Before we talk about Call of the Mild, the latest from JonBob Productions, a production studio of one based in Tahoe City, California, let me take you back two years, to Jon Rockwood’s “office” when he was making the final cuts to his 2013 film, More On It.
Rockwood, the founder of JonBob, had just come out of his dark editing studio, which was actually his wood-paneled bedroom with an old MacBook—not Pro—sitting on a desk crammed with empty Pabst cans and stacks of blank DVDs. The hours Rockwood spent crouched over his desk, editing days’ worth of footage, cursing the spinning rainbow ball of death, could probably add up to an entire month. But in the end, More On It emerged as a 34-minute tribute to a season that didn’t see a lot of snow, but still saw plenty of good days. He popped the movie in the DVD player in the living room, dealt out a few beers, leaned back on the kitchen stool, and the show started.
“It’s as local as it gets—local skiers, local zones,” said Rockwood, who is also a ski coach, restaurant server, and backcountry ski shop employee. “We’re in this weird gray area between your family video and a pro, sponsored movie.”
At first, Rockwood just wanted to prove to his dad in Virginia that skiing existed in Arizona, where he spent time ski bumming, and picked up the camera skills. But when he moved back to Squaw Valley in 2009, he packed his Sony Handycam—a camera that is truly is handy and fits perfectly in a ski jacket pocket.
“The best shot is the shot that exists,” says Rockwood, and with good light, good skiing, and good snow, the Handycam works just fine. Importantly, you can also pass it to your buddy so you can ski, too.
“I’m lucky enough to ski with this group of 10 to 20 skiers. No one is sponsored. No one is really getting funding. But we’re all damn good skiers,” says Rockwood. “The skill is there so why not point a camera on them and capture something?”
Back to the present day, and JonBob just dropped the trailer to Call of the Mild. (Last year, he also released Benefit of the Drought.) The last winter in Tahoe didn’t improve much on 2013’s meager results. But Rockwood and co. keep skiing—albeit, spending a little more time on the road than they would have if it had snowed more in Tahoe—and the camera keeps rolling.