Interview by Reed Purvis
Photos courtesy of Theory-3 Media
Can you tell us a bit about The Journal?
So the movie we came out with this year features the same guys as in years past with a few new guys like Frank Raymond, Little C (Christian Boucher), Alexis Godbout, and a few others. It turned out great, the movie is about our season, the ups and downs, there's not too much serious narration, and it's kind of a lighthearted movie with mainly Joe Schuster and Charley Ager sitting by the water talking about what went down this year, what was great and just how the season was. Joe is a great comedic guy so the two of them kind of tie everything together. The movie starts out with our intro that I'm pretty stoked on...everything we do in a day of filming, whether it's going up the mountain, getting our sleds together, waking up or even just having beer at the end of the day. So that's kind of the intro of the movie and another highlight that I think you have to check out is newcomer Dane Tudor showing that he's going to be one of the better skiers coming up, just an all around great skier. Then there's obviously Charley Ager, Brandon Kelly and Josh Stack doing some pretty sick backcountry stuff and then Frank Raymond getting to the streets with Max and a few other guys. There's some great park stuff too from the Poorboyz Jib Jam and one of my new favorite guys Matt Margetts showing why he's going to be one of the better all around skiers coming up too, so check it out.
And the movie is laid out to follow a Journal style or format?
Yeah the movie does follow a Journal style I guess. There's commentary with Joe and Charley. The first segment was filmed during the first three sunny days of the year in Whistler. We had two crews going, two separate film crews, photographers, I think we had Charley, Stack, Little C and PY in one and then I was with Joe Schuster, Riley, Alexis and Dane in the other one and it was awesome. Two crews going at once is kind of how the movie is, we would have a great week here, a great week there, we went to this place killed it there, went to Vancouver Island and went surfing, watched Joe run naked, that kind of stuff. It's not just segments, the only people that fully have segments are Charlie and Dane but that's still just a mini-golf style segment from Whistler. Oh yeah, and check out the very last segment, you'll see some pretty sick backcountry jumps from Mount Baker.
Charley Ager. photo: Josh Anderson
Yeah the last segment was my favorite segment.
The last segment is everyone's favorite segment. Even at IF3, we watched as people began to stand and clap, the last song is just so happy and uplifting. I'm trying to find more songs like that now because that just really brought everyone up and everyone was having a good time.
Whistler Theory-3/PBP premiere
Did you have any help with the Journal?
Ahhh, not really. I didn't have too much help on Journal this year. Originally I hired a full time guy to be a filmer for me during the winter months. I also edited the whole movie and planned on editing the whole movie so that wasn't anything weird but definitely ended up filming a lot more than I expected, which worked out great too because I love to film, I love to be out snowmobiling and I have a hands-on approach to everything this year. I did have a little bit of help from a few filmers, a couple guys from Poorboyz like Eric Simard, Tyler Hamlet and Cody Carter. I also had help from Elise Turcotte who films with PY, she's awesome and she's always helped me out in the past. I definitely filmed more than I was expecting, maybe 60 or 70% or more of the movie. It worked out but I definitely planned, marketed and produced everything in the movie all myself this year which was not a first but it was a little unexpected.
What happened to your filmer?
The full time filmer I hired this year...this is a funny story I guess...well maybe not so funny but a little strange…I hired him for the winter months like I mentioned but after two and a half weeks he came to me and I was a little concerned. I asked him what the problem was and he said he didn't think he could do it. He was doing a great job, he had helped me last year on some other stuff and I was fully confident in him. I talked to him again maybe the next day and he was just super down and I couldn't get a good vibe from him. I then became really concerned, especially since I was spending quite a bit of money for my little company. I talked to him again and he said he just didn't think he could do it, he thought it was just too much work. It is a lot of work and I was a little surprised by that comment and everyone to do with the film I kind of mentioned that to was like, "Oh, I thought what we did was a lot of work," and I was like “yeah so did I.” Anyway, I'm still friends with the guy but in the end I had to let him go his way.
Did you get burned out at all from doing everything yourself?
When I lost my full time filmer I was concerned that I would be just dead. That was why I hired the guy since I had some big commitments and all that. Didn't get burnt out luckily, I was worried because of having a lot of commitments this year that I would be pretty burnt out. I had such a good season, weather was great, pretty much every trip I had was successful, even the ones that weren't successful we turned into successful trips. We all got better at snowmobiling, we all got better at just filming in general and the efficiency went up ten times. We got a lot of shots without struggling as much as we have in the past and therefore we didn't get burned out, just had more fun than I've ever had and it kind of set me up for this coming season and I'm absolutely motivated.
How long has Theory-3 been around for?
Officially I'd say like 1...2...3...4...I guess the Journal is my 5th movie under Theory-3. Some of the movies I've made were obviously while I was in university. Two of the movies I made while going fully through university...I guess I've been making movies since I was fifteen like everyone on Newschoolers (laughs).
How did you find all the athletes that you have been filming with?
The athletes in Journal and even other Theory-3 movies have been guys I've met through friends, met up with during skiing, or I've met through sponsors that have just become friends of mine. I've had some sort of friendship with every guy whether it’s been this year or in years past. That makes the company kind of unique I think, it's work and it's a lot of fun but we get along pretty well I think.
It's common with some companies to have a pretty rigid structure regarding the athletes and the sponsors of the film. How have you managed that with your films?
Sponsors haven't completely dictated my rider list which is the main reason I've always kept doing it. I definitely never had a sponsor dictate which athletes to film. I've always tried to find sponsors that match up with my friends/athletes that make the movies possible. Obviously we get a new guy popping into the crew sometimes and that's mainly on recommendation from someone else that helps tie in a sponsor but it's not solely from a sponsor telling me who to film. Poorboyz is kind of the same, and I learned that just this week. They create the rider list and who they want and then they'll go after the sponsors after that. Obviously sponsors and the athletes are the biggest part of the movie but you still want it to be a movie that everyone can enjoy making together and not wanting to bite each others heads off or having a sponsor say they don't want this guy in the movie but they want this guy. Maybe that guy doesn't work well with the other guy, it's all about chemistry and making it work so that's the cool thing about Poorboyz and I'm stoked on that.
What's happening with Theory-3 for this coming season?
This year is going to be a big change for me. Theory-3 isn't around anymore, I've decided to close down the doors for a few years or maybe forever I guess…but I'm still going to continue making ski movies. I'm now working with Tyler Hamlet, Johnny, Cody and the team at Poorboyz on their new movie. It's definitely going to be weird not making my own movie but I'm definitely going to have some big input on the new movie coming out in 2009 and if you like Theory-3 movies then your going to like what I'll bring to Poorboyz. The cool thing about moving over to Poorboyz and not making a Theory-3 movie is that I get to bring quite a few athletes over to this project and to the Poorboyz company. There's a lot of good things happening at Poorboyz and having these guys like Charley Ager, Brandon Kelly, Dane Tudor, Matt Margetts, Riley Leboe, and possibly a few other guys like Frank Raymond that I think will bring a lot to Poorboyz and keep everything I've worked for with Theory-3 going. On another note though, despite the fact that Theory-3 is dead or in limbo unfortunately, if you'd still like to buy it please feel free to approach me, I'll take offers (laughs).
Charley Ager & Brandon Kelly
Are you happy to be working with a professional crew of people this winter?
Definitely happy to be working with a larger group of guys. I was just down in California discussing the new movie and working out plans and all that and I can already see a huge change and it's nice being able to work and talk with a group of guys that are all on the same page. It's super motivating talking with the guys at Poorboyz, all our ideas are coming together and that's going to be the coolest thing for me this year is being with a capable crew. I think there's a handful of filmers, a couple freelance guys, photographers, some of the best athletes around plus some new guys. That's going to be a new change for me and I'm extremely motivated to bring everything I know how to do towards that.
What sparked the change?
There's lot of things that were always going on in my head. When I was a kid I always wanted to work for Poorboyz, make a movie for Poorboyz and all that. Obviously with Theory-3 I had an opportunity with that, now I get the chance to work with the best guys I think, with the best team, the best skiers, and some of the greatest guys I've had a chance to hang around with. So that was just part of the change and something that's always been in my head. Being a one-man operation, it's so hard making a movie and trying to compete against all the bigger companies. I just wanted to be able to work with a crew, I wanted to be able to feed off of a crew, and I wanted to work with the best in every sense. Financially, sponsors have always kept Theory-3 going but it wasn't enough to be able to push it to the level I wanted it to be and I did get to keep my crew so that was one of the reasons I decided go through with the change to Poorboyz. I get to film with the guys that I love to film with and the guys that I think are the best up-and-coming backcountry skiers, so I wasn't afraid to make the change and I still get to be creative and run with it.
road gap at Mount Baker
Where are you going to be filming this coming season?
I was lucky that while merging I got to keep my guys, so therefore I get to stay in Whistler. I'll be living full time in Whistler still, filming around there and traveling around the Northwest. I won't leak too much info on what the movie is about but I'm stoked to have the chance to work with the guys I'm working with. We will be focusing on the Northwest and a few other areas in North America and after that I'll be moving down to LA down in Redondo Beach there, getting my ass kicked by some waves, trying to surf, and working on editing the new film. That will be June, July and August and that will be a huge change for me since I'm a Canadian boy from Vancouver (laughs). The water is quite cold up here. I'm pretty stoked, I was just down there for a few days and really enjoyed it, so it's going to be a great change for me. Check back at Poorboyz.com because we're going to be on top of the web this year, there will be some pretty cool webisodes. Pretty excited for the season and motivated and I know the boys up in Whistler are extremely motivated for this year.
So you're going to have a lot of creative control next year?
My role this year is taking over as one of the big backcountry filmers with Tyler Hamlet and I have my area of the Northwest dialed so I'll hang out there and in the meantime if any other trips come along I'll do those too. As I mentioned I'll be doing a lot of editing of the movie with Tyler down in LA. That's going to be sick because I really enjoy working with Tyler, he's super talented and I'm stoked to be a part of the team with him. When it comes to the overall movie and the direction of it I get to work with Johnny, Tyler and everyone so it's pretty cool. With Theory-3 I had full creative control but now it's more like a partnership, I get to work with these guys and not lose my creative input by just becoming another filmer.
Are you excited to be able to combine your efforts with someone else in the editing process?
Yeah, I was talking to Tyler about that in LA. I've edited with a few people in the past but I'm really stoked to work with someone on the editing side. When I'm hammering out something and wondering if it's good or maybe I'm just stuck, someone else can edit this segment, take a look at it or edit a certain part and I can come back and be like "Ahhh yeah dude, I like it!" I've never really had that chance. It should be really refreshing because if anyone knows when you’re trying to edit a movie sometimes you hit a huge block or you look at something so many times that you don't even know if it's good or if people will like it. So that'll be the nicest thing about working with a guy that I totally trust.