A Rite of Passage

What came first? The client or the concept? In this case…I’m not so sure. What I knew was this:

  • We wanted to turn our annual Summer Special on its ear
  • We wanted to take what was already an authentic brand and combine that with the new trends of story telling. It was a natural combination.
  • My son, August, was finally tall enough to ride the Giant Dipper

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s main message is “creating memories that last a lifetime.” How many memories surrounding the Boardwalk are stronger than that first Dipper experience? Not many. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!!!

So when we suggested August’s First Dipper ride as one of the segments for our summer special, it was an immediate green light by the Boardwalk marketing team.

This was my vision: Create an experience for the viewer to feel like they were right there with August as he made the walk down the Boardwalk to the ride. Feel how he felt from taking his first steps into the building and walking up the ramp; to waiting in line and stepping into the front car; the nerves, excitement, fear, joy, everything he was feeling at that moment and then carry those feelings throughout the ride.

All of that was captured on camera the day he took his ride. It was palpable being there with him and, I believe, it transitioned into the lens.

And what was the ride like? Well, everything I expected to be and nothing I expected it to be. He was nervous but brave when the train dropped down and into the tunnel.

When we hit the hill, he looked around and was scared but excited. As we dropped, it was intense but fun. He put on a big smile for the Dipper camera.

Everything was going great until we reached the crest of the next hill. He flew up, out of his seat, which freaked him out. He later told me, “I totally thought I was going to fly out of the ride.” The rest of the ride he kept saying, “This is the scariest ride ever.”

When the ride was over and he was “safely” at the station, you could see the pure joy on his face of having accomplished this important moment in his life. And while he wasn’t so sure about riding it again when he first got off, it didn’t take long for him to want to tackle it again.

Today when I ask August about his first ride he says, “It was fun, exciting, thrilling and amazing.” And when I tell him about all the people that have been touched, inspired and overjoyed by watching his experience, it makes me smile to hear him say, “It feels crazy to know that people have been inspired by me.” What a gift and what a wonderful thing to have shared with so many.

Thank you for being so brave, August, to take your first ride on the Dipper, ride in the front car and let us document the event to share with the world. Now, here’s your chance to ride along with August as he experiences a rite of passage.