June 22, 2012

Austyn Gillette On The Berrics

Even with all the skateparks nowadays pushing through the streets with no planned destination is still the best. Random hill bombs, undiscovered ledges, make shift construction spots and perfect curb-cuts are all awaiting…you just need to get out there.  To prove this point Austyn Gillette teamed up with The Berrics to push around East LA discovering new spots in not so new neighborhoods and the result is pure originality sprung from a process that is 100% a labor of love.

Visit The Berrics to watch as Austyn pushes through the City of Angels collecting a few tricks along the way.

We asked Film Maker Colin Kennedy his thoughts on what went into creating the groundbreaking video…

What was your inspiration for Austyn’s video on The Berrics?

CK: There are a number of things that inspired the film but I’d say the biggest inspiration came from driving the streets of Los Angeles day in and day out.  I’m a people watcher, which probably isn’t the best combination while driving, but I’m always noticing little moments on the streets as I drive.   I’m constantly taking short cuts, scenic routes and exploring neighborhoods to find skate spots, food spots or anything else that strikes me as interesting.  When you’re driving by, the moments come and go so fast and so I wanted to capture some of those moments and people that tell the story of daily-life in LA and combine it with raw street skating.  The other major inspiration came from watching Austyn skate.  Whether you’ve seen him skate in person or on video he has a style that immediately draws you in and I thought this shooting style would showcase that.

The filming style is incredible, can you elaborate on chasing around Austyn in the car to get the shots?

CK: I’m a sucker for a good tracking shot and I’ve always liked how much energy it adds to a film, one of my favorite series of tracking shots is in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Matthew Broderick is racing home to beat his family.  Over the years there have been tracking shots in skate videos taken from driving cars and they always looked really interesting to me as well.  But for the most part, they were few and far between and they usually consisted of a skater only cruising around or pushing.  That stuff looks great, but I wanted to take that shooting style and create an actual video part with it.  It was a no frills shoot, we didn’t have any permits or special equipment, we shot the entire film from Grant Yansura’s (of Weekendtage fame) 2005 gold Toyota Sienna minivan.

We all know Austyn skates fast, did the chase car ever have trouble keeping up?

CK: As fast as Austyn skates, we never had a hard time keeping up with him.  However, at a majority of the spots it took some trial and error to figure out the timing between Austyn and our minivan, especially since traffic and pedestrians were involved at nearly every spot.

Any near accidents, ran red-lights, tickets or funny occurrences?

CK: It’s funny because we almost made it through the entire shoot without a single incident even though I made some highly questionable driving maneuvers, the tags on the van were expired and we had a camera man sitting on a stool in the middle of a sketchy looking skate van.  I say almost, because on the last day on the way to our final location (which wasn’t even a spot, it was for B Roll and it didn’t even make it into the film) I turned left at a light where I wasn’t supposed to and I got a $300 ticket.  Oddly enough, they didn’t even ask why we had the huge camera set up in the back seat pointed out the window.

You guys went all over LA filming…is there any particular neighborhood/city that struck you as more aesthetically pleasing than the others for filming skateboarding?

CK: To be honest, we only filmed on the east side of Los Angeles, nothing in the film was shot west of Western Ave.  Nothing against the rest of LA, but I wanted to show the LA that I live in and the neighborhoods that I pass through every day.  When you see LA on TV or in a movie, more often than not, they’re focused on Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, or the Valley.  I feel like that side of LA has been overexposed so I chose to omit those neighborhoods entirely.  There’s something about the East Side that has an unpolished aesthetic that I really like.

How many days/months was the video shot over?

CK: We shot the film over the course of 10 days in February 2012.

Why did you choose Austyn for this video?

CK: I wanted someone who skates fast, creative, powerful and consistent and he met all of that criteria without any doubt.  In addition, Austyn and I have a bunch of mutual friends through skateboarding and I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. I knew that I wanted to work with him on a project but nothing felt like the right fit until I had the idea for Quik.  I called Austyn last summer to pitch the idea to him and see if he was into it and thankfully he was.

How was working with Austyn?

CK: Working with Austyn was easy.  He’s a pretty straightforward guy so he lets you know right away whether he’s into a spot or not.  That was key because we were on a tight schedule and we didn’t have time to waste by trying to “make something happen” at every spot we went to.  He also has a good eye, so he was able to see the value in some of the spots that maybe weren’t the easiest to skate, but they looked amazing.

Any people you would like to thank?

CK: Yeah, first and foremost I’d like to thank Austyn for committing himself to the project.  There were times where I knew he was cursing the day he agreed to do it, but he endured all of the headaches and frustrations and I truly appreciate that.  Everyone at the Berrics & Quiksilver for helping us out.  Without the people behind the scenes at both companies, this film wouldn’t have been possible.  Grant Yansura for letting us use his minivan.  Marc Ritzema for making it look beautiful. Giovanni for his generosity and trust with his gear.  Everyone else involved with the production of the film, thanks for lending your time and talent.

Thank you Colin and Austyn for stripping skateboarding down to just the necessities yet making it look better than ever before. Great work.

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