Interview met Mike Douglas


Door Arjen op 14 januari 2015 · 0

Het wordt steeds normaler om behalve te genieten van het freeriden op zich, jezelf en/of je vrienden ook te filmen en daar vervolgens een leuke edit van te maken. De opkomst van kleine sportcamera's die door iedereen makkelijk te bedienen zijn, heeft enorm bijgedragen aan de zichtbaarheid en ontwikkeling van de sport. Waar een goede freeride film vroeger al snel een miljoenenproductie was, kun je nu met een camera van een paar honderd euro al fantastische beelden schieten.

De organisatie van de Dutch Freeride Week daagt je uit om een stapje verder te gaan en behalve je eigen shots op muziek te zetten ook te proberen om een verhaal te vertellen met je film. Ze schrijven daarvoor een wedstrijd uit: de DFW film contest. De winnaar van deze contest wordt bepaald door een jury, in combinatie met het sociale bereik van jouw film (views, likes & shares). En de hoofdprijs is niet mis: een heel seizoen op pad als gesponsorde rijder voor Bizztravel: acht weken wintersportvakantie voor twee personen (in seizoen 2015-2016), en je mag zelfs iedere keer iemand anders meenemen. Als reporter voor Bizztravel wordt er van je verwacht om tijdens die 8 weken een video/foto blog bij te houden.

Voor deze contest leek het ons leuk om eens wat advies te vragen aan een expert, en wie beter dan de Godfather of Short Freeride Films himself: Mike Douglas. Als eigenaar van Switchback Entertainment produceert hij al 8 seizoenen Salomon Freeski TV en heeft er ondertussen al meer dan 100 films opzitten.

How did you start with Salomon Freeski TV?

It came from a shifting of our own habits. Back in 2007 we found that instead of putting DVD's into the machine and watching videos that way, we were starting to watch videos online. There wasn't much good ski content online at that time so we decided to seize the opportunity and start a ski series.

What do you consider the most important thing you've learned after 8 seasons?

Content is king. You have to always keep trying to make better films and you have to keep it fresh. If you always deliver the same thing people will get bored. That's what keeps it fun for us as well.

When preparing / planning for a new film or episode, where does the process start?

Usually just with an idea - like everything. Then we research, and talk it over, and then develop it. Less than half of the ideas we come up with actually become shows, or some ideas take years before they become a reality.

What's more important, good riders, good filmers, or good circumstances? Or something else?

It really takes everything. You need everyone involved to be on the same page. More than anything it takes hard work. The people who work the hardest make the best stuff regardless of circumstances. We recently did a show in NZ where we had the worst weather I've ever experienced on a trip in my life, but we never gave up, and in the end the struggle with the weather became the story and it's one of my favorite shows of the season.

Most of us are not rich. After all, we're just skibums. How can you make a good piece of film with a simple camera?

It has never been easier or cheaper to become a filmmaker. I've seen some great videos made with just a GoPro or a smart phone. The most important thing is creativity.

If the snow or weather conditions are poor during a shoot, what do you do? Can you still make something out of it?

Yes, for sure, although it will be a lot of hard work. From season 8, we had two episodes with really bad weather. The first one is Iceland. The crew had a very big storm followed by rain to the top of all the mountains. There was no powder, but in the end the images were very beautiful and the episode has done very well. The NZ episode called ‘Ruapehu' had even worse weather. That one will come out at the end of Season 8.

You've done so many film projects by now and still come up with a different story or angle every time. Where do you get your inspiration?

We look everywhere for inspiration. It's important to look beyond the world of skiing or action sports. It's a big world out there.

How do you choose your music? Or how do you find the right music for a film(segment)?

Finding good music that is affordable is tricky and sometimes takes a lot of time. We just scour the internet looking for up-and-coming bands.

“Kill your darlings.” Ever had to leave out a great shot? Why?

All the time. We've learned that success comes from being your own harshest critic. Everyone in the Switchback crew reviews every project and sometimes honesty hurts, but ultimately that's what makes things good.

What has filming/producing done to the way you look at freeriding?

Now I focus more on beauty and creativity, than the coolest stunt. As a sport I think we need to do this or there is no future.

Is there anything you want to share about a project that you're working on, that we should be looking our for?

In Fall 2015, we will be releasing our first documentary feature film called, ‘Snowman'. It is the biggest project we have ever taken on and we learned so much by making it. It premiered at the Whistler Film Festival and the reviews have been good. We have entered it in a bunch more film festivals this spring so hopefully everyone will get a chance to see it soon.

Cheers, Mike

Meedoen aan de DFW film contest is simpel: zorg dat jouw film online staat op 14 februari 2015. Kijk hier om te zien aan welke eisen jouw film precies moet voldoen en hoe de winnaar wordt gekozen.


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