The company had been running for just 18 months when I took 9 of the top wakeboarders from the UK, 3 cameramen, a driver and a photographer for a 1-week freeride session in Cordoba, Spain.
I wanted to combine my creative abilities with my passion for film and love of sports. Over a winter I edited a 24-minute promotional DVD from footage I shot that summer. I used this to generate interest, investment and sponsorship for my first official release. The goal was a new style of wakeboard film that would truly capture the sport at its most dynamic, setting a new precedent for wakeboard films. The first in a series of films, set up so its success would further benefit the Filth team riders. A share of profits would go to members and towards a trust fund to help upcoming talents in the sport.
The road to Cordoba certainly wasn’t smooth. Hardware failed. My truck blew up. Investors pulled out. I broke my ankle. All this before the cameras started rolling. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did. My efforts to raise money from rider sponsors and boat manufacturers were unsuccessful. Undeterred I persisted and after four months of hard work it finally came together; I raised enough investment for the shoot.
This was the first time any of us had embarked on a project like this, with 14 people to direct and having filmed wakeboarding only a handful of times, this was the single biggest challenge I had ever faced. During the shoot my days started at 6am and finished at 4am after reviewing footage. The trip was run on pure adrenaline and everyone’s sheer determination to make it work.
The location was epic. A 5-kilometer lake, surrounded by hills covered in olive-rows and water as flat as glass. My favourite scene from the film opens on a meandering river running under an old bridge. Steep olive-row hills on either side create a valley that opens out on to the lake. We set cameras at vantage points and filmed what was to be one of the films most successful scenes.
Some film-techniques were risky. Helicopter shots were achieved with a parasail bought half price due to the fact it was stars and stripes. Filming from 50ft with a broken ankle, a camera strapped to me, we managed three successful flights before the line snapped under stress from winds; caused by an electrical storm closing in fast.
The shoot was a success. Described by all as a dream come true, new personal best were reached for each the riders and the week closed in legendary style with the first 900˚ captured on film – a milestone for the sport in the UK.
“The level of riding has hit an all time high for the UK. Progression depends on projects like this. Sponsors should not focus on competitions but giving riders quality time on the water. Filth:Transtion is exactly what we all need again. Wakeboarding will develop with the rider’s motivation and innovation. The more time spent riding the more we improve, allowing us to be inventive in a sport we all love. It’s about riding and pushing to the extreme. Thanks to Myoshka and all those involved in making the trip possible, and to the riders that made the trip a huge success.” Craig O’meara – Oakley Team Rider
Returning from Spain with over 90 hours of footage, it was now that the hard work would begin. Production of the film took a grueling 3-years to complete.
Having only raised enough investment for the shoot, I used client work to fund the production. Single-handedly I edited the film, built the dvd, designed the packaging, 72-page booklet, stickers, flyers, website and even made the tshirt. Travelling the country attending events and promoting the film I tried in vein to secure further investment or sponsorship. By the end of the third year I was exhausted, penniless and my home was now in jeopardy. With my personal funds completely depleted, when vital sponsorship money was reduced, it prevented the manufacture of the dvd and delivered the final blow for the project. At the final stage I was forced to close the production with only a limited run of copies being distributed.
“Everything has really been thought about and fine-tuned… The moment you put the DVD in it grabs you – from the interface and music, to the editing style and camera-work… Projects of this standard not only benefits the riders, but helps the sport grow.” Ronn Seidenglanz – Sidewayz Films US
I risked a great deal taking on such a huge challenge. Through inexperience I underestimated the work ahead and length of time it would take. Through sheer determination, I finished everything to the point of manufacture. It was with huge regret that I shut the project down but with great pride I look back on the achievements it took to finish the film. There was undoubtedly a positive effect on the team and standard of riding in the UK, with many still regarding this as one of the best experiences in their professional careers.
As for the future – I look to continue film-making putting all that I have learned from this experience to use.
“Failures are divided in two classes: those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.” John Charles Salak