It’s hard to imagine a time when we would sit around and watch issues of 411 rather than reminisce about 411. And it’s even harder to imagine how a video magazine would be profitable today, when the availability of free video content is at an all-time high. But a couple of guys want to bring back the video magazine concept, so we talked to them to find how they plan to pull it off.
Jordan Maxham and Sierra Fellers are launching iDabble Video Magazine basically all by themselves. They have Mark Appleyard as the host, but Jordan and Sierra are planning, filming, and editing all the content, which is heavily inspired by original 411 segments. They’re releasing four videos this year, with premiere parties for each, and they recently took out a billboard to promote it.
Curious to hear more about their plans to re-spark the video magazine, we called them to find out. Old heads read on and green horns click here to start watching 411 from the beginning.
So why do you want to put out a video magazine in 2019?
We really wanted to do a video magazine because we grew up on 411, On Video, and Strange Notes like everybody else. We mentioned it to a lot of people and they were all like “Yeah, it’s a good idea.” So we tried to make it using our resources of friends that film.
Is iDabble just a front for your weed operation?
[Laughs] That’d be so sick! Sadly, there’s no weed operation going on. Still paying for weed over here, so if anyone wants to send us some weed, we would love that.
Will people have to pay to watch them?
Yes, you will be paying. But it will be so much less than any other skate video you have ever bought in your life. Nobody has ever paid this little for a video. We would love to do it for free. Straight up for free. It’s just impossible to dedicate the 60 hours a week we’re putting in and all the content for 100% free. But it’s going to be damn near free.
What will the product look like? Are you going to do digital downloads or stream it online?
It will be digitally available worldwide and there will be 100 DVD copies of every issue, signed by [Mark] Appleyard. Don’t quote us on this, which means you probably will, but fuck it… we’re trying to put ten VHS tapes of every issue out. They’re going to float around. Just some cool collector shit if you could find them. There’s a lot of sentimental value in our generation that wants that hard copy, so there needs to be an option for that, like limited edition DVD and super limited edition VHS. Maybe we’ll sell VHS players with them.
Obviously your video magazine is inspired by 411. How will iDabble be different?
We wouldn’t say it’s too different. We’re not inventing this. It’s what we grew up on and we’re taking the pages from 411, On Video, and Strange Notes, and pertaining it to this generation. It’s the exact same shit. It’s the same formula. We got gnarly openers, we got an amazing host, we got great segments. It’s exactly the same.
Where did the name come from? Since it has the “i” in front, will Apple be sending you a “cease and desist?”
The “i” came from using “i” products, cause we were just filming on iPhones and editing on iMovie. After a long time we heard people say the term “I dabble” so we wanted to keep it as that. It has nothing to do with “i” products, it’s like the saying, “I dabble.” If Apple hits us up with a cease and desist, our LLC is licensed as “i Dabble” with a space in it.
But we’ve been making iDabble videos forever. Those videos—iDabble 1, 2, 3—they’re their own thing. This is a new chapter of iDabble. It’s going to be iDabble Video Magazine. Now it’s just us doing this whole thing, and we have Apples as our host. But in the field filming, editing, interviewing, stickers, shirts, production, everything is us.
So what do you dabble in?
Everything except hard drugs, and cross dressing.
What’s your pitch to brands to advertise in your videos?
If you have a skate company that you love and pour your heart into and you want to advertise it, that costs money. Those people don’t have money to advertise. So we’re telling everybody, if you want a commercial, send it to us and we’ll put it in for free. Just make it funny and we’ll run commercials for free.
We think everybody could feed each other and we don’t have to take a bunch of money from everyone. Nobody has to get rich off of it. We want it to be a thing that keeps happening and we’re trying to go about it the cheapest way and the freest for the people. It sucks that you have to pay to be a part of the “cool guy” club. And we’re not the “cool guy” club.
“It sucks that you have to pay to be a part of the ‘cool guy’ club. And we’re not the ‘cool guy’ club.”
Couldn’t brands just keep advertising their stuff for free on their own Instagram accounts the way they already do?
Yeah for sure, but your Instagram is full of followers that are only buying into your brand. We have people from every clique of skating so every clique of skating is going to see it.
You might not watch the video for whatever reason, but one of your favorite skaters is going to be in there. You’re going to want to see [Brandon] Westgate or Torey [Pudwill] or Kader [Sylla]. What’s so captivating about Transworld videos and 411 was this collective. It wasn’t just one type of skating. Everybody is involved.
It doesn’t seem like that much, but we’re going to drop four issues this year and hopefully six next year, and by the time this shit all catches up people are going to be like, “Damn, I want to put a commercial in that.” It’s not going to cost you that many dollars if you want to be a part of it.
What about growing your production staff? Do you want to hire filmers and editors?
We would love to take all these dudes we know who work a fucking 9-5 who are amazing filmers and photographers and give them a job. Hopefully we could have a whole crew of people that work with iDabble because we want it to be worldwide, we want people filming in every country.
We want to give everybody a chance, and all these skaters that are working a 9-5 and they’re underrated people that nobody knows about, we want to give them their shine. You don’t have a sponsor that’s going to get you on a big website and doesn’t have paid advertising for you? We got you, let’s do a segment.
Newer skate media projects like The Nine Club Experience and ETN struggled to sustain themselves by making people pay to watch their content. Why will iDabble be different?
iDabble will be different because it’s as close to free as it can be. 30 minutes of content from your favorite skaters and it’s hosted by Appleyard. As people who have been skating for 20 years, we would gladly pay $5 for anything that Appleyard is going to host, and it’s not going to even be $5. To know he is going to be the one talking and being the Lance Mountain [former host of 411], that to us is worth $5 or $10 per issue.
It’s no problem for us to sell 30 minutes of the best content that’s from people spread across the whole diverse plane of skateboarding, as opposed to one company. It’s not just one company and their fans and loyal followers, it’s people from every single company across skating, so if you’re not into one segment, your favorite skater is going to be in another one. We don’t think we are going to have any issues selling copies.
If you don’t make a lot of sales right away, can you self-fund this?
No matter what we will be doing this. A lot of people have asked if it’s going to work, and we just ask, “What is working to you?” If we inspire one kid to go skate, then that works for us. We’ve been telling a lot of kids who have never even heard of a video magazine, “Here’s a link to a 411. Go watch this and picture if that was all your favorite, current, relevant skaters.” Every kid has been stoked.
I was surprised you guys had the money to take out billboards for iDabble in LA. How much does a billboard cost?
[Laughs] It costs whatever you want it to cost.