Friday, October 16, 2009

Spike Jonze talks about filming skating.

So yesterday MoMa in NY had a screening of a few skate clips, starting with stuff from the first Powell Peralta videos to the newest Lakai and Alien Workshop ones.
Read more about the show here:

Patrick O´Dell from Epicly Later´d was responsible for having all these heavy hitters in attendance.

Lance Mountain talked about how he was possibly the first skater to become pro from being in videos. Saying his fellow Bones Brigade team mates won all these contests and he was a goof ball who did a good job skating in front of the camera, instead of contests. And back then contest were how you made a living being a skater.

Gonz kept referring to the scene from the first Powell video when Lance comes out of a chimney and skates around town as a great piece of skate video history.

Ed Templeton talked about that he used to shoot photos with Spike and how he and Jason Lee hung out with Don Brown (part owner of Sole Tech now who used to be a pro skater) in Huntington Beach in the late 80´s/early 90´s and took their slow moving tricks like the impossible and the 360 flip to the high school across the street and learned to do them down stairs.

Greg and Ty, who are probably the most "famous" skate video makers talked about, well not that much.. haha. Well they did touch on a few subject of how skate videos take a long time to make these days and that a lot of it is shot with multiple cameras and sometimes trimmed down Hollywood things like dollies.. I´m sure they could have talked about a lot more nerd related things in this little world of skateboard videos. But it was a long sitting and I was surprised to see older people there, and GIRLS. Like girls actually wanted to come watch skate videos and listen to Jake Phelps talk about how Ryan Schekler is a great skater, but a huge failure as a human..?

Gonz and Spike had some funny stories about filming for video days. Like how Gonz got pissed and threw a the camera out of the car once.

In one of skate montages there were clips of Gonz skating around NYC from the late 80´s (think the video was called Mondo Vision) and in that segment he did what I think was the first 50-50 grind on a real handrail.
When asked how if was to film in those days he replied - "I can´t remember".. haha.

Spike mentioned that he tried to capture how the Blind team skated, like showing lines etc. And picked out a moment / trick that he thought was cool to get on tape, Gonz´fs 360 ollie from Europe. And I remember watching that as well being blown away. Kien Lieu later took that tricks to another level, but that´s going deep into skatenerdism.

There was also talk about Video Days being the first video to have personal parts. Which from what Spike said sounded like a coincidence. That was just the easiest way to edit and organzine the shots for him / them...
If he only knew what he started. Even though Plan B took it to the next level and made it mandatory for skaters and snowboarders to have "video parts" to make a living...
In snowboarding it got really bad. Team managers would give huge incentives if the riders got a 2-3 minute in a major movie. Something that made my life hell. How creative can you get when you have to make a video with personal parts? Not very.
The riders would be bummed if I separated their shots into other session / travel based sections because then they didn´t get the incentive. Fucked up.

Tobin Yelland, a photographer, was also talking about how they went about doing the Stereo video "A Visual Sound", which Greg Hunt actually skated in. That video was artsy and pretty obscure. If you haven´t seen it I recommend you do.

I saw some people with video cameras in the theater so maybe this thing will come online soon.. who knows.
It was a great experience and I thought it was really cool to see all these skateboard legends in the same room together. And having so many people attend. I heard tickets sold out in 5 min.. I´m guessing that has something do to with Spike.. and his new movie "Where The Wild Things Are" premiering later that night (yesterday).

One thing I wanted to ask, but was too shy to was how they see the future of skate videos. They've been a huge part of my life, and theirs. But they've also only been sold on vhs and dvd's through skate shops to the consumer. That's in the past now. And I would hate for skate videos to become short contrived clips that companies force fed the kids.
Mindfield and Fully Flared are among the last videos to have decent sales. Far from the (guessing) the 200,000 copies the DC skate video sold.

Are skate videos dead, or dying out? Are we looking at a future with only tour videos for web distribution?.. I would hate if it came to that, even if that´s likely.
The dvd is pretty much gone, so how to we document and distribute compelling skating? I´m fine with the dvd being obsolete but what about the art of showcasing skateboarding through videos...?

But since videos are such an integral part of skating so I have faith that there´s a good future out there for them.


pj said...

The dvd is pretty much gone, so how to we document and distribute compelling skating?

-> on line stuff. Movie producers have to find a new way of distributing their movie. And doing the old-fashion way on the web (ie cutting a DVD into parts and uploading them each week) is pretty weak. It's just the beginning of the "internet times", we have to re-think everything.

The only business model we can see rising now is brand content that can be distributed for free as advertisment, is that really what we want to see as shred flicks???

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