Today’s Fellow Travel Video Blogger interview is with Kick The Grind’s Mike Frisk. I became friends with Mike after coming across each other on Facebook while both vying for the Transat Holidays Vacationer position. I was excited that there was another travel video blogger on the East Coast of Canada (like me) and I quickly became a fan. He hasn’t been doing this for long but has already mastered a large set of skills.

Who: Mike Frisk of Kick The Grind

Whatwww.KickTheGrind.TV Twitter@KickTheGrind Youtube: FriskyB Vimeo: Mike Frisk

StumbleUpon: KickTheGrind

You should watch: The Bay of Fundy video

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your website and what got you motivated to start traveling? How did you get the travel bug?

Sure Can! My name is Mike, I’m 25 and I’m originally from New Brunswick, Canada. I blame my travel bug on my active outdoorsy family growing up. We didn’t watch much TV or eat sugar cereal, we played outside and read nature books. At the time… I didn’t see the value in that style of upbringing, but now I’ve been blessed with a thirst to discover new things and places, I’m thankful of that.

There are so many incredible things in our world and I feel their importance often gets clouded out by the garbage in the media these days. That’s why I created Kick the Grind TV last year. I want to show people these things, because seeing them can change you, they changed me.

2. Why did you decide to incorporate video into your website and blog?

I have a bit of a history in entertainment, I’m a bboy, so expressing myself in front of a crowd (or camera) came a bit natural to me. When you spend so many years dancing, you learn how to project enthusiasm. You learn that if you look like you’re having a great time, chances are your audience will have a great time too. Also, I’m artistic. I was captivated by what  people can create with video and motion graphics these days. Imagination seems to be more of a limit than technology is.

What it boils down to though, is I just love expressing myself creatively, and video is the easiest medium for me to do that in.

3. Had you been interested in or involved in blogging and vlogging before you heard about the Best Job ever contest or is that what got you started and  you haven’t looked back?

I had travelled a lot before Flight Centre’s “Best Travel Job Ever” (BTJE) competition, but it really was what opened my eyes to all of this. Social media, blogging, filming… everything.

Bit of a wild story actually. I wasn’t even suppose to be in Canada to participate in BTJE. I had just arrived home from 2 months in Honduras with plans to head to Egypt and work as a Divemaster in the Red Sea. I brought back a nasty souvenir of a double infection of MRSA and Staph on my toe and spent the better part of 3 months in bed. It kept me in Canada long enough to enter the competition, which ultimately threw my whole life in a new exciting direction.
4. Aside from yourself, do you have any favourite people that make travel videos? Anyone that has inspired you or whom you just enjoy good content from?

I Do! I’m a HUGE fan of Graham Hughes (thatgingerscouser on Youtube) (Blog Great on air presence and great story. He’s a travel vlogger with a mission to visit every country in the world by foot. Check him out!

5. What has been your favourite travel video that you have made to date?

Whenever I make a new video, I always try and one-up the last one I made. I’m a big fan of motion graphics and you’ll be seeing more and more of them in my videos as I learn how to use them. My all time favourite videos would have to be the trilogy I did on Peru, my co-star, the location, the trip were all perfect. That was a while ago, and I’ll be stirring up those videos using some new techniques and re-hashing the trilogy for a film festival I’ll be entering. Give those ones a month or so, and check out my video named “Australia’s Red Heart”

This is my most recent video, and the one I’ve put the most time into so far. I’m very happy with how it turned out. As of now, this is my Numero Uno, but I’m pretty excited about some creations I have in the Lab right now…

6. Did you have any previous filmmaking experience?

I have a biology degree, and have never taken any sort film, acting or photography course in my life. Basically I started video blogging in June 2010 with the knowledge of how to work my body on camera. Sounds kinky, but I’ve been a bboy (breakdancer) for 6 years. Like I said above, you’re obviously not speaking on camera when you dance. When you step up in front of a crowd you express yourself through movement… so I guess gesticulation would be the only skill I started with.

7. Do you have any tips for other people who are wanting to start making travel videos?

There are a bunch of sites that have great posts about beginner tips on filming technique. Here’s one:  on LandLopers So I’ll stray down a different path.

I feel video is the most effective way to broadcast a message to your viewers.

I also feel like people really relate to a face, and will attach much more readily to a series, or even a blog if they feel they have a connection with the author/creator. Seriously consider speaking on camera, even if it’s a simple “I’m _____, and here we are at ______”

Also, even the best of us have to do 5,10 or even 15 takes sometimes…. the editing process does a great job of making it look easy, it’s not… we all flub our words often so don’t get discouraged.

Editors note: I flub lines all the time, make funny noises and often flip off the camera person… happens haha

Tip Two is…. I hate this one as much as you do… Be yourself:

This has got to be the most annoying and useful tip. Let’s face it… It’s not natural for most of us to just “Be Yourself” with a camera in our face, but I’ve learned this tip is actually useful if you think outside the box a bit. Personally, if I’m not REALLY interested in those cave paintings for example… I won’t speak on camera… Why? Because when you have to force enthusiasm for something that really doesn’t interest you that much, it doesn’t look genuine. People are pretty good these days on calling you out on it too. I always ask myself “Would off-camera Mike comment on how cool this is with a group of friends?” If not.. I’ll grab some nice panning shots, move on, and consider a voice over when I get home.

8. What equipment do you use? Camera? Editing program? Type of computer?

I started out with a point and shoot, editing on Windows Movie Maker. I then upgraded to a program named MAGIX (60$ at futureshop) to edit my Peru Videos for Best Travel Job. I recently made the switch to a Mac with Final Cut Studio. I was a die hard PC-gamer growing up, I never though I’d make the switch. When I decided I wanted to take this seriously, I crossed over. It was an investment for sure, but for the type of content I want to be creating, high quality editing with the incorporation of motion graphics, I felt it was a necessity. I’m shooting on a Panasonic HDC-SD60 now, I accidentally trashed my “water-proof” camera in Australia (notice the quotations)

9. Vimeo or Youtube?

Youtube. Vimeo is great if you want high-quality online video hosting to embed various places, but IMO that’s all it’s good for. The web standard is YouTube, and sure it isn’t as sleek, and the videos and thumbnails don’t look as sexy as Vimeo… But YouTube makes up for it with the huge community it has following it. If you want to be seen, choose youtube. If you care about picture quality first and community second, use Vimeo.

10. How do you go about promoting your videos? Suggestions for other people to promote theirs?

There are a lot of venues you can upload videos, and even more social media tools to share them with. However I once read that using a few of those platforms well, is better all of them poorly, and that’s what I’ve chosen to do. I presently use Youtube, Tripfilms and Twitter. I know some of my peers will probably suggest posting your videos on every platform out there (, etc.) for exposure, but personally I feel that all that extra effort could be spent on researching how to enlarge your audience on the more popular sites. Think about it, no one goes to Boston to get noticed as an actor, they go to LA. Youtube is the LA of online video hosting.

11. How long do you suggest a video should be 2min? 10min? A good length to keep people watching but not bore them?

You will rarely see a video from me that is over 5 minutes. I think the perfect video if you’re a travel vlogger is 3 minutes. If you’ve come across some epic music, or have some hilarious content you can maybe push to 5… But if you’re working with the bare minimum, stick with 2 or 3. People have WebADD, the second your video loses pace, you’ll lose that viewer. Your goal is to make them feel like they want to watch another, after they finish the first. Too short is ALWAYS better than too long.
12. How much advanced planning do you put into your videos?

Quite a bit. I carry a black book of shot ideas, cool quotes and whatever else piques my interest. I do this because when I sit down and start to think about how I want to film a trip or do a voice over, I have some creative inspiration. Obviously, there is a fair amount of ad-lib involved on the road… but if you know your itinerary, do your research. Ad-libing is a hell of a lot easier if you’ve got cool facts, a joke and the history of the area already stored in the mental databanks.

Editors note: I’m loving this little book idea, I often use the notepad in my itouch and email notes to myself when I’m near wifi

13. You recently just made the big move to Toronto? What inspired you to go there?

My hometown was great, it’s been my HQ for years as I’ve been travelling. I made the big move because I needed to get to the HUB of the Canadian travel industry and Toronto is the place. I’ve got some big things I want to accomplish in 2011, and I couldn’t visualize them happening back home. Sure I miss it a bit, Canada’s Maritime provinces are gorgeous, but the big city is where I need to be right now.

14. Do you have a long term goal with your travel videos? Are you making them just for fun or would you like to make a career out of it / have your own travel TV show? All of the above?

My goal is to do this as a career. Right now, I spend every free moment pushing towards that. I’ve never worked so hard on something in my life, but I love doing this, it doesn’t feel like work. When I first started vlogging last year, someone mentioned that I should have my own TV show… and I laughed at them and thought they were crazy. But after some soul searching, that’s where the crosshairs are set.  It will be a long road, but every stop along that path, whether it be my own vlog show, doing video reviews for adventure tours etc. I’ll be loving what I do. So why not aim for the stars and see where you end up?

Thanks for the great interview Mike! And good luck with everything you do, it seems to me that you won’t have any problems achieving your goals. We will definitely have to make a Kick The Grind & Travel Yourself video mash up sometime. 🙂