A Fragmentary History of Skateboarding Videos – Chapter 10 - Business Ethics

Chapter 10 – Business Ethics

Fragment 64

Adrian Lopez’s part is the first one on Misled Youth [1999]. Just before it, there’s a 1m20s intro that is the perfect example of the shotgun editing for which Zero became famous.

Fragment 65

49 shots in 1m20s. That’s an average of 1.6 seconds a shot. That’s what became know as shotgun editing. Machine gun editing would’ve caught on equally well.

 Fragment 66

In these shots you see people skating, people throwing up, landing tricks, bailing, sacking rails, eating shit, rolling ankles. The message conveyed by the images’ rapid-fire succession seems to be that they are all worth the same: this is skateboarding.

Fragment 67

Adrian Lopez’ part almost manages to keep up the pace. There’s no filler. It’s trick, trick, trick, no context, no set up, barely any roll-away, they just flash onto the screen. Which in the case of his balanced 5-0s [0:45 ] and nosegrinds [0:49 or 1:05] creates an amazing effect, like the dude’s just floated across the spot. Beautiful.

Fragment 68

Barely any roll-away. But some. Enough to assure us that it was a make, that he landed the trick. The apparent nihilism in the intro’s shotgun editing is abandoned and a whole skate video ethic begins to emerge. In the end, the images are not all worth the same. Throwing up and falling on one’s face may be part of skateboarding, but landing tricks is more important. No matter how punk rock you are, there’s a conduct to follow – you have to assure the viewer that those skaters can really do those tricks, you have to afford visual evidence of their competence: this is professional skateboarding.

Fragment 69

The slow-mo shots [1:45 or 2:07] say the same thing. Shotgun editing is fine, but these tricks are worth savouring. There is a value system that skate videos should live by.

Fragment 70

The ultimate example of this highly ethical approach to skateboarding in Misled Youth is in Jamie Thomas’ part, when he 5-0s a huge handrail, decides it wasn’t good enough and goes and does it again. For the viewer, it’s hard to figure out exactly why he didn’t like the first one, but it’s undeniable that he has a well-defined idea of what is right, of how things should be done, and is willing to put his ass on the line for it.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

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