I saw Stacey Peralta's autobiographical documentary, DogTown
and Z-Boys, which chronicles the rise of the extreme
skateboarding movement that began in the '70's. Prior to
the '70's, skateboarding had been a fad, not unlike the
hulahoop. Invented in the 1950's when kids began taking
their clay-wheeled roller skates, cutting them apart, and
affixing them to boards (or perhaps created instantaneously
when Marty McFly broke their scooters to escape a thug named
Biff!), skateboarding was the all-American safe sport. Competitions
arose from 1950-1965 that featured tall, Arian lads delicately
weaving their boards between cones and down gentle slopes.
1965, the fad began to die out and people began to forget
about it. Sure, there were still a few competitions but
they had lost their novelty to the American public. That
was until a group of thugs started hanging out at Zeffer's
Surf shop, a community landmark situated in the slum of
a dead-end Santa Monica suburb known as Dogtown. These thugs
were surfers that tried to get good enough to be part of
the Zeffer Surf team. When they weren't on the waves, they
were 'dryland surfing' with the now-passé, surf-inspired
skateboard. Unlike the traditional skateboarders of the
'50's and '60's who were the poster children for Hitler
youth and were the example of the wealthy status quo, the
Z-Boys (as they came to be known) were mixed races, mixed
genders, and about as poor as you could be without being
in a third-world country. They had nothing to lose, so they
pushed the stagnant sport of skateboarding in strange ways
that no one had ever intended. They found empty swimming
pools, began to ride them, and started inventing aerial
tricks, leg plants, and lip grinds that broke all the rules.
They banged themselves up and broke body parts, but they
did what they loved to do they did what they had a
passion to do. And because of them, the sport of skateboarding
was reborn in their image.
with all the amazing pioneers that birthed the extreme skating
movement, it would have all been for naught if they hadn't
found a publication that served as a rallying cry. Skateboarder
Magazine was reborn in the '70's and featured all sorts
of pictures of these Z-Boys pulling off tricks as well as
lucid articles written by one of Zeffer Surf Shop's owners.
At the bottom of the barrel (or Big Gulp, in this case),
it became the best selling magazine at 7-Elevens across
the country because kids who had never thought about the
skateboarding movement frequented 7-Elevens and became engrossed
by these well-written articles about the possibilities that
were out there if they pushed the limits as well.
people like Tony Hawk, Buck Lasek, and a myriad of others
were inspired to take up their boards and now the extreme
sports movement is stronger than it's ever been after 35
years since it's rebirth.
so what does this have to do with us? If you can't see the
parallels between their tale and ours, I'll break it down
as it exists now is the status quo that lives by rules that
have long since ceased to work. Their infinitely re-told
stories have become stagnant, their union problems have
become an anathema, and their necessity for more and more
money to make even the most basic film taps their remnant
of creativity to the core. We represent a new breed, a group
of filmmakers that will beg or borrow whatever equipment
we require to make our movies. While we learn from Hollywood's
mistakes, we will not be limited by the limits they put
says that narration is tired and passé. We say that
narration is the way you can get into a character's head
most realistically. We say that without it, we would not
have Fight Club,Memento, Rounders, or American
Beauty! (i.e. most of the films Hollywood never wanted
to have made in the first place!)
says that there has to be a huge setback for the protagonist
in the third act, which is why they went to the trouble
of making matchmaking illegal in Hitch! We say that cookie-cutter
storylines are of the Devil and, if followed in all things,
would have eradicated works like Garden State,
Pulp Fiction, and almost all of the narration films
we mentioned before.
says you can't make a movie based on a book and keep the
book intact without boring your audience. We say that's
a load of bull! Lord of the Rings and Fight Club
argue perfectly against that concept of pop psychology.
We are not so arrogant as to believe that 5,000 years of
writing theory should be thrown out the window just because
you have a moving form of the book to use!
says that you can't make a well-crafted movie based on a
video game because video games are "for children."
We ask them if they've played a video game since Pong
or Pac-Man??? Most of the games that are popular
today, from the newest Castlevania to Soul Reaver
to God of War, are all written with extremely mature
storylines and amazingly complex plots. As such, when we
make films of these games, we will tap the intense creativity
that was poured into the game by the designers, rather than
screwing up brilliant plotlines by dumbing them down for
to Hollywood, we're all dirt poor. We have nothing to lose
by trying out all the things that they no longer have the
guts to try. Let's push the envelope of filmmaking and try
things that are "beneath" them. Let's revel in
our passion to tell stories and look for ones that no one
has told before!
Fight Club, "I say, let us evolve and let
the chips fall where they may."