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Meet Mark Gustov, the young Canadian director looking for adventure.

• Written by Maggie Joyner

From filming on an iPod to shooting brand commercials, young Canadian director Mark Gustov has transitioned his hobby into a career.

One of two teams commissioned to create brand films for subscription service Watch Gang, Mark Gustov is a Genero director/DP based in British Colombia. Mark captures content on the fly – even quite literally in this case, with his Watch Gang shoot taking him to the skies of Vancouver amongst an array of daring locations.

We caught up with Mark to go behind the scenes on the action-packed shoot, and hear about his adventurous approach to finding inspiration and creating content.

Tell us about yourself! How did you get started in the industry?

I’m a videographer primarily shooting high energy, adventure and lifestyle video. I started filmmaking and video creation when I was in elementary school, filming family vacations on my first generation GoPro and iPod touch. Since then I have continued video creation for over 10+ years and got really serious into turning this passion and longtime hobby into a career!

Over my years of pursuing videography I have jumped from many niches within the video industry such as concert videography, event recaps, sports and athletic promotional work and now have gotten into high end lifestyle and adventure commercials for global brands. Some of my other interests include flying FPV and creating custom camera rigs and builds to use on my shoots!

What was your creative process for approaching the brief, and creating your concept/treatment?

The creative process for approaching the brief was to simply deliver a next level video that was simple yet engaging and directly showed the viewer what Watch Gang was about. Whether it was golf, flying a plane or riding a motorcycle through the city, I wanted to show that watches could be part of any lifestyle and that wearing a watch made you part of the “Watch Gang Club”.

From planes to motorcycles, you covered some amazing outdoor locations and modes of transport. Tell us about the experience and putting together this shoot?

The video came together with lots of eager actors and friends who had these unique hobbies and who wanted to be in the video. This was an extremely exciting and adrenaline rushing video shoot. From flying through beautiful mountains to filming motorcycle sequences at 3am, it was definitely an incredible experience.

You’ve already really developed your style both visually and with a strong focus on adventure, telling stories around the outdoors, sports and fitness. Was that an active choice?

Yes absolutely! At the beginning of the year I had a really great friend, Carson Hoy, help me write out my goals and ambitions and really get clear on my style, which direction I want to go in and what I want my viewers and audience to feel from watching my videos. From there it was really easy for me to focus and hone in on my style because my whole year was dedicated towards going towards a narrow and fine tuned vision, which in turn, has resulted in expedited success and progression.

I had a really great friend help me write out my goals and ambitions and really get clear on my style, which direction I want to go in and what I want my viewers and audience to feel

Mark Gustov

What sort of impact has the pandemic had to the way you approach production? And how has your team adapted?

The pandemic has actually brought more opportunities my way and has given me the opportunity to go from working with smaller clients to global brands! The time off gave me a chance to sharpen my skills and get clear on my style, workflow, services and goals so coming out of the pandemic I took full advantage of all the opportunities that were presented and made sure to execute professional work as well as infuse my own creativity and style into the videos I have been shooting. My team has adapted very well, they abided by the health guidelines and kept a positive attitude at all times that helped bring so many of these projects to the finish line!

What would be your three must-have pieces of gear on set?

I love this question haha. My three must have pieces of equipment on set would be gaff tape, c-stands and crafty. Gaff tape because it is incredibly useful to make sure other equipment such as wires, cables, cloths and lights can be securely taped together to reduce the amount of tripping or accidentally yanking wires on cables. C-stands are so useful to hold lights, give you shade when it’s hot or just be able to hold equipment. Having c-stands is like having a swiss army knife, it gives you so many uses. And lastly, crafty (craft services) because snacks are super important on set. I can get a little overwhelmed sometimes when having to direct a crew and set up scenes and film so having lots of delicious snacks helps me take little breaks to breath and slow down and also boosts crew morale by a lot. So if you’ve ever had to deal with a crew that was quiet or a little lacking in motivation, ask yourself on a scale from 1-10 how delicious you would rate the snacks and always try to get the best for your crew. It’s a small gesture but it goes a long way in keeping everyone happy and wanting to come back and work with you!

Where or who do you draw creative inspiration from?

I love drawing creative inspiration from time off and exploration. When I go on adventures I usually find myself in incredible places and around exciting activities whether it’s jet-skiing or motorcycles or airplanes. Going on adventures and having my camera with me and no real end goal for making a video allows me to just creatively express myself and that results in me usually creating some of my best work.

What are you focusing on for the rest of 2021?

For the rest of 2021 I am focusing on locking in bigger and bigger projects for my team and I and also building a healthy work-life balance. Making sure to recharge myself before going on further projects and actively taking care of my body and mind. Also building an audience on social platforms and just meeting more filmmakers and videographers in general who are high achievers and are just good and honest people. Getting really clear on who I surround myself with for the coming years!

Thanks so much to Mark for chatting with us. Check out more from him on TikTok or YouTube,  and create a free Genero account here to join as a creator and access all our open briefs.

Watch Gang Credits

Producer/Director/Editor: Mark Gustov
Producer: Kelso Lenz
On Set Stills: Swasthik Sodankoor
On Set BTS: Austin Trapp
Hair/Makeup: Sierra Pitkin

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