By Paul Zitzer,
In November, when P-rod's Plan B part hit the virtual shelves over at iTunes, eyebrows were raised in all sorts of directions. Following the groundbreaking pay to play Berrics' release of Shane O'Neill's part earlier in the year, P-rod became the second skater to give the concept a shot. But unlike Nugget, whose footage was put out with a "cough up the dough and do this starving young artist a favor" type of plea, P-rod isn't poor, resulting in a greater outcry about it not being free for the digital taking.
Some thought that while the P-rod part might be worthwhile as part of an actual Plan B team video, on its own it just wouldn't be. Others wondered if the skating would be good enough to warrant the $2.99 asking price. The response to whether any of these points have any merit is something like an adult diaper. Depends.
Call me crazy, but my take is that P-rod as a professional skateboarder is obligated to make money, and it's his right should he choose to exercise it, to charge for the opportunity to watch him go to town on the board. And in terms of Me, Myself, and I being just one skater's part as opposed to a video of the whole crew, it's pretty obvious that besides the initial viewing at the premier, the most common way of consuming skate videos these days is a la carte. So this is pretty much just an extension of a trend we've all helped put in motion.
As for the quality of the skating, it's amazing. The Kanye musical choice is a little questionable, and the how-much-does-it-make-you-want-to-go-skate quotient is always going to be a source of contention concerning someone as polished as P-rod, but strictly talking tricks, the part far exceeds any and all of his previous efforts, each of which has been cutting edge at least. Here he tacks the hardest switch moves onto the end of the craziest combos, does a picnic table line followed by its mirror image (Which could induce epileptic seizures when attempting Brian Anderson like experiments ala Epicly Later'd), flings his board with ease down hefty drops, and gets jiggy (maybe a little too jiggy) with the nollie late front foot flip, taking it straight, backside, and even to crooked grind (!).
In an effort to put the whole thing into some perspective, the idea that you're getting three years of P-rods life on film for three dollars sounds like we might be short changing him a little bit. It's a six-minute part with somewhere around five minutes of pure shredding, and although it probably isn't going to change the way most of us actually ride our skateboards, it's safe to assume it'll act as another nail in the coffin of the conventional skate video.
Like the great dinosaurs that once walked the earth, so goes the days of the skate epic, when a company would film for three to four years, even seven in some cases (yes, I'm talking about you Flip), waiting until every last guy on the team logged enough tricks to pull off a full part. Plan B's intention of keeping that tradition alive has been hampered by injuries from Sheckler and Way, and the loss of riders like Gallant, J-rog, and Wenning, so Paul decided to put out his own part instead of letting it grow mold.
If you believe the rumors that Nugget raked in something like thirty grand on his Berrics part (although I've never actually tried to confirm this figure), it seems to point towards a P-Rodian iVideo landscape from now into the foreseeable future. Why wouldn't it? (Although granted, without naming names, it probably won't work for everyone.) But lets say for the sake of argument that Plan B decided to forgo the idea of the classic video in favor of the individual iTunes release of blockbuster part after blockbuster part. Not only could they get a dollar for dollar account of who's doing the best job connecting with their fans, (and on the flip side who should potentially get a pay cut or follow in Heath's footsteps) but they could also stretch out the impact of their video almost indefinitely. Just an idea.
As I see it, the moral of this story is: Things change. If you don't like it you can...well...I suppose you can spend five minutes clicking around and find the P-rod video for free like you would have in the good old days. But still, things totally change. Kind of at least.
Check out the official trailer below