Questioning the decision to omit or include name credits in skate videos.
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In 1999, Transworld Skateboarding Magazine released The Reason, their ninth video offering featuring full parts by Gershon Mosely, Cairo Foster, Danny Montoya, Danny Gonzales, Moses Itkonen, Stevie Williams and Matt Mumford. These top tier individual sections also featured supporting roles by Rick McCrank, Paul Machnau, Colin McKay alongside Moses Itkonen, and Josh Kalis alongside Stevie Williams. Stevie and Josh reversed their order of collaborative play from an earlier Transworld video, The Sixth Sense.
Besides the amazing full parts, there are equally impressive group edits and skits filmed by the skilled camera handlers of the Transworld Skateboarding Magazine staff. In no particular order, The Reason proposes a sun kissed 16mm montage where blue skies played the background to Jeremy Wray’s incredible San Diego Triple Set ollie. There is a short stress section not for the faint hearted, highlighting the pain and anguish that comes with riding a skateboard. The most jarring slam is from Neil Nims who, riding high off an introductory part in Transworld’s previous video release, Feedback, comes crashing down off his cloud after a failed attempt to grind a 14 stair handrail. As discomfort runs high, bodies fall and boards break, Stefan Attardo lands his backside flip over a wall and all is forgotten. The atmospheric musical notes spark a lighter mood. The scene changes to Andy Macdonald celebrating after setting a short-lived distance world record on a backyard mega jump. There is even a brief intermission from a local hero spurting out “facts” to the visiting pros who sign autographs out of their open tour van. This moment of humorous interaction could pre-date the lore of skateboard forum chatter and even the dreadful fake news that pollutes modern media.
Reviewing The Reason leads one to believe the video is flawless, however an elephant remains in the room: The opening montage. A potpourri of high-calibre skate tricks performed to the eclectic sounds of Ninja Tunes recording artist Coldcut and his energetic More Beats + Pieces mix. Surely inspired by the sounds of cutting and scratching, Ty Evans, credited as The Reason’s Managing Producer, Editor and Director, puts his knowledge of the editing console to use. The skaters roll forward, roll backward, speed up and slow down as Ty twists and turns the slo-mo dial. This first montage is an acute sensory experience of sound and vision that few were familiar with. The viewer is transfixed and hypnotised by Ty’s techniques. It’s very impressive but one thing is missing: Names. None of the skaters jumping back and forth across the screen are credited. This lapsus is intentional. What matters are the tricks and how well they sync up to the music. Taking a split second to read a name simply distracts from the spectacle.
In that 6 minute opening montage, Ty Evans had sown a seed that would disrupt the ecosystem of skate videos. The tracksuit bottoms and technical savagery of JB Gillet as he pieces together a flawless five trick line through the infamous Venice Pit is easily recognisable as French flair. Just like Brad Staba’s indie-inspired helmet of mousey brown hair that gives him the confidence to frontside noseslide Clipper. But who in 1999 was certain to recognise Tim Achille as the hungry amateur frontside nollie heel flip tail sliding the out ledge at Love Park? Or the reclusive yet brilliant Matt Beach frontside flipping a rugged double set? Alas, this anti-establishment decision by Ty to leave his audience unawares could not go without response.
Modus Operandi, Transworld’s tenth full length feature video, was the third instalment of Ty’s hat trick of masterful cinematography. Ty now had several highly recommended skate videos in his portfolio and the trust and praise of his colleagues. However, Modus Operandi opens with a voice message left by an irate young man named Rusty, from Maine, who cannot for the life of him understand Ty’s decision to omit names from the opening montage of The Reason.
As if to rub salt in the wound, Ty slid this outcry into the uncredited opening sequence of his next video. On screen, Uriel Luebeke, a name very few remember or even recognise thanks to Ty’s omission, grinds a huge twisting handrail – a feat that revisited the shock and awe of Pat Duffy’s massive double kinked 50-50 in Plan B’s The Questionable Video almost 10 years prior. Nobody had heard of amateur skateboarder Pat Duffy when Plan B released their first video but at least he got a name credit and friend, Joel Wrona, to vouch for him at the start of his legendary debut. Rusty was not going to erase history being made even if a master lensman and editor like Ty Evans was the one in control.
Ty got his breakthrough working alongside Jeff Taylor at Planet Earth Skateboards where they filmed and edited Silver together in 1996. A year later, in 1997, Ty and Jose Gomez released Genesis, a skate video introducing Planet Earth’s sister company Rhythm to the masses. The video made waves right away due to Jose’s jumpy and layered editing style and Ty’s music supervision which included numerous house and club tracks that were popular at the time. Electronic music was virtually unheard of as the backdrop for skate videos more often dubbed to rock or hip hop. Ty used the snubbed genre more and more in his personal projects and gradually opened everyone’s ears to it’s melodic merits. Jumping forward to The Reason, Modus Operandi and other subsequent videos that Ty had a stake in, jungle, drum ‘n’ bass and club music sat snugly in the editing timelines alongside hip hop, hardcore and indie tracks.
In Ty’s defence, his attention to detail and emotional awareness are what have always saved him from being hung, drawn and quartered by the skateboard community. His forward thinking visions are of unsurpassed quality and nearly always influence future generations of button pushers. That said, the actual uptake of such sudden and brilliant change is often delayed. In 1999, skate videos were preparing themselves for a new millennium full of promise with bigger and better stunts that started to pepper the pages of a still strong print media landscape. The Alien Workshop, Es Footwear, and later Flip, were set to release full length videos that would reset the level of progression for tricks and fashion. The Transworld videos served as great indicators of where skateboarding stood in its progression and who was hot on the block.
Anything else released the same year as The Reason followed the traditional guidelines of crediting every skater featured. Whether it was a distribution video like Deluxe’s Worldwide, a shop video like XYZ’s Meet Your Maker, or new video magazines Digital and Logic Skate Media, everyone got name-checked at the door. That way everyone knew who Keith Hufnagel was and what he could ollie. Or how handsome Tas Pappas and Jason Ellis were to merit the company of beautiful women. Even 411 Video Magazine, who released three videos for Tampa, Vancouver and Brazil in the same year, stayed true to the game of naming everyone who appeared on screen. When 411VM debuted it was criticised for crediting everyone on screen but this complaint was short-lived.
Ty’s polar opposite choice to deny everyone their five seconds of fame meant things had changed. Even if Ty was kind enough to add an exhaustive list of featured skaters in order of appearance in The Reason’s credits, this was almost too little too late. Most skaters didn’t sit tight to watch the credits roll. Instead, they were already headed out the door with their boards to dispense of the adrenaline a video had induced – Oblivious to who had just got them stoked.
As the misnomer nomenclature of skate video montages took hold, there was nearly always one way or another to recognise or find out who had done that beautiful switch flip. Stars in the making had a choice of the traditional print media to put a name and face together thanks to the permanence of photo captions. As the internet and social media started to take hold of everyone’s attention spans, tangible magazines went out of print. This unfortunate demise pushed the supply and demand of streamed footage to dizzying heights. Everyday there was another part to watch, multiple parts in fact, and as the demand grew the quality slumped.
Recently the strain of Ty’s bad seed is being felt as videos get published to the internet with nothing more than a cast of John and Jane Does. Names might hide in description blurbs or behind obscure social media handles. Rather than celebrate and remember skateboarders, we are forced to not recognise and forget them. A sad comparison might be the monuments and memories of past war veterans. There are those who live on with their names etched into plaques and plinths that stand the test of time. Then there are those with no names that lie side by side in a field of identical wooden crosses. If a skateboarder has put blood, sweat and tears into filming for a video part, the least they should get in return is accreditation so that kudos is dutifully passed on.
Sponsored skateboarders are essentially self-employed entrepreneurs and contractors. Even if contracts between a sponsor and a skater can be resumed to little more than a handshake and verbal agreement at times, the fact remains that the skateboarder’s name is their brand and they do everything they can to promote themselves in a bid to gain more support and notoriety. By generating skate videos, the currency that supports the industry, with no names, this is the equivalent of modern day companies using undeclared labour to build, package and distribute their products. More often than not the employer rakes in the benefits and takes a hands-off approach to resolving the problematic issue of equal sharing of returns by blaming the individual for not declaring themselves as a legal entity.
As demand remains high for the end product – in this case the skate video – then those who demand recognition and a return on their efforts are easily replaced by hungrier individuals. This bizarre form of cannibalism has a direct effect on brands who no longer have teams to promote their products. The Bones Brigade is long gone and the clock is ticking on those older generations of skaters still managing to compete and skate demos with middle aged fans in the crowd who still know their names. The new generation of skateboarders seeking sponsorship or benefitting from it look to trace their own path and pursue financial opportunities that didn’t exist less than ten years ago. Either that or fade into oblivion.
In sports, players have names and numbers on their shirts. In movies, actors and stage crew are listed alongside the director and producer. So why are the skaters’ names omitted from skate videos? The responsibility lies with the editor. The person who curates the footage and matches the music to the action. The editor is the last to sign off before a video is released to the public. If the skaters were to refuse uncredited inclusion in a video, all the editor has is some music and B-roll footage.
The following videos and music were sampled (in chronological order):
Transworld The Reason – Opening credits / Moby Novio
Transworld The Sixth Sense – Josh Kalis / Company Flow Vital Nerve
Transworld The Reason – 16mm montage / Atiba Something for dat ax
Transworld The Reason – Segway
Transworld The Reason – Opening montage / Coldcut More Beats + Pieces
Transworld Modus Operandi – Opening credits / Rabbit in the moon Floor.i.d.a Luna Sol’s Sub Aqua mix
Plan B The Questionable Video – Pat Duffy / Primus Tommy the cat
Planet Earth Silver – Opening credits / Superchunk Like a fool
Rhythm Genesis – Opening credits / Robert Miles Children
Transworld Media Titles
Transworld Modus Operandi – Closing credits / Snoop Dogg Woof
Alien Workshop 411 Video Magazine Photosynthesis Commercial / J. Mascis Little ethnic song
411 Video magazine Tampa 1999 – Opening credits
Deluxe Worldwide – Keith Hufnagel
XYZ Meet your maker – Jason Ellis Tas Pappas / Slayer Live
Transworld The Reason – End credits / Atiba Ah Yeah 5
Thrasher First Look – Jeff Grosso
irchighway.net sk8videos.net jingle
The Berrics Eric Koston Vs Mike Mo The first battle at the Berrics – Steve Berra
Nine Club Experience #87 – Chris Roberts Justin Eldridge
Powell Peralta Public Domain – Frank Hawk
Nine Club Experience #87 – Kelly Hart
Birdhouse The End – Tony Hawk
Vans The Masters Vans Pool Party – John Cardiel
The Nine Club Episode #75 – Ty Evans Roger Bagley