At times skateboarding can become repetitive and boring but certain people come along and innovate. Either through tricks, style, attitude, graphics, overall brands or simply spots; skateboarding is and will forever be changing. When it comes to skate videos/films Ty Evans consistently raises the bar and continues to pave the way for close to 20 years now. He’s recently decided to step away from Girl/Chocolate after finishing Pretty Sweet and create a skate film with the media company – Brainfarm sponsored by Mountain Dew’s Green Label.
We met up with Ty after a special preview in Brooklyn and discussed him leaving Girl/Chocolate, HD vs VX, filming over Flushing globe in a helicopter and what his Brainfarm skate project is all about. Read what Ty had to say below including why there may or may not be a Chomp This 2 in our future.
Exclusive Interview via Alex Corporan:
AC: Would you like to introduce yourself?
TE: Sure, my name is Ty Evans and I’m actually 40 years old which is really crazy to me and I’ve been making skateboard films for half of those 40 years which is even crazier! I teamed up with Brainfarm which is my buddy Curt Morgan’s production company and started discussing the project. He approached me while I was in the middle of making Pretty Sweet and actually wanted to start then but I was like man I really have to finish this project first. So, I knew while I was making Pretty Sweet that it was going to be my last film working with Girl and I was going to try something new after that. It was hard, I loved working at Girl, I wish I could work there forever and I cherish all the years I’ve worked there, I love those guys… this is just a new chapter. I teamed up with Brainfarm, Paul, all of these skaters and obviously Green Label who came in and financially made this happen. It’s been cool because it’s not just a Mountain Dew film with just Mountain Dew riders, it’s everyone in skating which is great. I love how Mountain Dew was open to having everyone in it, not just Mountain Dew guys. I think that’s the future of these things, if you’re restricted to the team and just a few guys rather than helping promote the brand/endorsing the project… I think it makes the brand stronger.
This is cool because it’s more than Mountain Dew it’s Green Label! I love what they’ve done and I’m stoked to be a part of that definitely.
AC: What were you looking to do with this film?
TE: All the skate films in the past have been video parts so this is the first time to really spend some time on a film that isn’t video parts. We have all these crazy things happen to us along the way while making the films with video parts that never get shown. That’s the polar opposite side of this film, we’re showing everything… it’s the act of going out skating and everything that happens along the way. Meeting them, getting to know them, interacting with them and all of the stuff that comes along with that. Just showing the connection of all the different skateboarders and how we’re all connected. It’s super important I think and that’s something we all share. We would love to inspire a kid that has no clue about skateboarding but maybe he sees someone he identifies with and he starts skating and it then affects his life. This film is a lot bigger than just some skateboard tricks, this film has hopefully more inspiration than just tricks it has a bigger inspiration for people and kids in general to fuel skateboarding. Bringing a lot more to the table than a bunch of tricks.
RS: I see it being 35 years old that we’re the first to see the full lifecycle of skateboarding truly the first generation to experience that. This could potentially show that lifecycle, what it involves. Being a skateboarder vs being a pro skateboarder in the skateboarding industry. It’s a thing that never existed.
TE: There’s so many things about skateboarding that you can tell, how do you jam that into one film? You gotta do your best to show what you can. I feel like this film is writing itself as we go. Just going with the flow.
AC: What was the inspiration for the film?
TE: The inspiration for the film came from doing all the other films in the past that have been like this progression of making the films bigger & better. You know it’s a natural progression to step it up with this one. When I was a kid I always watched skate videos and didn’t really watch TV. I felt like we all did and I had that connection with them and I realized when I finally could make skate films that I would do it to the best of my ability. The guys who laid the groundwork for me like Stacy Peralta, Mike Ternasky, Jake Rosenberg, Dan Stewart, etc. that did so much that if I could do an inkling of what those guys did and leave my mark I’ll be stoked.
AC: How’s it working with Spike Jonze?
TE: I think that as a kid you see things that are so unreachable and then when you meet friends that do achieve bigger things it makes bigger dreams more possible. Someone like Spike I could never fill his shoes but maybe if I could learn a thing or two from what he’s done I’d be stoked.
AC: I have to say I got goose bumps when I watched the preview, it was wow, almost a tearjerker. Ty just stepped it up another notch!
TE: It’s different, I think that’s always what I try to do for example that Rhythm video that had all that techno music and stuff, I just like trying new stuff which is great because with that territory there’s gonna be people that hate it which is fine. I’d way rather try something new and have people not like it than do the same thing and everyone be like it’s cool. I don’t care I think the point is just trying new stuff. Even here at the Dew Tour we have a full 360 3D rig that we shot with this camera system. Cookie was in it.
CC “Cookie”: Yup, I was hurt but I was skating in the background. It was crazy like a giant tennis pole like had 10 GoPros on the top of it and you can see yourself when you put it on and turnaround then see the filmer. I think that’s a first in the skate world haha.
TE: It’s just fun trying out new stuff, like yesterday I went up and flew around New York in a helicopter, who’s gonna say that’s not fun? We ripped around Flushing shooting about 100 skateboarders with their arms in the air cheering. That was crazy, what an amazing feeling! Or as simple as following [Anthony] Pappalardo filming in Brooklyn, that was cool.
RS: Ty, you’re the man when it comes to skateboarding media. There’s always the HD vs VX debate, what’s your take?
TE: Haha I don’t really care about either, I’m shooting now in 4k! I don’t truly care what camera you use, it’s all about doing something new. It’s so crazy now that filming with DSLR’s and Reds is the norm. It doesn’t matter if you film it on your iPhone like Jordan [Maxham] made iDabble video it’s all the same. If you can have an idea in your head and express it using whatever tools or medium you have access to. It’s like painting same thing or music same thing, pick whatever you want to do to do it. I would love to do a whole film in black & white Super 8, it’s nothing about this vs that. I grew up on those ways of filmmaking and then it shifted with technology which is now the norm. Skateboarding has always been about rebelling, skateboarding has always been about “yo we’re punkers” and then the cool skaters were like “no we’re not punkers we’re fresh!” So if you think about that in the film making side, it was like “yo we’re like low budget skate film makers with these shitty cameras” and then it’s like “no it’s not we’re like high budget with these crazy cameras” then now it’s like “we’re low budget”. It will constantly be changing forever, just think about the different fashions in skateboarding like classic rock dudes, heavy metal dudes, gnarly punk dudes, you know all that stuff going through the different stages. Whatever’s cool in skateboarding you want to rebel against, that’s how it ‘s always worked with anything in skating. I’m gonna keep doing whatever I can get my hands on!
AC: What made you select the people involved in the film?
TE: Ultimately you need that one central person that can carry you through the film and there’s only a couple guys in skateboarding that can do that… they know how to really talk and can carry well in front of the camera. P-Rod of course was one of those guys so I called him up one day said come by my house, he came by and I had the whole film up on my wall and told him how I wanted him to be my dude and be the voice of reason for the film. It’s not specifically a P-Rod film it’s just that he’s heavily involved and does a lot of the talking and takes you through a lot of the things. Choosing Paul was a no-brainer, he’s so behind the film. For everyone else, there’s guys that I wanted but were busy, some of the guys didn’t get it but for everyone now involved it just naturally happened. Like for example I just met Cookie (Chris Colbourne) recently and he was just down. Same thing for Jordan, Diago, Moose, Clint Walker… whoever was down to do it they kinda roped themselves into the film. These dudes are just down for the film and I don’t want anyone forced into it so it’s just natural. We went and shot yesterday and had a blast, it’s just fun man. It’s not like a normal skate film it’s not like we’re going out doing the same thing it’s something new that’s being brought to the table. I think we all know how much this film means to us, it’s not my movie it’s OUR movie. We’re all coming together to make this thing. From helping cleanup the RV to moving cameras we’re all coming together to do it which is cool, just like skating.
AC: Any good stories about Ty on the trip?
CC “Cookie”: The other day I grinded this rail and he’s like do you mind doing it again? Five minutes tops, then after waiting like 15 minutes of him setting up… then 3 tries later we got it and it’s a pretty unique clip. He said he had never filmed anything like that and coming from him man that’s an honor.
TE: Yeah man I’ve had something like that in my head for like 10-15 years for sure. It was such a cool feeling. Some of the shots in this film have been in my head and I never had the tools to do them until now which is really really important. That’s what Brainfarm is bringing to the table, it’s like all these things I now finally have access to do. That’s what’s amazing about doing this film, like we do have access to fly around Flushing in a helicopter, it’s like wow!
RS: So what was it like flying over Flushing in a helicopter?
TE: Dude when we flew in for the first time we came in so hot! Usually you’re only allowed to come in so close but the pilot came in so fast towards the globe and ripped around. I was trying to pan the camera but we were going too fast, I ended up missing the first shot. I asked him to do another run but Laguardia Airport told us we had to get out of that air space because there were jets going through… so we got booted and did some other shots. Then on the way back we hit up Laguardia again and they let us have another try so we filmed it again for like another 10 minutes. It was cool, I’ve been to Flushing a million times but I’ve never been in a helicopter flying around it.
RS: How many kids showed up at the globe?
TE: When I first came up there was like 4 or 5 but then a couple hours later there was like 50. I hit up Rodney Torres and Steve Rodriguez last minute and they really helped out. I didn’t really decide to shoot Flushing until yesterday morning. Then I was like DUDE I gotta get Rodney there so I started texting him and he didn’t get back to me until hours later. Thinking how bummed Rodney would be if I shot this without him. He told me he was hurt but I told him he had to be there with his crutches whatever. So he ended up showing and rallying everyone together. Those guys really helped us get it together.
AC: When are you guys looking to release the film?
TE: The film is scheduled to come out in the Summer of 2015. We’re gonna shoot a couple more months and then start editing. We got a ton of stuff still to shoot and do and a ton of work on it, it’s really scary to even think about that in my brain right now. There’s still a lot to do.
AC: Any final words?
TE: I’m just stoked this film is really writing itself and I’m just going with the flow the next couple of months. Every one of these films I’ve done in the past never come together until the very end it seems. It’s scary making these things.
We live in this age where everyone has phones, photos and videos and ways of looking back on all this stuff it’s really cool memories. The ultimate snapshot of our life and skateboarding for that matter at this point. I think that for the future I just want to keep on doing what I’m doing and pushing the boundaries of whatever’s possible and using whatever’s out there. These things are hard though.
AC: I gotta throw one more question in, when are we going to do a Chomp This 2?
TE: If you give me an ankle surgery that works and my ankle feels good we’ll do Chomp 2. I’ve had this ankle brace for 7 years straight (as Ty takes off his show and then his torn up ankle brace). That’s what holds my ankle together, that’s why there’s no Chomp 2. I actually have some tricks in Jordan’s film iDabble shot entirely on an iPhone, though I actually haven’t even seen it yet haha.
Intro by Rick Sulz
Interview by Alex Corporan
Special Guest Chris Colbourn aka Cookie