Interview: Brian Anderson

For a long time, magazines were the measuring stick the average up-and-coming skateboarder could use to develop their talents. Skateboard videos began appearing in the mid 80s, but they were few and far between, so magazines still ruled. In the early 90s, skateboard videos were coming out by the dozens and, for the most part, they were pretty weak.If one were to tally up the total number of skateboard videos produced over the last eight years, the percentage of ones actually remembered today would be astoundingly small. The cream of the crop is what today’s amateur and professional skateboarder uses as a measuring stick; thus, with each new video released, new levels of destruction are viewed by the masses.

One individual who grew up in the skateboard-video learning annex is 22-year-old Groton, Connecticut native Brian Anderson. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Anderson several months ago, and I’ve since witnessed his extraordinary talents on a skateboard on a number of occasions.

Originally this was supposed to be an interview with two professional skateboarders (Brian and Brad Staba) who were filming their parts together for the TWS video Sixth Sense. Just before the video was finished, Brad’s liver fell victim to a railing at the Petaluma skatepark, and he was down for over a month. Brian, who was finishing his part in the Toy Machine video Jump Off A Building, showed up and threw down some bombs before the final deadline. At that time, I decided to utilize the vast pictorial collection of Mr. Anderson’s accomplishments in a small interview. An interview that focuses on what it’s like to work on a video part.

Swift: You just finished Toy Machine and TWS video parts, and they both look pretty solid. How do you feel about them? Anderson: I wish I had more lines.

You don’t really have any lines in either video, is there a reason for that? What happened? I just never got the chance to film lines, really. Wait until the next video, man.

How would you rate the Toy Machine video as a whole if you were reviewing it for a magazine? I’d give it about an eight. I’d give it two thumps up–I’ve been watching movies too much.

Explain where the title Jump Off A Building came from. Jump Off A Building comes from Bam’s Margera brother who’s in a death-metal band. One night there was a party at Bam’s house, and everybody was taking turns singing death-metal lyrics with the band. Mike Maldonado grabbed the microphone and all he sang was, Brian sings in a death-metal voice “Jump off a building,” over and over again. After that night it became a private joke between all of us during last year’s Tum Yeto tour.

You don’t seem like the type of skater who wakes up every day with a set schedule of stuff to do like, “I’m going to call so-and-so, go film this trick … ” Your approach seems much more casual.

I’ve only been pro for a year, so I’m just starting to figure that stuff out. I don’t know many people to where I can set up stuff as easy. I do like the pace I’m going at right now. I like cruising around with people to different spots, just letting tricks happen. If I’m out skating and feel like doing something, it will just happen.

That’s what I thought the first time I saw you skate at Hubba. I wasn’t ready for you to throw down backside tailslide shove-it and backside Smith 180 in about ten tries each, so I just watched in amazement, and you weren’t even concerned it wasn’t shot. It’s just sick to watch skating going down like that. At times it was stressful knowing that video deadlines were coming up, but I tried not to let it get to me. I was lucky, I didn’t get hurt too bad while I was filming either of those videos.

Your whole part was filmed by Brad Staba in the Toy Machine video. How important is the filmer-skater relationship? It depends on the skater, but for me, I think it’s pretty important. It’s way more comfortable to film stuff with people you likhanging out with. I know it can’t always be a perfect situation. It’s already going to be stressful, because of all the driving and knowing you’re going to get kicked out of spots right before you land a trick. I liked filming with Ty Evans for the TransWorld video. Brad was awesome, because he’d get amped on the stuff I was doing, and that would really get me psyched.

I’ve seen people get mad at filmers because they didn’t film a trick the way the skater had envisioned it. Have you ever been in that situation, and what did you do? Once recently, but I just blew it off. I guess if I was doing something super-gnarly and it got screwed up, I’d be pissed. But at the same time, I don’t really want to worry about stuff like that.

Filming-wise, what’s bad and what’s good? The only thing I don’t really like is if somebody cuts my head off while filming. I don’t like the way that looks. If it’s a well-known skate spot, it can be filmed however because you’re sick of how the spot looks anyway.

In your opinion, who’s had the best video part? For the time, Natas Kaupus’ Santa Cruz parts. He was way ahead of what was going on back then. I think Kris Markovich had some rad parts back in the day that got people really psyched on skateboarding. Those guys had some pretty damn good video parts. If the skateboarder doesn’t skate everything, but you can tell the guy was having fun on his board, that’s what makes a good video part.

That’s the way I felt after seeing Gonz’s part in Blind’s Video Days. I was just so amped to go out and skate. Oh man, that’s my favorite video part. And Guy’s Mariano part in that video was so good. He was so tiny, but he was hucking his board around and landing some sick stuff.

You helped edit Jump Off A Building, how was that experience? Well, I still don’t know much about computers, but it was a lot of fun. I paid attention to what Ed Templeton was doing on the computer, but right now I don’t really care about learning all of that stuff. It did make me think about the future a little more–it would be cool to do more of that kind of stuff.

Did you expect it to be different? It seemed so easy. All it seemed like I was doing was holding a mouse, looking at all the footage, and putting a song in the computer.

Why is music an important factor in the success of a video part? It’s important to have a song that has some impact when it’s put together with the skating. Not like all dramatic or anything, but something that flows with the skating. Some people just throw songs in their video part because they like it the song so much, but it doesn’t even work with how they’re skating.

The premiere of Jump Off A Building came on the night of your 22nd birthday, how was it? It was fun. It was cool to see a premiere go down and to have a good part in it. Especially after Welcome To Hell’s premiere being such a disaster. At the time of the Jump Off A Building premiere, I didn’t even care that it was my birthday or anything; I was like, “I’m going to go skating tomorrow, and it doesn’t really matter what happens.” It was rad, I knew Ed was psyched to finish it. The premiere wasn’t that well planned, so there weren’t too many people there. A lot of people from around San Diego showed up; we had a pretty good time.

The Welcome To Hell premiere fiasco due to a computer mishap, the video never actually made it to the theater nearly gave Ed a heart attack. He almost lost his mind. Yeah, little kids sitting out there, Ed giving them all rain checks and trying to explain the whole thing. They sent all those kids who were at the premiere a copy of Welcome To Hell, so that was pretty good for them.

When do you start filming for another video? I am right now, but I’m not on a mission to get tons of footage right away or anything. I’m Just getting things filmed as they happen. I guess we’re going to have another video done sometime next summer, so I’ve got plenty of time.

When you were a kid, did you ever make a sponsor-me video? I made one after I’d been skating with the whole Toy Machine team in San Francisco. Jamie had pretty much decided I was going to get on the team and everything, but he wanted me to get a bunch of footage together and send it down to him. They started sending me a few boards a month, and I’d send them more footage. Later, I went down to San Diego, stayed with Jamie for a month, and filmed a lot more stuff. All that footage was in Welcome To Hell. I was only on the team for two months before the video came out. Toy Machine was my first sponsor.

Was a lot of your early sponsor-me footage in your Toy Machine part? Some of it, like the frontside bluntside on Hubba and some other stuff. I don’t even remember it all.

Did you ever see anybody’s sponsor-me video from back in the day? Oh god, no. I made one a long time ago. When I was thirteen, I tried to get on Joe Lopes’ company Confusion, and they wanted to see some footage of me, so I made them a tape. He Joe Lopes said, “Yeah, we were stoked on your footage. Can you send us twenty bucks for a board?” I was like, “No, that’s okay, man, I’m just gonna keep skating.”

so I’ve got plenty of time.

When you were a kid, did you ever make a sponsor-me video? I made one after I’d been skating with the whole Toy Machine team in San Francisco. Jamie had pretty much decided I was going to get on the team and everything, but he wanted me to get a bunch of footage together and send it down to him. They started sending me a few boards a month, and I’d send them more footage. Later, I went down to San Diego, stayed with Jamie for a month, and filmed a lot more stuff. All that footage was in Welcome To Hell. I was only on the team for two months before the video came out. Toy Machine was my first sponsor.

Was a lot of your early sponsor-me footage in your Toy Machine part? Some of it, like the frontside bluntside on Hubba and some other stuff. I don’t even remember it all.

Did you ever see anybody’s sponsor-me video from back in the day? Oh god, no. I made one a long time ago. When I was thirteen, I tried to get on Joe Lopes’ company Confusion, and they wanted to see some footage of me, so I made them a tape. He Joe Lopes said, “Yeah, we were stoked on your footage. Can you send us twenty bucks for a board?” I was like, “No, that’s okay, man, I’m just gonna keep skating.”

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