True Grit Productions

Post Team Assembled & Ready To Complete “Dog Days”

The Dog Days of Summer are here. For the project, that means buckling down and putting in the extra hours to get things finished. After a great test screening in Park City with many of the Pioneers of Freestyle in attendance, it was back to work as a school counselor and dedicating extra hours to clearing all my archival footage and music to ready “Dog Days” for festival submissions. 

Trying to clear music with publishers and the record labels has been very time consuming and I currently have requests in for ten songs. I’m hoping to have at least two or three songs in from the era. Unfortunately, the best I can do with the major labels is a one year film festival license and with my out of pocket budget, it’s very costly.

I’ve spent the last week putting in the hours testing stock music for the edit and feel good about replacing more than half of the classic rock songs. I’m very excited to have just hired composer, musician Barry Uhl to score the music for “Dog Days.” Barry is extremely talented, has a love and connection to skiing and the time period of the film and I’m thankful to be placing music responsibilities unto his very capable shoulders.

http://barryuhl.com/

I’m also extremely fortunate to have the talents of Seattle filmmaker Troy Murison who has come on board as online editor and already has made a huge impact with his color, graphics and visual effect work. Troy and his team at Dubs Inc had the film looking great for the recent Park City test screening and have the edit nearly completed for film festival submissions.

http://dubsinc.com/index.html

Finally, once the music and final polish is complete for the edit, it’s back to the capable hands of Bob Ridgely for the final post audio work. 

http://www.binaryrecordingstudio.com/Binary_Recording_Studio.html

Hopefully, July is the month to get things done and we will be ready to submit to festivals in August. I’ve been doing my best through blood, sweat and tears to make the most of what little budget we have for the project. I can’t thank others enough like my producers Caleb Young and Stanley Larsen whose advocacy, expert guidance and time they’ve contributed to support my efforts has proved invaluable. 

Speaking of money, thanks to my dad and my family allowing me to continually dip into our account to fund this little film. I’m pretty much tapped out and most likely will be doing some small fundraising. Stay tuned for the chance to purchase some cool posters and merchandise to help with completion and festival submission costs.

Thanks to all for your support and encouragement! Here’s a temporary link to earlier work on a trailer with some music we would love to get the rights to keep in the movie. I’ll keep the link open for a few days, you will have to cut and paste into your browser. The password is: truegrit 

https://vimeo.com/57606280


Project Update- Park City Screening

image

What an exciting honor for “Dog Days” to be invited to screen at the Ishpeming International Ski Film Festival. The event was part of this April’s Ski Heritage Week in Park City, Utah.

We are ever so close to being ready for festival submissions and special event screenings. Huge thanks to filmmaker, Troy Murison for his outstanding color work and Bob Ridgley for his great post production sound work. These guys have certainly helped me take the film to the next level.

"Dog Days of Winter" was given an additional screening and it was so fulfilling though a little intimidating to have so many freestyle pioneers in attendance. Though I have had very few screenings, all as a work-in-progress, you get a different view of your film each time you watch it with others. I was thrilled to hear their laughs and shout outs during the screening and touched at so many compliments and positive remarks afterwards. It’s an event I’ll never forget and helps provide the energy needed to hang in there and get this movie completed. I was also very aware that this audience knows all the additional stories and perspectives and possesses a depth of knowledge and understanding of details that give them a different reference point for viewing. There is so much more to the story and I did my best though only skim the surface in my focus to tell the story of the first few years of organized freestyle.

image

The audience arriving at the Prospector Square Theatre

Intentionally, leaving out any voice over narration, my aim was to have the retrospective presented from the voices of those who started and shaped the sport. At the start, I was thrilled to just get a few key interviews and throughout the process, amazed at my good fortune with basically no budget to be able to record 32 wonderful interviews. I was lucky to put myself in the right place at the right time and have good folks at the location trying to round up others to be included. I very much wish I could have included more skiers but time and money made this very difficult. So, one of the toughest parts of this Park City Screening was seeing pioneers who I hadn’t the opportunity to interview. Also tough is knowing how much great interview footage I have but the reality of how only a few sound bites can make it in if the film is to be completed and life is to move on. 

That said, wow, thanks for everyone’s support and I can’t wait to get my permissions for music and a few more archival clips in order, the final polish done, and get the opportunity for more screenings!

image"Bad" Bob Salerno on the big screen telling us how it was


Park City, Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (4/5/14)

What a great honor for my son and I to attend this year’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Ski Heritage Week in Park City, Utah. Freestyle received well deserved recognition as all inductees played a significant role in either it’s foundation and/or evolution throughout the past 50 decades. Three inductees, John Clendenin, Joe Jay Jalbert and Jerry Simon represent the foundation for the sport through their innovation and promotion of freestyle on the slopes, through the film lens and on stage for ski shows throughout the world.

Pictured above- An amazing group of past Hall of Fame Inductees including legends featured in Dog Days (Glen Plake, Doug Pfeiffer, Donna Weinbrecht, Stein Eriksen, Alan Engen, Suzy Chaffee & Harry Leonard)

The night was a wonderful celebration of ski history and acknowledgement to the impact that freestyle has made on ski culture. The banquet room was filled with a who’s who of skiing notables. What an honor to just be in the room let alone have met and built a connection with so many that are such a huge part of skiing history. 


I’m very honored and excited that “Dog Days” has been invited to screen at the Ishpeming International Film Fest. The event will take place on Friday, April 4th at 8:30pm. Screenings are at the Prospector Theatre in Park City, Utah.

This will be a pre-release screening as I am still working on music and a few image permissions. It’s a free event and hopefully many of the pioneers of freestyle will be in attendance. There’s a great line up of films and lots of skiing history events going on throughout the week. If you are in the area, be sure to check it out.

Wayne Wong photo courtesy of Barry Stott

I’m very honored and excited that “Dog Days” has been invited to screen at the Ishpeming International Film Fest. The event will take place on Friday, April 4th at 8:30pm. Screenings are at the Prospector Theatre in Park City, Utah.

This will be a pre-release screening as I am still working on music and a few image permissions. It’s a free event and hopefully many of the pioneers of freestyle will be in attendance. There’s a great line up of films and lots of skiing history events going on throughout the week. If you are in the area, be sure to check it out.

Wayne Wong photo courtesy of Barry Stott


THIS IS GONNA BE GOOD. THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE SPORT WE ALL LOVE. THANK YOU True Grit Productions FOR MAKING THIS.

Tanner Hall’s Facebook Page

I had reposted the trailer and noticed a huge amount of views in a short period of time (over 3000). This post along with shout outs from filmmaker Eric Iberg has certainly boosted traffic and interest in the story of the spirit that freestyle is rooted in from the younger generation. Big time thanks!!


Hot Dog! Almost 500 likes. Thanks everyone for following the progress of this project!! The film is almost to the point where we can start reaching out to potential sponsors or an Exec. Producer to help with finishing costs (ideally with some music from the era). Thanks so much to everyone following, commenting and encouraging!Poster by local Graphic Artist Phil Rose and photography by Stott Shots who I’m so excited to be sharing never before released photos from.

Hot Dog! Almost 500 likes. Thanks everyone for following the progress of this project!! The film is almost to the point where we can start reaching out to potential sponsors or an Exec. Producer to help with finishing costs (ideally with some music from the era). Thanks so much to everyone following, commenting and encouraging!

Poster by local Graphic Artist Phil Rose and photography by Stott Shots who I’m so excited to be sharing never before released photos from.


An incredible gathering of freestyle pioneers, who entertained, wowed and inspired us back in the day. What a fantastic opportunity to have this story published in Skiing Heritage and record the story of the start up of the sport as told by those who created it.
An incredible gathering of freestyle pioneers, who entertained, wowed and inspired us back in the day. What a fantastic opportunity to have this story published in Skiing Heritage and record the story of the start up of the sport as told by those who created it.


Project Update-Post Production

It’s hard to believe that four years ago when I considered making a documentary to pay tribute to the small group of skiers and organizers that started freestyle competitions in the United States that four years later, I would still be at it, trying to complete my first full length documentary. What an adventure and lesson in perseverance it has been.

image

It started with the thought of making a short documentary on the First Annual National Championship of Exhibition Skiing that occurred at Waterville Valley on March 8th, 1971. Having just been laid off due to budget cuts from my job as a school counselor, I was looking to get back into filmmaking and take a breather after years of youth service work. I had skied with my childhood hero, Wayne Wong, every Summer throughout my high school years as a camper at Toni Sailer Ski Camp on Whistler Mountain. I knew the story of his flying, hitch hiking and taking a bus to participate in the historic first competition that was the blueprint for a new sport born in America. I was also surprised when searching the internet back in 2009 that there was very little information and history on my heros of the first era of freestyle.

image

After a few phone calls and having the privilege of recording an interview with Wayne in 2010, he encouraged me to expand the project to tell the story of the birth and evolution of freestyle skiing. Then it seemed like a daunting but exciting task. As kids, we were inspired and tried to emulate the legendary pioneers of freestyle, then thrilling, skilled, 20-year old free-spirits of a new sport they were building. What a dream come true to meet and interview heros like Bob Theobald, John Clendenin, Scott Brooksbank and Eddie Ferguson. It was the spirit they embodied and expressed in film and magazines that captivated me. I really had little knowledge of the competitions, standings or individual personalities.

image

While this journey of making “Dog Days,” has been a discovery of that history as told by those who created and shaped the sport, it is really the story of the spirit that freestyle is rooted in. That has always been my intention and my tool to keep the story focused. Wayne told me from the start when I had doubts to expand the story beyond the Waterville contest that because my reference is from the kid the original band of pioneers inspired, it made me an ideal story teller.

Well, I’m proud to have recorded over 30 hours of interviews with 32 of the pioneers and promotors of freestyle. The production name True Grit is in honor of the Waterville run chosen for the first contest where ballet/stunts, aerials and free-style(moguls) were incorporated in a single run. It also stands for the character of the skiers and the required attitude to make documentaries. The bulk of my interviews were recorded over two years from Jan. 2010-Dec. 2011. I completed the first draft of the story last Summer, editing those 30-hours down to 90-minutes.

Because of my rehire as a full-time counselor and work as a youth mental health counselor, this has been a long but committed process. Also, I have done everything out of pocket to date. Last Fall, I took out a loan to pay for an excellent local director, Caleb Young to come on as a producer and help me put together an edit to submit to mountain film festivals and ski shows. I am in a situation now though that I will be doing some fundraising and possible sponsor approaches to help pay for finishing costs. While, I am not expecting or motivated by any profit other than the satisfaction of  completing the project and paying homage to the original group of pioneers who started the sport, I’m being mindful to do the best I can to reach an audience.

There are so many stories within this story and what I have just scratches the surface. I’m psyched that other projects are underway with Christian Dietzel’s “Lords of Freestyle” and Chuck Boone and John Clendenin working to rerelease the classic “Winter Equinox.” Chuck has done an outstanding job in restoring the original cut and what an honor to watch in Sun Valley and be supportive of each other’s efforts. Also, what a gift to be featuring some incredible archival footage and photos from Barry Stott, ski resorts, magazines, personal collections, Joe Jay Jalbert, Dick Barrymore, and John Jay. We are still working on more permissions and hope that this project also serves as a gallery and promotion for the audience to discover/rediscover these classic works.

Caleb and I are working hard to get that first rough cut done. I am extremely thankful for the support and encouragement of the group of Freestyle Legends who have been so helpful in helping me attempt to present their story. Besides the one hour documentary, I am honored to have recorded the many hours to preserve an oral history of the start up of freestyle skiing in America. 

image


Great Skiing cover shot of freestyle pioneer, John Clendenin. As one of Barrymore’s original K2 Performers, an innovator and showman on the revolving ski dek and a top competitor/performer in all four freestyle events (ballet, moguls, aerials and the overall), J.C. is a key figure in the story of the birth and boom of freestyle skiing. 
I’m very excited and honored to be able to feature images from Ski and Skiing in the documentary. For me, the hot dog/freestyle images and articles in these magazines sparked an excitement to go out onto the slopes and try and emulate my heros of the day (Wong, Ferguson, Brooksbank, Clendenin and the host of original hot doggers).
Dog Days of Winter tells the story of those first few years of hot dog or exhibition skiing when it was as much about spectacle as sport.

Great Skiing cover shot of freestyle pioneer, John Clendenin. As one of Barrymore’s original K2 Performers, an innovator and showman on the revolving ski dek and a top competitor/performer in all four freestyle events (ballet, moguls, aerials and the overall), J.C. is a key figure in the story of the birth and boom of freestyle skiing. 

I’m very excited and honored to be able to feature images from Ski and Skiing in the documentary. For me, the hot dog/freestyle images and articles in these magazines sparked an excitement to go out onto the slopes and try and emulate my heros of the day (Wong, Ferguson, Brooksbank, Clendenin and the host of original hot doggers).

Dog Days of Winter tells the story of those first few years of hot dog or exhibition skiing when it was as much about spectacle as sport.


A short snippet of raw footage from my interview with freestyle pioneer and filmmaker, Stanley Larsen. Here, he talks about his inspiration to get into freestyle before it organized into a sport. Like so many I had the privilege to interview, it was films like “Ski The Outer Limits” and “The Performers” that sparked the imagination and generated an energy that would lead to the birth of freestyle in America.

Thanks to Caleb Young for operating the camera and joining me on the shoot. Archival footage used with permission from Dick Barrymore’s films.


Project Update-Visit to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame

Last week, I had the great opportunity to venture to Ishpeming, MI and pay a visit to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. A huge thanks to Tom West and Bob Hendrickson for supporting the documentary and my research efforts. A key focus of my visit was to view the outstanding John Jay collection that spans an amazing 50 decades of skiing. We are hopeful that we will be able to include some of John Jay’s classic footage along with images from Dick Barrymore, Summit Films, Joe Jay Jalbert, Barry Stott, Vail, Sun Valley, Waterville Valley, skiers personal collections and hopefully the classic film of the ‘74 tour, Winter Equinox. I couldn’t be more delighted to showcase some of the greatest images of the early days of freestyle as those who created and shaped the sport tell the story of the birth of a sport in America.

It was also an honor to help support the Hall’s preparation to pay tribute to freestyle pioneer and ski icon, Wayne Wong’s upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame. What better way to work on “Dog Days” then to be back in my home state, being surrounded by an amazing collection of ski history and nice folks to support my efforts and get to eat Pastys. Hope I will be able to return again some day soon!

Congratulations Wayne!! Amazing Cover shot by Scott Nelson (1972)


Finally-something about my sport !

I grew up in western Massachusetts during the early 70’s and was on the Bousquet Freestyle Team. We competed with other ski areas ( Mass., New York, Vermont, etc.) Had to put up with a lot of grief and friction from the racers and ski patrol. Was much like what skateboarders had to go through in the early 80’s. Glad to see this project is happening and can’t wait to see it.


Thanks to Sakeus Bankson and all the good folks at The Ski Journal for the most appreciated write up. It’s an honor to be featured in such an outstanding publication.

Thanks to Sakeus Bankson and all the good folks at The Ski Journal for the most appreciated write up. It’s an honor to be featured in such an outstanding publication.


Here’s a sneak peek at our first attempt at a trailer for the story of the start up of freestyle skiing in America. My 75-minute first rough cut from interviews is now looking to become a one hour broadcast length documentary. Thanks to Jim Murphy for helping with the music! Also, working with a partner the past three months has been a great experience and wonderful decision for the project. Thanks Caleb! We are about 40-minutes into the first rough cut. Lots of work to go: getting the archival footage, adding an interview or two and hoping to find some additional funding to pay for a song or two, visual effects and getting everything looking and sounding as good as possible.

So thankful for everyone’s support and encouragement!


Project Update

Well, here I am in 2013, three years into the project. “Dog Days” continues to be a low budget (a big reason for the slow pace since I need to keep my full time paying job), first time, independent feature documentary. I never could have imagined the adventure and task I got myself into when my decision to make a short documentary on the first organized freestyle (exhibition skiing) event in March of 1971 at Waterville Valley quickly expanded into presenting the story of the spirit that freestyle is rooted in and the original group who got things started. While the history of freestyle lends itself to a much larger story, I’ve kept to the focus of the birth and initial boom of the first years of loose organization, 1971-1974. One of the key questions I asked the pioneers from that era that I was so fortunate to interview was what defined the essence, relationships and spirit that the sport is rooted in (what is the “free” in freestyle). What factors created the template for freestyle and what factors impacted the original intent? 

Stott Shot of Wild Bill O’Leary finishing his ballet run with style and finesse at the ‘74 Championships. Fun, innovation and “Look at me!” were a big part of that original template which the sport grew from.

My one New Year’s resolution is to complete The Dog Days of Winter in 2013. I’ve been fortunate to receive a small loan (as far as filmmaking goes) to block out time for a young, talented local filmmaker (Caleb Young) who has been very generous in his consultations the past year to help me finish the edit. This has allowed me to keep things moving and at a higher level, while I do my daily work in the school counseling world and let Caleb work on the project at Handcrank Films where he is a director. I’ve appreciated this partnership greatly and we hope to have a few trailers/teasers to post soon.

“Dog Days” is very fortunate to have Caleb’s dedicated partnership as an editor and producer. Caleb Young graduated from Western Washington University in 2005 with a BA in Creative-Writing/English and Minor in Film and founded LAB Films-NW. Since then, Caleb has produced, directed and/or lensed 5 independent feature films, 11 short films, and several music videos, receiving several Official Selections and Awards.

It would also be a dream come true to get some funding to pay for licensing a few classic rock songs from the era and visual effects/titles to take the edit to the next level.

I can’t tell you how much the support and encouragement from friends, families, freestylers and fans of the spectacle turned sport has meant to me.

Thank You & Happy New Year!!