|ESPN.com: Skateboarding||[Print without images]|
|Alex Olson backside tailslides off a bump-to-ledge while filming for Pretty Sweet.|
Girl Skateboards pro Alex Olson gets a lot of crap for hanging around with models, not caring what people think and having a dad who's a skate pioneer. There's also his brief foray into modeling and his dabbling in fashion photography, but his skateboarding still makes him someone you wouldn't boldly challenge to a game of S.K.A.T.E. His upcoming video part in Girl and Chocolate's "Pretty Sweet" is his most anticipated part to date. Olson spoke with ESPN.com by phone and revealed his unorthodox approach in completing his "Pretty Sweet" part, in addition to his general dislike of large scale production skate videos.
Espn.com: How much traveling did you do for Pretty Sweet?
Olson: I didn't really go on any of the trips except the last one, to Barcelona. Some people were there for an entire month, but I was there for two weeks. Everyone knew that we had to get it done, because this was the last trip. Seeing Guy [Mariano] being so devoted and so focused to get his part done was inspiring. He would wake up at 6 A.M. and he'd be constantly trying stuff. It was impressive to see. Marc Johnson would also wake up super early and try to skate. If it didn't work out he'd just try it again and keep going. People were about getting their video parts done.
Since you didn't do much traveling, where were the main places you went filming?
I filmed mostly in LA because I was over traveling. I told myself I was going to do this strictly in LA or New York. That's where most of my footage comes from for this video. I have some footage from Barcelona, but not much.
A lot of the riders went on trips. I was at the point where I felt like I didn't want to travel and I skated a lot of school yards, so I figured I could make it work. I was sick of getting kicked out of spots, so I just started skating school yards a lot and picnic tables. In New York there was a lot of stuff I wanted that I had in mind, and while I was out there this summer I was focused and got a lot of the stuff I wanted done. The spots are recognizable. They've all been in skate videos before, so it's nothing unique.
The tricks you did are unique though, right?
I can't even say they're unique. Mike Carroll had unique tricks for his part. I saw his stuff while they were uploading our footage and he had all this unique stuff that hadn't been done and seeing that made me feel bad that I didn't try more unique stuff than what I actually did. I was kind of tripping over that, in a good sense though.
What's it like filming for a big production like this as opposed to a regular skate video?
I have nothing to compare it to because my last video part was in "Fully Flared" and that was a huge production as well, so I have no frame of reference -- so it's the same. I hate filming for big productions. I can't stand it. There's too much that goes on and there's too much on the line. People are unhappy. It's not a fun process. I don't like it. The first big production I was in made me not want to skate for a long time. I wasn't into it and I'm still not, but sometimes that's the name of the game.
But you play the game to your advantage. You didn't go on trips and you skated how you wanted to skate, right? Do your teammates know you don't like big productions?
You could say I learned how to play the game I guess, but I don't like big production videos. I'm pretty vocal about it, so I think they know I don't like big production videos. Some people like them, and some people don't. I just don't like that when you do a big production video, they have to hold your photos and footage and around the time the video comes out they start running your photos and some of the photos are so old that they don't even get used, and all that effort goes to waste in a way.
You can't be completely negative about big production videos. There are some positives to being involved right?
Once it's all said and done and once it's over, the pay-off's good. Don't get me wrong, with these big production videos all the kids are going to see it, which is a huge thing and it's just what you want. I just don't like the process and going through it is all I'm saying.
How long were you filming for it?
I would go in and out because there was a point in the beginning when I didn't even want to skateboard. I was over it and slacked off for a year or two. I started filming for this video when ads started coming out in magazines. That's when I started telling myself it was time. I remember how "Fully Flared" was and I said to myself I wasn't going to skate right away and have the video come out four years later. I'm not going to waste my time. I'd rather wait and see a "Video Coming Soon" ad in a magazine because that lets me know that it's coming in a year and a half, or two.
You really waited to see a magazine ad to start filming your video part?
Yeah. It was a Cory Kennedy ad that I saw and they didn't have a name for the video yet, but it got me motivated. I didn't have much footage at the time but I decided once I started filming, I would get it done and it would work itself out.