Tuesday 25 September 2007


by Ronnie Apteker

It takes a long time to earn trust, perhaps even a lifetime. But it can be lost in a heartbeat. I think the Footskating movie had a fundamental problem from the start. I realize that now. I think the teen audience that we made this movie for do not trust us.

I love the Footskating movie; it is the film we wanted to make all those years ago. The Benoni movie should have been the Footskating movie. But the Benoni movie did not deliver on the expectation that was created back then and for this we lost trust. We all start out on projects with the best intentions but sometimes we make mistakes and we just don’t get it right. Yes, we intended to make a 10/10 on the Benoni movie but it landed up being more close to a 3 or a 4. The new Footskating movie is closer to a 7 in my view and I am happy with the growth that we have demonstrated here. But, sadly, sometimes it just isn’t good enough. I think the timing of our release just recently was really unlucky considering all the big sporting action on the go at the time, but, the trust issue is a fundamental problem and one we can’t do anything about. For those of you who have been following this thread you will understand, and for those of you who have not been following, well, this is the last installment on this subject. From next week we will move on to something different.

Barry Ronge gave the Footskating film 4 out of 5. He said that the new movie found the balance between silly and cool. And that is right on the money. We were indeed trying to make a silly movie. Something that didn’t take itself too seriously, something with great colour and character, something magical with cool music and a fast pace. We feel we did achieve this, and we are very grateful that the vast majority of the reviewers saw the magic in what was created here. We did have good luck in this respect. Good luck that came from good people.

But, the market has given us a clear message. They didn’t want another film like the first one and the box office numbers have highlighted this. We just couldn’t seem to escape the association to the first film, even though the new movie was a whole different ball game, with a new team. So, it’s back to the drawing board on the movie side. It has been said through the ages that there is always progress from struggle. And, if this is the case, then, a lot of progress will be part of the reward here.

I remind myself once again that everything we do is all about people. The right attitude brings results. Let me re-emphasize that one would rather invest in bad business with good people than in a good business with bad people. And this is what I got out of the Footskating journey: a strong, solid base of people. We created more than just a colourful, eccentric movie, we created a good team of people. An inspired, motivated group of story tellers, that are now ready for the next journey.

Getting a film to market must be one of the hardest challenges in the world. Competing on the world stage is overwhelming. Going up against all the big budget Hollywood films is monster exercise. Getting an indie film released in the USA must one the toughest things you could do; now imagine getting a non-American indie film out there – wow, talk about a big mountain to climb! Yes, competing in the arts is not easy: there are very few winners and lots and lots of losers. Well, we won on some fronts now and we lost on others. But, when it comes to investing in people I came out with flying colours and this means more to me than anything.

When you go to a cinema or a book shop or a CD store, you don’t ask to see the international products or the local stuff, etc. You simply want to see what’s hot – you want the best. Your leisure time is precious. Simply put, you don’t want to waste your time with something that is average. Then, consider that South Africa is not a big film going country – it is not a big part of our culture. Sports, on the other hand, is all everyone talks about. So, with that in mind, I am off to watch some sporting action on TV. Then I will get some sleep. Tomorrow, a new journey begins.


Anonymous said...


Maybe you are aiming too big, too soon?

Crazy Monkey has a small but loyal niche following, the same is true of Footskating.

Of course it may seem like I am comparing apples to oranges here, but see if I have a point?

Aside from the fun you had in putting together the latter, as well as the team that was built in this process, I am assuming that you would consider the first to be the greater objective success of the two? If so, why is this?

The first key difference between the two that comes to mind is the cost of production, financially and time-wise. Footskating needed to be a (relatively) big hit to be a classified as a "success", whereas any proceeds (direct financial or otherwise) that came out of the Crazy Monkey skits was almost pure profit.

Of course another difference is the amount of commitment required by the target market to "engage" with the respective products - as you mention sport on TV hit Footskating numbers, whereas the Crazy Monkey skits could be enjoyed by anyone with MTV (or an internet connection) and a minute to spare. This is a slightly different point, but the cause is the same - the greater scope of the Footskating project.

I love the brand of humour, and I'm sure many would agree - unfortunately not enough of us at this stage to support a grandscale blockbuster production.

What about returning to the roots - put a few more great skits out there on the net, generate some buzz and grow the niche?

Not sure if this is where your head is at at the moment, but anyway it might be an idea?

Either way, I know you won't give up and I'm glad for that fact!

Michael Longano