real late to edit footage on the computer.
Whereabouts on the East Coast did you grow up and how did you get into bikes?
I grew up in a town just outside of Philadelphia in Delaware County. The town is called Ridley, and it’s pretty infamous for a lot of reasons. For some reason this town has always had tons of kids that ride BMX. When I was growing up there were like 3 different cliques of riders just in this one small town. It’s bizzare actually how many kids I knew growing up who were into BMX at some point. We always had good trails and just around town there were several sets, not including the surrounding towns. At one point I could walk out my front door, cross the street and there was a set of trails. I grew up skateboarding and a lot of people I knew started getting into BMX, so I slowly just got more and more into that. Then I started racing and through racing I got to travel and I was hooked.
You worked on a video series called Jersey Riding / Standpoint. Was that something that naturally came to be because of what was around you?
It’s kind of funny how you worded this question, because I came up with the name Standpoint literally based on the idea of documenting the BMX we saw going on around us, or how we saw BMX from our standpoint. Jersey Riding was a website based out of North Jersey and I became friends with the guys that ran it and we ended up making some videos. It was all pretty organic and we just did our thing and people responded to it really well. Eventually we started taking it more seriously and decided to change the name. Standpoint was the first thing that came to me, and after a lot of deliberation it was finally decided. Come to think of it, it was between calling it Insight and Standpoint.
Nowadays, a BMX video series just within New Jersey makes a lot of sense, there are so many good riders in Jersey and a ridiculous amount of pros are from Jersey. I used to hate on Jersey and I still do, but not because of the riding scene, just the fucked up politics, poorly engineered roadways and the insane police presence on those roads. But the riding and riders from there have always been amazing!
Tell us a little about Standpoint videos, how was your time making them?
Making those videos was a great time in my life, I was going to college full-time and I had this crazy idea that I would work on it through college, and when I graduated I would be able to make a living from it. If you ask anyone who was ever on a Standpoint trip, I guarantee you they will tell you a crazy story. Those road trips were seriously out of hand and looking back on it, I don’t know how we never ended up in jail or something. I’m really proud of those videos because we did our own thing and we made it happen and had a great time doing it. I just didn’t see the need for a video magazine anymore and I didn’t think I could handle pushing out video after video and still maintain the same vibe. I still wanted to make videos and Standpoint 7 basically just became Left/Right. I just thought putting a number on the video and calling it a magazine cheapened it in some way. Standpoint productions is what I’m calling it these days and Left/Right was the last video released under that title.
You have since taken on other projects and obviously went on to make some classic videos, which are what most people know you from. Left/Right and Insight come to mind. What is your approach to taking on new projects? What runs through your mind?
Nowadays it all depends on the company and what they want to do. I feel like I’ve been making BMX videos long enough to where I know what’s gonna work and what won’t. So if a company comes to me with a lot of money and wants to do a video but they think we can start filming today and have it out tomorrow, then it’s really hard to agree to that. Time is a very important factor. If I agree to work on something, it’s because I believe in it, and if I feel like things aren’t being done properly, than I’m going to say so. I’m opinionated when it comes to videos.
For a company type video, I try to listen to what the riders want and put my spin on it as best as possible. It’s all about creating a feel for the company and following that companies art direction. Whoever is paying to make the video will call the shots, so if some contributed footage maybe doesn’t look so good but they want it in there, than it has to go, that’s just how it is. Maybe I’d end up having to use some bro-cam footage or some cleared music from a library of cleared songs that aren’t really that great.
If it’s my own project, I’m more strict about certain things, especially the way footage looks and the music selection. In my head I try to vision what the video is going to be like, but things always change so I try not to lock myself into one theme or concept until the footage starts to pile up a little bit.