Lens Crafters: Seamus Foster, The Man Behind Forest Bailey’s FSBS Series
Originally hailing from the East Coast, Seamus Foster made the jump out west like many snowboarders before him. With little to no plan, and a few seasons spent in Utah and Oregon, Foster has quickly become a rising name in the filming game for his talents behind the lens. Teaming up with Forest Bailey this past season to create the FSBS series (quite possibly our favorite thing on the internet right now), we sat him down at a coffee shop in Southern California to catch up and go BTS with FSBS. – Mark Clavin
M: Alright. Spell your name.
Why is it pronounced Shamus instead of Seemus?
Sean is spelled S-e-a-n and pronounced Shaun.
Touché. Where you from?
New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Where the hell is that?
Right across the Delaware River from New Jersey.
Where did you grow up snowboarding?
Bear Creek first, then I saw the scene at Big Boulder on a school ski trip and thought this is where the cool kids go, I should maybe go here.
Were you considered one of the cool kids when you got there?
No, I was never a cool kid.
Fair. And how old are you now?
Let's hear a very specific list of your kit.
Umm, Panasonic HPX 170 with a century extreme lens, and an AF100, Panasonic AF100, with old Cannon lenses.
Which old Cannon lenses?
All FD lenses, the nice lenses from the 80s I think. I used to work for this dude in Pennsylvania just doing landscaping. I was helping him clean out his attic, and I found like a box of old lenses and he just let me have them. I brought them to Utah a couple year later, bought a $10 converter and I've been using those lenses on hill.
You know cleaning out an attic is not considered landscaping?
Still, that's sick.
Yeah. He's a family friend, my mom still works for him. They make preserves now, like jam.
Hmm. How'd you get into snowboarding?
Started skiing when I was 8, and then my older brother started snowboarding. He's 4 years older and you know, I just wanted to do whatever he did, so I started snowboarding.
Just my dad's dad cam.
When did you blend the two? It all started at Big Boulder?
Mmm, I think I might have brought a camera to Big Boulder one day total. I wasn't really that into filming snowboarding. I didn't get to do it that much, so I just wanted to snowboard when I could. I didn't really get that into it until I moved to Utah after graduating high school.
How old were you when you moved to Utah?
Brighton Scouts, Seamus’ first edit series out of Brighton
And then what did you do?
Went to school for film and media arts.
At the University of Utah?
Did you go all 4 years?
What are your biggest influences movie wise? Or filmer wise?
Jake Price, Tanner Pendleton, Harry Hagan – that whole Vans video is really sick. Jon Stark obviously. Brock Nielsen… I knew this question was coming, I should have thought about it more…
My aunt got my brother and I Robot Food Afterbang when I was like 12, and that's the only snowboard video I had for like 5 years. Watched it until the DVD stopped working.
Where did you ride? Brighton?
Brighton, yeah. I only ever rode Brighton. Mia (Lambson) got me a job there. She was there and hit me up to help part-time. I was still in school but I would clock in and like help Mia film when she was doing other stuff. And then I got like an idea for an edit series I really wanted to do. That was Brighton Scouts. I messed around and made edits with friends before that, but that was my first real one.
So you didn't do much filming until college, once you got out to Utah?
Pretty much, yeah. I messed around with my friends in my driveway when I was little and shit, and we would film each other skate, but then high school I didn't really – I got caught up in other shit. I played lacrosse in high school.
We'll take that out, we don't want people to know about that.
Still snowboarded a shit ton. I mean, I quit lacrosse because they were doing three day a week winter practices.
Ok, we can add it back in now. So you quit lacrosse to snowboard?
Yeah, snowboarding was the sickest.
Alright, how important do you think school was in the learning your trade? Pretty integral or was this more of an on the hill thing?
I learned a lot. Applying it in making snowboard edits, I'm sure I did in some way, but I can't think of an example right now. This summer I was doing some studio work shooting backpacks for this company, and that's finally when shit I learned in school applied to a job. Setting up lights… that's like the kind of shit I learned in school.
Ok, so to be a snowboard filmer, you don't have to go through school?
Hell no. Definitely not.
Did you ever steal any school equipment to help with your snowboard editing?
Not really, no.
And then from Brighton you went to… High Cascade?
Would you say that was a pretty big funneling for…
That was for sure big. I just got a text from a random number, "Yo, this is Tyler Orton. You wanna work at High Cascade?"
So, what years were you at High Cascade?
Only one summer, and it was the summer of… It wasn't last summer, but it was the summer before. So, what was that? 2016?
I don't know, you were the one there.
It was fun. Met a shit load of people there.
It seems like that's a big jumping off point for filmers.
Yeah. So that brings us to what, two seasons ago?
Yeah, I did random shit for money. Eventually got hired to do Bonezone stuff by Ted Borland at Brighton. Then right after that was wrapping up I got hit up by Airblaster to make the March movie. Went to Montana for a month, filmed every day. That was my first big thing. 50 minutes long.
And then from there, you met – how long have you known Forest?
I met him this time last year. He DM'd me on Instagram, and was like, "Yo, big fan of your video stuff. Wondering what you're doing this winter." Just that straight forward. And I'd never met him before. I was like, holy shit! I always thought he was the sickest snowboarder. The Givin videos were my shit. I watched them every day.
That’s a pretty crazy DM to get. And you've basically been traveling with him for the rest of the season?
Yeah. Forest wanted to make a video project. He's never done anything like that and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. This was a big learning experience for him too, I think, in the sense of organizing trips and stuff like that, and I've never done shit like that before either. It was kind of just the two of us trying to figure it out. He would ask me if Austria looks sick… what do you think? Yeah, sure, it looks sick. And we just go and snowboard.
I feel like Forest and I, as a combination of decision makers, isn't the best combination (laughs). We're two very indecisive people… which I guess is actually cool in a sense because everything just happened organically. We didn't make a decision and stick to it. Something cool would pop up and then we'd start to go somewhere else with it… It was kind of stressful at times. I got to a point where I thought—just keep filming. All we've got to do is keep filming. And then it'll make sense later.
What were some of the original names to the FSBS series being tossed around?
It was a painting Forest made of two of his characters kissing. We thought we could call the first edit first kiss and so on. But you know there's a Capita video called that right? And I was like, fuck. So then basically we went on that first trip to Europe not knowing what we were filming for, what it was called, or anything. Are we going to make a movie? Are we going to make a web series? We had no idea. We just started filming.
And this was your first time out of the country?
Yeah. We went to Austria and filmed for ten days… all the snowboarding in that first edit was filmed in less than 10 days, which is pretty crazy. And then we went to Barcelona after that because Gus Warbington was there, studying abroad. We came back and I took two weeks to make that video and put that out. I was sleeping on Forest's couch in Portland editing, then right after the new year, we went to Montana with Colton Morgan and the Snooze.
It was really sick. I asked what Parker was up to, because Forest wanted to get Parker involved in the next edit. And he was like, oh, we're going to Montana, they have snow. And then pretty much hit up Colton to tag along. We were on it that trip. Didn't really get kicked out of too many spots. We got up early every morning and just filmed all day until it got dark out, went home and drank some beers, went to sleep, woke up. It was just like Groundhog day.
Are you afraid that your riding in Benchpress will overshadow anything you do with a camera? Are you afraid that's where your snowboarding career peaked?
Yeah, I worry about it every day.
Alright, so recap the third FSBS edit.
We booked the tickets to go back to Europe pretty last minute, and asked Mad Tokunaga at the Banked Slalom if he would want to go with us. It all worked out perfectly. Our plan for FSBS 3 was just, fly into Geneva, Switzerland, and meet up with Niels Schack, who broke his ankle while he was skating with us in Barcelona on our first trip. He just recovered from that, and was able to snowboard a few weeks before we met up with him in… when was that, February? Yeah, February. So, he picked us up from the airport and we went and got a van rental that smelled like cat –it was a really cheap van. The sickest van… but it just reeked of cat piss.
The white van?
The white van.
You guys were jibbing the hell out of it?
No. We found an abandoned van that looked like our van.
So that wasn't the van you guys were driving?
Favorite spot you shot this winter?
It's a tie between the board slide Forest did through the elbow down flat down flat down and Niels' wall ride redirect line with the massive back one in FSBS 3.
Ok, favorite edit out of the four. Can you pick one of them?
S: Yeah. Didn't think we were even going to make an FSBS 4.
Sounds about right with you guys' planning.
I was going to put it in FSBS 3, and I tried, but it just didn't feel right with all the European stuff. So, then I just figured it would be cool to mix all the QP Campout shots with the Tahoe stuff and make FSBS 4.
How does it feel when people say this shit's too good for the internet?
That's a big compliment. It also makes me feel like I wish we'd made a movie.
Any plans in the future to do any stuff with this FSBS stuff? Are you going to put all 4 together or anything like that?
I'm going to make a re-edit of all of Forest's stuff, and then there's a couple shots that I saved that haven't been in any of the episodes for a full part that will come out in the fall.
Perfect. Can't wait.