WILLS McGUIGAN got the bug for adventure at a young age. He was inspired by the movies and those around him and it wasn’t long before he was getting involved in any sport he could from biking and swimming to gymnastics and breakdancing.
He’s since thrown himself into any adventure he could and is a competent skier, is out on his mountain bike whenever he has the chance and has also learned to windsurf.
Wills’ other passion in life is film and photography and he’s combined his talent for sport with this to create a unique and very adventurous business. Go Pimp My Pro allows outdoor enthusiasts to turn their Go Pro footage into films using music and camera techniques taught by Wills.
In this exclusive interview we learn more from Wills about his lifetime passion for the outdoors and the company he has built which is sure to catch the interest of any extreme sports enthusiast.
When did you realise you had a passion for adventure and where do you think this passion came from?
Probably it came from Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy, the ‘Unknown Stuntman’, when I was about 5. Little did I know at the time that the actor playing Colt Seavers had his own stuntman. That would’ve warped my my tiny little brain. That was enough though, I wanted to be a stuntman when I grew up and with that in mind spent a huge chunk of my childhood looking to challenge myself physically. I wanted to climb the highest tree, jump from the highest wall or diving board, do the most amount of handsprings in a row…
My brother and cousins were the same. We used to go to a brilliant gymnastics class in Hangleton, East Sussex, run by a Mr Pendergast – my favourite ever teacher – when I was around four to eight years old. We’d get there early and put out a springboard and a crash-mat (we did away with the ‘horse’) and would do all kinds of crazy somersaults and flips.
When I was about ten we used to hang out around the back of a Cash & Carry supermarket and build ramps and jumps for our BMX’s. I was a very confident swimmer at a very young age too, which was key because it opened up a whole other world of activity on the water. And when breakdancing happened in the mid-80’s I was straight onto it. I saw it as gymnastics with rhythm. I remember wowing my friends with head-spins which I’d do on sheets of lino that other kids were bringing into school. A teacher saw me doing one of these one day and the next day they banned breakdancing at our school!
Plenty of this stuff you’d never get away with that these days, but it all gave me huge confidence in my body that I completely took for granted at the time. It’s only later in life when you reflect and realise that not everyone has that.
What have been some of the sports and extreme sports you’ve been involved in and what kind of levels have you reached in them?
I was pretty serious about gymnastics when I was very young but my dad had also introduced squash when I was about six or seven. By the time I was a young teenager I was playing for my club and in entering county-level competitions. My brother and I learned how to windsurf and sail when we were kids too, something else that came from our dad. He also took us skiing which we took to pretty quickly. I think that’s still the most exciting sporting activity I’ve ever done.
These days I like to cycle. I spend a lot of time close to the South Downs so there’s some beautiful places to head to both on- and off-road. Steyning MTB is a fairly well-kept secret. The guys up there have an arrangement with the landowners which has allowed them to build some great routes of varying difficulties. I am also currently learning how to kite-surf which I’ve been vlogging about.
Who have been your biggest sporting inspirations and mentors along the way?
My dad, as mentioned, has been a huge factor in bringing sport into my life. And I have some very fond memories of Mr Pendergast who ran our gymnastic class as I‘ve already mentioned. He was a huge influence and encouragement in terms of pushing myself physically.
In the wider world I was also interested in boxing growing up too. Barry McGuigan, my namesake, was around at the time and flying the flag for us Celts. For me though, Muhammed Ali has got to be the single most inspirational person in sport. ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ is one of my favourite films and probably my favourite ever documentary. His integrity, positive mental attitude and incredible accomplishments despite facing serious resistance… what a character and what a story.
When did you first get an interest in film and video and how has this developed to become your work and life?
Back to the Unknown Stuntman! No, I’ve always loved a good story and growing up with story-telling masters like Spielberg and George Lucas helped to capture my imagination early on. It wasn’t until much later that I decided to get behind a camera myself however. Being a bit of a bedroom musician I’d always loved tinkering around with audio software and this led naturally to video-editing software. Slowly as I learnt what was possible I fell in love with the process of putting images and music together on screen.
Many people who work within the film industry tend to zoom in on a speciality within the process – say, cinematography or sound or colour-grading – but I’ve always loved the process of being able to realise an idea all the way from concept to final edit by myself, which is why I became a Videographer as opposed to a specialist of a particular area. A jack of all trades and as a result a master of none, but that’s how I like it. Incorporating sport into that equation and starting Go Pimp My Pro has been revelatory for me. Finally I am connecting up the many varied dots that make up my passions.
What was the inspiration behind www.gopimpmypro.com and what services does the business offer?
As mentioned, Go Pimp My Pro came from my interests which are fairly wide ranging encompassing sport, music and film. Even within each of those areas my interests are fairly diverse and perhaps spread thinner than they would be had I zero’d in on a certain sport or technical skill. For a long time I saw this as something that has held me back from truly mastering a specialism of some kind, whether it be in the world of sport, or playing music or even on an aspect of film-making. I was drawn to it all and so struggled to decide on a way forward. Then I read a blog post by Tim Ferriss called ‘The Top 5 Reasons to be a Jack of All Trades’, and around the same time heard James Altature on a podcast talking about his concept of Idea Sex; having a look at where your passions intersect with a view to coming up with business ideas. This led to Go Pimp My Pro, which is essentially an offshoot of BigEye Media, my videography company. Sports organisations such as KitesurfingKings, and Street Velodrome are recent clients where the brief has been to create excited pieces of video content to help them promote themselves.
The service on offer to regular action camera users is primarily the Go Pimp My Pro Editing Service. ‘You capture it, we edit it.’ The idea is to apply a high production value to people’s everyday action camera or holiday footage; to add some bells and whistles, effects, cool music and transitions. For want of a better phrase…. to sex it up.
So many people have action cameras and cameras on their phones these days and so all this footage is being accumulated with a lot of it just sitting on a hard drive taking up space. Editing video can be fun to learn but it’s time-consuming. What Go Pimp My Pro is offering is to take that editing burden off your shoulders. You’ve already captured it, now hand to over so that it can be turned into something a bit special. It really doesn’t matter what level you’re at with your sport, the power of the edit means you can be turned into an action hero in your own movie. It’s fun, it’s a keepsake and it’s yours forever. No two films are the same either; I don’t have production line or fancy algorithm putting random clips together. Each clip is cherry-picked, adapted, colour-graded and put together to make a film by an actual human; me.
I am also currently making a video series about how to make the most of your action camera, which will be for sale on my site. This is written specifically from the perspective of an editor’s point of view i.e. which mounts and settings are good to make use of in the field in order to give the editor options and so make a better film. This could work for any action camera enthusiast but obviously this video series is designed with potential GPMP Editing Service customers in mind i.e. the series will give you all the knowledge you need to capture some amazing footage, which I would then encourage people to send on to GPMP!
What exciting plans do you have for the business for the year ahead and do you have any of your own adventures or projects lined up for thecoming months?
So many things I want to do. I’m getting a lot of great feedback about GPMP and so would like to continue building the brand. I want to find out more about action camera usage out there; what problems or sticking points people are having to see if I can provide value and advice to help people capture amazing footage. I’d also like to continue the expansion of my roster of clients within the action sports world.
I am particularly interested in hooking up with organisations associated with skiing and snowboarding so if any readers out there are working within these areas and their organisations have a video demand then I’d love to hear from them. Drone footage is another factor I’d like to bring into my videography palette, so to speak, so I am looking to get licensed and registered with the CAA as soon as possible.
Aside from all this I also have a couple of personal films that I’ve always wanted to make on my agenda for this year. I’m not going to say too much at this point other than they involve my passions for music and sport, and that I’m chomping at the bit to get them down.