Archive for May, 2015

Tha Agony and Tha Ecstasy

May 31, 2015

TrillFam

For all the mumblings of Peter Pan syndrome and deferred adulthood attached to pro-level boarding careers and various man-amhoods, such pursuits are not built for the emotionally unhinged: Marking one’s day-to-day progress by recording hard-fought clips destined to be trimmed to a few seconds each and pasted into a Thrashermagazine.com web-video in a couple years’ time, clinging to fleeting victories during which a hammer is performed, landed and hand-on-death-lens marked, then past, perchance to plow through a 30-pack and next week try for another one. Anthony Van Engelen speaks of grappling with emotional voids after completing big video projects, and witness the deep valleys leading to an uncertain but undeniably triumphant peak in Jamie Thomas’ cold war with the not-long-for-this-world Clipper ledge.

Love/hate relations betwixt bros and boards are to be understood and forcibly massaged when circumstances demand. But what of those emotional snake-runs entangling teamriders and sponsors, which have taken to marketing themselves as families and brotherhoods? Chris Cole and his new Plan B family exhibited their unbridled giddiness upon his joining the ‘Tru’ Tank this month, cheesing and fist-pumping and committing various spelling transgressions as the onetime Zero heavyweight apparently shelved any plans to market decks on his own and instead chose to endorse monocoloured boards with skulls and guitars manufactured by another company.

It’s hard to imagine the Black Box camp not feeling some type of way after clicking on this clip, given Zero’s role plucking Chris Cole from the World camp and providing a hard-rocking hessian launchpad for the next dozen years of his career; to boot, Chris Cole just a year before seemed to identify with Paul Rodriguez’ abrupt flying of the Plan B coop as a cue to carve out one’s own deck-centric microbrand: “I think at some point Paul figured out it wasn’t about Plan B selling Paul Rodriguez skateboards anymore, it was about him selling Plan B, and that’s the point where you start to realize you could be doing something more.”

Any career-minded gnar merchant gathers a certain amount of lumps along the road, and Jamie Thomas like other pros-turned-entrepreneurs signed up for an extra helping by starting his own companies and seeing dudes he put on later pack up and leave. But Zero proved to be one of the relatively few sellers of skate goods to not only publicly acknowledge the departure of a team lynchpin in Chris Cole, but go so far as to post a brief retrospective video and wish him well.

Few others do — Brandon Westgate’s decision in April to join the Element family after seven years holding down the Zoo York family passed with little notice on Zoo York’s Instagram. Gino Iannucci’s Slap board-shaking jump to Fucking Awesome just shy of 19 years as a red block head drew nary an official peep from the Crailtap camp, though months later his former teammates can’t finish interviews without being asked about it. Whereas Mic-E Reyes headbutt sendoffs now rank as just another hallowed memory of 1990s realness and sour jpgs are a Web 1.0-ready if rarely utilized substitute, the default seems to have become an Orwellian electronic eraser applied to the team webpage, removal of the defector from relevant social media hype circles and moving on.

Like insurance and the signing of openly gay athletes, is skateboarding again in danger of being outpaced by major-league sports when it comes to acknowledging contributions from longstanding-but-departing riders? The Seattle Mariners deployed a warm statement of gratitude when outfielder Ichiro Suzuki bounced after more than a decade on the squad, and later publicly big upped him when he got his 4000th hit playing for the Yankees.

Besides agreed-upon stacks of legal tenders, what if anything do companies owe their independent contractors who toil atop handrails and within ditches in the name of endorsement deals? In Alien Workshop’s ultimately transient dissolution last year, some of the then-remaining abductees seem to have received no official word of the shutdown at all, much less any word of thanks:

Jake Johnson: It’s a strange one. Nobody said good bye. Mike Hill didn’t throw in the towel. It’s strange. It was on the internet.

Omar Salazar: I never spoke to anyone. No one ever called me, I’m just like, who is running this thing? They got rid of the only dude who I was talking to [Chad] who told me to stick around. And that’s how you get rid of people after all these years? I was bummed and then got hurt.. But no phonecall. No Rob Dyrdek phonecall… I mean jesus, who are you, man? I thought we were homies, bro [laughs]. Just kidding. Whatever.
…And I still haven’t got a paycheck like, oh, here you go, thanks for your time. Cause I could sure as hell use that for my medical bill right now. Thats all I gotta say about that.

Should the resurfaced Alien Workshop, now promoting a new tribe, offer some parting nod to the former pros who hung on til the bitter end? Did Rocco write the former sponsors of riders he stole publish thank-you notes, or rather did he demand such sponsors publicly acknowledge the service of their former riders for purposes of free promotion? Do digital thank-you notes count? What is the Instagram equivalent of a dismissal-by-headbutt?

Sixteen in the Clip

May 16, 2015

super self aware mario

As the talent level astride multi-plied-and-coloured popsicle sticks and their occasionally spoonier prodigal forefathers careens forward, sometimes at such a rate as to make close observers dead-eyed and unmoved by steadily rising tides of ledge byzantazia, the skill-level forest easily gets lost in the YouTube-clipped trees of crooked grind nollie inward heelflip bigspins and switch bigspin backside lipslides. Coming to terms with NBDs sprinkled into that second-class content citizen, the web-only clip, can only further remove our collective hive-mind from the basic eye-foot-and-sometimes-hand coordination required to even push down a street.

When Young Gun Charlie Bowdre cautioned that geeks off the street need not apply to be regulators of the hard calibers later celebrated by Warren G, he could just as well have been drawling about skateboards. Whereas your typical civilian, presented a basketball, could likely execute a rudimentary dribble and/or free throw, attempting to handle the tingly and critical building blocks carved out by Alan Gelfand and Rodney Mullen may lead unhappily to ER trips, bellylaughs of derision or both.

So what would the world’s sundry and assorted geeks, perverts, players and pushers make of the daring new GX1000 clip, opened with several stomach-turning minutes of hairy hill bombs down San Francisco streets? What would they see if they peered over their overflowing canvas sacks of Trader Joe’s to witness one of these screwball lines being filmed? The first dude leaps off a curb cut or over a bar, swerves into the street and scooches his wheels back and forth to slow down, while the second follows hunched down, potentially dragging one foot occasionally and pointing a souped-up video camera at the first one.

Might such a geek quizzed hazard to guess that the ‘better’ rider of the two was the one entrusted with costly electronics, required to keep pace with whatever speed is set by his comparatively unencumbered subject and charged with avoiding just as much traffic? Will Ty Evans-endorsed low flying follow-cam drones settle this question in the future or serve only to displace any remaining filmers who have not added ‘cinematographer/director/brand manager’ to their Linkedin pages? Will such a shift issue loathsome economic skate-industry ripples to the same degree that driverless cars are projected to swell human unemployment rolls? Will human filmers again become relevant after artificially intelligent drone filmers achieve self-awareness and start missing tricks due to repeatedly checking their instagram accounts?

Boil the Ocean Site Calls Special Stakeholder Meeting With Regards to Greg Hunt’s Compensation Package Dudes

May 8, 2015

VanCopter

The excellent Vans vid, raucous and reverent, feels like the benchmark so far this year and maybe for the surrounding couple when it comes to big-budget video releases*, and like any such worthy it comes bearing some revelations in between the assorted handrail batterings and gently sloping concrete: John Cardiel with a soul-lifting schralp and Ray Barbee hucking a real-deal no comply, Gilbert Crockett’s hot-rolled steel coil pop, TNT’s best part in a decade, Pedro Barros’ vertigo-inducing deep-end dives, all AVE everything. One could go on.**

With the embers cooled one of the more interesting points comes via boss ‘Propeller’ technician Greg Hunt, who last week skimmed some of the sludge from the ‘music supervision’ murk to reveal the sway musicians hold over modern videomaking processes:

“So I had a rough edit because people [the musicians] want to see it, which is actually a solid week of work to do. So you put together a really solid rough edit, send it off, and then you never hear back. So you figure all right, maybe they don’t like it, so we need to find a plan b. Which means finding two or three other songs as alternates, and then doing a rough edit to those songs as well, just to see if they work, and pick the best option. So that’s another week of work. And then you find out that you got the first song you submitted. So it really sucks up a lot of time trying to clear music.

So that’s what we were looking at with Pedro’s part. We talked to the publishing company, and they said they were willing to let us use it, but we needed to get these four songwriters to sign off on it. Which is kind of impossible. It was 48 hours, but really it was 24 hours, because we only had a day to find out if it was possible or not, because if not I would need at least 12 hours to re-edit something, which would have probably been impossible because I still had other things to finish for the overall video. I decided just to make calls. I know a guy at Warner Brothers, and through making the video we got to know one of the main people at Beats by Dre, and he used to skate. They are both people that are deep in the music industry.

So I basically sent them both an SOS email saying, “I have to get a hold of these four guys, immediately, can you help me?” Both those guys basically got a team of people to help track these songwriters down. Literally it was like, one of these guys knew someone who knew a guy who knew the son of someone that was in the band, but he wasn’t even in the band when they wrote the song. It was someone who was in the band later. But I got in touch with the son, and then his dad, who told me he wasn’t in the band then, but to talk to this other guy, and eventually we got all four guys in the band on the phone within 24 hours and had them stoked to give us verbal okay to go ahead and use the song. But dude, that happens every time. The stress levels are out of control.

The highly reliable and widely cited Celebrity Net Worth web site estimates Rick Howard’s net worth at $45 million. Fandangle innovator Eric Koston is seen worth $15 million; Tony Hawk, who named a trick after Madonna, $140 million; Stefan Janoski and Andrew Reynolds, $20 million and $10 million apiece. Meanwhile the amassed riches of Greg Hunt, along with pro pastor Brian Sumner, remain under review.

Like the TWS vid disclaimers of old, it is acknowledged that there is only one Anthony Van Engelen, Geoff Rowley, Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi, for better or worse Dustin Dollin, et cetera. But there’s probably a hundred pros. The list of seasoned video makers with multiple big-release videos snugged under their shoelace belts is comparatively short. Besides Greg Hunt, names that come to mind include Ty Evans, Fred Mortagne, Jon Miner, Mike Manzoori, John Holland, Ewan Bowman. These are the box office-level safe hands; there are separate echelons of indie directors like Josh Stewart, Dan Wolfe, Bill Strobeck, Benny Maglinao, Lev Tanju, Pontus Alv, the sorely missed Dan Magee, and the Bronze 56K dudes with the duffel bag in the alley.

As the mp3 failed to subdue the full-length album, so far YouTube, Vimeo and their hyperactive younger sibling Vine have yet to torpedo the full-length video despite several steamy and Thrasher cover-ready death notices penned over recent years. Rob Dyrdek, that sunglasses-at-night visionary of the skate biz, has projected that there may be room for no more than 10 pros in the future — how many veteran filmer/editors will remain to compile blockbuster-level releases such as ‘SB Chronicles 17’ and ‘Still Tru, B’ and ‘Lakai Limited Footwear Presents Flarey Tales’ that despite years-long production processes, crushing hype-cycles and telephones increasingly swelled to cracking with web-ready video parts, still need making, as evidenced by VF Corp.’s five-year investment outlay behind ‘Propeller’?

Greg Hunt, whose near-matchless CV at this point includes ‘Sight Unseen,’ ‘The DC Video,’ ‘Mind Field,’ and ‘Propeller,’ in the Concrete interview says at one point that “I don’t know if I could have done this video 10 years ago. I think the only reason I was able to pull it off was experience I’ve had from doing videos in the past.” Should Greg Hunt’s breadth of talents — steering and organizing five years’ worth of skating and filming across multiple continents, steadily capturing tricks while pushing full-speed down drainage ditches, imploring Beats By Dre employees to his cause, managing filmers and colourists and Dustin Dollin, correctly identifying the need to continue incorporating Slayer into video parts as a service to the youth, consistently waking up before noon on road trips, sidestepping multi-year deadline blowings, projecting Brian Wenning’s future through a ‘DC Video’ skit over a decade ago — and subsequent scarcity as an asset qualify him as the highest-paid dude on the Vans team? Should one of the magazines feeling its way toward a more-digital world sponsor a Sundance-type festival for rising videographeurs?*** Will the bro-cam one day earn the respect it desires and become anointed the ‘brother-cam’? Is Andrew Reynolds, as a professional skater, video editor and experienced mammal handler an original Hollywood ‘triple threat’?

*Some may term them Films
**Like in this posting for instance
***Addendum: This interview with Propeller/etc filmer Ryan Lovell reminds that such a concept already exists

Important Public Service Announcement Regarding Jordan Trahan’s 360 Flip Over the JKwon Block

May 1, 2015

Autobahn Wheels this week released the follow-cam view of last year’s best 360 flip via the above clip welcoming Jordan Trahan, which also features a pop shove-it 50-50 that’s out of the Tim O’Connor playbook and a burly ditch kickflip.