Steve Rozendaal is the creator of the new Vice Sports' show "Lifted." Him and Mike Rogge were around the forums last week to answer questions regarding the new series.
Steve Rozendaal: SR
Mike Rogge: MR
Youngloaf: Random Fact?
MR: I don't know how to whistle.
SR: I now have two kids. My son was named after JP Auclair and My daughter was born at home.
mski: When's the next Volume video mag coming out?
SR: Not anytime soon. But Volume laid the foundation for Lifted. It was very important to Mike and myself that we not be influenced my sponsors and keep as much control as possible.
GGitzen: When will this be released? Do you have any plans to highlight any other athletes?
MR: The plan is to release episodes every Wednesday on Vice Sports. Yesterday, the first episode was released due to technical difficulties with the video player, but rest assured those issues have been fixed.
Editorially, Steve and I have a long term plan, a dream list, of how we'd like to release future episodes. As J-Lev already said in this thread, the almighty dollar will determine how many we get to make.
THIS PART IS IMPORTANT SO I"M USING ALL CAPS LIKE MY FRIEND TANNER:
There are a plethora of stories in skiing. Skiing is unique. It's not some white rich kid sport. Sure, that exists, but there's more story diversity in skiing than any other sport—this has been reiterated to me by current and former editors of snowboarding and skateboarding magazines, so perhaps we can quit the inferiority complex in skiing. Let's be proud of where we came from and the men and women who got us here.
hkn: Could you give us a few little peeks into the process of how you are selecting the skiers who will be featured in the series? The fact that Pep kicks it off is money, but what criteria are you using to pick skiers?
- What happens during those discussions? What kind of arguments?
- Who has the final word?
- What's the trickiest part of a production like this? To source the material? Or to select the stuff in an ocean of material?
MR:JP Auclair was the first skier Steve and I wanted to highlight. We always wanted to do Pep, but thought he should come, as he did historically, after a JP episode. The week before the trip to Patagonia, JP and I had conversations about this show at iF3. That fact continually breaks my heart. JP and I had fun working on project together, our conversation in the Cinema Imperial is one I'll never forget. Thank you, JP. We love you.
I'll let Steve go into how we're selecting skiers and production in more detail. The nice part about working with Steve is he doesn't believe in the concept of "final say." The Lifted crew is super collaborative and Steve is an open book when it comes to how he envisions the show. This is his baby. I'm happy to help raise. The trickiest part for me is waiting to see the reaction skiers have to the show. I want you guys to like it!
Mr.Bishop: I've got two:
1 - What is your feeling about the future of video content - ie. are we looking at long format going away and moving to a more episodic yet highly produced short format, or will there still be a place for movies?
2 - What did you do to protect the legitimacy of this project? I can't help but bring up Free, which obviously succummed to some corporate influence. I know that when having sponsors involved in something it can be tricky to develop that balance.... how did you do it?
1. There's a place for both. I want to watch well-crafted episodes.
2. We've been given a great deal of control on the editorial direction of Lifted. I learned a great deal from my first time working with the people over there. They're good people, looking to tell a good story.
I knew Free would come up. I'll start by saying a lot of great conversations happen off the Internet that contradict the conversations having here. Free had a branding and marketing problem from the get go. We incorrectly targeted a Newschoolers-like audience then delivered a more mainstream-focused film. I wouldn't expect NS to have liked that film. That said, a lot of non-skier friends of mine watched Joss win the Olympics because they caught Free on NBC or YouTube. My biggest gripe with that film is that we had to cut out a well-produced story of the Wells family. Those guys are the first family of skiing.
1. I love long format movies! I think the key is to make sure the talent in those movies work well together. Eric Iberg was the king of this. He had the ability to put the right people together and the results were amazing. I hope we can find a balance between the two.
2. From the beginning of Volume I have made an effort not to be influenced by sponsorship dollars. I wanted to stay true to that and Mike backed me 100% on this. Vice has been great! They let us handle the skiing side and they helped with the story telling. They helped shape the story so it would appeal to a larger audience (which I wanted).
[hank]: This question might seriously put some people off their rocker...
With major companies and ski publications choosing to recycle archaic footage, worship the sport's earlier curators and innovators as though they are still relevant skiers in todays competitive stratosphere, and preventing new athletes from reaching their full potential by reserving ample space for og's that have befriended everyone writing checks in the industry, how do you plan to use this series to do anything but metaphorically shove "glory moments" and (already broadly known) history down the throats of your audience? Do you acknowledge the ski industry and culture of today, or will this show highlight the accomplishments of an era long gone?
MR: I'll answer your question with a question—if this history is so well known, why were skiers asking on Orage's Facebook page where they could see video of the skier JP Auclair who passed away, because they didn't know who he was?
I don't blame them. There are a ton of kick ass skiers today. It's hard to follow all of this unless you're a complete ski nerd. Steve's idea with Lifted is unique to skiing. I learned more on this project about the early days and a lot of my preconceived ideas of what I "knew" were smashed. Wait for episode two. A couple other skiers landed tricks at Pyramid Gap that day Andy and Pep went off. Also...well, just keep watching.
SR: I love your passion! My suggestion to you is to focus on the skiing and not worry about the money. I didn't make a cent off Volume. But I did make a lot of friends and had one hell of a time. That is what I remember not the frustration from the lack of sponsorship dollars. If you work your ass off good things will happen. This series is important! Knowing where your sport came from is important!
NinetyFour: How in the hell did you edit videos and put them together for Volume Video Magazine? I mean I grew up with VHS, but I can't even begin to imagine how chaotic creating a tape would have been back in the day; sometimes rewinding was a struggle enough for myself...
SR: Luckily, FCP had just come out so we didn't have to edit vhs to vhs. But putting out 2 or 3 videos a year was tough. We simply lived skiing. Get up go to the hill and shoot all day and then edit all night. I also had a few PBR's along the way.
Turner.: 1. Obviously this is biographical, but did you go into this project with a particular slant or narrative in mind? In the same vein, did you find that a thread/story emerged that you weren't expecting?
2. Was there any major speedbump you encountered in this project, e.g. tracking down footage, wrangling people for interviews etc.?
3. Do you think there's a calling for this beyond the "freeskiing" world? I'm not a skater, but I can't wait for new episodes of Epicly Later'd to try and educate myself about skating. Do you think skiing can achieve the same kind of reach/transcendence? Do you even want it to?
MR: 1. No. It took a long time, but I've learned to trust the people who lived their own lives and are answering the questions. Steve was there, so he has a lot of deeper questions he can ask.
2. Not from my end, but this project did take over a year and half to put together. It takes a good deal of phone calls, emails, and interviews to make this come together. Thankfully, Poor Boyz had their archives super organized because they were working on TWENTY last year.
3. I hope so. I hope these stories matter. I'd love to see a ski media landscape that tells real stories about skiers to non-skiers. I think skiing can do this, but we should also be careful for that type of transcendence. Just ask a Surfer how he or she feels about Hollister.
aob: How does the finished video differ from your original vision for this project? What kinds of things did Vice ask you to change?
MR: It's different, but it's also better. Vice Sports, and Vice to a larger extent (just look at their HBO Show) is super good at telling stories. We're good at it, but we're not exactly winning Emmys for that shit. Vice Sports wants to help us make these stories interesting for both the ski audience and a much, much larger audience as well. That's probably the most difficult part of this project.
SR: My original vision for this project was very informal. Vice sports has a signature look(which I like by the way). When the deal got done with them we had to make a few changes to put the show more inline with that look. A few stories came out that I would like people to see but overall I am happy with the content.
Mr.Bishop: Is there any specific rituals or things at the start of each of your days that you always do?
MR: I try to write for an hour, drink coffee, and go skiing in the winter every morning.
Mr. Bishop: 1. When is the next one coming out?
2. Was there any specific secret that you had to capturing an authentic vibe with Pep?
1. The next two episodes will be released in the coming Wednesdays on Vice Sports.
2.The key for me is the way we shot the show and my relationship to Pep and the other people we interviewed. These are my friends and we simply have conversations. It sucks for the editor (who is amazing by the way) but we end up with hours of footage. There are defiantly topics I want to hit on but besides that I keep it very loose. We may even have a few beers!
ChubbyBoy: What was the inspiration behind doing this video series? Did you just wake up one day and was like pep is a boss. I should show everyone how cool he is.
SR: Definitely Epicly later'd. But it quickly became apparent that this show would have to be a little different. Skiing is not skateboarding. Pep is a close friend and he lives close by. It was a no brainer that he would make a great pilot show. Also keep in mind I didn't know if Vice would even want the show when I started. I just did it because I wanted to. It took the hard work of Mike, Dylan and Johnny to make my dream come true.
tcurle: What route would you personally take in skiing if you were a kid in 2015? Contests, trying to film anything, or whatever. Would you follow Pep's rout or something completely different?
MR: Just ski. I have no incite how to become a pro skier because I've never been one. The best example of how to do it has been set by Phil Casabon and Henrik Harlaut. Those guys are the happiest pro skiers I've met because the one thing that makes them happy is skiing. So, again, just ski.
Mike Rogge: Is Pep the Soul of Skiing?
Pep: What's firing in Japan right now?
Steve: Do you remember the free Helly Hansen movie Lifted? Does this series officially make that irrelevant? They had Kris Ostness make that and Happy Happy... does it also mean we can start recycling songs without recourse?
On a serious note the trailer was intriguing and I'm definitely excited for the episodes proper. Pep's been leading the game for as long as I've known it existed... almost. How bout that edit with him and Andy on the all new Hellbents? Skiing park on those is like riding snowblades. It's hard.
SR: Nice call out! Nothing Kris Ostness has done is irrelevant!! It's because of him I started filming. I had simply spaced on the HH Lifted video. I would not recommend recycling songs. Guys like Phil Casaban know every song to every video part and will call you out! Pep has done a lot of things through his career and it was hard to get them all in the story but I hope what we did put in there educates and entertains.