Filmmaker Feature: Toby Cregan

Toby Cregan was born in a small town on the southern coast of NSW called Berrara. While many people questioned what there was to do in place like that, Toby used his time to surf and become a better filmer and editor. Now, the 20 year old has moved to Byron Bay for film school and has been creating some amazing clips as the in-house filmer for Ocean and Earth.

How did you get started in filmmaking? And what have been your steps to learning the art of filmmaking?

I have always had a camera and played in bands so the first clip I made was of a friend of mine playing a gig down the snow, the next morning, I broke my leg skateboarding so that pretty much meant the next 6 months for me out of the water. I ended up filming heaps of surfing, bands, etc.

From there everything has kind of snowballed, at the start of the year, I moved to Byron Bay to go to film school but I ended up doing a movie for Ocean and Earth that came out with the July issue of Tracks magazine so I didn’t really have time. I am not going to go to film school for the time being.

What type of equipment are you using these days?

I use a Canon 600D with a 1.4 50mm lens for shooting lifestyle and interviews and a Sony HDR-FX1 for shooting surfing.

When approaching your next filming session, what are you looking for in terms of angles, lighting, etc?

It all depends. Every place you shoot is different. I usually just go to shoot with an idea of how I want the clip to feel and go from there.

What is your role with Ocean and Earth?

I am the in-house filmer for Ocean and Earth. I have worked there for a long time. My first job there I was probably 8 years old tying swivels for leg ropes.

My dad started the company in 1979. Before that he shaped boards and was a surfer starring in the movie Band On The Run, which also featured Rabbit Bartholomew, Bruce Raymond and Paul Neilson.

That was a huge inspiration for me seeing my dad in a surf movie and old surf mags, the old dude still rips as well.

I do work for other companies as well.

What is your feeling on the state of surf films right now in this digital age where people are posting all this free content? And where do you think it is headed?

I think it’s great at the moment. I know there is probably a few older guys in the industry that might feel a bit bitter about what is happening with a lot of younger guys being able to do now what only a select few could do ten years ago.

I am only 20 so I have always been one of the guys giving out the free content so yeah I’m into it. That is for sure the way it is going. People can just watch their favourite surfers and waves directly.

With the increased accessibility of HD cameras and editing software, what do you think it takes to make a viral webclip? And are you doing anything to differentiate yourself from what everyone else is doing?

I think for a surf clip to go viral there has to be good waves or good surfing having a good song helps too. I just try cut my clips as good as possible. I think everyone has there own editing style. I just hope people like mine.

What gets you the most stoked right now?

I have been watching heaps of skate movies, Doped Youth has been my favourite movie forever. Living in Byron is great too. I live in a house with 8 people and they are all my friends. Everyone in the house is creative so there is always stuff going on. At the moment there are 6 boards being shaped.

Harry Triglone also does pretty much the same thing I do. He lives here so we help each other out a little bit…not much but if he missed a clip and I got it, I would give it to him.

Duncan McNicol lives here as well. The way that dude surfs is the kind of surfing I like to watch…big airs and heaps of tricks.

What are your goals for the future and what can we expect from Toby Cregan next?

I would like to do another movie, just something super fun. I was thinking of doing a movie called Throw Up, in spite of the Billabong movie Blow Up. I actually like the movie but i thought it could be funny.

I am working on a clip at the moment with 13 year old superstar from America, Kanoa Igarashi. The kid is so rad. He has done a few of the biggest airs I have ever seen.

For more of Toby’s work, check out

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