Monday, July 1, 2013

INTERVIEW: 10 QUESTIONS WITH IGW FOUNDER MIKE COOK

International GoPro Weekend Founder Mike Cook

Interview - IGW Founder Mike Cook

Today marks the release of Trailer #2 of the upcoming IGW2013 movie. International GoPro Weekend movies have become a great benchmark in adventure films and we here at Human Spirit of Adventure are fortunate enough to score an interview with IGW's founder Mike Cook.

Mike is an adventurer/filmmaker out of Colorado who we at HSA consider ourselves lucky enough to have developed a friendship with over the last several months... Read the interview and see the new trailer below...

  1. Tell us, what is the IGW? In a nutshell, IGW is an annual 3-day event where GoPro fanatics from around the world capture something with their camera during this 72 hour window. They then submit their footage and I make a movie that shares our concurrent experiences from this one weekend… International GoPro Weekend. IGW is the most central event of our community, the GoWorld GoPro Project. Our community is here to have fun together, all while sharing our stories with the world using GoPro cameras. IGW is one of those avenues.

  1. What inspired the IGW? In 1986 David Elliot Cohen made a book called “A Day in the Life of America.” The theme: photographers, professional and amateur, all take a photograph on the same day. He then complied the photos and made a book showing what was going on in America on this one day. It was a really simple premise, but it always struck me as powerful. That, and well, I’m actually in one of the pictures. My older sister submitted a photo that made the final cut. I decided to borrow this theme, only using GoPro cameras. As for this theme of sharing concurrent experiences during a specified duration of time, it has gone on for a while. In 2011 Ridley Scott, YouTube, and National Geographic made an online movie called, “Life in a Day”, that had this same theme, but using video. “Life in a Day”, hmmmmm, I wonder where they got that name and idea?

  1. When is the IGW2013 film set to debut? July 15, 2103


 READ MORE AND SEE THE TRAILER AFTER THE JUMP


  1. What was the response to the first IGW film?  The response was really good. Better than I had imagined. From what I remember within a few days of posting it, it had several hundred views, both on Vimeo and YouTube. It racked up a few hundred more in the months that followed, and close to 1,700 combined views once promotion for IGW2013 started. I think since IGW2012 was the first go around, the viewing audience was specific to contributors, and maybe 2 or 3 degrees of separation beyond that. The movie was upwards of 40 minutes. So the fact that many viewers were willing to dedicate that amount of time to an internet video said a lot. It was also during this time that the GWGP Project and IGW started to snowball, something that surprised me and had not planned for. Much of that snowball effect had to do with the release of the IGW2012 Official Trailer and, of course, the final film. Non-participants who had seen those two videos started inquiring, asking how they could get involved and when the next IGW would take place. The release of the final film was supposed be the end of the journey for the GWGP Project. Instead, it was just the beginning.

  1. How has IGW grown since its inception? IGW (and its community, the GoWorld GoPro Project) are only 18 months old, and in that short time both have grown substantially. For IGW2012 I think I had about 38 contributors from 12 countries… This year I had 127 contributors from around 30 countries (I haven’t done a final country count yet). The numbers tripled. Also, when promoting the actual IGW2013 weekend I didn't have to reach out to people individually, asking them if they wanted to take part. GoPro was “liking” the promo videos on YouTube, henceforth 1,000's of people were viewing them and discovering what I was doing. That was definitely not the case for IGW2012. For that one I had to send a lot of messages to GoPro enthusiasts on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, etc… it was a lot of work. Also, in that short 18 months GWGP Project videos have been viewed over 100,000 times, we have over 1,100 fans on FB, and over 200 contributors from 40 countries submitting content. And now, because of demand for participation I've initiated other GoPro “projects” such as Far Side Project and GoPanoramic (also, keep your eyes pealed for Through Our Eyes and IGS Montage.) The Project has also caught the eye of GoPro. I've been in contact with them about supporting our community. As you might already know, they hooked up a bunch of awesome stuff to give out to the fans of the Project.


  1. How did you get into making adventure films? I've been fond of video editing for over 10 years… long before I ever knew I’d become a video editor. I always thought it would be cool to make skiing films of my buddies and me. But back then the appropriate technology was only accessible to people who could afford it, and things like social networking/media were nonexistent. Thanks to the explosion of digital technology, hardware and software that once would have cost tens of thousands of dollars is now only a few 100. And with platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, you can easily make your content available to the masses.

  1. Who are your influences as a filmmaker?  I’m fanatical about Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, Christopher Nolan, Seb Montaz, and the Cohen Brother. Quentin Tarantino is up there, too, as is my sister Katie Cook. However, I've never really noticed if my videos have trace elements of any of these fine people. Maybe more so in the Far Side Project videos? Those videos have creative editing techniques as well we emotional overtones that are intended to be heavy, powerful, and sometimes unsettling. Actually, come to think of it, Seb Montaz has been a direct influence with some of my videos, specifically with musical flavor. Seb directed "Flight of the Frenchies" which was this visually stunning documentary about some French BASE jumpers. I watched that movie several times for inspiration while editing the IGW2012 movie.

  1. Who is your favorite professional adventurer? Luke Hively. You may not have heard of him yet, but you will… trust me. Luke has contributed to the Project in the past. He’s an aspiring BASE jumper, jumping with his team DBC (Dallas BASE Crew). Because of the Project, I developed a relationship with him and have even gotten to meet him in person. On all levels, Luke’s one of the most grounded, insightful, and inspiring people I've ever met. He’s got a lot to offer, both as an athlete and as a human being. I really hope to see him on top of the game, and soon. (If you want to see him and his team in action, check out “Lucid Dreams 2” on YouTube. It will drop your jaw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0OEblw70OA).

  1. What do you personally like to do for adventure? Skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, biking, hiking, a little skydiving, and the occasional beer or five.

  1. Would you like to give any shout outs? Absolutely. First off…S├ębastien Barrier. He was originally a contributor to the Project, but soon teamed up with me to take on all of the editing for IGW2013 (which there was a lot). To all the people who are a part of the GoWorld GoPro Project community, past, present, and future… THANK YOU. You really don’t know how much your enthusiasm means to me. Also, to the people who said they've been inspired by the Project… the pleasure’s mine. Just remember to pay that inspiration forward. An FYI, I enjoy communicating with the fans more than anything else. Please don’t hesitate to drop a line. It may take a few days for a reply, but I always reply. I would also like to give a shout out to all of the people who have inspired me as well as helped me navigate the difficult times. Lastly, I want to thank GoPro for their continuing support and for hooking up the gear to give out to the fans! GoWorld, GoWild, GoPro!!!