Updated: 9 hours ago


by Mike Ferrell

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We’re halfway through January which means we’re almost to the point where we can stop writing 2021 on everything. January is a special month and not just because of winter fun, or because Nick and I turned a year wiser, but because we all get a chance to start anew. It feels good to prepare for the year ahead while trying to remember the previous one with gratitude.

If you’ve visited our website recently you might have noticed some updates. We restructured a few things, added more detail to our services and about pages. We rewrote our mission statement to reflect why we do what we do as filmmakers, creators and human beings. In simple terms it comes down to bona fide curiosity.

We’re on a mission to better understand the world through filmmaking. Driven by our innate curiosity to learn what makes humans tick, places hum and the planet sing; we aim to capture the imagination and hearts of our audience with unique stories, motion and style.

We are excited about the year ahead and hope to connect with all of you soon. Thanks for joining us for the ride.

Dynafit introduced their new Free ski line a year ahead of schedule due to the pandemic. They came to us with a concept and a quick turnaround. We met and the next day Nick left for Oregon to catch the last few days of shootable snow.

We brought it back to the editing bay to create a 30-second commercial to be featured on Dynafit's homepage and a piece with Ski Magazine. We also created a longer-form 'behind the product' video for local shops and the community at large.

Fred Marmsmater is a former scientist turned commercial and expedition photographer. He is one of the best in the outdoor industry. Nick and Dutch have worked with him for years but as TopTop, we’ve worked with him twice: ASCEND (re: header image) and most recently, the Dynafit commercial. Fred has the uncanny ability to make documentary-style photographs look like a perfectly planned photoshoot. His images capture the grandiosity of the moment and that is difficult. He’s a pleasure to work with and we look forward to more shoots with him.

Learning to Drown follows the life and career of professional snowboarder Jess Kimura as she unapologetically shatters stereotypes with her own brand of unwavering determination and go-for-broke mentality. This film represents pure grit and the fragility of life.

One of my favorite lines from Jess, I’m paraphrasing, “I’m able to talk positively today because I feel good but there are many days I don’t feel good. Even though the clouds are grey and it’s hard to see the light, I know the sun will shine soon and blue skies will eventually reappear.” I kept thinking about the film and this line well after I watched it. There are a lot of powerful moments throughout the film.

It’s directed by Ben Knight and produced by our friends Kaki Orr and Rob Wassmer from The North Face. Check it out this weekend!

A random assortment of my top 100 songs that got me through 2021. Enjoy!

Let's collaborate!

We say this at the end of every newsletter because we mean it. We're always looking to partner with good people and creative minds. So if you’re an athlete on a mission, a producer with a concept, or a marketer with an audience – we would love to collaborate with you. Email, let's have some fun.


by Mike Ferrell

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Well well well, we made it through 2021. I think we all owe ourselves a pat on the back. This year was a rollercoaster of emotions. Super fun, scary at times and thrilling to the end. We’ve been fortunate to have worked on some fun projects this year and with some incredibly talented and kind folks. This newsletter is dedicated to our extended TopTop crew. Thank you for your partnership, collaboration and creativity.

We’re going to highlight a couple of our favorite projects and people from this year. To all that have supported us on our journey to the top, thank you. Have a safe, party-filled or chilled-out, NYE. Happy New Year from TopTop!

Last winter, Vasu Sojitra and his two friends Emilé Zynobia and Zahan Billimoria set out to ski Mt. Moran—in the process, reshaped the conversation around disability in the outdoors. The film that transpired from this adventure launched in October.

ASCEND: Reframing Disability in the Outdoors was directed by Faith E. Briggs. Faith is a creative producer and director based in Portland, Oregon. She’s passionate about sharing contemporary stories that widen the spectrum of representation and help us all see our own possibilities.

We're grateful to have had the opportunity to not only work on this project with Faith and team but also to learn so much along the way. Language and representation are important.

A big thank you to Kaki Orr and Rob Wassmer from The North Face for your support.

In June 2021 we were fortunate to tackle the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route on the new Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 with the REV’IT! Women’s Adventure Team. We had a blast getting dirty, camping and enduring one hell of a thunderstorm our second night at camp with motorcycle riders Jenna West, Amelia Nunn and Erika Tango Bean.

The three-part series, Off the Grid, was directed by Brooklyn-based, director, cinematographer and editor, Niki Murphy. Her hard work ethic, positive attitude and unique style was a great addition to the team.

The River Runner is a story of resilience that follows kayaker Scott Lindgren's quest to become the first person to paddle the four great rivers of Tibet's Mt. Kailash. Through his struggles, Lindgren learns the only way to achieve his goals is to open his heart.

The film is directed by Rush Sturges and our friend Corinna Halloran is an associate producer and writer on this project. Congratulations on a beautiful film team!

Let's Connect in 2022!

We're always looking to partner with good people and creative minds. So if you’re an athlete on a mission, a creative with a concept, or a marketer with an audience – we would love to partner with you. Join us on our journey to the top!


Updated: Oct 26, 2021

JUNE 2021

by Mike Ferrell

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One year ago, in the midst of all that was 2020, we launched TopTop Studio. It’s gone by fast. Running a small business is no joke. It’ll keep you in a glass case of emotions, a la Anchorman. If I’ve learned anything over the past year it’s to stay vigilant. Keep pushing. Keep believing. We’re fortunate to have an awesome team and support network of people that believe in us as much as we do. We had a good year, so thank you for reading our newsletters, interacting with our social posts, and supporting our work and us! We owe this past year to you all and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Another reason to celebrate: Dutch and his fiancé Emily are tying the knot on July 10th! Yeeeah! Congrats you two!

2021 is looking good on us.

We are excited to share with you Filmsupply's first episode of Behind the Work Season 2, about The North Face film Lhotse by Nick and Dutch. They interview Dutch and The North Face producers Kaki Orr and Rob Wassmer about how the film came together and the strategic demands of shooting in a place with extremely high stakes. It's awesome and I learned some stuff I didn't know.

Lhotse is the first project Dutch and Nick owned as a team from beginning to end and it’s how TopTop Studio started to take shape, not to mention the basis of our name. But that's another story for another newsletter.

It only makes sense to have Dan Olsen as the featured creative on our 1-year anniversary newsletter. He did the color for Lhotse and his talent for balancing bright white snow is unmatched. All of his work is stellar and you'll see that in his color reel. Dan is currently the post-supervisor and colorist for Cosmic Pictures and helms First Chair Media for passion projects and consulting services. In his spare time, he's getting his MBA at The University of Utah. Go Utes! We work with Dan every time we get the opportunity and you should too. Thanks for making everything look better, Dan.

La Cible (French for “the target”) is a motocross club situated in a former stone quarry near the Mediterranean Sea and is run by Sebastien, who also lives there. He is a local motocross legend, who was born with a condition that normally wouldn’t have allowed him to ride a motorcycle, let alone compete and teach. It’s a really cool film by Gabriel Dugué and done really well. I like the moral of the story even more – don’t underestimate people.

Thank you for supporting us over the past year! These are the top 100 songs I've been listening to over the past year. It's a mash-up! You'll get some of everything! Enjoy!

Going to Outdoor Retailer in August?

We'd love to meet up in Denver this August 10-12! We're always looking to partner with good people and creative minds – let's create something together! Contact us and we can schedule a time to connect. We look forward to seeing you there!