Sunday, October 17, 2010

The only way it happened with because of Jackson Polk

If you had been in the Washington DC TV business in the early days or studied the history of it the name Jackson Polk should ring a huge bell.   He was the first remote cameraman, I have seen the camera and it looks like a space pack  Jackson also had founded Pyramid video in Potomac, which was the first independent production facility outside of the station's in the Washington market place.

I was blessed enough to cross paths with Jackson who by then was one of the premier analog editors, live directors and he knew when the satellites where over head in DC at  a place called Kalorama Studios,
Where Bill Clinton was asked Boxershorts or briefs and a host of films from Pelican Brief, Peggy Sue Got married and or course DC own live Wrestling Show. Yeah we had one. 
Meeting Jackson was like meeting a wizard of tv We all worked with someone named Bill Moore one of the greatest technical av engineers ever to grace this earth. This was a time when the first digital systems were coming into place.  We had one of the first non gov Avid systems and the rest was all tubes So it was interesting to be part of this and it was why I was there to learn how to communicate using moving images.

Frankly Kayaking Extreme could never had been made in the analog word the level of work what we did took about 2 hours for every 5 seconds, let alone Jackson Polk's talent.    So to get it done~  I had to go to work for Jackson as a grip and then worked up to camera man which was an honor to learn from him.
This when on for about 2 years and it was live lab of camera, video editing mixed in with my obsession for computers and this thing called the World Wide Web.  We filmed making our web page about this video. 
Kayaking Extreme started preproduction in late 04 and I got the nod for Jackson Polk to bring the footage I had in the can from our two excellent cameramen and some footage Eric Jackson and I shot and headed to editing.

Jackson Polk was the proud owners of a Mac Quatra 1 gig of ram and 3 gigs eternal and 12 external and something called  of hard drive and what seemed like all the time in the world. He was a pioneer in TVit seemed fitting to be sitting in front of that computer waiting for it to render, which somethings took and hours for just 10 seconds of output, with him.

I want to say what I learned from a master like Jackson Polk can never be taught in a class because he is just a man of class and those guys are pretty hard to come by and they is nothing you seem moving of mine that is not totally influenced on the principles and knowledge I gleamed working for the great Jackson Polk.

Thanks Jackson.

Shot em slow and steady and have an exit and end point and dont make the editors job hard.

Hola and Welcome to the home of Kayaking Extreme

Mather Gourge Resolved.

In 1996, Altavoz Distribution placed Kayaking Extreme into independent stores and nationally into Best Buys. The video featured two PSA, public service announcements,  both where for the Surfrider Foundation's Snowrider project and one that the Chumash Indians of California participated in making.

The project was heralded as a way to Help Earth and it had IMHO one of the best Indie sound tracks acts like DJshadow, John Monopoly, Love Huskies, Tractor Hips, Zen Frisbe and of course Zev and the Broklin Shields.

The subject of the whole project was Eric Jackson, arguably one of the biggest show boaters ever seen on TV or white water.  This video was his launching pad and proceeds of the video where to support this 96 effort to qualify for the US Olympic Team via a license with the USCKT.

What's not to love...........

A nation chain is carrying the video, outdoor shops are carrying the video we have a PSA to release directing folks to go to Best Buys support the US Olympian Eric Jackson, and see & hear something new called extreme kayaking.  He said it in the Video.

So surprise surprise, It turns out the Head of the Kayaking Team at the time thought a video about Extreme Kayaking was a determinant to the Olympic team and sport of kayaking.  So he when to everyone and said to not support the video and that the team would have nothing to do with it furthermore.  Pretty bad huh.........
Well it gets. worse.  From that I drove over to the star's house, the Kayaking community was centered in the Palisades DC/MD area along the Potomac River. 
I walk past the toys on the lawn it was just getting brisk out I can remember it like it was yesterday.  No sooner had I walked in the house and the spouse of the video's star the wife who get a DOLLAR for ever video sold let alone National Exposure and Retail.

She said that this was the worst video every made and that it was a disgrace to Eric Jackson's sterling image and not the newest bestest stuff.  Now here is the funny part.

I sat down on their couch instead of leave straight to lawyers office, and I asked what was the problem.   These words are almost too funny to type.   I was told that our video in national distribution was not the best video on the market NOW.   I was like really what is and they named a couple of others.

I asked them if they where promoting a video, that that made them money let along the pesky legal or moral implication of undermining a business partnership.  The answers was no.

Well I left the Palisades with an Olympic team coach that wont live up to an licensed USCKT deal and a star that could not care if he or his business partners including the retailers that wanted to participate, we had a planned sound track, since all the music was in the Altavoz Distribution catalog.....

The sound track was all full of Altavoz Distribution artists who participated in this because they're music was going to get exposed since EJ is know as the biggest promote of himself in the world.   So when Eric, his family, and the Olympic coach all said they hated the whole thing it was not a person, or even one company they torched they killed an entire effort.    

Altavoz was one of the 1st Independent Distributors direct into Best Buy.  That was our first and last order with them and they sold all of the first orders. BTW if you bought it at retail thanks you so much,
As a matter of fact if you have an orgnial copy we have a speical something something for you so contact us 
So the rap arounds - from  a sound track, in-stores and a PSA telling everyone go to Best Buy to be part of the effort to Help Earth.  The Surfrider foundation had to PSA in the video release and we where planing one of these new things called a DVD. Bands would play with cross promoted events in local Surfrider chapters starting in Washington DC.
PLUS everyone would enjoy this guy Eric Jackson doing what we still believe is some great yaking.
Take a look and let us know if you think this video that supported Eric, at a buck a pop, and gave an audience for such early acts as DJ Shadow and indies like Tractor Hips. with their releases being carry foward, the soundtrack and the DVD, Heck even Best Buy was starting to sell it and we're indie  and it was A win win win win.....

Now that Best Buy thing is a funny store and we're going to  be blogging about it on another site.

Years later I got an email for Jackson and he asked for a copy of the video because he was getting an agent and he needed this video (remember his whole family said sucked, the baby and dogs too) and they told everyone to stop buying it) and it would help him ~a valued commodity. 

Of course everyone one else got the World Kayaking Federation.

I guess the whole point of this blog is to pay tribute to all the folks that took part in this project BECAUSE IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.

To honor them we are going to do a blog post on everyone and everything; so that others can see what worked in this deal and what didn't  

Maybe we'll ask Eric to tell everyone why getting a dollar a video which was being carried by Best Buys was such a bad deal.

At the end of the day we stand by the project it was done to benefit non profits while helping artists support themselves and if we started with that attitude in 1996 can you imagine how much Marginal Utility of Public Good we are producing everyday with our 4wins Model.

So we look forward to more and to havin ya'll come back her'e