Despite the internet’s best efforts to reduce the price of a video to zero and the format from physical product to online freebie, 2013 could be a landmark year in quality BMX DVD releases. Sure, the days of Props selling thousands of VHS copies are long gone, but the allure and permanent impact that a full-production video released on a tangible package that is bought and sold still holds true. And now, perhaps more than ever, this holds true – just think of the DVDs that have come out over the past twelve months. It’s a stacked list – and more are on their way.

In an ocean of daily web edits, BMX videos on DVD still deserve way more attention. One of the upcoming DVDs to be released is Dan’s Comp’s first major video: featuring their entire team (and what a team…), "Roll Call" is filmed and produced by Stew Johnson and it looks set to be an instant classic. We spoke with Dan’s Comp’s team manager, and one of the key men to put this project together, Scott Towne.

Here's the trailer for Roll Call... you know you want to own this.

So, right off the bat, what’s your role at Dan’s Comp?

Like most people that work at Dan’s, I wear a few hats. I’m the soft-goods buyer, marketing coordinator and freestyle team manager. I’ve worked for Dan’s Comp since August, 2010.

What were you doing before you worked at Dan’s?

Prior to Dan’s Comp, I was an outside sales rep for Sole Technology – Etnies and associate brands – for 13 years.

What’s involved with being Dan’s Team Manager? Do you take care of marketing? Promo? Team rider managing? What’s on the day to day?

All of those things and more. From a marketing standpoint, making sure our riders are seen in a positive light on every available channel. Whether it’s a video we’ve produced and are promoting ourselves, new signature products or a big giveaway featuring product from one of the riders, we try to be sure every human being on earth that is interested in BMX knows about it. We are really a co-sponsor for the riders and we also have everything for BMX, so there are lots of product requests for items not available from every company – flight bags and freecoaster hubs are high on this list. I deal with all of those requests as well.

How often do you look to scout out a new rider – and in your opinion, what makes a rider fit Dan’s Comp?

There are a lot of factors, but we want riders that represent BMX and their sponsors in a positive light. We try to connect the dots between the rider and their other sponsors as much as possible. Some riders specialize in specific types of riding, like Matt Wilhelm, for example, is a pretty extreme example as a flatland specific guy, then you have someone like Van Homan, who can and does ride everything. Dan’s Comp caters to all kinds of BMX riding and we want for our team to be the same way.

Looking at the team, it’s clear you have a stacked roster. What’s it like running a team this strong? I mean, is it as easy at it appears? Or, do you almost have too much to deal with?

A year ago, in the middle of the DVD, I would have answered this much differently, ha ha, but now that the DVD is done, it’s all positive. Some guys are easier to deal with than others, but they all have positive attributes or they probably wouldn’t be on the team in the first place, right? Like everyone at Dan’s, I have a lot to deal with, but the team is generally all high-fives and good times.

With so many riders, how many projects are on the go at once there?

All of the riders have multiple projects going at once, usually, so making everything work with their schedules can be challenging. The DVD was far and away our biggest rider-based project to date, and when you break it down, it was multiple back-to-back projects all along the way.

Devon Smillie came through with so much footage for the Roll Call DVD, that we couldn't fit it all into his section. Here's a whole edit of awesome riding that didn't quite make the final cut, but is definitely not lacking in quality. Filmed by Stew Johnson

So, on to the video. It’s done finally – but when did you decide to pull the trigger and start work?

We officially pulled the trigger at the end of 2011 and began filming in January of 2012.

Was it a no-brainer to hire Stew Johnson?

He was the first choice going into it and was clearly the best choice. Nothing against anyone else, there are plenty of talented video producers, but Stew is a workhorse and over-delivered in almost every capacity. I can’t say enough good things about him.

Did you set a travel budget, and figure out a to-do list with the video - have you been hands-on all the way, or left it to Stew and the riders?

Well, there definitely was a budget, whether we were able to stick to it is a different story altogether. I was hands-on throughout. The riders and Stew would come up with loose trip plans and I would coordinate the travel. Stew headed up every trip from start to finish.

Did any of the riders request or come up with special ideas, or spot concepts, for the video? I imagine Terry Adams might come up with special flatland spots for example?

Nothing too wacky. In general, we were trying to accommodate more than one rider at a time, so we tried to go to areas where we could make the best use of the region for all riders involved. Terry’s entire section was filmed in a submarine.

“The DVD was far and away our biggest rider-based project to date, and when you break it down, it was multiple back-to-back projects all along the way”

Where did you guys travel to film this one? Any far-flung filming trips?

All over the US and one trip to Canada. Dan’s Comp is a US-based company so we wanted to represent the USA.

With Dan’s having a very rounded team, has it been an extra challenge to show that on video?

Not especially, it just makes for a longer run time. There is a great mix of riding throughout.

It’s been a big year in DVD releases, despite some people saying that DVDs are dead given that so much video is free online, so what have been your highlights this past 12 months in DVDs?

DVDs aren’t dead! First of all, our DVD is well over an hour long. Can you imagine watching that on your phone? It would be ridiculous. A production like Talk Is Cheap needs to be experienced on a big screen with full-volume speakers. There have been so many good DVDs this year: Talk Is Cheap, although technically 2012, then Subrosa GUTI, Kink Squash It, Deadline, Markit Zero... it’s the year of the DVD. I hope Roll Call is held in the same regard.

So in your mind, are DVDs still relevant? Seems like riders put out more, or just go the extra mile for a DVD rather than a web edit. What’s your take?

Web videos are great, they provide a constant influx of fresh content, but even great ones can be quickly forgotten. It’s kind of the same as taking a great photo and never having a print of it. Ten years from now, will you be able to pull up that awesome Instagram pic from 2013? Seems unlikely. DVDs are tangible, hold in your hand, permanence. They don’t cost very much and they are something to behold and enjoyed indefinitely.

We're particularly looking forward to watching Van Homan's part in Roll Call. Pegs to bars over, Vegas September 2013. Photo: MN

What can we look forward to on the Dans video then?

A solid, well-rounded, full-length DVD with the best riders in the game. Not an excessive amount of fanfare or contrived hype, just a ton of great riding and fair supply of ‘holy shit’ moments.

Any set-backs along the way?

A seemingly endless list of injuries and surgeries for many of the guys on the team definitely made the process more complicated than it might have been otherwise.

Any special bonuses that you weren’t expecting?

Yes, it is was completed on time!

Haha! Personally speaking, what’s your stand-out part on the video?

All of it! There are many, but I really like Alex Magallan’s part. The song, the tricks and his brand of high-speed, creative riding are all things I’m personally fond of. Tony Neyer’s part is a jaw-dropper for many different reasons. Even for me, knowing everyone on the Roll Call, and seeing each completed section in the final version was amazing. It does not disappoint.

How’s the premiere plans going on?

Saturday, November 23 at The Bakery in Chicago, Illinois. There may be smaller ones, but the premiere at The Bakery will have the whole team in one building. It’s going to be awesome.

So, when can we get our hands on copies, and how?

If production stays on schedule, it will be available for sale the day of the premiere.

Just look at THAT team roster?! Is this the best team in BMX, ever?

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