The Industry Under Review with Cavan and Shay

We just heard times are tough. But surely it’s not effecting the snowboard industry, right? All those “budget holds” are just because people don’t want to advertise with us, right? Well, Shayboarder just sat down Rome SDS filmer and awesome dude John Cavan and grilled him on the state of the industry. Here are a few highlights (or low-lights, depending on how you look at it) of what Cavan had to say.


Shay: How is Kids on Shred holding up during these economic times?
John: Well that’s kind of an interesting question, Kids On Shred Productions is kind of on hiatus for the time being….gone on holiday if you will, but We’re gearing up to start work on a new film, not quite sure exactly when we’re gonna get the nod to start filming full on but I’ve been shooting a few things here and there and we are just kind of giving everyone time to breath and grow. The economic crunch believe it or not didn’t play into our decision to not make a movie this year at all, we had planned right along to take this winter off, I think it’s important for the riders to get a chance to do something different, ride with new people and learn without the pressure of feeling like they have a gun to their head, we don’t want things to get stale and just go through the motions. I wish I personally had a little more time to chill, but I’m glad I have a job HA!

Shay: Any changes with the team going on?
John: Unfortunately that question you asked about the economy and KOS doesn’t have the same answer for the team. Rome like every other brand in snowboarding has been deeply effected by these crazy economic times and although the number of positions at our company that have fallen victim to these times may not be as big as say a Burton or a DC when you factor in the size of our brand it’s just as tough. That goes for the team to. The team is an extension of our marketing department and every department at Rome felt this crunch. We had to make really hard decisions that unfortunately really didn’t come down to performance but had a lot to do with where their contracts fell in the budget. I have gone to war with all of these guys for two movies, almost any of our riders would do anything thing I asked them to do, so it’s been really hard. A short answer to a question I could go on and on about is yes we had to make some big changes to our team, Max, Yan and Marius are all no longer part of the pro team, it’s sucked more than any words I can type here can describe, but it’s something that in the end had to happen. We’re definitely regrouping and moving forward from here. I’ll do anything for those three and it’s been a hard pill to swallow.

Shay: What are your thoughts on the TWS Team Shoot Out/Ball Park Logo ad cover?
John: Ok here goes with the Ball Park thing. First of all I have a magazine background, I am very aware and very nit picky of the ethics and sanctity of the photographic image and the sacredness to a lot of people (myself included) that a magazine cover represents. That being said, people need to get over this thing. I really think there are about twenty people, that are talking about it. We (Rome, the riders, and Scott Serfas, plus all the other teams) knew nothing about Ballpark even being a sponsor until the cover was announced, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that there is a logo on the cover, I think perhaps the biggest deal could be made with the graphic design by trying to make it look like it was on a dumpster when they could have just plopped it on there and called it good, probably the graphic designer was just trying to make it look a little cooler. 90% of kids that look at that cover don’t even notice it. Is it kind of shitty that they put it on there, yeah, is it really worth the agro blogs NO. They didn’t make LNP go twenty feet higher, they didn’t make the gap look way bigger, they didn’t make the night look more ominous, they simply added a logo to the cover of the title sponsor of the event that was the major feature of the mag. It by no means says “the cover is for sale”. It’s not the first time it’s happened and it isn’t the last time it’s gonna happen (certain drink logos appearing on covers…). I’m not saying this because it directly pertains to Rome or one of my riders either, I just think the reality of the matter is we are in desperate times in this economy, Snowboard magazines which I love, are in trouble and they are all trying whatever they can do right now to stay afloat, if that’s having a contest “fueled by Ballpark” and getting a logo put on the cover (not faked onto something that really shouldn’t be done) or if Nike 6.0 wants to sponsor some big event and they work a deal where they get a banner on the cover for that issue as long as the photos are good than do it, if it keeps the mags going during these times without sacrificing the validity of them than do what you need to do. It’s easy to cry about men jumping in life rafts on a sinking ship when you are sitting safely on the deck of another boat not about to drown. TWS has Annie, Muzzey and Nick looking out for the final product, Snowboarder has Bridges and Engelsman, I think any one of those five people can make the right “ethical” call as far as covers and what not go…….Just as long as they steer clear of that UFC bullshit…HA HA

Shay: Downloading and pirating snowboard films has increased, how do you feel about snowboard films being downloaded instead of being bought?
John: Man I’m getting hammered here with these questions one right after another HA. Here goes, there are kids that will argue that we should be giving away all our films for free or simply asking for a donation. I want to back over those kids with my truck repeatedly. They have said things about the bigger film companies like “they are the man” “they are new Hollywood” “they need to get with the times and understand that kids don’t want to pay for snowboard videos” “Any kid with a lap top can make a movie these days, so no one is going to pay for them anymore” I’m the first to admit I’m kind of a snowboard video nerd, I have a ridiculous snowboard movie collection and honestly I have paid for nearly 90% of those films. Even now when I get videos sent to me by my friends I still usually buy them in shops because I’m so anxious to see them that I usually don’t want to wait. The whole experience of seeing a movie for the first time and rewinding tricks back and seeing new things I love every part of that. So I have a problem to begin with with getting some version of it online, but the thing I have the most problem with is the fact that it’s stealing 100% and why someone doesn’t understand that that’s what they are doing is unfathomable to me. Can you walk into a skateboard shop and take a skateboard and “donate” 5 dollars for it, No you can’t. why on earth would you reason that you can do that with films. Maybe I’m just not cool, but another thing I don’t understand is why do you upload it in the first place, does your life suck that much that the only satisfaction you can find in your miserable existence is uploading someone’s work so other people can download it for free. I mean come on get a life, put down the jack rags and realize that cyber kudos from dipshitslasher69 aren’t real.

What’s even worse for me is this fact. I work for a brand, I don’t work for simply a film production company, at the end of the day if my film is “stolen” and uploaded online and then downloaded a thousand times, Rome isn’t getting the profit we would have gotten through video sales but our name and our brand is still getting out there. It sucks and I’m morally against it but it’s not death for us. It is death for film companies however, they make no profit, they don’t gain anything by having it out there, so it is just bad. Without making any money and when I say making money it’s really a wrong statement because we’re really talking about breaking even, but without getting money you can’t progress, you can’t afford to travel and film the things that make snowboard movies special, and when this happens than yes the statement made that any kid can edit a movie on a lap top is so true because we will be saturated with mediocre films shot in the park at Big bear and they’ll all look the same. What’s funny is these same little kids that write these dumb diatribes about how movies should all be free will be the same kids complaining when the shred films start to suck.

Shay: Do you feel there are any measures that can be taken to decrease downloads?
John: People aren’t gonna like this, but probably the best way to decrease illegal downloads and the line of thinking that everything should be free is to stop with all of the 150 new snowboard videos a year. When I started making films I did an east coast film, at the time there were two movies in the east coast (probably two to many, but still just 2) now there’s like thirty something…..Fucking eh, thirty something movies about one scene…..there’s little johnnie’s productions and aunt millie’s films and Brutus the Barber beefcake visuals everything just gets lost and saturated, If you had the Absinthe movie and say the People movie each year and then every few years you had a brand put out a video and then sprinkle in a couple small ones, than things would be much more special, you’d feel like you have to buy that movie to see what’s new and what went down. I think that using Itunes also legitimates a lot of films cause you can’t really steal it and you have to have all of the music rights. I don’t know , I guess the key to surviving will be adapting….I’ve also heard that Fully Flared re-established some shops faith in selling movies again so I guess that could be a good sign.

For the rest of Shay’s interview with John Cavan, visit