Industry Profile: Video Producer Tyler Malay
20 Sep, 2011
Job Title: Video Producer / Designer
Employer: Self / Workhorse Collective
Years on snow: 15
Days on snow: Not enough…
Currently Riding: Gnu Pickle 156
Currently I am: Back in MN planning out the next step.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Tyler: I was born and raised in Mississippi River valley of Winona, MN, where I lived until 2002 when I attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. I spent five years in Duluth, dividing my time between coursework and snowboarding. It was during this time that I found film as a hobby that combined my interest in both snowboarding and the visual arts. After graduation, I moved west, and have been bouncing between Colorado, Oregon, and Minnesota ever since.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Tyler: Ever since I began snowboarding fifteen years ago, it has been a major part of my life. While I was a kid, snowboarding was a staple hobby and the best excuse to hang with my friends. As I’ve grown up, snowboarding has become the axis my life revolves around. It has taken me around the world on adventures I’d never have gone on, introduced me to some of my closest friends, and provided me with a great outlet for artistic expression.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Tyler: Looking back to the beginning, being a part of the industry was never part of my plan. As many things in life, one opportunity led to another, and now I find myself immersed headlong in the industry. It all began with my dad’s camera, which I brought on hill one day with a few friends—we traded off filming, skipped editing altogether, and would just repeatedly watch the raw tapes. In college, the level of riding picked up and I had access to some decent film equipment and as a result, things got a little more serious. My third year in college was a turning point for me, as I received the opportunity to be a summer intern at Windells. It was unexpected, exciting, and ended up being an absolute blast. I got a taste of what the industry was like, and met a ton of people. Windells, over the next few years, ended up being a great hub for meeting industry people and getting practical experience. I am very thankful for all for the doors Windells opened for me over the next few years. One notable experience that stemmed from my internship was the work I did with Adrenaline Garage, based in Winter Park. There, I worked alongside their team on live webcasts, commercials, and a couple of First Hand episodes for Fueltv. The projects were exciting, and I learned a lot.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Tyler: Experience has been what has been most useful in my current job: Workhorse Collective. I have been trying my best to synthesize all I have learned over the last five-or-so years and apply it to this business we’ve created to make it the best it can be. The business side of things is something I am constantly learning about and trying to improve upon. My college experience is certainly helpful for general and art-related obstacles, but a few business-specific classes would be nice to have under my belt. As of now, experience is really what I’m drawing on to move forward, learning from mistakes and using that knowledge to better prepare for the next project.
Shay: Tell us about your job filming for Windells, freelancing and a description of the work you do?
Tyler: Though it looks glamorous on film, Windells is a pretty much all-day every-day, summer-long gig. The daily rundown involves the following: getting up, getting over to camp for breakfast, then back to the house to finish up importing, emailing, or assorted computer work. Then it’s to the mountain to shoot till the horn sounds around three, back down to camp with a quick stop in Govy for a dog or cone. Then its time to import the day’s footage, then head to camp for dinner, activities and skateboarding. We finish up importing after that around 10 or so. The days are fun, but full and can get pretty long towards the end of the summer. In addition to filming and editing, we also do all of the apparel, web and print design for Windells. It’s great because we get to work with a whole bunch of different companies on collabs. We’ve formed some great relationship doing these and learned a ton.
Freelancing is great because it keeps things new and interesting. As much as I love shooting snowboarding, freelancing has brought some great opportunities to do projects in diverse industries. With some of these projects, we end up biting off slightly more than we can chew, and get the opportunity to really push ourselves, which is really gratifying. Though I graduated with a degree in graphic design, the past couple years have been mostly video work. Lately, I’ve been happy to have the opportunity to get back into designing a little more. We’ve done some apparel design, vehicle graphics, logo and branding packages, web design, and photography, among other things that have likely slipped my mind. It’s nice to be able to mix work up with different mediums; it keeps things fresh.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Tyler: An average day varies a lot depending on the season. In the summer I’m working long days up on the mountain and at camp. In the fall and spring I spend a lot of time in front of the computer doing design work, or shooting whatever kind of freelance projects I’ve got going on. Winter is a mix between designing and filming. But if there’s a powder day, we usually close up shop and go get some turns.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Tyler: Summers at Windells are always particularly memorable—there are lots of characters and lots of good times had at summer camp. The fourth of July always seems to be an eventful time in Oregon, whether it be camping at Timothy Lake or rallying the Can Van to the coast, something always seems to stand out. I’ve definitely made some great friends and shared some amazing experiences with the people at camp.
Another memorable industry experience happened while working with Adrenaline Garage. We were driving to Canada with about 50 spools of cable in the back of Jeff Harper’s Nissan Sentry to do a live webcast. I wasn’t sure we’d make it across the border with all that cable and equipment, but somehow we managed to get by.
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Tyler: I would have to say one of the biggest challenges the industry faces is the skier /snowboarder relationship. When it comes down to it, we’re all out there for the same reasons—Why not embrace skiing and let the two be mutually beneficial? I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing snowboarders and skiers, some accepting of one another, and some not. I understand that there is a long-standing rivalry, as well as some huge differences between the two, but I don’t think it’s anything like comparing rollerblading to skateboarding, ie: comparing night and day. I’m not saying we should combine the two in magazines or totally integrate them together, but I think it could be beneficial for both industries to embrace the other. If that makes sense…
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Tyler: I’d say they’re both pretty important. There are a lot of things you learn in school that you probably wouldn’t learn from experience. School also provides great opportunities to experiment and in a wide variety of mediums and it’s a great place to develop your style and get peer and faculty feedback. That being said, there are a lot of places where education lacks, and that’s where experience comes in. Personally, school was great for me and I learned a lot, but getting out there and working has taught me so much more.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Tyler: Hmmm… Keep at it, don’t give up—let one opportunity lead to another. If something doesn’t work out, learn from it and apply that knowledge to the next thing. Also, avoid burning bridges whenever possible; this industry is smaller than you think.
Find out more at: