Boise filmmaker Erik Bill talks about his latest release, Dayshapes, and offers his thoughts on the rollerblading industry.
Now that the internet is the dominant force in terms of how the world receives media on a daily basis, you would think that this would affect the number of DVD releases in the rollerblading industry. After all, it is much cheaper for aspiring blading videographers to upload their creations online and let the kids on Rollernews tear it to shreds rather than waste the time, effort and money involved in getting the product packaged and shipped to skate shops – but you would be wrong.
There are a bunch of talented filmmakers in the rollerblading community that are going it alone and releasing some incredible independent videos without the financial backing of sponsors. As rollerbladers we are indebted to these pioneering individuals, because they are the ones exposing relatively-unknown scenes and talented newcomers to the rest of the world. One such videographer is Boise, Idaho’s Erik Bill. This year he released his latest video, Dayshapes, so we decided to catch up with him and find out a little more about the man that has been responsible for providing much-needed exposure for the Gem State.
How did you get into making your own skate videos?
I think my story is a pretty common one. My middle school homies and I pooled together our money and bought a piece of shit camera. I was obsessed with filming and watching all the footage while everyone else hated being behind the lens.
You recently released Dayshapes. Can you tell us about the creative process that went into that video?
Dayshapes was a pretty organic deal. All of the skating came together somewhat naturally in the sense that everyone in the video is a really good friend of mine and we’d be blading together whether or not I was documenting it. I always want my projects to keep the interest of a rollerblader but I also want someone who has no idea what they’re watching to be able to pay attention. I love all the bands that I used but I also feel that a lot of those songs are just really cool – no matter who you are. My girlfriend just finished up at BSU with five years of graphic design, so she was a big part of the creative process as far as the cover/ menu art and fonts go. We wanted to keep an NDN (Indian) feel to the package but steer away from putting the headdress logo on everything. I think it turned out pretty cool! I splurged a bit with money that I didn’t have to make the DVD cases out of recycled cardstock and get blu-rays made. I’m glad I did, though. I’m big on having a cool physical product at the end of a project.
What is the scene like in Boise, Idaho at the moment?
There’s definitely room for more bladers but the scene is great. I get hit up at least a few times a day by pals that are wanting to go shreddin’, so that’s cool. I think it’s easy to be interested in rollerblading in this town because we’ve got Erik Bailey around. He’s a nice guy, blades daily, cares about the scene. Not only do kids want to skate like him, they want to look like him! There are also a bunch of good buddies from surrounding cities and states that help represent the scene here. I think Boise has got a good ‘home away from home’ type of feel to visitors who come through our hood. I try to do my part with the scene by running Thursday Night Shred and as well as giving local discounts and first dibs on NDN products!
In addition to making videos, you’re also sponsored by Valo and Ground Control – is that right?
Ground Control decided to pick me up at about the same time as Razors. I had developed a good friendship with Geoff Acers and when I decided to part ways with Razors and get involved with Valo, Geoff was nice enough to keep me on the GC squad!
Have you got any upcoming projects you are working on?
Since Dayshapes I’ve mostly been skating for other people’s projects but I’ve been doing some quick online stuff behind the camera for the blog. I’ve been filming a few friends around here for online sections and Erik and I recently started filming an onliner for one of his sponsors. I actually just started filming for my next real release, though. I don’t have a whole lot of information about it yet, but it’s comin’!
Is making videos a full-time job for you or do you work anywhere else to support yourself?
Shit, wouldn’t that be nice? I have an office job at a publishing company that gets me by.
What blading videos have you enjoyed recently?
Valo4Life is really fucking good. Regardless is cool. Charg!ng. I guess it depends on how you define ‘recently’, Haha!
What do you think about the current state of the sport?
I’ve got to be cliché and say that there needs to be more money, exposure, but beyond all that I think the current state of blading is pretty fucking great. There are incredible companies ran by legends of our trade that know exactly what needs to be done and exactly how to make it cool. There are good websites, good products, good personalities etc. I always read online that “there aren’t any rollerbladers that live off of their salary.” That’s bullshit. I agree that some of the top names in our industry deserve to be paid a hell of a lot more than they currently are but they have a home, a steady income and get to travel the world. We’re definitely digging ourselves out of a hole but I feel that some of us are doing it much better than others.
What would you like to see change?
I think it’d be better if I didn’t answer that question. I’ll just say that there are a few companies and individuals right now that are doing some negative shit to blading!
Photo: Tom Midak
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