No one thinks like Bud Force and for the fearless leader of Ultralite Films that’s paying off big time. He understands his place in the pantheon and wants every ad that you see to be a cinematic experience.
How did the team come together?
The primary crew of Ultralite Films has an extensive background in film and visual storytelling. A while back, I was thinking it would be cool to have a group of talented artists join forces and attempt to make the most badass films possible. I met Erich Schlegel who’s covered seven world conflicts, documented the entire length of the Amazon River, and generally just does crazy crap while making great visuals. Then, I started working with Joey Arcisz, a former pro wakeboarder who was making some unreal films, and I was like, “Hey, let’s form a collective and try to slay some cool projects.”
When you guys have wild ideas – like say diving into the ocean with Manta Rays – how easy is it to get people on board?
It’s pretty easy; I mean it’s in our DNA. We’re all really passionate about what we do and we identify ourselves as adventure/adrenaline junkies. In fact, our slogan is “Crafted to Inspire.” Also, although we make films in a number of genres, our niche is definitely outdoor adventure. Every key member of Ultralite is SCUBA certified, we all fly aerial drones, ice climb, etc, so it’s never an issue to get people on board when we’re working on something cool. Our foundation is built upon working on land, under water, in the air, wherever. That’s what we like to do.
How do you decide how to spread the ideas around?
It was decided early on that ego wasn’t going to play a role in this company and the only bad idea is no idea. Our collaboration includes everyone, and we all enjoy bouncing ideas off each other. If we do lock horns on a concept or editing idea, then we battle it out over ping-pong and whiskey.
What does it take to stay ahead of the curve?
Genuine passion and a willingness to live outside of comfort zones. We’re not all that deep. We just want to make cool stuff.
It’s hard to avoid that some of you guys have big personalities. How do you make sure that “eccentricities” stay in check?
I guess we might have big personalities in that we like to go big or go home. We’re not going to work on something unless we’re passionate about it, but I think we’re pretty mellow at the same time. We like to have a good time, but we’re also extremely focused on what we do and the goals at hand. We really try to build each other up and be supportive of everything we’re working on. Everybody has pretty strong skill sets in their specific areas and we respect that. Respect and a lack of ego is key.
Would you consider yourself a demanding director?
I’m demanding in that we’re only going to make the best product we can possibly make or Ultralite Films isn’t going to make it. But it gets back to the collaboration thing again. Joey and I co-direct most of our projects, and we think a couple brains working on a solution is better than one…and directing and film making is mostly about finding solutions and making things work together. It’s sort of like building a puzzle – a moving puzzle with sound. You get the pieces right and it works, but Mr. Murphy is always waiting around trying to screw you up.
How as a company do you all define success?
Three things: Being true to ourselves, giving back, and having fun. I guess a warehouse big enough for a half pipe would be pretty good too.