Catching Up With Troy Eckert
Following their “digital first” campaign of 2 Be Continued, Volcom, Vans, Oakley, Thor, and Monster Energy have released the hit biography piece on Ryan Villopoto in a more traditional DVD format. With extended interviews, riding footage, and outtakes, it allows even the most diehard RV fan the chance to dive deeper into the life and personality of one of the sport’s fastest riders. On the heels of this release, we talked with director and editor Troy Eckert on the process that went into making the film.
How did the idea for “2 Be Continued” come up?
The idea started around the time he won his Supercross championship in 2011. I worked for Volcom and am just an avid motocross fan and rider, and it felt like there wasn’t anything else going on as far as videos on racers. I had just moved to Hawaii and had taken a step back from what I was doing at Volcom, so I was in a place to shoot it. I talked to Ryan and his management, and they were up for the idea, so we started planning it. While we were planning, he got into the outdoor season and killed it, which made the whole idea even sweeter. When he won the des Nations and the Monster Cup, it all naturally rolled from there.
Ryan has been Volcom’s marquee rider for quite some time now, making their involvement much deeper, as they produce gear alongside Thor. Is it because of Ryan that their branching out into moto has gone so well?
Yeah. It is funny, because I ended up meeting him in 2007 at the Budds Creek Motocross des Nations, when he went on a tear on his 250. Nate Hawley, who worked for Vans at the time, introduced me to him and it was one of those things where I knew we had to get him and he was into it. It snowballed from there. Troy Powell, who runs the motocross division at Volcom, has put a lot of hard work into it and it is one of those things that “fit” with Volcom. It has naturally happened, but there has been a lot of hard work put into the program, too. We cater to the riders differently than we do the athletes in skate and snow.
When it came to filming for the video, how long did it take to compile all the archived footage and shoot the original footage that was used?
We were lucky enough to have good relationships with Troy Adamitis of The Great Outdoors, with Feld Motorsports, and Alli Sports. We first got in touch with Troy, which helped catapult the video because the outdoors were huge for Ryan in his early years and along his career. Feld was open to helping us, because we needed Supercross footage from them, and Alli as well for the outdoors. That made up a really good amount of the movie. For the new footage, we flew to Florida and spent three or four days with Ryan, shooting him on his Supercross track and did some of the interviews then. We did other things like paintball and him shooting his guns, B-roll stuff. After that we did another round of filming in February, and that is when we interviewed Jeremy McGrath, Eric Johnson, Mitch Payton, Mike Williamson, and his Dad. There were really only two big shoots that made up our original footage, and everything else was archived. All together it was one big puzzle.
It has a very different feel for a moto movie, a biography piece that focuses on one rider instead of a riding itself. How did you come with the idea?
With Ryan, this was to expose his personality a bit more to the public and his fans. The kid is classic and the big goal for me was to bring it out, which I think we achieved. When we interviewed the people, we were able to get them to open up about his personality and it shows him in a different way; who he is in a different way than just a dominating force on a motorcycle.
In the industry, the video has been very well received, and it was unveiled to the public with a different yet aggressive marketing campaign. How has the public taken to the video?
It has been doing pretty good. The way we rolled it out was a bit new for motocross, because we did the live premier on Facebook and was just an iTunes release at first. Now we have launched the DVD, which is a special edition that has extra interviews and riding. But, at the end of the day, it was not about selling a lot. Of course you want to move units, but it made more just to do it and have it out there. I am stoked, because I wanted people to see it. It was done a non-traditional way in motocross and we did some experimenting, and I am hoping the DVD will give it a bump. I know in the motocross world and the world in general, people are just now warming up to the iTunes download. It is really easy to do, but some people would rather have a hard copy in front of them and it is not disposable.
Now that Volcom has their first video out for the motocross demographic, can we expect more?
Gosh, I don’t know (laughs). Right now, we are just trying to maximize this and get it out, but I am not going to say no to others for sure. You never know, but we have no plans right now. We worked on this for a year and a half, so now we take a deep breath and step back.
To purchase the DVD, click here.