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Interview With Kyle ConradWakeskating.com had a chance to chat with Kyle Conrad, the producer of the latest wakeskating video by Sidewayz, "Fill In The Blanks." The new wakeskating video is set to release on November 20, 2004 and will be just what the doctor ordered to get some of you through those harsh winter months of not riding. For those of you lucky enough to ride all year long, or if you season is just getting started, Fill In The Blanks will surely be an inspiration to your riding. Fill In The Blanks features an array of wakeskaters from all across the nation and captures the progression of wakeskating througout the year.
Fill In The Blanks is the creation and debut film for the young producer, Conrad. Kyle has worked under Sidewayz owner and founder Ronn Seidenglanz for more than a year and now has the opportunity to showcase his talents. We were able to get a little more information from the man behind the camera and also a behind the scenes look at the production of the film.
Wakeskating.com (WS): How did you come up with the name for the film? What does it mean to you?
Kyle Conrad (KC): There is actually a story behind that one. I had an old TV in my house at college and we stenciled over it so that when the TV static came on it would light it up and the inside of the stencil would be snow. Anyways, the morning after I finalized doing the film with Ronn I went into the kitchen where the TV was on the counter and flipped it on while I got breakfast. Well, even though the TV was snowy there was still an audio signal that got picked up and as soon as it came on a cheesy announcer man voice said, "Fill In The Blanks!" I immediately turned the TV off and knew I had the name for the film.
WS: Did you have any specific goals while making this film, whether it be creatively, stylistically, or having to do with the progression of wakeskating, and some specific content you were looking to film?
KC: I think my main goal for the film was to show wakeskating in a wider perspective than any other wakeskate film made to date. I wanted to include the companies that are at the forefront of the sport and showcase riders that can freeride and are pulling new stuff in their backyards everyday. I also didn't want this film to look like a wakeboard video. I included some culture and tried to keep it artistic and creative while keeping the focus on the skating.
WS: Why did you choose to make a wakeskating film, rather than a wakeboarding film?
KC: Seeing how much unseen talent and potential a lot of skaters had that had not been shown yet made it clear that an all wakeskate film was the direction I had to take my first project. As a new director there was a lot more room in wakeskating to express vision. Also, wakeskating is so much more technical in nature and trying to capture that in the best possible way is a lot more fun.
WS: Were there any past films youíve watched that have inspired you for this project (they can be from any genre)? Were there any film makers that inspired you?
KC: One of my fav movies has always been Trainspotting, and I love the way Boyle directs. I also am a fan of Kubrick. On the wake side of things, I am good friends with Chase Heavener and I have a lot of respect for his stuff. And, of course, I grew up watching Switch and all the Sidewayz stuff, so Ronn has had a major influence as well.
WS: Who would comprise your dream cast for a wakeskating film? Did you get it, or was there anyone you would have liked to work with, but werenít able to?
KC: In my opinion, I think the cast of riders in this film is the most diverse and complete group assembled for a wakeskate film. However; there were some riders that I didn't have the chance to shoot with that I would have liked to. Timmy Kovacich is a great skater that I would have liked to have worked with and Brian Grubb was hurt. We planned to shoot, but he still has a lot of his staple moves in the film from Toe Jam.
WS: Did the riders play any other role in the creation of the film, outside of the riding?
KC: Yeah, they would call and chit chat, you know, just talk about stuff late at night while I was editing. It really helped me get through it. Plus wakeskaters give great girl advice.
WS: Did you have any guest editors help out with the film?
KC: Yes, Erich Schmaltz produced the Integrity section and I must say that it is an honor to have Erich make something so special for my film. Itís a great section.
WS: What was the best part about shooting this film? The worst?
KC: The best part would be getting to travel and make new friends. The worst is when you have to go home and input footage for a week straight.
WS: What is your most memorable day or moment of filming the video?
KC: There are two moments that stand out and one of them was the night me, Will Campbell, and Jeff B. went out with Clint Tompkins, Phillip Basino, and George Daniels and shot them with a chase jet ski while two people in the Malibu Wakesetter put two spotlights on them as the rode. There was also a 18 foot alligator in that lake and night time is dinner time! The other time that was memorable was the morning in Mexico when me and George went out on the glass and he stuck so much stuff that I went home found a new song and totally reworked his section in a new direction.
WS: Do you have any funny stories regarding the 4 broken cameras?
KC: Yeah that is a funny story. Me and Will Campbell were at The Projects one night last spring and we had a bon fire going and everyone was having fun. We brought a couple cameras with us to get some audio bytes and after a few beers we were done with it. So I gave my camera to Will and told him to find a safe place for them. Well, soon after that I needed to take a leak really bad, so I found the nearest tree. half way through I looked down and saw a silver glimmer and realized I was pissing on the camera bag that Will had placed at the bottom of the tree. That took care of two cameras and the others were just results of trying to get too close of an angle without a housing.
WS: From your experience after making this film, what components do you feel are necessary to make an entertaining and successful wakeskating video?
KC: Show the riding, but make the film something more than that. I think that if someone that has no relation to wakeskating or action sports, for that matter, can watch it and be visually entertained, and their attention can stay on it even though all the tricks look the same to them, then it is a video worth watching. It amazes me how little effort goes into some of the editing and overall style/layout of a video. The riding is the key ingredient but you have to show it in a way that is different and not kooky.
WS: Is there anything that sets this wakeskating film apart from the others that have been released?
KC: I hope this film is different in that it shows the viewers what wakeskating as a whole is all about, and that wakeskating is not wakeboarding and will continue to move in a different direction than wakeboarding. The companies that supported this film reflect that well I believe.
WS: Finish this sentence: Fill in the blanks is....
KC: Not a porno movie like Thomas thought it was.
Fill In The Blanks will be released November 20, 2004. You can order your copy of today from Boardflix.com. For more information about the film, visit the Sidewayz website at Sidewayz.com.
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