When most people think of That’s It, That’s All, images of Travis Rice, helicopters, and mad hucking come to mind, but perhaps the biggest impact in putting the chunky in the stew is the man on the other side of the lens and the other half of Brain Farm – Curt Morgan. Morgan’s skills and imagination helped translate the film’s vision, which could push the limits of any seasoned Hollywood director’s skills, into fruition with a budget much lower than many imagine.
Here are a few stats on the film to date:
– Budget – while they aren’t divulging exact figures, it came in under 1-million dollars.
– Public Relations – Nearly 1 billion impressions worldwide.
– Broke record on iTunes (U.S only) downloads for an action sports film.
– While they aren’t releasing DVD sales figures, TITA sold more Blu-ray Discs than any other titles with VAS, and they’re planning a major mass retailer Blu-ray push this fall.
– Almost 10,500 fans on Facebook page in under 8 months.
– Over 50,000 people attended more than 250 showings in over 25 countries including Brazil, Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, and China.
We recently caught up with Curt to get his take on TITA, the state of the snow film industry, and Brain Farm’s next film Flight.
You've got to be super stoked on the response to TITA – I've heard sales are still strong?
It's still selling very strong. If I could draw you a graph, in the snowboard world, [movie sales] spike over the course of two months and then fall over the course of two months. You have a 3-4 month window of sales and then this kind of trickling sale for two years and then it's over. If you look at ours, it spikes, and then starts to fall like the others, but it doesn't fall as far, and now it's sustaining this line of sales that's pretty incredible. It's still selling just as good as it was three months ago. Somehow, I think due to our extremely amazing marketing manager, Chad Jackson, he pulled some strings and we've created something, it's a good product, but if you can't market it, what was the point of having a good product?
Are bigger projects like this the future of snowboarding films?
The larger films and companies with a good distribution plan, a good marketing plan, and a good film can thrive right now. The companies that can afford to do this right now, they can go out and get it in the right hands, get the eyeballs on it, and have a successful project.
There's going to be films that start to see more of a mass-market situation and although the economy isn't doing well, it's been said in dark times entertainment thrives. That's not completely true, but certain parts of the industry are doing better.
I think the new model is save up your money, support a few less projects, put more money into a bigger project that more people will see that will in turn grow your company. That's my two cents.
In addition to financials, how do you measure the success of a snow film?
With snowboarding it's all marketing based sponsorship. How many people can we get to see this? For instance, Burton isn't looking for a huge ROI on their film, they're trying to get millions of people to see their product, their company, their success and they're trying to get people to buy into their whole franchise.
What are your goals in making films?
For me personally, the goal is to make a great film. Something that inspires. That not only inspires the athletes and the public to go snowboarding but also inspires the filmmakers and is new and unique and creative. On that note, we're starting a new snowboard film this summer called Flight. We're starting a few films; a motocross film, a snowboard film, and kind of a lifestyle Planet Earth type of film that's completely outside of snowboarding.
How healthy is the shred film industry?
The action sports film industry as a whole right now is quite volatile due to not only the economy, but just the different relationships with sponsors. On the snowboarding side, a lot of sponsors have pulled their funds that they've handed out. The snowboarding arena has moved more into the skate world. It's turning more into team-based films.
I think on a creative note, companies like X Dance and certain film festivals and people are pushing the young producers and cameramen to do more of a story and I think that's changing the dynamic.
Where do you think distribution is going and how will that affect things?
I think iTunes will go international. I hope to see iTunes hit the globe in five years. Right now, we're the highest selling action sports film or television show on iTunes ever. That sounds cool and everything, but it's still really small. We get complaints every day, 'Why can't we get this in Europe or Asia or Australia?' I also think Blu-ray will come up and replace DVD's.
I think digital distribution is definitely the future of all film distribution. But from a digital distribution side of things, a lot of people are going to give [content] away for free. Those people are going to hurt the market. It dilutes the market for sales. I think that everyone needs to get on the same page and primarily sell at a decent price. If everyone is working in a symbiotic relationship to sell these products online and in all formats of distribution, it's only going to help grow the market.
What's your take on BitTorrent sites and online piracy?
Piracy is at an all time high. But piracy for a company that is strictly trying to market their product, that's good. It's more people that are seeing it. Right now, TITA is cut up in 25 different ways and every segment is on YouTube. At first I had this huge problem with it, but then I started to think, is this really that bad? A million more kids just saw this movie and what was my responsibility to Quiksilver and Red Bull in this project? To have good brand integration and try as hard as possible to get as many people as possible to see this film.
For an in-depth look at the state of the snow film industry, pick up a copy of the May issue of TransWorld Business.