Real Co-Founder Jim Thiebaud On New Film & Retail Partnerships

With the launch of its new full-length video and book, Since Day One, the Real crew is paying tribute to one of its longtime photographers Gabe Morford, while at the same time helping support its core retailers with a program that gives back to the local skate community. We caught up with Real Skateboard’s Co-Founder Jim Thiebaud to discuss what’s in store for the new project and where the brand is headed.

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How long has the new video and book been in the works?
The team has been working on the video on and off for a couple years. With the addition of Dan Wolfe midway through last year it solidified things and the pace was picked up.  I can definitely say the process took way too long for Dennis who seems able to create a full video part in about three sessions. So, this is a public apology to Dennis for the delay—I’m sorry my friend and thank you for putting up with us—you rule.

What’s the concept behind the book and video? Can you give us a few details and explain why REAL decided this was the best time to launch this project?

Gabe Morford has shot photos of the REAL team since almost the start of REAL. He is the backbone of REAL. Gabe is one hundred percent involved in any project we do. Anytime I can use his photographic work as a part of anything we’re doing I consider myself lucky. WIth the REAL video, it was always the plan since day one (duh) to have it be accompanied with some of Gabe’s shots. It made sense since he was right there through the entire thing.

Dennis Busenitz. Photo: Gabe Morford
Dennis Busenitz. Photo: Gabe Morford

As far as telling the story of the brand, we did not think that way at all. The guys just went on as many trips as the they could physically do, Gabe went along and shot it all. It’s simply the photographic journey behind the video and I’m honored to be able to do it with Gabe. Plus, he carries a damn big stick along on the trips and can keep shit right in line when it has to be handled – so for that alone I had to do it.

Real Skate Team. Photo: Gabe Morford
Real Skate Team. Photo: Gabe Morford

When does Since Day One hit retail?
It goes live worldwide April 11th, hopefully.

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Justin Brock. Photo: Gabe Morford

Which retailers are you partnering with?
It’s still incredibly hard out there and we wanted to do something to thank and hopefully help the shops that took a chance with us and prebooked the REAL DVD. A week after shops prebooked the DVD, we sent them the info on the Thank You Coupon plan they would get towards the Since Day One REAL decks that are coming out. With each DVD sold at participating shops there will be a coupon that skaters can use for $5, or similar amount in other countries, off a REAL Since Day One deck. Hopefully that helps the shops in that it gets skaters into their doors and then the skaters who get the DVD can get a deal on a good deck from that shop they bought the DVD from.

Why did REAL see a need to partner with core retailers on this project and why do you think there is a greater need within the industry to continue supporting shops that have been around since the beginning?
C’mon—we started REAL because we believed in what we were trying to create and knew from the very beginning that it was a two-way street. That has not changed. Most of the key skate shops out there started for the very same reasons and with the very same ideals. We probably know everyone of them personally through working together forever. It’s not about an industry—it’s about skateboarders and skateboard shops. If someone backs us we’ll do whatever we can to help them out. Doing the DVD this way was just a natural way for us to do it.

Talk more about the deck series—was that a natural spin off from the video/book or vice versa?
The Since Day One decks are fucking cool. Andy Pitts designed them and they came out looking like personalized versions of the OG REAL decks we did when we first started. Back in the day, we all rode the Oval decks and it was way more then just a logo for us and it’s really cool to see a series like this that borrows from the original, but clearly is driven by the team today who are in the driver’s seat with where REAL is going – its awesome to see.

From a marketing stand point, what do you hope to achieve as far as branding with Since Day One?
Simple – to show the world how fucking bad ass the guys on the team are. After that, everything else is just gravy.