Back in Black

Making Of Back In Black

Making snowboard films is a lot like life. It’s always exciting, filled with plenty of surprises, and with enough hard work, you’re granted some really amazing moments. But most of all, they’re a real pain in the ass. I should know, I’ve made fifteen of ’em, in addition to commercials, music videos, major movies—you name it. But snowboard movies are the worst. Anyone who has ever worked on a half-assed snowboard movie knows just how much work it is, from dealing with riders who won’t get off the couch to crappy weather and snow conditions that plague film crews all year. Then there’s the snowmobiling—man, don’t get me started on snowmobiles. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck on a snowmobile. It suuuucks!

Don’t forget the sponsors that almost always pay you as late as possible. And there’s the modern-day grifters, better known as video distributors. These are just some of the reasons I took a year off in between Brainstorm and Back In Black. In 2002 Brad Kremer took over almost all the reins for Happy Hour. Brad has been a big part of Kingpin Productions for years.

After Happy Hour came out, I decided I wanted to work on Back In Black. I left the snowboard filming to the pros—Brad Kremer, Shane Charlebois, Simon Turcotte, and new guy Dominic Gauthier. Under the direction of Brad Kremer, they were able to gather up some of the best snowboard footage I’ve seen in years. This is amazing considering how crappy the snow season was. A large part had to do with how consistent our riders are. When it dumped they stuck every jump and cliff in their paths. Big standout parts were earned by D.C.P., Marc Frank Montoya, Gigi Rüf, Chris Coulter, Jeff Anderson, and Iikka Bà¤ckström.

My job on Back In Black was to come up with the intros, art direct, and help Brad in the editing room. We worked all summer long on the intros and skits. It was a lot of work, but it all paid off with a movie that is thoroughly entertaining. In between the good times, we experienced a terrible tradgedy this year with the death of our friend Jeff Anderson. Brad and I sweated immensely on finding the right song for Jeff’s part. I’ve never felt so much pressure in putting a part together. I worked with the computer designers on Jeff’s intro, and Brad did an amazing job editing Jeff’s section. In the end, it’s touching, uplifting, sad, and inspirational all at once.

I just want to say thanks to everyone who has ever helped me and/or Kingpin Productions. Especially to Brad Kremer, Shane Charlebois, Simon Turcotte, Andy Wright, Katy Caparella, and all the other filmers and photographers who have helped make Kingpin Productions something special. And, of course, to all the snowboarders who made this possible. We have always choosen our talent based on their personalities and been blessed with the coolest riders in the biz. We’d ask the question, “Who do we want to hang out with day in and day out?” Snowboarding and filming shouldn’t feel like a competition, it’s supposed to be fun. It should be about getting four to five good friends together and being lucky enough to ride the best terrain around, crack jokes all day, and get paid for it. Hell, I made it through fifteen movies, I guess it couldn’t have been all that bad.— Rob “Whitey” McConnaughy

Zach Leach

Have you ever seen the old skate video Streets Of Fire where Natas Kaupus spins around on the fire hydrant? If not, I suggest you do. Natas’ part was the basis for my skit. Photographer Tim Zimmerman helped me cart two truckloads of snow from Mt. Hood down to Portland, Oregon this summer. We put the snow in buckets and used it sparingly to make runways throughout the city. The snow was sometimes just a front, because half the time I was actually rolling around on a pair of trucks and wheels attachedo one of the boards we used.

Whitey, Zimmerman, Gigi Rüf, Brad Kremer, J2 Rasmus, and Andy Forgash all helped lay strips of snow around the city—it was a challenge trying to land on some of the small patches of snow. The first day was mostly filmed in this parking lot with me sliding a small sixteen-stair rail—there was no snow on the landing, and it was really hard to stick.

Most of the filming took place over two ten-hour days. It was so hot that we had trouble using the snow before it melted. The last shot was supposed to be me spinning around on a fire hydrant with Natas standing in the background reading the newspaper and laughing at me, but the timing was off, and I was late filming—so it actually finishes with me eating shit.

 

The Canadians

It all started in the fall of 2002 when Sean Kearns took charge of producing the new Mack Dawg flick. Mr. Kearns had already made a list of riders to film with, and in the process me, Gaetan Chanut, and Dionne Delesalle got axed from the project. I called Brad Kremer at Kingpin because he’d told me the previous summer that they were interested in working with Gaetan and me. And since Rossignol is a main sponsor of Kingpin, I was covered on that side.

Things were looking good for us until I realized that Kingpin’s Whistler film crew was already full—it soon hit me that I had no filmer or camera. I asked Kingpin, but they didn’t have a 16mm to spare. Then I went on eBay to check pricing and availability on cameras, but I couldn’t find anything. Ironically, I finally found one from an MDP filmer and bought it for a fair price, and around the same time Rossignol granted me some money to pay a filmer (after months of negotiations).

Unfortunately, there were still some details to work out—the filmer I chose (my roommate Dom Gauthier) didn’t own a sled and had never worked with a 16mm camera. But I’d already gone this far—I couldn’t turn back. So I bought a new Summit Rev 800 and let Dom use my other sled minus a bill for parts from when I blew the engine two weeks prior. Everything fell into place in mid March, and I began filming for Back In Black.

This is a summary of my winter—plus, add on the stress that came from not seeing any film transfer from the new camera and the worst possible season on the West Coast. On an end note, each of my tricks in Back In Black cost me around 2,200 dollars Canadian.—J-F Pelchat

 

David Carrier Porcheron

Last season was fun, considering all of the waiting for good weather I did. I drove around a lot, from Whistler to Golden, B.C. then to Lake Tahoe. Kept going ’til Colorado, chased a storm into Utah, and finally home. Flew to Europe three times, California, Norway, and spent about 50 days snowmobiling—all that to find new jumps, lines, and cliffs to ride—things that I can push myself on.

There was even a mission to Chatter Creek, B.C., where we drove nine hours, snowmobiled for 100 km in freezing-cold conditions, then hiked in hopes of finding deep, deep pow. After we got all the way out there, it began to rain and warmed up so much that avalanches took the road away—got nothing from that trip.

Filming a video part is a full-time job. Sometimes you build a jump and it doesn’t work out, other times you have to wait for the weather to clear up, the winds to die, or the snow to fall. But then there might be that one week where you get ten shots. All you need to do is to keep trying, keep charging, and take every opportunity you get. When you’re filming and it’s bluebird and the snow is good—my advice is to take advantage of every minute of daylight and every drip of energy you have, because you never know when it’s gonna be sunny again. Enjoy the moment, and have fun!

Marc Frank Montoya

Yo, that P. Diddy light thing was crazy. Them foo’s went all out this time! I was trippin’! The shit was off the hook, for real. I just hope people ain’t all thinkin’ I’m really seriously tryin’ to be some rip-off rapper homey or some shit! It’s all just a joke thang, an intro for my part—that’s it. You know, filler shit!

I was soakin’ f—kin’ wet after our last shot, I had to stomp around in that water for like five minutes. That shit was funny ’cause there was like 25 dudes and one chick just standin’ there watchin’ me act a fool! I was starvin’ like a motherf—ker during the whole thing, too, ’cause right before the shoot, I was too busy skatin’ Burnside to eat, then had to rush over to the spot. We were shootin’ that shit from 8:00 p.m. to like 3:00 a.m. 

The thing that really matters is the snowboarding footage, though. Some nice-ass riding ‘n’ junk. But you can’t just have some bland headshots of each rider for an intro. The movie has to be creative and fun to watch as a whole. That’s why Kingpin movies are off the hook.

Chris Coulter

First off, Whitey’s the man—he developed the idea for this skit. Although, it was a team effort to make it happen—Steve McDougal (the set builder) and TG (the man on the scene) did most of the building. Other people involved were Brad Kremer, Gigi Rüf (set team), J2 (photos/comic relief), and Dustin Anderson (lighting). I can’t give this skit justice with words. The set was an art collage weeks in the making.

The warehouse was 96 degrees—we were all so sweaty our clothes were sticking to us. To set the camera and myself in motion, J2 and TG would push two bars that connected the camera and my dollies. Twos strategically taped a cup to the pole he was manning as a makeshift spittoon, that way he could get minted on the job. They had to carry me at the right speed so I could put on some gear and splash water on my face. The alarm kept giving us trouble (the thing was nearly impossible to set). By 4:00 a.m., Dustin could hardly stay awake. He would pass out while the boys were getting everything ready—filling the water, Velcro-ing sheets to the bed, and setting the alarm. Action would start with Dustin sleeping—then the alarm would go off for the beginning of the scene and wake him up. It must have been a nightmare for him, waking up and instantly changing the lighting for all three scenes. At about 5:00 a.m., twenty takes into filming, we got what White Dude was looking for.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved: Whitey, Steve, TG, Brad, Gigi, J2, Dustin, and Novatron (for the painting). It was dope being involved in such a creative project.

moment, and have fun!

Marc Frank Montoya

Yo, that P. Diddy light thing was crazy. Them foo’s went all out this time! I was trippin’! The shit was off the hook, for real. I just hope people ain’t all thinkin’ I’m really seriously tryin’ to be some rip-off rapper homey or some shit! It’s all just a joke thang, an intro for my part—that’s it. You know, filler shit!

I was soakin’ f—kin’ wet after our last shot, I had to stomp around in that water for like five minutes. That shit was funny ’cause there was like 25 dudes and one chick just standin’ there watchin’ me act a fool! I was starvin’ like a motherf—ker during the whole thing, too, ’cause right before the shoot, I was too busy skatin’ Burnside to eat, then had to rush over to the spot. We were shootin’ that shit from 8:00 p.m. to like 3:00 a.m. 

The thing that really matters is the snowboarding footage, though. Some nice-ass riding ‘n’ junk. But you can’t just have some bland headshots of each rider for an intro. The movie has to be creative and fun to watch as a whole. That’s why Kingpin movies are off the hook.

Chris Coulter

First off, Whitey’s the man—he developed the idea for this skit. Although, it was a team effort to make it happen—Steve McDougal (the set builder) and TG (the man on the scene) did most of the building. Other people involved were Brad Kremer, Gigi Rüf (set team), J2 (photos/comic relief), and Dustin Anderson (lighting). I can’t give this skit justice with words. The set was an art collage weeks in the making.

The warehouse was 96 degrees—we were all so sweaty our clothes were sticking to us. To set the camera and myself in motion, J2 and TG would push two bars that connected the camera and my dollies. Twos strategically taped a cup to the pole he was manning as a makeshift spittoon, that way he could get minted on the job. They had to carry me at the right speed so I could put on some gear and splash water on my face. The alarm kept giving us trouble (the thing was nearly impossible to set). By 4:00 a.m., Dustin could hardly stay awake. He would pass out while the boys were getting everything ready—filling the water, Velcro-ing sheets to the bed, and setting the alarm. Action would start with Dustin sleeping—then the alarm would go off for the beginning of the scene and wake him up. It must have been a nightmare for him, waking up and instantly changing the lighting for all three scenes. At about 5:00 a.m., twenty takes into filming, we got what White Dude was looking for.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved: Whitey, Steve, TG, Brad, Gigi, J2, Dustin, and Novatron (for the painting). It was dope being involved in such a creative project.