By Nick Shields, Photos by Jim Beebe
“I’m about to try a trick for a while real quick but I should be free soon-ish.” reads a text I received from Jim the night we did this interview, not even two weeks after the premiere of his full-length video “BACK SHOTS Volume 2” and he’s already hard in the streets on a Thursday night stacking clips! Dedication is the best word I could use to describe Beebe. Having only met him recently, I can already see Jim’s extreme passion for documenting his homies’ skateboarding and bringing some stoke to the San Diego skate scene. Not many people put in the hours, weeks, or years to produce a full-length video these days. Having an indie skate premiere to attend locally was a rare nostalgic treat for skaters, like me, pushing 30. Running high off the hype from the premiere, I sat down with Jimmy over a phone call to discuss how it all came together, how to balance life and filming, stories from the streets, still using the VX1000, and yes, the name of the video.
Thanks for doing this! I’m stoked.
Dude, yeah, thanks for having me, man. This is pretty awesome. Hyped!
Hell yeah, man. So talking about “BACK SHOTS Volume 2,” when did the idea to film this full length homie video start to form?
Well, so we did this first video, We called it “Delicious Bitches Greatest Hits Volume 1”, and I fucked up because I called it Volume 1, so I was basically saying that there’s gonna be a Volume 2. So naturally we had to start filming for the second video and we were getting some clips and stuff. Things were really going smoothly, and then I went to Washington and I brought my laptop and the hard drive that all the clips were on. I was editing on the airplane, and dude, I left the hard drive on the airplane and I didn’t realize it till like after I left the airport and I was freaking the hell out. I was trying to do everything I could to track down this hard drive, and it never came up. I’m not sure what happened to it. So we were in the process of filming the second video and it kind of died out after I lost the hard drive. But when I met Tyler [Maxwell], Carlos [Buenrostro], and Mike [Drozdowicz], that’s when things really started to get rolling again. We started taking it a little more seriously and actually decided on finishing what I kind of half-assed started.
Damn! That’s like every filmer’s worst nightmare, losing the hard drive.
Oh dude, I felt so bad because we had some pretty good clips to start off with and breaking it to those guys was like…I felt like I should have to go to jail for that. A 30-day sentence or something.
Did you have the phone clips or anything? Like when you record the clip off of the VX playback?
No, so this was before I had the memory recorder thing and we could do that. I was filming everything on tapes before that. So actually, that helped out a lot because I had everything kind of archived and so I could go back and re-rip off the tapes. But actually I think I got the recorder about halfway through filming because that’s why we didn’t get all the clips back. The ones off the memory recorder are lost forever. There’s no physical archive of them.
“I felt like I should have to go to jail for that. A 30-day sentence or something.“
Oh yeah. That’s a good point. On one hand you’re saving money on tapes, but on the other hand, if you lose the clip, it’s gone.
That is the worst part about ’em. So nowadays I got the hard drive, like double backed up, just basically in a vault, never leaving the house. So yeah, that’s safe and secure.
How did your crew come together for this video?
So basically, when I first moved to San Diego, I met friends through friends of friends. And then me and a couple of my buddies from Washington went on a road trip to New Mexico and they had to take off to go do their things. One of my buddies from San Diego knew a guy in Albuquerque and he said, “Hey man, since you’re out there, you should hit this guy up. He’s got a mini ramp at his house, cool dude, whatever.” So I pulled up to his house, and his name is also Jimmy, Jimmy Westerson. That’s where I met Ryan Fields. He was also out there skating. So I hung out with Ryan for a little bit, and got to know him really well. I went back to San Diego and eventually he moved in with me. Ryan met Tyler at the skatepark. Then through Tyler, I met Carlos and Mike D. So it’s really weird how it kind of stemmed out like that. But it’s all thanks to Stu, Steven Suhama. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t know any of those guys.
How long did it take to film this particular video?
I think we started filming with the old hard drive in 2019 or 2020. Somewhere around there. It took three years in total or around that time. But the core parts and tricks and the whole shebang went down within the past year and a half, I would say.
I always wonder about this for people who are not sponsored skateboarders. Over a whole year and a half how did you balance work-life, relationships, and real life responsibilities while filming a full-length video?
Oh dude, I mean, I’ve been through ups and downs with money, jobs, and things like that. But I’ve always been filming and skating the whole time. So basically my goals were to just pay my bills, get clips, and sometimes we would go out after work. I’d get off pretty late working in restaurants and bars and stuff and we’d go film at night to try to get clips after a full day’s worth of work. I wouldn’t say it’s like a 50/50 split. I would say skating came 70% and work-life came about 30%. But yeah, as long as I could pay my bills, I was just trying to be out there skating.
“my goals were to just pay my bills and get clips”
That’s dope man. So why focus your time on a full-length video and not just get a clip and post it on Instagram?
Because that’s not the way I was brought up. I grew up without Instagram and stuff like that. Just seeing ads in magazines, going to premieres, and seeing a teaser for another video at the premiere. That always got me super juiced, so I wanted to do it right. I just always loved full-length videos, the hype of premieres, and bringing people together. Stuff like that means a lot more to me than a few likes and a few shares.
You just dropped the video, and you guys were already out in the streets the next day trying to film for the next one, right?
Yeah, the day before the premiere we were out filming actually.
Oh damn. So you’re still hungry?
Yeah, man. And after the love we got from the premiere and the hype, that just juiced us up even more. We all had such a good time at the premiere and it turned out a lot better than any of us expected and that just showed us all like, “Dude, this is actually sick. We gotta keep this ball rolling.” So yeah, we just jumped on it right away.
Actually at the same time, a lot of the dudes that are in the video are from Bremerton, Washington and they were in town for their annual San Diego trip. They’re all my friends I grew up with, and they’re filming for their video right now. So yeah, we just had a few different projects to work on at the same time, so we didn’t really take any breaks.
That’s dedication! Going back to Volume 2, what trips did you guys go on to film for this?
We went to Mexico City in November 2022. That trip was kick-ass. We’ve been to LA a few times. But most of it was filmed in San Diego. I don’t think we got any clips besides LA and Mexico City. I think we got some in Tijuana actually. But yeah, we didn’t venture too far out this time.
That’s cool to get to do any trips with the homies and go somewhere specifically for skateboarding. That’s pretty rad.
Dude, I was so hyped on the Mexico City trip. My dad has lived there for like 12 years or so, and I’ve been plenty of times and seen all these spots, but never been there with homies. I’m like, “Dude, we gotta get down here and film some shit because these spots are unreal.” Just like the way they pour their concrete and the lack of restrictions they have, it just seems like the perfect place to be. I was just so hyped to round these fools up and get down there to finally make a trip out of it. It turned out to be one of the best trips in my life. It was so awesome.
That’s so rad! Now filming a video in the streets, you’re bound to run into some crazy situations. Are there any interesting stories from the streets?
Man, the first one that pops into mind is when me, Matt [Fabiano], and John Gardner were in OB trying to skate this alleyway wallride spot. It was like a bank-to-bank wallride, but there’s a gap in the middle where a dumpster goes. And this dude comes out of his backyard and he’s like an older dude. I don’t know, 50, 60, something like that. He seemed kind of wasted and he was getting on our case, like, “This is my alleyway! Get the fuck outta here! What are you doing!?” Blah, blah, blah. And me, I don’t really tolerate that if people come in hot like that. I’m not about that, but John Gardner being the calm, peaceful soul that he is, starts talking to him.
Then, the dude just kept losing it, cussing us out, and yelling at John. That’s when we were like, “All right dude, this guy’s like a mega kook. Fuck this.” He made a big-ass deal about it and I think Matt actually got hurt trying that. So the clip never happened, but that’s just the first one that popped into my head. Man, that guy sucked.
That’s brutal! Now, you didn’t just film and edit the video, but you also had a full part. Is there any specific clip from your part that you were especially proud of?
Man, that blizzard flip that I did at Southwestern, I was hyped on that because I ollied up all the steps and then back-threed off of it, and then my homie was like, “Dude, try back three kickflip.” I rolled my ankle on it pretty quick and I was super bummed because I was getting close. So I went back to that later, and I actually did it a couple times that day and the other two weren’t that good. But the one that got in the video, we were getting kicked out at that moment, the security golf cart rolled up on us and they were like, “Hey, get the fuck out of here.” And that’s the one I did. I rolled away good on that one. So that one I was really hyped on for sure.
No way, dude! I was gonna say that one that you did was perfect. As the editor of the video, is there a certain part that you especially enjoyed putting together creatively?
I was really hyped on Carlos’ part because he picked his song really early off in filming. Belinda Carlisle, it was the perfect opening song. He killed it. I had fun with that one a lot because from the get-go, we knew that that was gonna be the opening song. Tyler’s part was super fun too because we were kind of struggling with his song and I found the one that we used in the video just kind of randomly. It just fit his type of skating so well, especially with that gnarly bail section that he had right before his part started. Tyler skates hard, he puts in the fucking work, and he really earned that last part and that dope ass song too.
Was it a given while you were filming that Tyler was gonna have the last part?
Not really, but once we all realized Tyler is working harder than anybody, and he is a little later to the game than we are. He started skating with us and really trying to make an effort to get better and get tricks. He even broke his ankle about halfway through it, so he was out for like 6 months too. But yeah, just his sheer determination and just love for the game sealed the deal for me. I was like, Tyler’s getting the last part 100%. I was hyped to give him that for sure.
“Tyler skates hard, he puts in the fucking work, and he really earned that last part,”
That’s sick. It seemed like everything in his part was a battle. Is that the case for him?
I wouldn’t say everything, but a lot of it. You can see from his bail section that he goes down hard. But he’s built like a fucking ox. He just pops right back up and gets back at it. So it looks super gnarly but I think for him he’s like, “Oh, it’s just part of the game.”
Are there any other specific clips from the video that have an outstanding memory for you?
Oh man. Number one, Billy Richardson, back 180 nosegrind 180 at that OB spot. It’s like a ledge into a bank. And the way he did it, dude. That is my number one favorite clip in the whole video. It is so sick. And it’s a very Billy trick. I just love the spot, love the way he did it, and just love the dude. I would say that one definitely stands out in my mind for sure.
Why film VX for this video?
Oh, because one: it’s about the dopest way you can do it. Two: I can’t afford that damn HD fisheye, that’s like two grand. But yeah, all my favorite skate videos have been filmed in VX and to this day, a lot of dope videos are getting filmed like that and you just can’t compare that 4:3 ratio with that MK One fisheye. I don’t know, you can make it as HD as you want, but to me, that’s how I see skateboarding.
What would you say to a skate purist who thinks that if you have the digital recorder on the VX that it’s not as legit?
I would say go find me some tapes then! [laughs] Dude, they’re hard to come by nowadays, and they’re fucking crazy expensive.
Yeah, this video would’ve cost you thousands of dollars! But you shoot photos as well, film photos that we’re gonna feature in this interview. How’d you get into doing that?
Not really sure how I got into it, but I’ve been doing it for a long time. Since I was 16 or so.
How would you describe what kind of photos you take or what catches your eye?
Well, what I like on film is kind of behind the scenes shots when we’re out filming clips. I always have one of my film cameras on hand, and just lifestyle shots, victory shots, things like that. Things with people in them. I’m not very interested in taking photos of landscapes or architectures or anything like that, but something with some energy. And usually the homies after they get a clip or during a mission.
All right. And the obvious question…
I knew that was coming.
What’s the story behind the name of the video? If you wanna share it, but you also can leave it as a mystery.
So I had a feeling this question was coming and I had tried to think of an answer for it before you asked. Honestly, I have no fucking idea where it came from. It must have been some drunken night somewhere talking about skating, talking about our video or whatever, telling somebody what it’s gonna be called and somebody just clowning and saying, “Oh, BACK SHOTS Volume 2. Duh!” I don’t know, but dude, I’ve thought about it and none of us have any idea where it really came from. But yo, I’m kind of hyped on it.
I heard that the next video is being streamlined with hopes of dropping this year. Is that true?
So it depends if we can do it. What I’d like to do is drop one this December and then drop another one in July next year. But it all depends on how much we can produce and who’s trying to get full parts. I’ve got some homies from Bremerton that wanna get clips, so we’ll see what happens. We just want to keep the hype going and keep it rolling. But we also wanna provide quality, not quantity. You know what I’m saying?
Sick, I look forward to it! Well, that’s all I got. Do you wanna throw out any thank yous?
Oh, man. Yeah, big thanks to all the homies that were part of the video and really gave their blood, sweat, tears, beers, and all whatever else they gave! Yeah, just fucking everybody, man, thanks everybody!
Was it your idea to put the skater’s apologies in the credits instead of thank yous?
Yeah, I thought of that a long time ago, and since then, I hoped no one else would do that because I don’t want it to seem like I’m copying their idea. I just thought it would be funny and I don’t think I’ve seen it since then, so it kind of worked out. But yeah, and we tried to keep the credits short and sweet. “Sorry mom and dad. Sorry, whoever.” Get these credits over with, and drink some beers, you know?
Yeah. I love that. Well, to end this interview, who do you want to say sorry to?
Damn, man. I still don’t think I’ve made it up to Louie, my dog, for not taking him out enough while I was editing that video for fucking 10 days straight. Sorry Louie, still working on it man.