Jon Hechtkopf - Multimedia Manager - Smith Optics

When and where did you start surfing?
I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA, and started surfing at the age of 8.

What do you love about surfing?
I love letting go of all the stuff I have going on, getting in the ocean and letting all your senses take over, its an amazing feeling!

Do you have a session that stands out as your most memorable?
I've been lucky to have been on some amazing trips the past couple of years, and Ive had amazing sessions in Indonesia and Costa Rica, but the most amazing was on my brothers bachelor party in Cabo, the waves were not that great, but to share the memory with my brothers and a large group of best friends, that was the best session I've ever had!

I've read you're a pretty artistic guy, what made you choose cinematography?
Haha, I try to be creative, but I have to work for it, it has never come natural for me, and I draw most my inspiration from my designer friends in LA, they kind of hold my hand and teach me a lot. I was always filming skating and snowboarding as a kid, being in front of the lens, then after picking up my dads old film cameras, I started shooting photos. I grew up watching a lot of skate, snow, surf, wake, and motocross videos when I was super young, and I always said if I could never be in them, that I was going to make them! It was a natural progression that I started shooting film, then video.

What kind of education have you had?
I have a bachelors in Digital Film Making from the New England Institute of Art, and The University of Northern Colorado, but most of what I know I learned on my own through trial and error. I learned a ton in school about the technical sides of film making, and the history, so it was well worth it!

What is your current job and what does it entail?
I'm currently the Multi Media Manager at Smith Sport Optics, which entails a lot, but Im still fresh into the position so the people over there have been super good teaching me the day to day stuff. I basically am in charge of producing, filming and editing all content across all our sports channels. Day to day stuff includes, content management, uploading and downloading files to our athletes other sponsors, creating instagram video content, web banners, working with our digital partners on different video promotions, editing product shoots, and producing ideas for future content all relating to our new products. Its a lot of work dealing with multiple sports, but Im getting my head wrapped around it all, and handling pretty well.

What do you enjoy most about working for Smith?
The people! Everyone awesome and they are so deeply involved in making the great products better, and telling the story of the Smith brand. Everyone has a huge background in there profession, and it makes working together super rad and fun!

Are you still doing freelance work?
I am, but only if my time allows it, or it makes sense. For example, right now Im in hawaii just wrapping things up with our team on the ASP World Tour. We've been over here shooting the product on the guys when they are not busy, and during the down days there isnt much to do, so I did some freelance with some friends of mine at Transition Productions. I like to work the asp webcasts, it gives me a good type of anxiety, haha, and I also do a bit of work with The Chia Co, which is a all natural type of chia seed yogurt. Those 2 companies I try and work with a bunch in my free time, but other than that I have stopped working with anyone else to focus all my attention on Smith.

Where is your favourite place in the world to film?
Thats a hard question, but the best place is somewhere I've never been. Its always good being surprised and doing different things in different places, the hunt for the unknown.

What/ who inspires the work you do?
First and foremost my 2 older brothers! They built the foundation for what my whole life has been about, teaching me to ride all types of boards! Every time I do something good, go somewhere new, or meet one of my idols, I always call or text them, in my mind Im still a kid from Virginia who got lucky enough to have a job doing what I love. All my other creative inspiration comes from my friends from all over the world. They teach me, and keep me grounded, and they are always inspiring me. So many times, I'll come in from shooting events or trips, and I have all these text messages from them of myself on webcasts next to people like Kelly Slater, its like a dream. If you told me one day I would be friends with half these guys I looked up to, I would have laughed, but it all just kind of worked out.

Do you have any advice you could offer to any budding surf/ action sports cinematographers?
Ask lots of questions, surround yourself by positive people more talented than yourself, find your niche, follow your dreams, but most importantly, just work hard!

Where can we find you online?



Posted by: Matthew Ryan, on December 17, 2013
Categories: Interviews