SPOTLIGHT: World Rolling Series Television Pilot
BCSD Organizer Daniel Kinney got a hold of us because he wanted to officially release the television-ready WRS Pilot simultaneously through ONE and Be-Mag—a huge project aimed at gaining some mainstream exposure for blading or, at the very least, getting some television coverage for the WRS events. While Daniel spearheaded this project, he realized that in order for success, as a whole, it called for a combination of efforts from a list of names synonymous with high-quality blade media. The pilot is making its way through different networks and media circles and it focuses on the 2010 BCSD contest in Detroit. I did an interview with DK so he could shed some more light on the project and give the blading public a bit of back-story about his intentions. Remember when the X-Games execs said that rollerblades were useful for filming other sports on the course? Well, we’ve been filming each other too and gotten pretty damn good at it. Anyway, this is the deal…
Daniel, so, the word’s out on this new deal but not that many people have seen it yet, so let’s start with you. What made you decide to begin spearheading this project?
What it really came down to is pretty simple. The main focus for a lot of people when discussing the current state of rollerblading is television. Rollerblading does not have that massive broadcast exposure it once had. Rather than start a Facebook group, complain about it on any number of message boards, or latch on to any tiny bit of mainstream exposure rollerblading might stumble into, I decided to take it upon myself to do a complete X-Games/ASA style broadcast of the Bitter Cold Showdown with fellow video-bladers. Rather than simply sit back and complain, I decided to take action and see what happens.
When did the concept begin to take real shape? What was the process like from ideas and e-mails to, “Okay, we have a finished product, let’s send out the pitch!”
Coincidentally, the first spark happened after reading the ONE review of the Bitter Cold Showdown 2009 DVD. The review was critical of the DVD in all of the right places and basically summed up my feelings by saying, “It was good, for what it is…” There is a saying in the production world that, “It is what it is” and that really became not good enough for me. The BCSD DVDs were basically just promoting BCSD to other bladers. In a sense, promoting rollerblading to rollerbladers. Which is essentially useless.
So I sat down and watched a lot of old broadcasts of rollerblading and took mental notes on what I wanted to do and more importantly what I did not want to do. I am very fortunate to not only be heavily involved in the video production world, but also organize one of the largest blading events on the planet. So the next steps of equipment rental, crew organization, outlining, scripting and directing were very natural, and some of the most fulfilling work I have done recently.
Afterwards, editing was a long and tenuous process. The good thing was I had a ton of footage and commentary to sort through. The bad thing was that I had a ton of footage and commentary to sort through. The more experience you have in video editing the more you begin to realize that what it’s really about is telling your story in the least amount of time possible, as effectively as possible. So I began with about an hour and a half rough cut and began widdling it down to what is now 27 minutes, which is still about 4-5 minutes too long. There is an enormous amount of great footage and commentary that will never see the light of day.
One of the most important aspects of the program was the story. I really wanted the audience to be drawn in and feel the pressure that Haffey and the other competitors were under, and how they fed off each other. I was not truly ready to begin sharing the finished product with even members of the production crew until Haffey watched it and told me that he was nervous about who was going to win. Once he said that I knew I had the story that I was going for. Knowing that it could even draw him in was very satisfying.
I’m watching it as I type these Qs. It honestly feels like I’m watching Bitter Cold on ESPN. I’m getting nostalgia of ASA and B3 comps. This is pretty sick. Why was 2010 the year you specifically wanted to showcase?
First of all, thank you. Consistently, most people have the same response, nostalgia. They think back to the days when they would program their VCR to record any blading that was going to pop up on television. It was almost overwhelming beginning the editing process and hearing Arlo’s voice as the commentator for this little contest I started when I was 16.
2010 was not necessarily the year that I wanted to showcase, but rather it was the year that everything came together. The bleachers were a great coincidence. It was the first year we decided to get bleachers and I do not think the project would have been the same without them. The shots we gathered from the crowd were amazing, which was thanks to a camera crane rental and operator. This was made possible by the funds that BCSD generates through the trade show, competitors and spectators. 2010 was just the year that everything fell into place.
The motion-graphic segways and cityscape time-lapse shots between tricks, the lifestyle pieces inserted to break up the comp and all of the other bangs and whistles that make this so much more than the previous BCSD DVDs; this is all pretty impressive production value. Who else contributed to the project in terms of filming, editing, graphics etc…?
First of all, 95% of the crew were bladers. Which I firmly believe speaks to what we are capable of when we all work together. Motion graphics were put together by the very talented Christoffer Bjerre. Time-lapse shots of Detroit were filmed by Alex Beaupre. Connor O’Brien filmed the Chris Haffey interview. X-Rated filmed Bolino’s street stuff, and Jon Julio even helped film some of Haffey’s newer tricks. On top of that, Vinny Minton, Andrew Kazlauskas, Ivan Narez, Adam Johnson, Mike Torres, Juan Mosqueda, Blake Cohen, Joe Esquivel, Brian Moore, Jason Reyna, Jason Staine, Anothony Garnder, David Amkhinich and Pat Leal, along with some past and present co-workers of mine, all contributed footage from the event. If you look through the list, there are very few names missing that are not at the forefront of blading media. I did all of the editing and also obtained rights for all of the music used.
Did you always know that you wanted Arlo and Matt Mickey to commentate?
Arlo Eisenberg was a no-brainer when it came down to deciding who would be a good commentator for the project. The moment I mentioned it to him he was down and he has been the voice of rollerblading for years. Matt Mickey became part of the picture after I heard both of them MC the 2009 AIL Championships. They worked well together and Matt’s almost encyclopedic knowledge of blading’s past made it a perfect fit.
So why now? Why are you “officially” releasing the pilot to the public now, and what were some of the responses like from the initial viewers; i.e. those who saw it at BCSD in February and those whom the formal pitch might have been addressed to?
Well, this is being released publicly now for several reasons. I must avoid being specific about what networks have seen it, who saw it, and what their specific response was, but I can give an overall impression that I have consistently received.
The first is that this project, for the most part, is broadcast ready. The quality, the action, the story, the cinematography, the graphics and the blading are all very impressive to anyone watching. This project has turned some heads.
However, I have learned that similar events in other sports such as the Maloof Money Cup, Street League Skateboarding or the Dew Tour are “time buys.” This means that in the end, broadcasted events like those are really nothing more than a modified infomercial. With enough money, pretty much any sport could be on television.
So now that the pilot has made its way through some of the broadcast world it is time to release it publicly and see what comes of it. As hard as I can look for specific opportunities, the time has come to see what opportunities may find us.
Do you think this is the only way that blading could/should be portrayed on TV? I mean, I feel like we’ve got enough “personality figures” within the industry that could pull off something cooler and less cheesy than say “Rob and Big” or “Life of Ryan.” Granted, this pilot focuses solely on the WRS, but, just to pick your brain, do you think there’s room for something with more of a root in blade-lifestyle?
If you pay attention to any of this interview, this is what you need to read. This is not the way rollerblading should be portrayed on TV. Although the athleticism, drama and excitement surrounding many of the events in the World Rolling Series could and should make for some absolutely amazing television, it is not the time to sell rollerblading as a sport. Selling rollerblading as a sport appeals to an absolute minuscule demographic. The personalities of rollerblading are the only thing that is going to take the perception of rollerblading in different directions. And please, just because you set stuff on fire, hassle security guards, or yell at the camera does not mean you have any personality.
I am already working on another television pilot. When you eventually see it, please follow my lead; we are going in an entirely new direction.
A bold statement and a bold undertaking, but I like it and I couldn’t agree more. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we don’t need any more documentaries or articles where the focus is solely on what rollerblading lacks, or are in essence just the recorded rants of jaded skaters. We know what we’re doing is cool, and if you truly love it, there isn’t any need to prove it to anyone else. That was my favorite part about “Charg!ng.” At its core, the video was a digital portrayal of a group of friends traveling the country and skating, being themselves and basically saying, “This is our lifestyle.” (Actually, they didn’t really say anything, they just did it.) Which is surprisingly not as common as it should be. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Daniel, and giving our readers a little more insight behind the imagery that they are about to consume. Any parting words?
Do more; talk less, and be better.
It’s really pretty simple. If more bladers stuck their neck out like the small percentage of us that make videos, publish magazines, organize contests, run companies, and put ourselves or our projects out there for criticism we would all be better off. But this also comes with a warning for those that are doing something in our industry—be better. This television pilot could be better. “Charg!ng,” “Valo 4 Life,” “Game Theory,” ONE and Be-mag could be better. Every single company in this industry could do better. Every pro could be better. The Bitter Cold Showdown and the World Rolling Series can be better. Although it sometimes gets out of hand, there is nothing in rollerblading that is safe from criticism. If you think you are doing everything right, that is when you couldn’t be more wrong.
Interview by that little shit Ben Karris
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oh my god
oh my god
oh my god
get your hand off it Arlo
YES!!! PLEASE! SO READY IT AINT FUNNY! :)
That was ILL!!! Feelin Sochihiro Kanashima.
OOH MY GAWD one more time
dang you guys went in on this! good job totally dope article interview video photos hahah
Awesome, awesome and AWESOME! But… who is So-shiro?!?! Haha. Oh well… First things first… Get rollerblading back into the mainstream, then pronounce names correctly.
Great stuff… if you guys make it to a network and need a filmer guy hit me up!
Great stuff Daniel. You captured the contest part pretty spot on and condensed it down into a tv savvy production.
It also shows how we cannot have the bcsd in Detroit anymore. To be honest i had a hard time remembering the difference between the 2010 one and the most recent one this past year (2011). The skating in fact you could say was exactly the same just with the addition of a sub rail above a sub box. It’s a great big park yes , great for space and to hold all those people, but let’s be honest in saying what more do you think people are gonna be interested or lets furthermore saying the skaters in creating what they can do there. It’s been 3 years in Detroit and i think we have finally say we have put the nail in the coffin for that park.
maybe even move it back to the flow…
Just a thought.
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How do i watch it?????????
fucking AMAZING! I couldn’t help but be totally AMPED UP from this, props to you DK!
this is so amazing! you gotta try and get this on t.v to show the world our sport
too much god damn HYPE… slow down a bit homie…
Ok, so the first guy to appear is wearing sunglasses whilst skating an indoor park… seriously dude. You are not Puff Daddy and you are not at the Grammys… you just look like an asshole.
Amazing work, really exciting to see something of this quality!
Wow. I’m So glad I started skating again. We’restarting to find the right combination of Love and Respect, and Capitalism that has always been at the core of this as a “sport”. The reason that I include capitalism that we all need money to live, especially live doing what we love. In the 90′s things got out of hand because the industry had very little to do with “street skating,”or whatever the popular term is these days, but it PAID people. Now Most of the companies are run by skaters, so of course there is a learning curve, but now is a good time to show The sport on a wider level, and draw a broader audience. We have matured and are the best candidates to influence both how we see ourselves and how the rest of society sees us. In th U.S. skating is really only growing in a few places, with a precious few who start skating or start skating again, especially in places around the country(the U.S.) that are still choked by the “skateboarding is cool, Rollerblading is gay” B.S. from the 90′s. I sincerely hope that they successfully market this program. I remember vividly recording b3, ASA and NISS events and meeting Chris Edwards at a competition I was skating in. I also remember skating in the freezing cold and still knowing who around would actually show up, whether we plan to meet or not so I rarely had to skate alone(also awesome). My point is that in order for skating to move to the future, it needs to have more participants or else it will not take care of itself (Those who have been skating 10-15 years). We have to have a larger pool to gather personalities and skills that are necessary to make this ‘sport’ represent the thing that has been true of skaters forever: We are independent. We do what we Love. We choose to Live this way, whatever that may mean to each of us. If we don’t grow skating right, it will lost forever.