(“The Fast Lane, Episode 002″: Con’s personal favorite.)
Loyal readers of CagePotato know that we’re rabid fans of Genghis Con, the MMA highlight-video virtuoso whose films are marked by rare footage, unconventional song choices, and clever approaches to their subjects. We got in touch with Con to lift the mask from his shadowy persona and find out how he does it. If you’re unfamiliar with Con’s work, go here. Everyone else, read on…
So who the hell are you, anyway?
My name is Isaac Kesington — you can call me Ike. I’m 23 years old and I live in Georgia. I work at AT&T, doing office work, basically.
Why “Genghis Con”? Where did that name come from?
Well, I produce rap music too — I do beats and stuff like that — and that was my producer name before I started messing with MMA videos, so I just transferred it over.
When did you first start following MMA?
I think 2001. My friend kept talking about Tank Abbott, and how nobody could beat this guy, so I started watching the UFC with him and I rented a couple DVDs and just got hooked from there.
What inspired you to start making MMA videos?
I used to watch everybody’s highlight videos on the Internet, like Boondock’s, and I admired them for what they were doing. I hit up Boondock one time and he told me what program I could use to start editing videos, and I just started making them, about two-and-a-half years ago.
Kind of an obscure choice for your first compilation. Why Galesic?
Well I used to watch Cage Rage and I liked all the fighters, like him, Melvin Manhoef, JZ Calvancanti — those were the first three videos that I did. I just wanted to use smaller fighters that didn’t have a lot of videos out on the net.
What makes your videos so great is that they’re not simply highlight reels. They’re narratives — they tell stories. How do you choose your subjects and decide how to visually tell those stories?
Usually ideas will just pop into my head when I’m watching a movie or TV or something. I just pick fighters who I like, who aren’t super-popular most of the time.
Music is clearly very important to you. How do you decide which songs to use in your videos?
Music is the main reason I do the videos. I like to expose artists to people. Most of the time I’ll come up with the songs first before I make a video. I listen to all kinds of artists, and sample of lot of them when I make my rap beats. I find a lot of songs and some stuff just feels like it would fit in a highlight, and I’ll come up with something for it.
About how long does it take to complete a film, from start to finish?
Usually about six, seven hours. I usually spread it out over a weekend, where I’ll start cutting up the videos for a couple hours on the first day, and the next day I’ll go ahead and finish it off.
I was just watching “Grand Theft Title 3: San Quinton”, and I was amazed at all the footage that’s in there that I’d never seen before — like Jackson getting his “Street Soldier” tattoo, or hanging in the limo with those girls. All of your videos contain obscure footage like that. How do you go about finding it?
Rampage’s stuff was from his DVD that he released, Unchained, which had a lot of footage on it. And a lot of stuff is from Japanese pay-per-view broadcasts — they show a lot of intro videos and footage that usually doesn’t get shown in America — and I’ll find it on the Internet. If you search the Japanese YouTube site, you’ll find a lot of stuff on there.
What about cease-and-desist letters for using unauthorized footage?
I got one from Dana White once — he was kinda pissed off that I used the UFC footage in “Grand Theft Title 3″ — but that’s about it. Usually the other promotions are happy that I use their footage. Cage Warriors even helped me out and gave me some to use.
In your opinion, what’s the best video you’ve ever done and why?
I think “Fast Lane Episode 2″ [Ed. note: Embedded at the top of this post] with the U.K. fighters, because when I did the video those guys weren’t really that popular and now they’re coming into their own. Dan Hardy just won in the UFC, and Semtex was on the EliteXC CBS card; he lost, but he’s up there now.
What are you working on now?
Nothing right now. I have an idea for a video about fighters who were super-good on one day, like when Ian Freeman beat Frank Mir.
What’s going on with your music production?
I’m working with a lot of local artists. Usually I’ll only sell the beats, and sometimes I record tracks for them. I’ve done beat competitions and stuff like that.
Well that’s all I have, Ike. Is there anything you’d like to add before we sign off?
I’d like to say thanks to all the people who watch my videos and come to my website. They’ve given me a lot of support.