We recently caught up with skateboarder/filmer/editor Zach Moore, whose third skate film, Transplants, premieres tomorrow night (12/10) at Sunshine Cinema (143 E. Houston St). Here’s what he had to say about making the film, being a NYC transplant, and how to get into the premiere.
So Zach, where did you grow up and how long have you been a NYC transplant?
I grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota and I’ve been in NYC for almost seven years now.
What was it like living in NYC for the first few months?
The first few months that I was here, I was taking classes at NYU over the summer, which was Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, so it was very busy. I’d get out to skate at night and on the weekends. I had never been to New York before moving here for school, and I didn’t know anyone out here. I would randomly meet people while skating around the city or hanging out at 12th & A.
Six years later, what advice would you give other transplants moving to NYC?
The city can seem intimidating when you first move here, but the skate scene here is really great and everyone is pretty friendly. You just have to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to people.
What got you into filming skateboarding, when did you start taking it seriously?
My friend Pat Gallaher got a little video camera when we were about 12, and I thought it was so awesome, so I begged my parents and shoveled driveways until I was able to get my own. It was a Sharp Viewcam which was so sick, such an awkward camera for filming skateboarding but I loved it. I took a media class in 7th grade and started making little edits in iMovie and just gradually became more interested in it. I started taking it a little more seriously by the time I started high school, and so I got a job at McDonald’s when I was 14 until I was able to save enough money for a VX2000. I just kept filming and got a job making the videos for Lake Owen Camp (RIP), and then went on to study cinematography at NYU.
“It pays to be patient, take your time to put a project together and give it a consistent feel throughout and you’ll be much more proud of the end result.”
Transplants will be your third full skate video, any lessons learned after making the first two?
The first two videos I made were not taken very seriously. They were just put together with whatever footage we were able to get, everyone picked their own songs, and footage from 6 different types of cameras was thrown in there. They were a lot of fun though since it was with some of my best friends from high school. The biggest lessons I learned from those experiences was that it pays to be patient, take your time to put a project together and give it a consistent feel throughout and you’ll be much more proud of the end result. You also learn to cut stuff out of the video and not get overly attached to clips if they just don’t fit right. I used to put every single clip we got in old videos, but you start to learn how to be selective and really keep things concise.
I’m guessing Transplants features non-locals skating NYC; did any NY locals make the vid?
Yeah, a handful of NY locals are in the video. There’s a couple montage sections mixed in along with a section for the Canal Wheels crew who are mostly NY locals. There’s definitely a good mix of people from all over the country who either moved to NY or were just visiting, along with other skaters who have lived here their whole lives.
What should people expect in Transplants, any parts that really stand out?
There is a really good mix of styles & spots. Everyone with a part skates really differently from one another and I think that makes for a really interesting lineup. A little something for everyone. It’s hard to pick a stand out part for me since I have things I love about each of them and they’re all so different. Jason Sherman’s part is probably my favorite because I love the way he skates and the approach he takes with his spot and trick selection.
“The news crews interviewed us and tried to get my footage but I didn’t really want anyone to see that so I never gave it to them.”
Any memorable situations while filming the video?
Oh man, there are a few, but one in particular really sticks out. I took a month long road trip around the country and my first stop was in Chicago. We were skating a spot right on the water and it was a beautiful day, but really hot out for it only being mid-May, about 90 degrees. There were a lot of people hanging out at the beach since it was so nice, but the water in Lake Michigan was still ice cold. While we were skating, all of a sudden three helicopters show up, and fire trucks and ambulances drive right onto the beach. One of the helicopters hovers right above the water, and two divers jump out into the middle of this bay about 30 yards out from the beach. I had my camera on a tripod this whole time and was filming it all. They ended up pulling two bodies out of the water and it was just surreal to witness. Apparently a guy had swum out, and when you’re in water that cold for even just a couple minutes you just lock up and can’t move. He started struggling, and a family member swam out to help him, but the same thing happened to him and they both drowned. It was really sad. The news crews interviewed us and tried to get my footage but I didn’t really want anyone to see that, so I never gave it to them.
You’re premiering Transplants this Thursday at Sunshine Cinema; what’s it like trying to set up a video premiere in NYC?
It’s a pain in the ass! I knew I wanted to get a premiere in an actual theater, but that can be really expensive in NYC. I got in touch with several companies looking for some sponsors to help make it happen, but unfortunately they all fell through, so I’m doing it all out of pocket. On one hand that’s a bummer because it’s a lot of money, but on the other hand it goes to show how important skateboarding is to us and that this is a true independent video without any big companies involved. You really need to be persistent when setting up a premiere. I made a lot of phone calls and sent a lot of emails, and you would be amazed at how difficult it is to even get a response from some places. Luckily the guy at Sunshine Cinema has been incredibly helpful and responsive, so I’m really excited to have the premiere there.
What’s the deal on getting into the premiere? How can people get tickets?
The premiere is FREE to anyone that wants to attend and no tickets are needed. It’s first come, first serve seating. Doors open at 8:30 and the video starts at 9:00.
Thanks, Zach, for taking some time to talk! Any final words or shout outs?
Big thanks to you guys for supporting skating in New York. Thanks to Labor, Canal, Village Psychic, and Bones for helping to spread the word about the video. We’ll have DVDs available for sale at the premiere for $12, and they will be available online at transplants.bigcartel.com and in shops the following day.