The Big Apple Interview

seangrossmanAll photos provided by Andoni DeSoto.

OK, so let’s get the most important question out the way. Why should people buy this video?

Sean Grossman: Well we aren’t professionals or big names, but we all have a passion for blading and this video definitely portrays it. It’s the first video to come directly out of New York in years and I feel it really defines our scene today. BAB has a very old school skate video feel. I chose to focus less on filming b-roll and lifestyles, and more on the skating. The thing I like the most about the video is that each section is completely different than the next. Each skater has a completely different style and trick vocabulary to offer. This brings so much variation into the video, making it something that every rollerblader can enjoy.

What made you want to make a video in the first place?

I’ve been filming skating since I was around 16 years-old. I always went out to skate / film but never released anything until I taught myself how to edit. I originally wanted to make a skate video entitled Peep Game, which featured Trevor Johnson, me, Chris Murphy, and some others. For some reason the video became a few online edits that went on rollernews for a day and then people probably forgot about it. After Peep Game I bought a new camera for a steal and began going out and filming again. I wanted to make another online deal but realized after all these years I’d rather make a DVD so I can have something physical to look back on when I get older. Online edits are cool, but I didn’t want to see my work get lost in cyberspace again. Big Apple Blade is pretty much what Peep Game was supposed to be, but something far beyond my original intent.

Who are your favorite rollerblading filmers and editors?

Definitely Amir Amadi, Brandon Negrete (RIP), Carl Sturgess, Sean Kelso, and Ivan Narez. I’d have to admit these dudes influence my work a lot.

With people straying away from DVD’s, including some of the guys you mentioned, releasing free online videos and pay per view / download videos what made you want to release a DVD?

Owning a physical DVD is much more exciting than a digital file. I love to have a case with cover artwork, and a disc that I can play anytime. I have a huge collection of skate videos and I always watch them. They allow you to reminisce on the excitement you had when you first put them in your DVD player and hit play. Clicking a file and watching it on my computer doesn’t do justice. That’s why I decided on doing a DVD.

bladecoBig Apple Blade in Brooklyn. Photo: Craig B.

Who has sections in the video?

Shawn Gradilone, Chris Murphy, Me, Sal A. Zaso, Trevor Johnson, and Chauncey Jenkins.

After having my own little premiere of Big Apple Blade, the first thought that came to mind was that this isn’t a typical NYC video. Did you purposely try to make this video stand out from other NYC videos? Or did it just happen on it’s own?

I purposely wanted to give people a taste of a new scene that has emerged from NY. We aren’t a bunch of sweat pants wearing handy cap rail skaters as we were viewed at in the past. I wanted to show people the scene is far from dead, and that we are out in the streets getting stuff done. I used my interest in music and visions in order to create something that is extremely different than anything else that came from NYC. Something that more people can appreciate.

Speaking of the music, how big of a role did the music choice have? I Feel like there’s such a good mix. Was each song decided by you or did the bladers have any input of their own?

The music in my eyes is the most important part of a DVD. You have to have a big mix in order to satisfy everyone. I chose every song in the video besides Shawn’s part. I had suggested tracks from Trevor and Chauncey but I feel they just didn’t work with the rest of the video. I went through my iTunes library/searched on Youtube for countless hours until I found all the tracks I needed.

So the entire video is filmed in SD (Standard Definition) which is pretty rare these days, seeing as how every kid now has a HD DSLR camera. What made you stray away from HD?

I made BAB in SD because I bought the vx2000 with the fisheye and decided to utilize it. I really love the look of SD skate videos. They are generally more fast paced and rugged looking. HD is cool but I’m just tired of seeing slow motion skate videos. Also my setup is probably the best camera to film skating with because of the fisheye. In my opinion there’s no fisheye that captures skating better than a Century Optics MK1.

The video took quite a while to get done. How did you manage to film and edit an entire video while having a job and attending college?

My schedule was complete insanity, which is why the video took almost two years to finish. I’d be in school Monday – Thursday 4-10. I’d wake up weekdays at 6 am and have to work a truck before class. I really only had time to film on the weekends and it didn’t always work out with everyone else’s schedules. I became extremely frustrated at times but I was up until 2 am or later at least 3 nights a week on Final Cut Pro editing. Pretty much never had a real “day off” but in reality it was worth every minute of stress. Still ended up getting straight A’s.

salzasoSal Zaso – Kindgrind. Photo: Andoni DeSoto.

How did you choose the order of the video? Did you already have an idea of how you wanted the video to play out? Was there a formula or did it all just come together?

The order was chosen literally at the last minute. I had finished each section individually and put them together on the timeline. I originally wanted to open with Murphy’s section and end with Chauncey. As I watched it back I chose to open with Gradilone because it’s personally top 3 sections in the video in my opinion. The song and his smooth/relaxed style open up the video really nicely. I gave Trevor the last part because I know it wasn’t the longest section but I wanted to make people want more. The rest just fit together really smoothly and I tried to avoid any boredom through the order. Most people will want to see Chauncey, Murphy, and Trevor’s sections the most so you have to sit through and watch the whole video to see them toward the end.

Was there a section or profile that was easier or harder to put together than the others?

Trevor’s section was definitely the hardest to put together. Trevor is an awesome dude but I just couldn’t find a song that he’d enjoy. He gave me a few references but I’d edit half of the section and realize I didn’t like it. I chose something that didn’t really fit Trevor personally, but I think the track works great. After we finished getting all the clips the section was so much easier to put together. Every other section was pretty easy to put together for the most part.

Did you find it difficult or surreal at all editing your own section in the video?

I edited every single section that’s out of me. Every time someone says they’re going to make an edit/film me it never happens. I’m used to putting together my own stuff by now. It was hard picking out the clips I wanted to use in this section. It’s a part in my own DVD so I needed it to be just as good as the other sections. I think it’s personally my best section because of how much my skating has changed over the years. I’m proud of the end result.

Did you hold your section to a different standard since it was your own skating?

I really pushed myself for my section. I wanted to do things that haven’t really been done yet at some played out spots. I took this section more serious than even my Be-Mag Up and Comers part. After making the switch to Xsjados from Razors, I felt that I had so many new ideas because the skates allowed me to do things I couldn’t in my razors.

seangrossman2Sean Grossman – Tru Makio. Photo: Andoni DeSoto.

So every videographer has their own style of filming. How was it leaving your section in the hands of someone else? Did you do any directing at all when it came to filming for your part?

The annoying part is I had people who don’t really know what they’re doing film my part. If we were out filming a spot and I saw something I wanted to get, anyone who was there picked up the camera. For the most part Sal Zaso and Shawn Gradilone film my sections because I trust both of them with my camera. They know how to film with the fisheye and get some nice long lens shots. For the others who filmed my clips I’d have to sort of show them the ropes of filming. I wish I can film myself blade, it would be a lot smoother (no offense to my homies who filmed me).

Any trouble or drama when you went out filming?

Didn’t really run into any trouble while filming. We skated in pretty dangerous areas of the city but luckily nothing happened. The only problem I ran into was when Chris Murphy and I broke into “John ground rail” and he broke his knee. I had to call the ambulance, and before they arrived I had to grab bolt cutters from his trunk and cut the lock on the fence to avoid a trespassing fine. Luckily that worked out and Murph was safely transported to the hospital.

How did Chris Murphy actually get injured?

We set up a plan to go to John Bowne and uncap the rail. He wanted to get his ender doing a fakie 450 front farv on the rail. We couldn’t get the locks off the rail so we skated around the corner and hopped the fence to John ground rail. He immediately set up boards in the run up and kept locking 540 kindgrind. He slipped out on one of them, ended up falling to the bottom of the steps and smashing his kneecap in three places. Probably one of the scariest moments in blading I’ve witnessed. It sucks to be the person sort of responsible for his injury. He got injured trying to make my video crazier.

How’s he doing after his injury?

My main dude Murphy didn’t have the best of luck. We tried to finish up his section before he went to California for a week with Tim Franken. Unfortunately the injury happened a week before his plane left from NYC. It’s such a bummer that he hasn’t been back on blades yet. His injury turned out to be really serious and he recently just started walking again. He had to get 3 different surgeries on his knee because it had to be wired together. He works out his knee to make it stronger, so he says he will be back on the blades as soon as he feels ready. He killed himself for my video and I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me. If it wasn’t for his Peep Game section, my edits wouldn’t have gained the exposure they now have. He’s one of the best rollerbladers in my eyes.

trevorjohnsonTrevor Johnson – Top Soul. Photo: Andoni DeSoto.

Did you have any favorite tricks while filming?

I get really excited when anybody lands a trick for my camera so I can’t really say. Although I enjoyed filming Shawn’s ender, Sal’s ender, Adam’s ender in the introduction, Trevor’s True Farv to True Farv because we went to the spot 3 times to film it, and Chauncey’s 540 KG/ flushing kink ender which both took over an hour of him killing himself to land.

OK, So I saved the second most important question for last. Let’s talk about the “working girl” that flashes her boobs in the intro of the video. I know there’s a story behind this. So tell us what you can without sending anyone to jail.

Haha I knew this question would come up…We were staying at the Econo Lodge during BCSD. Sam Deangelis was staying next door to us and he was out for the night. We decided to mess with his room by shoveling a gigantic snow dick with a ball sack covering his door. The girl came around the corner and was dying laughing. She ended up helping us carve the snow penis and then told us her “occupation.” Little after talking she came in the room to chill and drink with us. Everyone kept nagging her to flash us and she eventually did. I got the camera out and asked her if she can give my skate video a shout out and she did. Pat ended up giving her $45 bucks before she went off back to work to make some real bucks. 10 minutes later Shawn Gradilone loses his wallet and we immediately blame the girl. He then found it in Pats truck and that’s the story. Thanks for paying for the bewbs Helmet!

And with that, we’ll end this interview in typical rollerblade fashion and ask; Any last words or shout outs?

Thanks to Craig for supporting this project since day one. Also for having one of the dopest rolling websites out. I want to thank everyone else who supported us dudes to make this video happen. I want to thank my parents/family for supporting my passion for blading. Shout outs to Long at Oak City Skateshop for the amazing support, Ivan Narez/Sean Kelso/ Brandon Negrete/Amir Amadi for inspiring me to make my own skate dvd, Alex Nunez for being an amazing dude that I’m glad I met in this lifetime (RIP), Sam Deangelis for believing in me and taking me on tour, all the dudes who skated for my camera in Big Apple Blade and past projects, my NJ friends, NYC heads, and every other blader out there.

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One Response to “The Big Apple Interview”

  1. camoflee Says:

    great job guys

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