Combining radical surfing with comic relief, Alex and Koa Smith have started their own video blog, Lastnamefirst.tv, teaming up with their friends, Dan Treanor and Dune Newhouse, to document their travels and share their ideas and visions with the world. With a sparked interest in video at the ripe age of 12, Alex has taken to the art of editing and is now focused on increasing his production value, while keeping it youthful and fun. Koa’s outgoing personality has also been groomed from a young age, hosting red carpet events as well as various other behind the camera gigs, which will certainly lead to more hilarious characters in the upcoming videos from LNF. With their sights set on big things, Alex and Koa will undoubtedly keep us wondering what’s next!
What sparked your interest to get involved in video production and editing?
I think it’s from watching surf videos obsessively growing up. I would watch Taylor Steele movies all day; Loose Change, Campaign 1 & 2 and also Raw Irons. I watched them so much that when ever I heard a song, I would visualize a crazy surf segment in my head matching to the music. My interest in video production is sparked by the fact that all I need is a camera and a computer to bring that vision to the world. I think the potential to making a good surf edit is limitless. There’s so much freedom to get weird and it is exciting to hear what people think when they see my finished products.
How long have you been at it?
My parents used to film my brothers and I surfing all the time when I was 12. I would put all the clips on iMovie and make basic videos. I still have a 5 minute part strictly of wipeouts somewhere at home. It’s all time. Then a guy from Kauai named Bob Sato gave me Final Cut when I was 13. I guess I had interest in it at a young age. Between then and now Iʻve created weird little edits. Check them out on a rainy day on my old Vimeo account (http://www.vimeo.com/user2579266/videos). Now that Koa and I have started our blog lastnamefirst.tv, I’m taking the production part of things a little more serious than before.
How has the learning process gone for you? Did you have someone show you the ropes or was it just a natural progression of getting behind the computer and going for it?
Iʻve been on a bunch of trips with lots of great filmers & editors. I’ve always paid attention to how they shoot and approach different subjects. I recently went on a Globe trip to Mexico and was heavily inspired by Joe G and Dion Agius. Joe is an all around legend. And it was cool to see him do his thing during the making of Year Zero. I think Dion started the whole surf blog trend. It’s cool to see how he got to a great place in surf world by blogging, designing and editing. I want to try to head in that similar direction over the years. After that trip I went straight home and started up Lastnamefirst.tv, a place where Koa and I could showcase our ideas.
Where do you look for inspiration when editing your next clip?
I go through phases on what inspires me. I’m always finding new stuff on the internet like music videos, mental music and pictures that give me ideas. I’m currently in Bali filming for a LNF web series (due out in September). I recently saw a music video with hot chicks and good/weird editing. We want to do something similar so we made some calls and have models coming over next week to do a shoot. I’m excited to see how this one turns out…
What is the goal behind your website Lastnamefirst.tv?
The goal behind LNF is to showcase a youthful vision of creative edits, photos, and stories following our travels. Beside Koa and I ,our LNF team consists of Dan Treanor, who is an editing mastermind and Dune Newhouse, a solid filmer and legend in his own right. All four of us collaborate on ideas and bring them to life. Our goal is to put extra effort into the production and editing side, showing our own style while not holding anything back. It’s something fun that we would do anyways. Now it’s a big bonus that we can get attention doing it all. We’re always looking forward to the next step and hopefully in a few years this will develop into something larger.
Seems as though every pro surfer now has his/her own camera man. How much does having a camera on your every session improve you surfing?
Being filmed has made a huge impression on how I surf. Whenever I get filmed I’m critiquing myself. Iʻve always tried to imitate my favorite surfers and being filmed is the best way to mold my style the way I want it to be.
You stunt at Lowers (Lowers Raid) was all time. Give us the back story to that. Who’s idea was it? How many people were down there? How did it all go down?
It was our friend from San Clemente, Riley Metcalf who organized it. A few months before he sent out an invitation on Facebook for the “Lowers Raid!” We showed up at his house and there was only like 15 guys in pirate outfits. As they marched from the top, more and more pirates flooded down to Lowers until there was about 60-80 of them. It was out of control. I’m surprised no one got hurt but it was so damn funny. I bet next year the Army is going to be dropping out of helicopters and arresting everyone.
You recently edited your friend Dylan Goodale’s Innersection video in the 11th hour. How did that all go down? Were you happy with your edit?
I did what I could do in the half day I had to edit it before the deadline. I started at 12pm with no song and finished with the color correction at 12am. I would barely call that editing. It was just one clip after another. I definitely needed more time.