Exclusive I-view with DOUG URQUHART about BARELY DEAD
barely dead, doug urquhart, erik bailey, jon julio
Well, everything is coming together really well now. It’s just funny that I had a release date. I guess my big mistake was trying to set a date initially [for the video come out]...
With deadline coming up for the video, how are things going with you right now?Well, everything is coming together really well now. It’s just funny that I had a release date. I guess my big mistake was trying to set a date initially [for the video come out]. It went from August to September, so I feel like it’s been a lot of build-up, you know, a lot of people have probably been pretty excited over this. But now, it’s November–it’s gonna be close to the holidays–and finally it’s almost done. So I think in the next three or four days, everything is going to be wrapped up. I just felt like I was running out of time on it all, and at the same time I’m trying not to rush through it. I want it to be a quality product. All the cover art, the packaging--all that stuff--has gone to print. So it’s nice to have that going on in the background and, that way, once I finish the DVDs themselves, it’s not like I’m waiting for the printer.
Because that’s the biggest thing: it’s one thing finishing it; but then this time of the year, you get it into the replication facility and you’re making 4,000/5,000 DVDs and you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. These same plants are making XBox games, Playstation games, all the big [movies]: Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers--any other big film coming out. [So] when you have other people making 100,000 units and you’re coming in, making a couple thousand, you just get put in the waiting line and you’re constantly pushed to the back. So I think that’s the hardest thing this time of the year; everyone’s trying to make all the holiday video games and stuff and so you’re kind of just struggling to get your stuff to be manufactured in time.
So what exactly is left to get the thing into stores?As of right now, things are wrapping up. The end is near. Within the next four to five days, this is totally going to be wrapped up. Once everything gets finished, then it's probably a solid day to two days of encoding everything.
[And with Barely Dead,] initially disc 1 was just a documentary, which is practically a 60-minute feature documentary. The second disc was going to be the skate video portion. What I've decided to do now is do it in high-definition. [Because] with Black Market, I highly advertised it as being the first rollerblade film in high-def, and I didn’t even own a high-def TV. So here I am producing this stuff in high-definition and I, myself, don't even have a good way to enjoy it all.
So what I wanted to do this time, just to be able to release everything in high definition, too, is that the first disc in the set is just a standard DVD that can play on all DVD players, and that's everything: it's the documentary, it's the skate sections, everything. Now the second DVD is an exact clone of the first but everything is encoded in high-definition. However, you can only play it back on your computer. So it is limited, but I feel like enough people these days have nice computer monitors and it's one of those things that's not costing people. It's costing me more on my end to do two discs and to spend the time to do it in high-def like this, but it's not costing the customer more. So I hope people feel like they're getting more--a better value--for their money.
I know you're kind of wary about putting a date on the movie, but do you have a date that you're shooting for to get it in stores?
At this point, there's no more bullshitting around; the dates are pretty solid. It should be shipping by the end of this month. So, come the first week of December, I'd say stores are going to have it. It's obviously going to hit the US quicker than it is internationally because just to get this over to Europe, you gotta deal with probably a week or two of a thousand DVDs trying to make it's way through customs and that can turn into a big hassle.
And another thing to add on to the list of what I have to finish up now, is I'm trying to do subtitles. Normally there's no barrier getting skate videos out to the whole world because there's not much talking. You're watching the skating; it's all about the action. Well, in the case of Barely Dead, you have a nearly 60-minute feature documentary about the history of rollerblading. So I'm talking to my distributor in Japan and they're telling me, "Hey, our customers aren't going to be able to understand this. We need subtitles."
So I've been working with a friend in Japan, Shinpei, that is helping do translation. So the cool thing right now that I want to get out is the fact that it is going to have Japanese subtitles, which will be pretty cool and no one's ever done that before for a rollerblading film.
At the end of the Knowledge section of Black Market you printed a little disclaimer saying that you didn't have time to properly edit or properly finish the documentary. Was it from that the idea for Barely Dead arose?
Initially, the idea for Black Market was to be this skate video but throughout it--in between the segments--I was going to have these little knowledge pieces. Just when it came down to it, I ran out of time to do it. So I had a lot of valuable information that I didn't want to just totally hold off for a new project. So I went ahead and included it but, at the same time, I wasn't happy with it. It was pretty much raw interviews. So the goal for Barely Dead was to bring that stuff together, shoot new stuff, and then do a real documentary. In Black Market, my focus shifted to the Euro Tour and that became the central thing for the film. So Barely Dead is all those thoughts reworked and put into a new product.
So was this the idea that made you want to do a documentary style film as opposed to a typical skate video? It all started with Black Market. There needs to be more rollerblading videos or films produced that have more to them than just tricks because, otherwise, how is it ever going to get out to a larger audience? Skate videos are all good and grand, but it's only for skaters to appreciate. You show anybody else and they're like, "Okay. That's cool; that's awesome," but the attention span isn't there. It all starts to look the same, I think, after a while. But it's different when you have a narrated documentary to take you through a story. And then anybody, no matter who you are, it's like you can sit down and watch it and learn something from it.
Since parts of this interview are going to go online, can you kind of give people a little bit of a sneak preview of what the film is about?
I've kind of kept it on the down-low--what it's actually about--and that's something that Justin Eisinger--who has written the narration for this--and I have been going back-and-forth on with our ideas for months, ever since March. It was one of those things that, at first, I wanted it to be more just about present skating, digging into the past a little bit, but it ended up being [a lot more]--like I said, the sub-phrase [for the film] is "The Saga of Modern Rollerblading".
The film starts off in the 1700s, when the first concept for inline skates comes around. So this is, more or less, not only a documentary about street skating, or aggressive skating, or rolling, or whatever you want to call it; this is about rollerblading as a whole. We explore all the other elements that make rollerblading what it is.
So it goes through the boom and hey-day prior to people even doing grinds. In 1986, the rollerblading industry was a $7 million a year industry. In 1991, it was over $200 million. From that point on, you had the people like Jess Dyrenforth–there's a whole segment on him in the documentary--where, in the 80's, he was a professional BMX rider for GT. And the bike industry was going through the same thing that rollerblading is now. It was harder to make a living out of it; things were at a downtime. And that's when Jess, through his demos that he was doing on his travels in the US, came in contact with people like Chris Edwards and Doug Boyce and he was like, "Okay, cool. This is something new and different; it’s kind of like what I'm doing now, but a different way to express it." So that's when he eventually picked up his first pair of rollerblades, got into it all, and eventually set his bike aside to become a big factor in the rollerblading industry. And he's still around today doing stuff. So that's a cool little cultural comparison we do in the film to make people understand that all these action sports--really, anything in life--there's always these up-and-down fluctuations.
So the overall film is a trip through time. It's everything. It works its way from the past to the present and I feel like there's a lot of things we dig into. It was hard because everybody wants to represent whatever companies they're working for--I mean, having everybody in the industry coming together--but at the same time, I didn't want to include all that because then someone gets left out. So we just chose, as far as companies go, to focus on Senate--the granddaddy of it all. They were the first real company owned by skaters, for skaters, making the products that were needed that weren't being made at the time by the corporate rollerblade companies. And so we do a whole section on Brooke [Howard-Smith] and Arlo [Eisenberg], discussing how Senate started. It started out as a fake company that wasn't real. And then it came around and they're running it out of their garage. And so, here they are, making a few thousand dollars, if that, their first year. Three years later, they're making over $10 million. So Senate is a great example to show a skater-owned company that went corporate. It's a really cool story to be told. And so that's a little example of a segment from the film.
To read more from this interview and to learn about what went into making Barely Dead, pick up BE-Mag Issue 22, in stores soon.
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November 28th, 2006 @ 00:18 - by xGREENxCLOVERx
This is gonna be quite the groundbreaking roller-production. Add me to the "I can't wait" bunch. =)
November 27th, 2006 @ 19:43 - by T!M
Cannot...fricken...wait! Doug you are the mannnnn!
November 27th, 2006 @ 15:59 - by OG
ianball: High-Definition is just a term used to define something of high resolution. Doug notes that this HD content will only play back on a computer. A computer monitor can handle a number of high resolutions by default. For example, the 1080i term just means that the video is composed of 1,080 vertical lines. 480p is the resolution found on a standard tube TV, receiving airwave broadcasts.
Consider that most people's computers/monitors can run a standard resolution of 1024x768 and up (which, in TV terms, would be called 768p). Likewise, 1280x1024 would be called 1024p.
So to answer your question, It will be viewable just fine on any decent computer monitor.
November 27th, 2006 @ 14:33 - by munday
Im not 100% but i think that all computer monitors can play HD so were all in luck
November 27th, 2006 @ 13:43 - by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
so what happens when we dont have HD computer monitors? just outta luck? hook up our computer's to an HD tv, i guess?
November 27th, 2006 @ 12:44 - by kia87
what can i say..... barely dead! no shit
November 27th, 2006 @ 08:51 - by Rand0mRoll77
This is gonna be the only rollerblading dvd i'm gonna buy this year but i honestly can say that i almost never have been looking forward so much to get a skatevideo.
I gonna buy this fucker even though it would mean i have to give blood to be able to afford it.
November 27th, 2006 @ 08:38 - by skate
Sweet, HD video. I would gladly pay twice the price of a normal DVD for this.
November 27th, 2006 @ 07:18 - by Chun dong-min
Sweet! I appreciate all your hard work on the film Doug, and anyone else involved. Im stoked to peep it.
November 27th, 2006 @ 07:06 - by cal
all i can say:
i can't wait to watch it.