INSIDER: SUNDAY GROW UP
What it takes to make a full length video, with Chris Childs, Jake Seeley, Mark Burnett, and Erik Elstran
Interview by Andrew White, Photos by Walter Pieringer
To co-incide with its online release, we pulled aside 4 of the main riders involved in Sunday's Grow Up and got their take on the ins and outs of making a full length video in this era of Snapchat and ever-shortening attention spans.
What was it like filming the intro?
CC: The intro was probably one of the best shop jam/stops we had done in a long time, countless riders from adults to young kids all came together to shred and busted their asses helping us make that intro what it was.
We started off scouting out locations suitable for all the shots we had in mind the night before and Erik and Walter mapped it all out in hopes of making the shoot as seamless as possible. I'm not going to lie it was pretty hard work and all the riders that came out to crush laps up and down the old naval base were troopers. Despite the more casual solo shots we had there was about I want to say a few hundred riders charging ass behind us, some eating absolute shit and putting the pedal to the metal for the sake of being in something they had no idea if they'd ever see again. Oh, and we got a shit ton of pizza. Come to think of it, maybe that was the motivation?
MB: Filming was pretty straight forward. I was coordinating with the van and trying my best to wrangle everyone with Aaron and Jake. The craziest part about it was that when Walter and Erik went to check out the location a few days prior they ran into security and were told they needed a permit. Out of all of the hardships and horrible luck that trip riddled us with we somehow were granted a permit for the afternoon.
EE: There was a lot stressful build up to it in that it almost seemed like every element was against us. However we persevered the shooting went surprisingly smooth.
JS: Two words..... Organized Chaos.
What was it like finding those old home videos for your intro?
CC: It was tough! To just track them down and filter through them to find suitable bits that worked appropriately. I mean it wasn't that tough I guess.
MB: A huge thank you to my mom for knowing exactly where it all sat on tapes and in drawers. And as far as my 13 year old self doing how-to's goes, I just sent the link and didn't relive it.
EE: I thought it was a great idea from the beginning and loved seeing everyone else as kids.
JS: I'm pretty sure my grandmother shed some tears haha. Me and her sat down for hours going through old footage trying to find the perfect moments of my youth. 10 full tapes later we hit the jackpot. An unlabeled VHS tape that held about an hour of footage from when I was 3-5 years old.
" I'm pretty sure my grandmother shed some tears haha. Me and her sat down for hours going through old footage trying to find the perfect moments of my youth. 10 full tapes later we hit the jackpot. "- Jake Seeley
Who has the standout part? Standout single clip?
CC: This is probably one of the toughest questions, everyone worked so hard on their parts and would have kept pushing it if we had more time but I would have to give most of my shouts to sir Brett Silva. It's been crazy watching him grow as a rider since he was 15 to now also being apart of Sunday bikes in a huge way. His savagery and dialed riding leaves you stoked every time you watch his part. Stand out clip would have to have been his fence/death hop in Austin. Shit for run up, it was dark and we staked out the spot for hours waiting for a broken down car to move but his lady came through with her dog and some beers for extra moral support. The squad was heavy for that clip and everyone had no doubt Brett would drop the hammer on this shit in the savage fashion he did.
MB: Chris Childs. I can't pick a single trick. Off the top of my head maybe the gap wall on that trampoline of a fence.
EE: Everyone's part is really solid in my opinion though I think my favorites are Gary's and Chris'.
JS: Stand out part was for sure Brett Silva. It was full of surprises and so versatile. Tons of technical street lines big drop and massive rails. He does it all so well! My dude came out swinging for this part. A stand out clip that comes to mind was Aaron Ross's Ender bar in Mexico City. I was part of this process to clear/keep those hundreds of people out of the way, so I definitely got a lil taste of how hectic and nerve racking this clip was to pull. The amount of patience that went into that clip was impressive.
How does your part compare to your others?
CC: The only others I have, have been local projects with Bcave and TJD so my first "pro" part was probably some of my best riding. Saving only the heavies for this occasion.
MB: It's my personal favorite part to date for a lot of reasons. I did the calculations when we were wrapping up editing but I spent something like 90 days on the road working on my part. Being able to pick and choose what spots I wanted to ride and tricks to film all while having a concise 4 minute song to not over saturate my part with half assed tricks made the final product much less cringe worthy for me hahaha.
EE: I've never had a part or edit that was filmed in so many different locations and places.
JS: I like to think this is my best work to date. I went well out of my comfort zone, filming tricks that were way too challenging and or terrifying for me. I wanted this part to show nothing but progression from my past work. I was learning a lot of new tricks at the time and new I had to bring those tricks to bigger and better things. Like all my past projects I made sure to put a lot of time and thought into making sure the tricks I do utilize the spot as best as possible.
"Stand out part was for sure Brett Silva. It was full of surprises and so versatile. Tons of technical street lines big drop and massive rails. He does it all so well! My dude came out swinging for this part."
- Jake Seeley
Who was the worst to travel with?
CC: I'd have to say myself, I'm just a stinky guy so I'm sorry for anyone that has had to sit next to me for countless hours across the country and world.
MB: Probably me to be completely honest. Hahaha sorry guys.
EE: Cmon now we're all family.
JS: Probably yours truly. I can only imagine the guys got a lil sick of me asking to eat chipotle every night. Haha.
Biggest obstacle or setback?
CC: For me personally the biggest setback was reluctantly breaking my wrist on a solo session knowing the time to start hammering down was upon us. The stoke was high from the extensive trips and filming we had done and boom. Here I am in a cast the few months leading up to the end of filming. I cut my cast off and did some self pt (riding) [against] doctor's orders, he knows me well enough that this probably would've happened. Being weak on my bike and unsure of what my wrist could actually handle was a constant physical and emotional battle in the last few weeks of filming. Without hesitation I was able to knock a few things off my list. Still beating myself up over some things I wanted but wasn't mentally prepared for from being off my bike for so long. Oh well, life goes on and so will my riding.
MB: Filming was pretty smooth other than some growing pains that I experienced through my teenage years.
EE: Getting the van broken and a bunch camera gear and personal stuff stolen was a pretty big bummer. There was also footage lost that we had to go back and refilm.
JS: The Biggest setback was our last trip to San Francisco. What was supposed to be an amazing trip suddenly went wrong real quick. During the first day of the trip I ended up OTB straight to my knee on the corner of a ledge, tearing my articular cartilage as well as catching Bronchus which kept me to be in bed three quarters of the trip. Along with my personal issues Gary Young two days later fell into some bushes and got impaired by a stick and had to get rushed the hospital. On the way to meet him at the hospital we stopped to get some food. The meal was great but when we got outside to the the car we saw that the window was smashed out. Someone broke into our van and stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of our camera gear the day before we needed to shoot the intro to the video. Other then this trip there wasn't a single set back and I'm thankful for that!
"Filming was pretty smooth other than some growing pains that I experienced through my teenage years."- Mark Burnett
What got away for you and/or video as a whole?
CC: There was two particular setups on my home turf I had to walk away from. A week or two out of a cast and not being physically ready or comfortable on my bike hit me hard with some mental uncertainty that lead the fear right on my head. There's a line of mental preparation I don't like to cross, I'd rather be dialed and give myself at least 60/40 chance of pulling it or at least getting close. Thinking back I know I beat myself up over walking away but it just wasn't right. I don't like to gamble (unless it's some dice) and I know now, being solid on my bike once again, I have that 60/40 chance of making it away pulled or at somewhat manageable from these setups. Time to get to work!
MB: The fucking whip off the roof! Haha.
EE: Nothing comes to mind right away. I'm pretty stoked on how my part came out and the video as a whole.
JS: My knees... I went through two surgeries while filming for this video.
What role did you have in the production besides as rider?
CC: I was lucky enough to lend a hand in the editing process along with Mr. Elstran. There was so much to do in such little time so having three heads burning away, tossing ideas around and lending constructive criticism, I would say made the video feel more personal than anything else I'd expect to work on that wasn't footage coming from my own camera. I'm not going to act like I made the video, Erik and Walter really put in the hard hours but I can feel proud of the advice I and input I did lend.
MB: I didn't contribute a whole lot after my portion as a rider other than maybe some of the music.
EE: I ended up being pretty involved in the editing process along with Chris as we went out to Austin for a week to specifically help Walter start editing. I also added all the flash cut transitions throughout the video.
JS: I didn't have much role in the production side of things besides helping with some second angle filming and picking out the song for the AM section. Walter was having trouble picking a song for their part and asked me if we had anything? I luckily remembered a song that I came across while watching a snowboard film a year or so back and thought it would work perfect for their section. Sure enough it was a home run! Might be one of my favorite songs in the video.
"There's a line of mental preparation I don't like to cross, I'd rather be dialed and give myself at least 60/40 chance of pulling it or at least getting close..."
- Chris Childs
Most rewarding part of the project?
CC: Seeing everyone's parts flow together and really just being stoked on having my first part in an actual video had to make it for me. Skydiving was also pretty cool haha
MB: Being finished and watching it with everyone.
EE: Putting it all together and seeing everyone's parts come together and reliving the memories of everything that went into everyone's clips.
JS: The most rewarding part of this project was sitting front row with the rest of my teammates watching the video on the big screen.
What will you remember about Grow Up ten years in the future?
CC: Even if BMX isn't a profession, I could never thank Sunday enough for having supported me and shown me the world on their dime.
MB: All the trips, the let downs, the emotions, everything.
EE: Um, everything hopefully ha.
JS: I'll always remember that with hard work comes great reward and that good things take time. A lesson I learned from the time and energy spent filming for this video.
What surprised you during the filming of Grow Up?
CC: Man, going on trips with everyone over the two years really opened my eyes to the progression of each and every rider from trip to trip. Like Brett, it amazes me at how everyone keeps progressing and coming into their own styles. That's what I think makes the video and Sunday as a whole so great. Each rider and part has their own style and way of manipulating their bikes around the obstacles we stumble upon and it's only going to get better!
MB: How phenomenal everyone is at riding. I've been riding with these guys for years and they still blow my mind every day we go out.
EE: I guess I never thought I'd have the last part.
JS: How patient everyone on the team is. They've all spent way too much time watching me slave over clips. Haha <3
Best Walter story?
CC: So many to count on one hand. Walter has piloted this ship and devoted his heart and soul to this company and all the riders involved. The greatest Walter story is creating such a solid team and giving everyone the outlet to do what they love and document it in both photos and video simultaneously while steering the ship and its crew back and forth the country and world. Can't thank the dude enough.
MB: First trip, technically before the video was even a project. Land in London and I get stuck at customs for 3 hours. Somehow he got me freed from the grip of British law enforcers. Wow, that works up an appetite! Why not go with the safe bet and eat at a local diner chain. Walter orders the salmon. We go to the hotel and build our bikes. Day 0 in Slough, England. I'm trying a trick for about 20 minutes and he stands up, says his stomach isn't feeling too great, walks to a bush along with Chris and myself and pukes his guts out. Myself and Chris take over his role as media professionals and film it with our iPhone 5s' newly equipped with slow motion. He finishes regurgitating his cheap lunch and we finished the clip. No complaints on his end. That's Walter.
EE: I don't know about best but here's one. While in Mexico City I was trying to footjam a tree out of a bank. A worker saw what we were doing and got angry. The police got involved and threatened us with fines and time in jail. They took Walter and drove him to the nearest station. We thought this might be last time we saw Walter but after further negotiating he managed to completely talk his way out of it. The next day the same thing happened at a different spot but this time with even bigger threats and Walter ended up having to bribe the cops with a little bit of money.
JS: One of the wildest things that I experienced with Walter was when he got arrested in Mexico City. We were riding a spot that we probably shouldn't have but It was too good to pass up. Everything was going as planned when suddenly a group of angry police officers surrounded Walter and Erik screaming at them in Spanish. The cops were not happy that we were riding on their trees and wanted to take us all to jail for doing it. Walter ended up convincing the cops to take only himself to the cell. They ended up cuffing him and taking him away. We didn't know where to or what to do... Moments later the phone starts ringing, it's Walter! He's letting us know that he just bribed them with money and got out of spending the day in a Mexico City jail sell. We ended up meeting him down the street and everything was ok! What a scare that was.
"While in Mexico City I was trying to footjam a tree out of a bank. A worker saw what we were doing and got angry. The police got involved and threatened us with fines and time in jail. They took Walter and drove him to the nearest station. We thought this might be last time we saw Walter but after further negotiating he managed to completely talk his way out of it. "- Erk Elstran
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