March 14, 2018

Behind the scenes of "Return of the Goat"


Director Mark Jenkinson, the Goatman and Director Of Photography Khalid Mohtaseb


At YT we like to raise the bar a bit – when developing our bikes as well as when it comes to presenting them to the world. At the kick-off of the new CAPRA campaign everybody knew that we had to go big. Whatever it was, it had to go off. 

So, we faced the task of putting together a campaign that would top everything we’ve done in the past. Challenge accepted! What followed was a typical YT story, a spark of inspiration turned into a creative wildfire as the craziest ideas quickly became reality. First and foremost, everything started with our CEO Markus Flossmann and our Creative Director Andreas John. The 80s horror film concept was an easy sell and our creative agency SHIFT Active Media was immediately fired up for the project.

James Dando, Account Manager at SHIFT was there from the start - from the original brainstorming via a 5-day production marathon to the final release. Here he gives us a little behind-the-scenes insight and tells the story of the filming work.




James Dando from SHIFT

Team SHIFT on site


Where did the shooting take place?

Filming took place in various locations around Lone Pine, California and at the foot of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the USA. While the area is not typically known for its mountain biking, it did offer us a stunning and dramatic back drop, while also providing us with our key filming locations in order to tell the story and capture the cinematic quality we were aiming for.  

Who made the film? Who was in involved in the production? How many people worked on the set / production?

The idea was conceived by YT Industries Creative Director, Andreas John and then developed further in collaboration with SHIFT Active Media. SHIFT and YT both had a clear sense that to make the idea really come alive, it was going to require global film making talent, to ensure that it was genuinely filmic and true to the classic horror genre – this after all was never intended to be just another bike commercial.  So, they contacted acclaimed commercials director Mark Jenkinson, from Rogue Films, who instantly fell in love with the script. After a few months of relentless planning and creative development, the number of people involved in the production and post-production topped around 80 including the highly renowned, New York based, Director Of Photography Khalid Mohtaseb. Of course, making the film was just one part of the story.





When and where did it take place?

The idea was born in Forchheim, Germany in summer 2017. From there it was developed in by the team at SHIFT in Bath, UK with pre-production planning taking place in London, UK. The crew came from all over the US and so it’s fair to say that the final details and production delivery really was a tri-nation effort. The majority of the filming then took place in Lone Pine in early January over the course of a week, before the rushes were set back to London where they were the edit took place. Then before the final film was released it went back to the USA for sound design. There were also sections of the riding content filmed in Portugal and SoCal. It’s hard to map out this process without access to the back of a cigarette packet, a pencil and lots of arrows and boxes, but hopefully this goes some way to explain the where and the when.  






How did you find the locations?

All shoots of this scale will have a location scout and so one was appointed to scout out an area that matched the requirements for the production brief. It’s actually a pretty time consuming and complex job, with lots of research, driving and ultimately negotiating with location owners. We have a great guy on the case for this project who remained on hand throughout the filming for which we were most grateful. 

Who is the goat man?

That would be telling. All we’ll say is you’ve been warned.

Are the tattoos real?

Of course. To think that there was a really talented make-up artist on set that was able to affix a variety of pre-planned tattoos would be madness. Right? 




Was he wearing a mask or was the goat head created in post-production?

It was a bit of both. The mask was made by an extremely talented lady in Germany, but there were some post production effects added – such as the blinking eyes.

Did the shooting run smoothly or did you have any difficulties?

When was the last time you did anything that went 100% as planned? The reality is that there are always challenges along the way with projects of this magnitude. Mostly things went to plan. We filmed extremely long days and with little sleep between, but the love for the project from all involved was such that it was ultimately plain sailing. Of course, when you are filming and one minute its 25 degrees and sunny, then the next minute it’s snowing, there are challenges. But we had coffee, jellied sweets and bucket loads of stamina, so all’s good.    






How did the whole production differ from a normal bike edit?

We don’t think this can be compared to anything the cycling industry has seen before, instead this is more akin to the production you may see in an automotive commercial or a feature film. That’s not to down play the effort that goes into some really great bike production, it’s just that this was, well...different.  

Which role did the sound design play?

It’s really easy to think of film making as a visual medium, but you can really tell the difference in the quality of a production by just shutting your eyes and listening to the story. George Lucas once said ‘Sound is half of the experience” and for us, especially with this horror genre it was essential to get sound on point.  Carefully constructed sound design has the power to really pull the audience into the film – and then in the horror genre push them away – right out of their seat. Boo! 








Any hidden secrets in the movie that you might not see at the first glance?

Hidden ‘Easter eggs’: "Andi's such a dick..." refers to RotG's writer and YT Creative Director Andreas John (an ‘Easter egg’ put in during the shoot by SHIFT); look out for the Bad Doggy t-shirt on the washing line; the teddy bear hanging in the back of the Goatman's van - he's just a big softy at heart; if you look closely enough, you can see that the Goatman's tattoos include CAPRA, MOUNTAIN GOAT, and other Capra-related references.


Thanks for the interview, James!