Travis Rice talks social media blackout prior to ‘The Fourth Phase’ premiere

On Sunday night The Fourth Phase, possibly the most quality and complex action sports film of all time will make its worldwide debut on Red Bull TV at 9 p.m. simultaneously in every time zone.

As far as the level of anticipation, this drop of Travis Rice’s latest effort is Christmas and birthdays all wrapped up into one, for the boardriding world.

It’s an epic film that examines Rice’s love for extreme backcountry and his understanding of weather patterns in the famed “Ring of Fire,” of the North Pacific Ocean, documenting the hydrological cycle and the storms that bring so much powdery goodness to Russia, Alaska and Japan.

And it goes without saying that the riding footage sets the bar even higher than his former films.

Rice and Red Bull were both very tight-lipped about The Fourth Phase prior to the Sept. 8 world premiere in Los Angeles.

With only a teaser released last year, the official trailer was kept under lock and key until Aug. 16. Nothing leaked early.

In order for this film to have the impact that it’s having, it was imperative for snowboarders and all those little internet eyeballs to not find and share any footage or clues as to what the film was about or the locations.

And that meant Rice had to enforce a strict social media blackout on the project … For years.

The world didn't know about Rice's amazing filming locations like this spot in Russia. Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool
The world didn’t know about Rice’s amazing filming locations like this spot in Russia. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool
“These days, media is so compartmentalized and disposable. It’s at your fingertips today and gone tomorrow. I can’t bag on it because I’m a consumer as well. Right after The Art of Flight, I did this stupid little webisode series called “Rice Pudding.” It was one of the most fun things I’ve done,” Rice admits. “But with this film, I wanted to go the opposite direction.”

Rice had his entire crew of riders, directors and photographers sign a non-disclosure agreement as a way of digitally covering his tracks.

“We agreed to not put anything out. It was a complete media blackout for two and a half years,” he adds, “So no one was talking about anything we were doing. Maybe it’s an extreme way of doing it. But we wanted to honor the way that it was years ago, and the excitement that leads up to that. We’re premiering our film and no one really knows what it’s going to be.”

A photo posted by Travis Rice (@travisrice) on

He went so far as to even keep the trailers non-descript. The ability to keep a lid on things so long speaks to Rice’s standing in the snowboard world.

Younger or less established riders, or anyone trying to make a name for themselves in any field, rely on a constant feed of Instagram posts and Facebook links to keep their “brand” in the public eye.

But when Rice disappears for a year, no one forgets his name.

And the result is that when he and his team finally emerge from the deep white, they have something that the world has never seen before — and really didn’t even get a quick glimpse of.

Of course we know some secrets from the world premiere, but we’re not gonna spoil it for you.

Travis Rice with his girlfriend at the world premiere of The Fourth Phase, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Colin Young-Wolff / Red Bull Content Pool.
Travis Rice with his girlfriend at the world premiere of The Fourth Phase, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Photo: Courtesy of Colin Young-Wolff/Red Bull Content Pool

“You can’t deny that social media is an incredible platform for storytelling and sharing information, or pointing to things that I care about. I have an amazing team called Inkwell of like-minded individuals that I employ to handle the social media world, so I don’t spend three hours a day on it,” he laughs.

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