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Thursday, March 8, 2012
Appleyard and 'sacred' street footage

Mark Appleyard
Mark Appleyard, backside Smith in Orange County, Calif.

The last full-length, street skating video part Mark Appleyard released was in Flip Skateboards' "Extremely Sorry" (2010) video, and the world has been waiting in anticipation for his new release -- a self-funded, full video part released through The Berrics. Due any month now, Appleyard's untitled release is part of a trend of digital, downloadable videos without the high overhead of DVD production costs.

In the March issue of The Skateboard Mag, Appleyard talks about hiring his own personal filmer [Frankie Martinez] and being excited about finishing the best part he's ever made. "I love to get coverage and film, and as I was doing the interview for The Skateboard Mag it made me just want to continue and keep collecting footage," Appleyard says.

By producing his own video and teaming up with The Berrics to release it online, Appleyard will make 100 percent of the profit on the digital downloads. This is nothing new, but change is in the air and the skateboard industry is taking note. Will DVDs be a thing of the past?

Skateboard videographer RB Umali thinks of it like this: "Selling videos [online] is great, as you can reach a larger audience in a quicker amount of time. It is cheaper to produce and environmentally friendly. Bootlegging and free downloading will always be the case but it is nice to see the skaters and filmers getting paid for all of the hard work it takes to make a great skate video."

Real Skateboards staff lensman Dan Wolfe thinks DVDs will definitely become a thing of the past. "Eventually I think online sales will be the norm if it isn't already. A few videos might be worth making into some type of Blu-Ray collectors deal, but online is definitely the way it's going," Wolfe says.

Steve Berra, the "Berr" in the Berrics, sees the future in straight-to-digital, downloadable skate videos and is preparing the site to handle the logistics and traffic. I had a chance to speak with Berra about his take on working with Appleyard, the digital realm and where skateboard videos go from here. When is Appleyard's video to be released?
It'll be released within the next few months shortly after another huge Berrics premiere.

Mark Appleyard
Mark Appleyard stands to reap the financial benefits of his do-it-yourself digital download video.

How and why did Appleyard approach the Berrics to release his video?
I talked to Mark a little bit about it, I'd say two years ago when he was wrapping up the Flip video. Along the way he and Chase [Gabor] had developed a friendship from filming his "Battle Commander" and various other things for the Berrics, so I think the idea never left his head. Mark and Chase started talking about it again and he made the decision that he was gonna go for it.

Is this something the Berrics has done before?
Yes, we've done digital downloads previously, but with the emergence of mobile technologies, Internet-connected televisions and HD video we are creating a platform that will support the needs and viewing habits of skateboarders and skateboarding enthusiasts around the world. The previous two times we were just testing the waters to see if it was even viable. It was, but we realized we didn't have the technology aspect of it down and that's why we haven't done any others. We had some more figuring to do.

Is this the future of videos? To release them on The Berrics?
Yes, we want to forget the days of tapes and disc media. We want to forget the days where we lend our videos to our friends and never get them back. We want to allow skateboarders to be inspired by their favorite videos and their favorite skaters wherever and whenever they need them. Our philosophy is that Berrics footage, inside our skatepark, should always be free. Street footage, however, should never be.

What I'm trying to say is that someone's street part that they've worked on for a year or two, or even three, should never be given away. There is too much time and effort that goes into it for the skater to not be rewarded. Other skaters, non-professional skaters, actually don't mind paying for it -- that's the cool thing about the consumers. It costs because it's valuable, but what you're seeing right now is print magazines trying to compete with the Berrics for web traffic and they're doing it very stupidly. They're getting pros to release full street video parts online so that they can catch up to our web traffic. It makes no sense.

This may be good for their site on an acute basis but it does nothing for the professional in my opinion and it takes the value out of the part the moment they coax the skater into giving it away for free. Street parts are far too sacred to be releasing them for free online -- that's the bottom line.

Mark Appleyard
Appleyard pulls off a frontside pivot-to-fakie at a secret skatepark in northern Spain.

Will we see smaller or shorter videos released online? Will this become the norm?
Yes, it's the evolution of media and we are not going to fight it, we are going to make it more accessible to the brand and skaters to make it work for them. Not all of them will be pay parts, but the good ones, the serious ones, should be.

Can you envision companies releasing full videos through the Berrics?
That's our goal. We want the videos that these people invest their blood, sweat, tears and time into to be accessed whenever a skater wants to see them. We would also like to get them a larger return than something like iTunes gives them.

Is there a conflict of interest to the skaters' sponsors? Sponsors not making residuals from the video.
For an individual who is releasing the part on his own, no. We only wish for all skateboarding videos to be merchandised and presented next to other skateboarding videos. Not like on iTunes, where these videos will be merchandised next to television dramas, Hannah Montana and cooking shows. These videos deserve to be cataloged in a way that gives them the importance they deserve to the audience that truly values it.

What's the advantage for the skater? For the Berrics?
The video is not for the Berrics. The video is for the skateboarding community. Throughout the years we have become synonymous with releasing and creating great skateboarding content as well as for helping brands reach the audience that move skateboarding forward and give it credibility in big media. Releasing videos through the Berrics is only going to let the viewers know that there is a team of skateboarders putting time and effort into releasing the best skateboarding video possible, hands down.

Mark Appleyard
Appleyard ventures to Algorta, Spain, for a frontside nose-grind.

What's the advantage for the person paying for the video?
When they purchase the video, they are also supporting the skateboarders that make them. The purchase means, they own the video and can no longer lose it by lending it to a friend, damaging the disc or tape. As long as there is an Internet connection and a screen, they can enjoy their collection of videos anytime and anywhere

What changes can we expect from the Berrics in the future?
We will provide the services that all these big media companies do, but they'll be delivered by skateboarders. Why give anything away to Google, YouTube, Apple etc? Eric [Koston] and I both know what it's like to be in the streets and how much they hurt and we want to make sure that the skaters get the most [out] of their careers they possibly can.