Not since UCSB’s 2001 documentary has ultimate been captured in a feature length form. The Blue Print: Road to Repeat follows the 2008 Wisconsin Hodags in their quest to bring the UPA College Open title back to Madison for the second time in a row, and the third time in six years.
Below is Skyd Magazine’s interview, about the film, with Kevin Riley, an O-line handler for the Hodags from 2005 to 2008.
How was The Blue Print produced? Whose project was it? Who made it happen?
Kevin Riley: Brandon “Muffin” Malecek and Andrew Mahowald were the guys who really started making this project (in fall of ’07). I was roommates with them throughout and helped with stuff whenever they needed me, and I knew the drill on how to do stuff. These guys did all the preliminary editing on iMovie and coordinated all the videography for tournaments and interviews. The project was in a lull after the spring of 2009 – seemed like it would just take more resources than we had. I was moving to New York in June, and my new roommate and lifelong friend, Thomas Shomaker is a free lance video editor, and I loved this project, so I told him I’d do it. Muffin literally brought me the hard drive with everything on it on my last day in Madison, and asked if I was really up to finishing it, and I said yeah. I fund raised from alumni, found music, worked with editing to make sure the story line was brought out and to helped orient Thomas to how the game should look on camera. Thomas and I started with about 6 hours of footage – 4 cut into sequenced tournaments, and 2 hours of practices and tidbits. It took about 15 months from that point.
In terms of the actual feat of producing this video Hodag Love is the only way it ever got done. It’s the only reason that Muffin, Drew or I threw ourselves at this project, and it’s the only reason that alumni more than a decade out of school sent money to support us. It’s an example of what we can do when we work together for one another.
Why is The Blue Print an important piece of Hodag history? What does it mean to the Hodags?
Kevin: The Blueprint is definitely one of the most significant things in our history. It’s a story about our finest hour, and all the struggles that we went through leading up to that. It shows the dichotomy of our team’s harsh attitude that’s driven by high expectations, and the simple steadfast mantra of “Hodag Love,” and how our team fared when each was prevalent.
Who are some of the players the film features?
Kevin: Ben Feldman, Jim Foster, Matt Rebholz, Brandon ‘Muffin’ Makecek, Drew Mahowald, Shane Hohenstein, Will Lokke, Cullen Geppert, Tim Pearce.
What scenes can viewers look forward to?
Kevin: Big Games, vs MI and FL at Centex, vs AZ at Vegas Vs Carleton and Iowa at Regionals, Vs Standford and CO at NAtionals,
The Stairs scene, Outdoor Practice. … It’s all good.
What are some of your favorite scenes?
Kevin: I really like the Stairs scene. Good music and cool effects. I also love the Colorado Game at Nationals. Definitely the fastest game I ever played in College.
How does this film do its story-telling? Is it through interviews? Candid footage? Sports photography?
Kevin: It’s mostly through the footage. There are some interviews, and a lot of candid scenes. We only use voice overs three or four times. We try to get some emotions through the music and how people are acting.
In 2001, UCSB brought us I Bleed Black, the story of the nationally ranked college team Black Tide and their journey to win a national championship. How is The Blue Print similar to I Bleed Black and how does it open a new chapter on the road to nationals story?
Kevin: Well, I Bleed Black was definitely something that we watched and took notes on. Those guys made a great film. We both definitely have ridiculously good music. We also both take time to focus on the practices and how the internal strife of a team can be the largest source of problems. Our film differs stylistically in a couple of main ways. We generally don’t have a running monologue, nor do we have the intense individual focuses that characterized I Bleed Black. Our film focuses more on team momentum and the positive and negative factors that go into that. We have a couple of interviews, but mostly they’re about the Hodags from alumni or about teams we played and how an individual perceived what our team went through. We also have the great luxury of being supported by Ultivillage and CBS College Sports Network. The footage that we had of ourselves that we didn’t need to worry about being taken with great skill was an enormous part of this being a successful project. Hopefully this won’t be the last time that someone gets the crazy idea in their head to do a project like The Blue Print or I Bleed Black and then gets the completely insane drive to actually finish it.
What lessons does The Blue Print provide for other ultimate teams?
Kevin: Hopefully there are a couple of important lessons from The Blue Print that can be taken away. The only one that we envisioned rising above the rest is that you have to support your teammates, and make sure you don’t lose sight of the fact that playing with them is the biggest reason that you’re there.
What should everybody know about this film?
Kevin: This is a story about a bunch of guys who love each other and would have done anything in this season to make sure that they were there for each other.
Photos generously donated by http://hodagultimate.blogspot.com