Conversations: An iChat with Level 1’s Josh Berman

Conversations: An iChat with Level 1’s Josh Berman

Josh Berman, of Balance fame, catches up with Freeskier about the most expensive afternoon in Level 1 history, the Eye Trip movie tour, and farting.

Ed Note: This is a mostly unedited transcript from an IM chat. Enjoy.

MH: Hey man. Any news on the WME front?

JB: nada

waiting for lawyers to speak to lawyers

which they do very slowly

as to rack up as many fees as possible

AMERICA!

fuck yeah!

here’s a quote that i just provided…

“WME’s Trademark Infringement case against Level 1 is based on two things- claims of damages to the WME brand, and claims that Level 1 intentionally mislead consumers into thinking that our film and company was part of WME or somehow associated with their brand. Its fairly cut and dry that Level 1 would never have such intentions, and in light of the arbitration panel concluding that no damages resulted from Warren’s participation in our film, I’d like to think that at this point in time WME will just drop the case.

Realistically we all have better things to do with our time and money then to continue arguing about a year-old ski film, and I can’t imagine that there’s anything to be gained by either side by going to court over it. I’m very much looking forward to putting this whole thing behind us one way or the other, and moving forward with our respective businesses.”

How’s the Eye Trip tour going?

Good. Crazy. We have over 150 screenings.

150? maybe next year you can fly everyone stop-to-stop in the Level 1 Apache helicopter.

If we made ticket sale profits on all those screenings, maybe….

But since most are run by 3rd parties, we’re about 20 mil shy of a used Apache and about halfway to a good used winebago!

How many of the stops have you personally attended this year?

Maybe a half dozen or so? I’m on lockdown in the office more often then not, so there’s not a ton of free time to do much traveling to screenings.

But I’ve been to a few good ones, so quality over quantity, right? And we’ve got a big screening coming up in Sun Valley next weekend that I’ll be cruising up to- very much looking forward to that one and getting to watch the hometown crowd checking out the SV seg for the first time.

Photo: Digi Dave Amirault

Which has been your favorite so far and why?

Can’t beat our World Premiere in Denver- definitely the best film premiere I’ve ever been to. SO much energy and excitement
there’s something to be said for screening a film for the first time, and having a crowd that appreciates it.

Not to mention packing 1100 people into a 900-person venue- that doesn’t hurt either.

I don’t believe you that it was your first time watching the whole thing for the first time…

You’re right- it wasn’t, because i can’t claim to have actually watched it that night… too many other things going on. Unless its a seated venue I can’t sit still and probably spend more time watching the crowd than the movie. I think the first time I actually watched it start to finish, uninterrupted, was when we did our director commentary a few days later.

Weren’t you stressed that Freedle had put in a 3-minute segment of chicks farting or something?

We were sure to cut out all that stuff a few days before

We definitely watched each segment 100x, some of them probably 10000000x over the course of the summer, but not actually in order, with transitions, and certainly not the whole movie start to finish

And there’s a HUGE difference between watching segments individually, and watching them in the context of an entire 55-min movie

It’s so important how they play off each other and transition from one to the next- there’s SO much thought and design that goes into it

So it was a bit of a gamble not having more time to look at the big picture with this year’s film

But I think it worked out well enough- haven’t heard too many complaints

Photo: Mark Oliver

Which is your favorite segment in Eye Tr!p? (see what I did there, with the !?)

I don’t really have a favorite segment in particular- each has such a different vibe and is designed to do something differently, so they all serve a purpose.

Some are super action intensive, and you can’t argue with how much fun it is to watch Ahmet launch himself into flat trannys for 4 minutes straight, or Bdog and Henrik crushing every feature they hit

… or Wiley charging huge lines

… or Boris getting after it with Bella

But really, the SV seg is probably the one I’m most proud of considering what went into it.

And seeing something come to fruition that you’ve had in your head for years is a pretty good feeling.

I put together the design for that jump years ago and have been shopping it around with no luck whatsoever- no one wanted to take the time and $ to build such a monster.

And when SV came into the picture and offered to make it happen, we couldn’t have been more stoked, but even then it was such a roll of the dice.

SO many factors have to line up to make even the average shoot come together and work out favorably… nevermind a 110′ gap jump that needs to be shot in PERFECT conditions for it to be even feasible for the athletes.

Then factor in the short window of time we had to get it done with everyone’s scheduling conflicts.

And then bring in a heli.

Making it the most expensive afternoon in Level 1 history.

Stress level was high…..

But we had THE best park builder in the game at the helm, and the entire SV crew couldn’t have killed it any harder for us…. not to mention the athletes that really hung it all out there to get shots on that thing.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you so excited on instant messenger before.

Well, there’s really no short way to tell that story….

Though that IS the short version of it…

Now that you’re making that Level 1 money, couldn’t you just hire another heli?

hah- miss the part about it being the most expensive day ever for Level 1? And that was even with SV kicking in a bit to help out! Bringing in another heli really wasn’t in the cards.

Even if there was extra cash to make it happen, there aren’t too many heli ops flying around central Idaho at that point in the year.

What’s your favorite ski movie this year, other than yours. And you can’t say that you love them all, you politically correct f*cker!

I don’t love them all- to be honest. There were a few that fell short of my expectations, and a few that definitely exceeded them.

I’m definitely going to throw some props to MSP for their movie this year- hugely entertaining start to finish, very engaging segments, great filming, and top notch action. The best film they’ve ever put out, in my opinion, which is saying a lot since some of their old movies were truly ground breaking.

Though I haven’t seen it yet, I’ve heard nothing but great things about THall’s movie- thats tops on my list to check out. Excited to see an open and honest portrayal of an athlete thats not a self serving glamour project.

Okay last hard-hitting question: Coke or Pepsi?

Neither.

This is the part where I’d plug our energy drink sponsor and extoll the virtues of all the wonderful things that come from consuming their product….

But Level 1 still doesn’t have one, unfortunately.

If you did, you’d for sure have found a second heli.

Level 1 Eye Trip Official Trailer from Level 1 on Vimeo.

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