Words by Mike Horn (stokelab.com)
What is the point of a ski film? And I mean any film, from those with blockbuster budgets to grassroots out-of-pocket projects? Ultimately it’s about inspiring stoke and telling a story, and that’s why small, independent projects like The Main Idea carry heavyweight clout. This film captures the crystal clear, raw elements of riding, those moments that you rewind in your mind all year long, whether it’s -10ºF outside or 110ºF.
The Main Idea is the brainchild of Galin Foley from The Gold Project, Joey Szela from Juice, and Craig Stay from CS Films. The three-headed monster shoots it all, from off-the-radar urban hits to nipple-deep pow in the backcountry. They fight the fickle snow conditions of the Northeast and come away with off-the-hook footage when fair weather filmers would just pack away the camera and go home.
But enough of that. Let’s hear the story from The Main Idea straight shooters themselves.
So what is the main idea behind The Main Idea?
Galin Foley: In my eyes, The Main Idea is about getting out there and shooting as many aspects of skiing as we can. By having three groups dedicated to this project we are able to diversify what we shoot and get down on a lot of stuff at the same time. Ultimately I see the goal as creating films with a fresh perspective on the sport.
Joey Szela: The main idea is for the three of us to get out there an get as many shots as possible while still having fun with it. From here on out, we will bringing you fresh content as often as possible between the webisode series we're starting, the trailer, and ultimately the season's movie.
What separates this film from all the other ski films out there?
Galin Foley: With this film we're looking to capture the heart, soul, and passion of East Coast skiing while still branching out to our West Coast brethren and showing how awesome it is out there as well. Shooting in the East is a ton of work to say the least, but I also love the passion that many people in the East hold about skiing, despite these often less than desirable conditions. I think that passion is something special and my main goal is to try to capture that emotion.
Joey Szela: And aside from depicting the passion behind each shot, the authenticity behind the concept will add to the film. It does not get more authentic than three guys filming with no budget or sponsors. We have been filming a good amount of snowboarding as well, so that should expand on the film and hopefully get even more people pumped on what we do.
Where is this movie being filmed?
Galin Foley: When it's all said and done I think it'll be primarily an East Coast film that features some West Coast segments.
What’s toughest thing about shooting in the Northeast?
Galin Foley: I'd say the weather for sure. It's so variable, you never know what you're going to get and when you get something good it's a stressful, mad dash to get the best out of it while it lasts. The best thing in my eyes, as I've already touched on, would be the passion and emotion that I find behind a lot of people who call the Northeast their home.
Joey Szela: Yeah definitely the quick-changing and unpredictable weather. The East definitely has its fair share of gloomy, frigid, or rainy winter days, so it’s important to get out and get after it on the snowy or bluebird days. There is no better feeling than getting a banger shot, having an awesome run, or stomping a cool trick on one of those days. The lack of prime conditions makes the success of getting a good shot even better.
What type of riding do you focus on filming?
Galin Foley: All types for the most part. And having three people helps a lot with that. Craig's focus this season is entirely on shooting East Coast backcountry. He gets out there with our athletes at every opportunity and I think it'll add a really cool aspect to our movie this season. Joey's focus has been primarily on urban and park. My focus is kind of on the general scope of things. In the beginning of the season I shot a ton of urban, but with the snowfall we've been getting in the East I've been focusing more on backcountry and powder and even gone out on a few tours with Craig.
What’s your favorite ski film of all time?
Galin Foley: I'd have to say Shanghai Six. It was the first ski film I bought when I was first really getting into freestyle skiing so it holds a lot of memories for me.
Joey Szela: Pterodactyl Blood from I Hate NY was an extremely influential movie. (laughs)
Craig Stay: Definitely Shanghai Six.
How and when did you start filming? And do you have some funny footage from when you first started?
Galin Foley: I'd say I really started filming when I was about 17. I overshot a jump by a good bit and over rotated a 10, resulting in a season-ending concussion, separated shoulder and broken nose. Fun times. But after that accident I got into shooting some stuff for Killington, which really pushed my filmmaking. Two seasons later I won a USSA Gold Pass and started doing The Gold Project, and now I'm here.
Joey Szela: I started filming a few years ago in the summer of 2008 when I was 15. I wanted to make some videos like other kids and enter a video contest on Newschoolers, so I saved up and bought a cheap camera. It’s funny because I actually won the contest, but I will leave it up to you to find that embarrassing footage.
Everybody with a helmet cam is producing his or her own private "ski film" these days. How do you feel that impacts the film industry?
Galin Foley: I think it's only helping to drive the industry forward. I think it's awesome that so many people are getting involved in it. I would imagine that it gives those people a much larger appreciation for the amount of work that goes into producing a full ski movie.
Craig Stay: I think the reason the ski film industry is so huge because it’s not your typical sport like hockey or football, where you can go to events and watch with your friends. Instead, everybody films and brings the video to the web and that really has changed the sport as a whole.
If you could hand pick one skier to film – anyone – who would it be? And same question for location…is there a place you're dying to film?
Galin Foley: That's a tough question. When I go out to shoot, one of my main focuses is on having fun, so I'd have to say I'd choose any of my good friends who kill it. As far as places to shoot, I've always been really stoked on the idea of shooting in Japan. They get wild amounts of snow and it seems like an awesome cultural experience as well.
Joey Szela: I’m with Galin again on this one. I have never really considered this question before, but the experience is definitely more about filming friends and seeing them elevate. Plus, there’s nothing better than giving your friends the opportunity to exhibit how much they kill it to a broad audience. Location-wise, I’m definitely looking forward to filming some riding out West, since I’ve never skied outside of the Northeast. Plus filming skiing in Europe seems like it would be worth dying for, perhaps.
What is the next big thing in ski films? How will your crew be a part of it?
Galin Foley: The next big thing in my eyes is creating something new and different that hasn't been done. That sounds a bit cliché, but I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the storytelling of ski films.
Craig Stay: Ski films started off as a bunch of kids having fun, and then they all got real epic and serious, so now I think it’s now going to go back to kids having fun.
Introducing: The Main Idea from The Main Idea on Vimeo.
Watch the full-length version of “The Main Idea” in Fall 2011, and keep an eye out for webisodes between now an then at http://www.themainidea.tv and http://www.facebook.com/themainideatv. And to check out more of Mike's stuff and other random acts of stoke, go to http://www.stokelab.com.