Sean Quintana’s CLIPART! Interview

By Nick Shields, Photos by Sean Quintana

Back in January, Sean Quintana premiered his epic San Diego-based homie video called CLIPART! Sean has been a contributing member of our monthly film photo galleries for a while now, but when he’s not shooting photos of his friends he’s behind a digital lens capturing videos of their bangers. CLIPART! stands out in its funny moments, vibrant colors, and classic bubble-style fisheye clips. Good vibes are apparent throughout the video meshed in with some shenanigans and a killer soundtrack. The video features some of SD’s hidden gem skaters like Branden Reynolds, Alex Ibarra, Dory Hernandez, David McCray, and Santiago “Sweaty” Torres as well as some of the city’s most well-known rippers like Alexis Ramirez. If you haven’t witnessed the instant classic in it’s full duration yet do yourself a favor and give it a watch. Having just premiered our own full-length video we were eager to talk with Sean and get all the behind the scenes details of how it came to fruition. You won’t wanna miss some of these stories!

All right, so first off man, how are you doing?

I’m doing good. Just working, I’ve been working at a deli in Little Italy, Mona Lisa, and then whatever free time I get I just try to get out there with the homies, get some clips.

Hell yeah, that’s the way to do it man, the working man’s videographer. So going back, obviously filming a full length takes time, did you set out to make a full length video?

Not really. I enjoy making longer pieces of content but I did not think it was gonna end up being the length that it did. It actually originally started with, it was gonna be a solo part for one of the homies who ended up having his footage diced up in the friend’s section, which is just kind of hilarious that he ended up not really with a whole part. It evolved from being like maybe a five-minute, six-minute project to having like six dudes that I wanna get footage with and now we’re making a whole video.

Spot check!

That’s really cool though.

Yeah it definitely started as something much smaller scale. I was just kind of gathering clips in silence. Like I knew what I was working on, but I don’t think anyone else knew. The homie Sweaty [Santiago Torres] would go out and get clips and I remember him telling me like, “Oh yeah, you wanna start working on something?” and this fool didn’t know but he already had like 50 seconds on my timeline. So that’s kind of how it came about.

That’s the thing with compiling footage to make something longer is that people forget what they’ve even filmed with you.

Exactly, it’s kinda nice. I’m gonna let them forget, and it’s like they’re not even watching their own part when it finally comes out, you know?

Yeah, I had the same exact experience with the video we just did. 

The homie Zoot [Gerardo Sandoval] that works at Slappy’s Garage, he’s been out for a minute. He tore his ACL and then I believe he tore another one again. This fool didn’t think he had footage at all, but come on boy, you know I saved, I’ve been saving for a long time, you got clips!

New board, old spots.

That’s awesome, man. That’s a good way to do it. What is it about the longer projects that you enjoy?

I just feel like if I’m filming and I’m just sending footage off to everyone else or if I go out, we film and I put up an edit for the day, I just feel like I’m not creating nearly as much as I would like to be. I feel like I’m more of just a bystander looking in on this whole world of skateboarding. Whereas, when I get to create, I see the homies and the squad that I’m with, and it’s like I want all your footage in one spot and I want you guys to be able to enjoy the pay-off of that hard work of filming a whole video. The other thing is too, a lot of the dudes I film with, you only ever really catch their clips on Instagram or the homie section in Sk8mafia videos and I’m like, these fools are good,  they can film a whole part, let’s get it

The first full length video to really get me into filming was Illegal Civ 2. Just seeing those dudes out with all the homies, they’re just ding-dong ditching fools in hotels and all the hijinks, I was like, I want to do that. Mikey’s [Alfred] content that he was creating at the time was a big inspiration to me, that’s kind of the vibe I was aiming to create. It’s not as much about the tricks and all the spots that these fools are skating, but I kind of just wanted to capture the essence of all the South Bay homies. 

Not all these guys in your video have big sponsors, so not a lot of people are gonna put in their time with them and support them and help them find spots.

Exactly, yeah. A lot of times it’s just the path of least resistance, if they’re kicking it at the skatepark and they don’t got someone who’s like, “all right, let’s go try to get this trick.” They’re gonna just end up posted up there. But these dudes get me out of the house as much as I get them out. Like without getting to go out and tap in with all these homies and actually have something to work on, I’d be just sitting at home like, I really didn’t go to college, I’m sitting here not getting clips and I just graduated high school and called it a wrap, and I’m not even out skating. So it’s definitely a symbiotic relationship.

Dory and Branden take a rest from stackin clips.

Plus a lot of guys are just posting their clips straight to Instagram and they kind of get that short rush of a bunch of likes and comments. You feel good, but it doesn’t really compare to that full part that you fought through and worked for.

I feel like another big thing of that too is people, like you said, they’re so ready to get that instant gratification and I’m that same exact way. I’m not really an exception, but when it comes to filming and my craft, that’s when I’m like, I can think further ahead. I remember Kellen [James] told me one time, “Think about saving footage like starting a savings account. You can get your paycheck and you can go have fun, blow it, go to the bar with the homies, buy weed, whatever, get some nice JNCO jeans. But then that’s it, that’s all your check. Or, you could just put it away, put it in the bank. Then at a certain point you’re like, oh shit, I could buy a whole new whip!” I remember we were just having that conversation and he said that, and I was like, that makes a lot of sense. You can either cash out on all this short term gratification, people are gonna remember you did the trick but it’s gonna be hard as hell for them to find it. Or, you could wait, have all your shit together, get a good song to go along with it, and then you have a part that people hopefully remember.

“Think about saving footage like starting a savings account.”

Santiago’s part is gnarly. I mean, I’ve seen him on the scene for a while now, but he blows my mind whenever I see anything from him.

And he still does tricks that I see and I’m like, “Bro, how have I never known you can do that?” Like he did shove late big spin on the hip by the water in National City, the fool did front tail front foot impossible to fakie! And this fool was like, “Oh yeah, I’ve never done that.” I was like, Oh shit! Little wizard.

Sweaty, God bless his soul, just kept getting broke off. Breaking his wrist twice during the video filming. I’m pretty sure he fractured one of his ribs when he was trying to back smith little rusty rail in Chula. It was to the point where I kept putting off dropping the video because I wanted this fool to get a good ender and fill up the length of his video part. 

Sweaty’s wrist put in work for this video!

He’s so unsuspecting too. Like not in a disrespectful way, but you don’t think looking at him he’s gonna do a flip trick into a rail and then he just blows your mind, and you’re like, God damn dude!

Exactly. I’ve said this before I think but he definitely has a stee where you see him you’re like, “Oh, that’s what’s up, homie is skating.” Then you see him get down and you’re like, “Oh shit!” The cover of the book doesn’t give the impression of the contents.

“The cover of the book doesn’t give the impression of the contents.”

Yeah It’s rad to see. I love that style.

Yeah, Sweaty’s so good and I see him doing all this crazy shit on Instagram and that’s dope, but I wanted to film a whole part with these dudes. Same thing with little Cricket, Alex [Ibarra], the Third Floor homie, his style is so sick. I’m such a huge fan of all these dude’s skating and I really just wanted to put the homie crew together, all in one spot, and just have a nice little storybook of all the homies and all their stee and their style and the rambunctious activities they get up to and shit.

Cricket in his element.

That’s what a video should be for sure. You gotta have the hijinks man. Do you have any favorite stories or memories from filming, hijinks wise or whatever, out in the streets?

Yeah, like the last thing you see in the video before it switches to the title screen was pretty wild. We were skating a triple set a little up north and Dory’s trying to heel flip it. Security comes out like crackling his taser, being super aggressive for no reason. He starts throwing his flashlight at the homie, he’s shoving the homie down the stairs when his back is turned, and these fools ended up kind of bodying him, taking him to the ground. But that was gnarly, as soon as anyone starts swinging I’m bummed, I’m over it if these fools actually start throwing hands, but that security guard got a little tussled up, he was fine. 

But there was also super dope stuff. Like the moment someone rolls away from a trick that you just did not think was happening anytime soon. You’re so elated you’re like, no, this can’t be real life. Getting people’s enders like that. I went to go film Branden Reynolds try his switch front biggie down that thirteen. We probably went like four times and on the time he made it I was like “Fuck it homie, 50 bucks right here.” If I’m paying $50 for a clip, that’s a bargain, I’ll pay a hundred dollars for an ender! He smacked it down right there. There’s definitely been good times, you know, but also a lot of stress, a lot of just dealing with security and just people acting crazy out of pocket. Had a dude throw a hammer at my car when we were leaving the spot.

“If I’m paying $50 for a clip, that’s a bargain,”

That’s a wrap! $50 well spent.

No way. Where were you at?

We were in this alleyway ledge by this apartment complex. We were skating the ledge and this dude came up and was heated. He was telling us, “You guys are filming little kids around here! You guys are creeps!” And it’s like, dude, I know you probably don’t know anything about cameras Mr. Guy Yelling At Me, but I have a fucking fisheye lens on right now and I can’t really film anything that’s further than like eight feet away from me and I don’t see any human beings in this alleyway, we’re alone. We’re like, all right, fuck it, like it’s not worth it, he blocked the spot with his car. On the way out this fool decided to huck a hammer at my car. We’re like, all right that was pretty outta pocket. We’re driving and he decides to follow us for like ten minutes just honking his horn with his window rolled down, shouting out the window as we pass by people just walking down the street like, “These guys are criminals! They’re creeps! They’re filming by the apartments!” That dude’s honestly pretty lucky that he pulled away when he did, because he’s accusing us all of these things and the South Bay homies get down and they’re ready to just pull over and clock in. But that was pretty amazing of an event.

Yeah, that just throws off the vibes for the whole day.

You’re just like, fuck dude, I just got accused of being a disgusting creep. Like what? I’m just trying to get clips dude, it’s not that serious.

“I’m just trying to get clips dude, it’s not that serious.”

You know if you’re in OB Lefty’s gonna make an appearance!

That’s crazy, man. Do you have a favorite skate clip that you filmed that stands out?

There’s one that instantly jumps to my mind and that one would probably be Dory, his ender, the front feeble he did down the NBC rail. Just cause that fool was talking about it forever and that straight up is the first clip that we filmed together for this video part. So I know he didn’t intend on making it this way, but his part was almost one of the easiest to film because he got that clip and that clip was kind of determining, like I can’t put this in the homie section. We need to get more footage because we need to justify having this be his ender. That one was really dope just cause, you know how NBC is, you’re getting the boot super fast and it’s always just great to have a young security guard talking shit to you telling you how you suck, “Ah you guys suck at skating.” And it’s like, “Fuck you! I don’t know if you can comprehend what that trick was, that was buck and we’re fucking outta here and you’re still clocked into your bitch-ass job, working security, defending property, and not really protecting anyone.” So that’s always a nice relief.

How about David [McCray]? He rips too, I’ve been seeing him at Memo for years now.

He’s switch God, everything he does is gnarly, that dude skated switch for probably 65 to 70% of his video part. He did a lot of the tricks that you see in there multiple times. He’d land it and then just be like, “Damn, what about this angle?” Then do it again and be like, “Oh, you wanna try one fisheye just for fun?” Then he’d do it again. 

How long did you film for this specific project?

I think the oldest clip in the video is probably Branden Reynolds, the switch front three off a rock. I filmed that trick in like August 2019-ish. So that was like the oldest clip. But around 2021, I was like, okay I know what I’m doing with this footage now. I’m not a big fan of deadlines. I’m not a big fan of like, we’re gonna get this video done by this date, because if that date comes around and I’m not hyped on what I’ve created on my end, I now have to put it out or I have to be like, “Video deadlines getting pushed back.” And if I know I’m gonna do that, I’m just not gonna give it a deadline. So this one did take a good little minute. The next project, I’m gonna try to get out a little bit quicker, just be a little more active in getting the clips, knowing what’s what, going out skating spots. But yeah, this one did take a little minute, I wasn’t really sure what I was making at the time. I was just gathering clay, unsure if I was gonna mold a vase or a teacup.

“I was just gathering clay, unsure if I was gonna mold a vase or a teacup.”

David’s natural habitat.

Do you enjoy the editing process too?

I love it! Yeah, towards the beginning of the videos, like when I’m first starting to film for something it’s like, you get clips, you don’t really know what the hell they’re for so you just import ’em. But then once you’re kind of rolling, it’s like I get a clip and in my head I’m like, I know exactly where this is gonna go. We get to the spot and I’m like, I know where this goes in the timeline. And if we get the clip, I’ll get home, I’ll just kick it in my garage, snap some bowls, smoke a little weed and then I’ll look up and I’m like, oh shit fool it’s 2:00 AM and I’ve been sitting in here for hours, just rearranging shit, editing colors, trying out different options with the orders of tricks. Definitely one of my favorite aspects of it.

That’s dope, man. I just put out my first video, and I definitely did not go about it correctly. I accumulated a lot of footage before I actually sat down to start editing it. So it was pretty overwhelming.

I’ve been thinking about doing that just because, pshh interview flipped script. How was that for you editing with all the footage? Like having a plethora of clips and just getting to dive in?

Alexis, backside noseblunt looking nice.

The issue was putting it off because it just seemed so daunting. But I kept stacking clips and then you have to go through and organize them, find the makes, the slams, the B roll things and whatever. But once I got it all organized and I just put it into Final Cut, then it’s fun. But the daunting-ness of the task, I don’t know, it kind of seems better to maybe put it in the timeline a little bit sooner.

Yeah and at the least try to get all your clips organized. Cause I know how that is, just trying to sift through. And there’s probably so many clips, because you mark ’em on the camera, but then when you go to import them, it doesn’t show you which ones are marked and I’m not gonna watch everything. Like I said, I’m super anxious to get this clip in the timeline, so I’m like, boom there’s a land, I’m gonna import that right now. While it’s rendering in the timeline I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna try to scavenge for little bails or a fuckin homie passing me the spliff after he rolls away from a little trick. Like then I go through and try to find that shit, you know?

Yeah, it’s interesting to me to hear that process because I was just winging it and it worked out. I’m not so much like, oh I know where this is gonna go, I’m like, alright I gotta take what I have and make it fit. Then if it didn’t go in the part, then it’ll go in the intro or the credits or whatever.

Yeah, exactly. For me, it’s funny cause I’ve been thinking about trying to do that and save more clips before I start editing. Because my favorite videos that I make are these little, like five or six minute ones that are usually promo videos or throw away. The way I edit those is like; okay, I have 10 gigabytes left on my computer, that’s fucked, I have a bunch of footage on here that isn’t gonna make it into any big project and I need to get rid of it, and so I start throwing shit on the timeline. I just start throwing shit against the wall, seeing what sticks. I put it up and I look back on it and I’m like those are my favorite videos that I make! The ones that I’m not really even putting that much energy or time into.

First try no warm up.

I also wanted to ask, because you shoot film photos, and we feature you in our Filmonthly segment,  how do you balance between shooting photos and filming when you’re out in the streets?

Not very well. Originally, before I even started filming, I wanted just to do photos. Then it was this thing of like, someone’s trying a trick and I have a camera that shoots photos and it records, and I have a moral obligation to film before I take the photo. So I just ended up not ever taking photos because I was always having to film. I could have shot a photo if I wanted, they didn’t give a shit but to me it was like, bro, you’re gonna take a picture of that and no one’s gonna get it on footage? Then they just have a photo of someone doing a trick that you don’t even know if they landed it. 

But nowadays I got this camera from my dad that he had when he was younger, it’s a Nikon FG 35 millimeter, I have like a 1.8 pancake lens on it, 50 millimeter and I just take it out with me. The thing that kind of sucks about that is it’s not a point and shoot, so I have to set my entire exposure before I take a photo. It’s pretty fucking hard to get candid photos of someone when you have to do a little math equation while pointing a camera at them. You know what I mean? But I’ve been trying to get rolls out as much as I can, and it kind of takes the weight off it a little bit too. I’m honestly not very interested in getting photos of the tricks. I’m more interested in taking photos of the little hijinks and where people are just kind of off fucking around after someone got their trick, or we’re warming up at the spot and these dudes are getting a little hack in with the soccer ball, that sort of stuff. Because I already capture everything else when I’m filming on my camera, but for the photos, it’s like a little behind the scenes, just for me type shit, you know?

Yeah, that’s what I like too. Is that in-between skating on the session.

Yeah. When it’s like, yeah, they have skateboards, but that’s not really what they’re up to right now.

David with the refreshments. Post banger most likely.

So you’ve already started on the next video?

Yeah, I tried to just not stop. Dory will hit me up all the time after he gets off work, and that fool really holds me accountable. He’s already got like probably 40 seconds and again, I’m at the point of making whatever the fuck I’m making, where I don’t really know what it is. I’m helping David film, he was gonna do a little project for this wheel company that wanted to give him product, so all of his really good clips are going towards that. So I’m getting his leftovers at the moment for whatever project I’m working on. So again, I don’t really know what I’m doing right now, but I’m out there getting clips.

That’s what’s up, don’t stop man. I think we got what we need. Did you wanna give any shout outs to send it off here?

Shout out to all my boys, they know exactly who they are, but I’m gonna list them off anyways: Reynolds, Dory, Alexis, Sweaty, little Cricket, David, all my homies that cruise out on the sesh! Special shout out to my boy, Nick Swanson, all the homies at Slappy’s Garage, all the homies at Arts and Rec that encouraged me and made me feel part of the scene when I hadn’t put out anything, I wasn’t filming with dudes, I didn’t really have anyone to vouch for my angles, and these dudes supported me in that journey. So shout out to all those homies.

Hell yeah, man. That’s awesome, dude. Thanks again, man. I’m stoked on the video. Stoked to see the next one. And we gotta link up in the streets sometime.

Hell yeah G, let’s get clips!! 

The man himself, Sean steps in front of the lens.

Check out more edits by Sean on his YOUTUBE Channel. See more of Sean’s photography on INSTAGRAM.