Organizing the Outdoors: An interview with filmmaker, Mike Hatchett

Field Notes Interview #70: Mike Hatchett, Filmmaker

We got some time to chat with outdoor filmmaker and co-founder of Standard Films, Mike Hatchett about the unique and "scary" variables that surface when filmmaking in the backcountry elements.

When working in extreme conditions, the challenges can be just as epic. When it comes to filming action adventure outdoor films, the challenges can not only be monumental, but unpredictable. In our recent collaboration with filmmaker, Mike Hatchett and SWATCH, Hatchett balances pristine modernity with rugged nature in this amazing snowboarding film. Backed with an impressive resume of working commercials and music videos, and currently directing the TV show Locals on Outside Television, Hatchett handled the challenges with ease. We interviewed Mike and found out more about his process in organizing chaos into compelling pieces of art.


M: Who are you and what do you do in the world?

MH: My name is Mike Hatchett. I am co-founder and president of Standard Films. We are mainly known for making movies and TV shows about snowboarding. I have also worked as a filmier on commercials, some feature films, and a couple music videos. Lately I have been directing a TV show called Locals that airs on Outside Television. Locals is an action adventure travel show. I have also been directing some short pieces for various companies.

M: What was the first film you ever made?

MH: Totally Board in 1989. It's a snowboarding film.

M: What's one of the main challenges in making an outdoor film?

MH: Weather is a big challenge. Sometimes you have to wait a long time to get what you are looking for.

M: How did the SWATCH piece come about? What was your vision?

MH: Jeremy Jones, the athlete who has the pro model watch with Swatch, is a friend of mine. We have worked together a lot over the years. He asked me to do the piece with him. Swatch has also sponsored some of my snowboarding movies so I already knew the marketing director. The piece is mainly the vision of Swatch -- they had made a video with a professional skier and they wanted the piece with Jeremy to be similar.

M: Were there any happy accidents when filming this project?

MH: None to speak of. The filming did go really smooth, so that was great. One thing we did do was use a Movi for the Summer hiking shots near the end. That's a fun tool to work with since you can pretty much run with the camera and the shot is still smooth.

M: When did you know you had the right soundtrack for this?

MH: The first time I heard the track I knew it would work well. I found the song early in the process. I still listened to more just to make sure I had the best song for this piece. Swatch also asked to hear more options, but we ended up using the first song I picked.

M: How do you think music is misused in film?

MH: When people don't take the time to find a song that fits what they are editing too.

M: What's one of the more difficult aspects of filmmaking?

MH: There are a lot of difficult aspects to filmmaking, and I like the challenge. But one that stands out in snowboard filmmaking and freestyle riding is waiting for the snowboarders to land their trick. It can take many tries for them to land their trick, and in the process clouds can come in, which can ruin the perfect lighting, or the rider can get injured. The level of snowboarding is so high these days its sometimes scary to film it.

M: What's the most recent album you've listened to?

MH: The Album Leaf, Between Waves.

M: What's coming up on the horizon for you as an artist?

MH: I am just about to start season 3 of Locals. I have also been working on some cool pieces for Ninety Plus Coffee, which will be released in late March. We just finished filming 2 pieces and I am editing them now. There are some great visuals and its fun material to work with.