So I dropped my latest teaser video a few days ago and the response has been pretty amazing. I could not be more stoked that so many people are excited to see my project, and believe in what I am doing. So let me answer a few questions that have come up.
First of, the most asked question is when will I be able to see this movie? The answer isn't simple. I honestly don't really know. The short answer is, not right away. The honest answer is that I won't be done any time soon. My plan at the moment is to shoot more through the summer and edit next fall and winter. Not that I am not constantly compiling and editing stuff already, it's just going to take a while to flesh this thing out. I'm not going to rush it, it could be sooner, but I'm not going to commit to a date. Part of the problem is that I am doing this mainly on my own, while holding down a day job and having a life. Trust me when I say that this will get done, I more than anything want to make sure that it's done right. I feel a huge weight on my shoulders to represent the skaters in my movie correctly, and to make sure that skateboarding itself is fairly represented. I am doing this out of love and I really don't want to let anyone down.
What my spare time usually looks like these days.
Next Question. If you aren't even close to done why did you release those teasers? Also not a simple answer. The first teaser was necessary to prove to those involved that I sort of knew what I was doing. It was hard to convince some subjects that I was headed in the right direction with this thing, and not just another dude with a GoPro, (not that there is anything wrong with GoPro). The second video is a little harder to explain. I guess part of it comes down to me doubting myself. Getting input that I am heading in the right direction seems vain, but I really needed to hear it. I also want to keep up the stoke. Since this project is taking so long to complete I felt the need to show everyone involved where it is heading. It's ever evolving, and I want to keep everyone updated. Plus I have so much rad video....I want you to see some of it. I could always use more input and help, every video I post seems to grow interest and has paid off with more pieces of the puzzle falling into place.
Another issue that has come up that I couldn't be happier about, and has required some very serious thought is the addition of professional skateboarders to my project. I have struggled with this endlessly and have sort of come to a conclusion. The main theme of this project is men and women that skate well into their later years out of sheer love of skateboarding. When the answer to the question, "Why do you still skate?" becomes obvious I think it takes away from my narrative. Skaters that have made skateboarding their careers, while still compelling, don't fit all that well into my movie. I don't want this to be a promotional vehicle for skaters that still make money skating. Also many times their stories have already been told by others. I have nothing against them, and it's very hard to not want to shoot with my childhood heroes, it would just complicate things. You probably have noticed that there are in fact a couple of former professionals in my movie already. The difference is that these skaters have long ago retired from professional skateboarding, yet they still skate every day, they aren't household names still pulling in sponsorship money. This I find compelling, and feel fits perfectly in my story. They have no incentive to still skate other than a love for skateboarding. I could not be more stoked to hear from some amazing pros though....it's so rad to get emails and calls from guys I've always looked up to.
I hope that doesn't sound too dictatorial. I just have a look and feel that I am trying to maintain. Granted I am learning as I go, but I need to be sure that everything fits into this giant puzzle.
Now to money? I am doing this entirely out of my own very shallow pockets. Being creative with shooting has kept the cost down, I DIY and bodge together stuff when I can. I am also shooting most of my video on a pretty inexpensive DSLR. I'm also very lucky to have some very talented and connected friends who have helped immensely. I have had a couple of sponsorship offers, unfortunately none of them were serious enough, or appropriate. I am not willing to sacrifice the integrity of my project with kooky brands attached. If you are interested by all means please contact me. I would be more than happy to take your money.
Honestly, when I started this thing I had no idea that people would want to be in it.... let alone professionals ....I had no clue people would want to help me shoot it, would be so into it, would be inspired by the guys in this movie as much as I am. I hope I don't come off as a dick here .... I just wanted to clarify a few things, and to temper some expectation. Please email me with your stories and any thoughts, I welcome all of your input, and offers. Thanks so much for even reading this crap, for watching my videos, for putting up with me in the park with all my gear, for everything. I am humbled by all of you. Thank you skateboarding... for everything.
I found the solution to the winter blues here in Seattle. It resides under a giant yellow roof in the woods somewhere in South Seattle. It's the above giant Vert ramp where sessions go off nearly every day. Thanks to my old friend Gabe Hall for getting my foot in the door and for the introductions, and thanks to all those involved for putting up with me and my camera. This place has the best vibe I've experienced in ages, with riders of every age and skill level cheering each other on. Some serious shredding goes down under that translucent yellow tarp. My next teaser will be dropping shortly, look for some shots of Eugene Lardizabal destroying this place.
I didn't go to the SVR simply to watch the ripping, I took my camera. I'm stoked to have Eugene Lardzabal, William Stein and Ant Hancock agree to represent the older vert riders in my movie. I can't wait to shoot more with these dudes, all three of them absolutely kill it. Unfortunately some of my early video suffered from some technical issues (the color yellow), the upside is that this place is open rain or shine. Architect Ryan Spence and his crew of volunteers built a beauty.
He's a little young to be featured in my film...but I had to post a picture of Payton Moriarty. Keep your eyes peeled for this kid in the future. Everything he does is gigantic and super stylish. This kid is a ripper and at 14 he's only going to get better. It's going to be rad to say that I knew him way back in the day when he's famous..
If you want more information on the Seattle Vert Ramp or would like to donate to the cause please visit their web site. It's a private ramp, to get the keys to the kingdom will cost you, but it will be worth it I assure you.
Thanks again to Greg Stonebraker for the fantastic photos,
Still Sort of Floored That We Got To Shoot With Wally Inouye, Chris Strople, Jeff Ament, Jeff Greewood and crew ... here are a few more pictures.
A shot of getting the shot..... Chris Strople and Ben Rupp putting in work.
Mikey, laying down a serious grind.
All photos copyright Greg Stonebraker. http://gstonephotography.com/
So I've had a couple of companies interested in sponsoring our project. This is fantastic! Matt and I have been sinking a ton of money into this thing without any expectations of recouping any of it. I would be more than happy to let some select companies throw their logo on the front of this documentary. That said, I'm not going to do any exclusive deals with anyone (well maybe if Vans or a few other very select companies come through) but most likely I'm not interested. I'm also not willing to give up a shred of artistic control. I'm also not willing to put just anyone's name on this thing....no box store brands, no brands that we've never heard of, nothing kooky. It's not worth the money to ruin our credibility. So with all that on the table, if you are interested in giving us some money, by all means email me. In case you were wondering, no one that has contact me as of yet fits these requirements.
The teaser has got 1200 or so views in just over two days, blowing away my expectations. I could have never predicted the excitement that many out there have for this story. I couldn't be more stoked.
The fine folks over at YoBeat.com gave us our first press clipping, so rad. Thanks Brooke! Click on the logo above to go directly to the story.
Also got some fantastic emails from skaters all over that have similar stories to tell, if only I had a travel budget, (or a budget for that matter). Included in this flood of emails was a message from a living legend Wally Inouye who expressed interest in being in the film....so stoked!
With our day jobs slowing down our creeping production schedule even more we are a long ways away from any sort of finished product. Another early morning shoot was a bust due to unforeseen work conflicts. That said it was fun to finally get to skate with the legendary Rob Skala and crew. None of this has stopped me from editing a brief teaser video out of the footage we have in the can. You can see it on our front page or at the you tube link below. Thanks to my buddies in The Valley for the use of the song "Northern Cascades".
Ben Rupp, film maker, rocker, skater, boarder, husband, dog owner.
Middle Aged Shred