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[InC-terview] Elliott Danker, Host of Web Series 'Dank it UP!'

By Flora  /  31 May 2017 (Wednesday)
InCinemas speaks to Elliott Danker, media personality and the host of his own sports web series, 'Dank it Up'!

He shares with us his creation process, challenging prominent athletes to quirky challenges, and even recommends some of his favourite sports movies! 

InCinemas: Hi Elliott, how did the idea of ‘Dank it UP!’ come about?

Well, I've been a sports presenter for a long time and I've noticed that traditional sports magazine shows were changing. You don't get a lot of it these days so I wanted to create something of my own. I figured that branding and making it different would be very important.

So the idea behind Dank it UP! was to have a slight comedy element, to be entertaining but yet have an element of education behind it. To educate viewers on the struggles of being a pro athlete, how hard attempting the sport I'm talking about can be and also to point them in the right direction if they wanted to find out more. I gathered my crew at POPCulture Online, my online magazine, discussed the idea over and over again and we eventually crafted the framework for the show.

InCinemas: What inspired you to create a miniseries about sports and interviewing sports personalities?

I wanted that flavour of personality so choosing the athletes was important. I would say the main inspiration was to highlight sports in Singapore. These guys put in a lot of work and are often overshadowed by stories of footballers in Europe.

InCinemas: How much of a sports fan are you?

Huge Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund fan. I love Formula 1, have attended every edition of the Singapore Grand Prix. I'm quite big on tennis as well, big fan of Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep (quite pleased to say I've met her twice) and a bit of baseball and American football as well.

Oh and I started playing golf last October. It's addictive, I tell you!


InCinemas: What are the challenges planning or shooting for ‘Dank it Up’?

Everyone on the crew has a different experience. Nicholas Kwan, my Assistant Director, probably has the most experience working with video. My associate producers Ken Koh and Alex Tan have more experience with photography than videography but my consultant Kenneth Wong is a master of online trends. I've produced and directed regional television broadcasts before so it was the whole discussion phase and sharing of ideas that was challenging. We were very clear that we wanted to be on the exact same page as a team so a lot....and I mean a lot of communication was important.

I think convincing guests to come on the show was tough as well. It was a new concept after all so I called just about every favour I could. I'm pleased to say we negotiated with Suntec Singapore for a 3 min version of each episode to be aired on the big screen at the convention centre so the payoff is massive for everyone and we are very grateful to Suntec Singapore, Audio Technica and Adidas for supporting us and helping us put the show together.

InCinemas: What can viewers expect from the next 3 episodes of the web series?

The next 3 episodes are our best episodes because we were super comfortable with our work flows and started to experiment with the humour and stunts more.

Episode 4 features local sprinter and hurdler Dipna Lim Prasad as we battle to find out who's better at yoga.
Episode 5 will feature Singapore Football Legend Aleksandar Duric. We take on cross fit and I get my ass handed to me. 
Episode 6, our season finale is our most challenging to date because we shot at Splash and Surf at the Singapore Sports Hub and it features some water stunts together with the darling of Singapore Netball, Charmaine Soh.

InCinemas: Of the 6 sports personalities you interviewed, who is your favourite, and why?

I gotta go with Aleksandar Duric.

For me, episode 5 was the most entertaining because Duric trains me in cross fit whenever he can. So in this episode, he's dissing me and I'm doing all sorts of things to make him think I'm weak. The way the episode ends and the punishment he dishes out to me was probably how irritated he was with me after filming.

InCinemas: In each episode, you challenge the sports personalities to various games. What has been the hardest challenge so far?

Episode 6. We play mini-basketball in the water with the shooter on a float. Charmaine Soh is one of the most amazing netballers I know....but this challenge was so even that I actually stood a chance of winning.

InCinemas: Will you be creating another web series soon? Or can we expect a ‘Dank it Up’ season 2?

Yes! There will definitely be a season 2. We're already getting a lot of requests for athletes and locations to be featured in season 2. It's quite overwhelming I must admit but I'm very grateful that season 1 has created so much belief.
Ultimately we hope we are making a difference to local sports because that's our goal - build interest and educate through entertainment.

Photo Credit: ShowBizCafe - "Rush"

InCinemas: What are some of your favourite sports-themed movies? 

"The Replacements" starring Keanu Reeves is one of my favourites. It's about a bunch of losers who replace pro footballers and go all the way. "Tin Cup" is pretty good too. Kevin Costner in a movie about golf. I'm sure most golfers have seen this one. I'd mention "Bend it like Beckham" simply because that was the first time we all met Keira Knightley and who doesn't love Keira, right? "Rush", the story of James Hunt and Niki Lauda is one of the best racing films I've ever seen. I loved the way the Formula One industry in the 70s was depicted.

I could go on and on but I'll end with Southpaw because there's nothing like a good boxing movie.

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