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Old March 18th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #1
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"Riding Giants" popularity????

Other than the fact that Peralta's "Riding Giants" surfing documentary was very well put together with tons of archival footage/photos, and great editing, storyline, etc.

What made it so popular with non-surfers? How did it break the barrier of a special interest documentary into something that was viewed by general audiences?
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Old March 18th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #2
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That's the big mystery, isn't it? And what about MARCH OF THE PENGUINS? Was it Morgan Freeman, or...?

Who knows? You crack that and you can become a movie exec. They have tried for years to figure out formula that will make movies appease a mass audience. The truth is, there is none.

Just make a great movie and hope they come. I think a big key is making the movie great.

Word of mouth is also good in this case.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #3
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As a surfer, kitesurfer & 16mm water shooter myself, I should be shot as I haven't seen "Riding Giants" but my mates speak badly of it so I haven't really bothered...

One thing I hate about the american take on big wave surfing is they "sensationalise" it... I mean of course they have to when making a film to bring in the non-surfing audiences but big wave surfing is more of an underground thing... Films like The Billabong Oddyssey IMO didn't put a real life POV on big wave surfing.. Too much Hollywood flavour...
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Old March 18th, 2006, 10:11 PM   #4
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stacey peralta had a bit more experience than your average special interest documentary maker. he had been in TV and film for more than ten years before "dogtown and z-boys" hit (another great sports film). he wasn't a beginner picking up a camera to make a pet project....

i think one thing he does to set his films apart is that they aren't just music-driven sports videos, they're fully articulated, character-driven stories that follow a narrative trajectory. more recognizable, in that regard, to a hollywood audience, than say, "the collective," the mountain bike film being discussed on another thread, which is more driven by aesthetics and athletics, not by character or story. i think the gripping narrative and the ability to identify closely with specific characters distinguishes peralta's work to a broader audience and makes for more mass appeal. same goes for those penguins, the unfolding narrative is more gripping--without it, it's a bunch of penguin close-ups. cool aesthetics, but whatta story! i think that's the hook.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 10:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Darren
As a surfer, kitesurfer & 16mm water shooter myself, I should be shot as I haven't seen "Riding Giants" but my mates speak badly of it so I haven't really bothered...

One thing I hate about the american take on big wave surfing is they "sensationalise" it... I mean of course they have to when making a film to bring in the non-surfing audiences but big wave surfing is more of an underground thing... Films like The Billabong Oddyssey IMO didn't put a real life POV on big wave surfing.. Too much Hollywood flavour...

Yeah, I kind of wondered what real surfers thought about it.

I am a climber/ski mountaineer of 20+ years. And whenever there is any kind of 'hollywood' flick about these activities, I cringe and watch with critical eyes.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 10:28 AM   #6
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there's never (never-ever!) been a decent mainstream Hollywood climbing film. maybe "the eigar sanction," but that's old. but there are plenty of fabulous climbing films out there. go to banff/telluride/taos film festivals, if you want to see them...they rarely make it to TV.

i'm curious about why insiders are trashing "riding giants"--i've never seen it either. what is so bad about it? what do your friends say about "step into liquid"? i saw that and liked it, but i'm pretty uneducated about surfing and surf films.

my favorite surfing film is "pocarara" by bill heath and friends, about a pack of crazies who surf a tidal wave in the amazon. some of the best sports films are about something which transcends the sport itself.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 10:46 AM   #7
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i enjoy watching jack johnson's thicker than water. some really cool shots
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Old March 19th, 2006, 09:27 PM   #8
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Step into Liquid rules

"Step into Liquid" is extraordinary film-making. They surely used their allotment of good fortune during the project. The images are pure poetry for the eyes.

I cannot see how a film-maker cannot love this project.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 10:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
... i'm curious about why insiders are trashing "riding giants"--i've never seen it either. what is so bad about it?
It's not bad it's just too mainstream, which is probably why it did well with the non-surfer crowd. People who take extreme sports seriously crave a different focus in their sports videos/movies.

I was a skate punk/rat for about 7 years (in fact grew up on Stacey Peralta's Bones Brigade videos) and when I rented a skate video, I didn't need to know what a great guy Christian Hosoi, Caballero, or Tony Hawk was or how they grew up, I just need to see them skate, goof around, and swear it up with their buddies. Every crash, face plant, bone jar accident, and otherwise life-threatening mistake told me more about those guys than any voice over ever could.

Seeing some wannabe actor (with his body double) doing some really lame trick made you wanna puke.

Of course, the average non-skating/surfing viewer is gonna have a totally different view of a video like that. But if you know your market ...

Riding Giant's spent a lot of time getting to know the guys in the movie, but I always felt like the story was always at a distance from the activity, the audience never really gets to get right up into the mindset of these guys when they're really doing it, though we do get to see a lot of big wave surfing. Paddling out for 45 minutes to catch a 20 foot wave is pretty intense, but the story made it sound so laid back.

I enjoyed listening to the surfers shoot the breeze during the commentary, that was worth the DVD.

On a side note, I met Laird Hamilton when they did the premiere here in New York, great guy, he's as imposing in person as he is in the movie, big hulking blond guy, with a great, wild personality. Very funny to see him New York, you could see him just itching to get back to the water.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 05:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski
On a side note, I met Laird Hamilton when they did the premiere here in New York, great guy, he's as imposing in person as he is in the movie, big hulking blond guy, with a great, wild personality
Sorry, slightly OT but....

Laird's great, except for the fact that he's the only surfer in the world ever to demand half the photographers space rate in magazines for any shots of him published... Magazine space rates have barely changed in the past 10 years or so for photographers, most are barely surviving and doing it more for love, averaging about $200 a page, which is nothing as it's difficult to get published at times... Yet Laird and his sponsors could potentially make thousands of $, if not tens of thousands of $$ through the advertising they get from these shots, yet he demands this rediculous fee from the photogs.. Greedy if you ask me...

Step into Liquid I found a bit boring but I agree it was well shot. Dana's father Bruce did a much better job making Endlesss Summer 2. Maybe not as technically good but definitely more entertaining and it made a hell of a lot more money!

As a surf filmer myself, many of you may have not seen Taj Burrow's "Fair Bits" but the last section is my fave bit of surf footage ever shot. Shot in Super 16mm with 2 Bolex's by a guy I know Rick Rifici all from a chopper with Taj just going insane with crazy airs as he loves to do...
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