|(Posted 7/21/2002) |
On Tuesday, July 16th 2002 *, we had the pleasure of interviewing Stacy Peralta *. Stacy was a member of the original Z-Boys team and went on to be part owner of Powell *-Peralta skateboards.
Stacy has also long been affiliated with the movie industry, appearing in "Freewheeling" in 1976, "Skateboard Madness" in 1980, and "Real Genius" in 1985 *. He then moved behind the scenes, working on filmographies including "Skate TV" (1990), "When Disasters Strike" (1996), and others leading up to his most recent release, "Dogtown and Z-Boys *", which swept the 2001 * Sundance * awards and was backed by Sony * Pictures Classics and shown in movie theatres around the country.
At this time, Stacy has completely switched professions to the movie industry, and is working on a new movie with Sean Penn *.
Talking to Stacy, it's somehow hard to conceive that he is the same Stacy of Powell-Peralta Skateboards. For all his skateboard and hollywood * stardom, Stacy still comes across as a more or less regular guy.
But as you might expect from the skateboarding legend, the individuality runs deep.
J: Hi Stacy! Thanks for taking the time to give us a little interview.
J: So, how's it going? I guess you must be really busy today with interviews.
S: Yeah, it's been a busy day. But going very well.
J: Good. Well I'll just get right in... I heard you talk about the affects you kind of thought Dogtwon and Z-Boys would have on the public, and I was wondering
if there were any affects that you heard about that you didn't expect.
S: No I don't-- That's a good question. I don't believe so. Although that may be one of those questions where I answer it tonight when I'm driving or something. I guess just plain short, I didn't expect to be awarded the awards we've been
given, and I didn't expect the non-skating public to embrace the film as they have. And to look at it more as a film, than as a 'skateboard' thing. You know, that they're looking at it as a culture, as an American subculture. That's been the surprising thing.
J: Gotcha *.
S: And the rewarding thing about it, as well.
J: I bet, I bet. Do you think that the movie has affected the media's protrayal
of skateboarding a lot?
S: I don't know. That's a hard question. That's a question that you can only answer in time I think. Unless you've seen something that I haven't seen, because I
haven't seen any thing, but... certainly anything that illuminates a subject is
going to have some affect on it, and how people's perception of it is.
S: But that's going to take a while to see.
J: Yeah. Do you think that maybe skateboarding is currently becoming a fad?
S: No, there's too many kids doing it for it to be a fad, and there's too many standardizations that have occurred over many years of development, that itís passed the fad stage. You know, it's a fourty year old sport now. The reason it died in the 60's, was because there was just simply a limit to what you could do on clay wheels *, you just could not do anything more than ride up and down on side
walks. With the urethane wheel *, and the standardization of terrain the kids ride
on now, there really isn't a limit I think to what you can really do on a skate
board. So, it's a cyclical sport, but you can't get the cyclical part mistaken with a fad.
J: Gotcha. So itíll go through normal ebbs and flows.
S: Oh yeah, absolutely. On a ten year ebb and flow cycle.
J: Ten year, huh?
S: Yeah, well it has been in the past, but right now it's gone way over... it should have dipped down about a year and a half ago, but it hasn't and it's probably going to dip down very soon.
J: Huh. Maybe after Helen's movie (about Gator *).
J: That was my prediction. But I'll get to that in a minute.
S: Now what's happening, is her movie coming out?
J: Yeah, actually, I was going to be asking you some questions about that, I'm going to be a viewing a work in progress viewing in New York * I think this weekend.
S: But I mean is she going to get a feature release?
J: Oh. I don't know. I imagine so, but I don't know. I figured you'd know more about that than me.
S: No, I haven't even seen it!
J: Oh you haven't! That was one of my next questions. Because I know that you're interviewed in it.
S: Yeah. I have not seen it. I heard it's good!
J: So that segues into one of my questions which was what do you think about that movie?
S: I couldn't tell you because having not seen it, and not being very familiar with Helen's work I don't know, but I have heard that it is good.
J: Well good. I'm going to be seeing it this weekend so I guess when I talk to Tony next week I'll let him know. I know you had a role in the skateboard industry, and I was wondering how the movie industry compares to the skateboard industry.
S: (pause) Ahhh, different circus, same clowns.
J: (laughing) Really?
S: In a sense. You know, in any given industry, only 3% of the people are leaders, everyone else follows. But that's not to say, I mean I shouldn't, I don't mean to be cynical. There's really good people in any industry that you're in. There's really good people in the film industry, and there's really good people in the skate industry. And there's a lot of numbskulls in the film (industry), and there's a lot of numbskills in the skate industries. So it's a given in anything. You can't generalize I don't think.
J: It seems like there are a lot of people working to just maintain the staus quo, in any given industry.
S: Absolutely. You'll find that in the car industry, I'm sure, and in every other industry. You know, it's just the way it goes. When there's money involved, a
lot of people, once they get successful, they want the status quo to remain, because the status quo is where they get their security.
J: Right. Well they've set that whole thing up. Do you still have any affiliation with the skateboard industry?
S: No affiliation whatsover. By choice.
J: By choice. I gotcha. What role do you see websites, and specifically sites like SkateboardDirectory.com having on skateboarding at large?
S: You know what, I'm not really a good person to ask that question, because I don't know enough about it to give you an informed answer.
J: Fair enough.
S: Anything I would be saying would be just, like, a guess.
J: Ok! It's certainly something I have an opinion on, but...
S: Yeah. I mean I can tell you, you know, that from a film maker's standpoint, the web has provided me with incredibly easy access to research that prior to the
web I had to either pay for, or (I) had to spend weeks hunting things down, or spend weeks locating people to find that information, and waiting for fedex to ship
that information, where now the web has it right there. You can get it the same
day. It's quite remarkable.
J: It really is. I've heard you're working on a movie with Sean Penn that loosely related to surfing.
J: How's that coming along?
S: We were just given the first draft, and now we're going to go into the revision stage to get the script to the place where we want it to be.
J: Cool. Has it been easier to do that after having done Dogtown and Z-Boys?
S: Easier in what way?
J: Well, I don't know, maybe more buy-in from Sony, and from other filmmakers...
S: Well, it's opened doors for me, to make it possible for me to make that film, if that's what you're saying.
J: I guess so, yeah.
S: Yeah, definitely that's there. And it's put me in touch with people like Sean Penn, who now looks at me as a film maker. So we have a mutual respect, which
is really terrific.
J: That is really cool. I imagine you had to cut a lot of material out, when you were making Dogtown and Z-Boys, to kind of package it into the nice 90-minute movie that it was. What were some of the things that almost made it into the movie, but that wound up on the cutting room floor?
S: We did a profile on Craig Stecyk's life that we had in the movie originally that we cut out, that we've now put on the DVD. But really, to be honest with you, other than that there were no other segment that we cut that didn't make it in
to the film. There were a couple of arms of segments that we trimmed out of the
film, just because we felt that the film was getting too fat in certain areas. But otherwise, pretty much what you see up there is what we made. It's pretty close to the whole thing.
J: Where do you see yourself in, say, 10 years from now?
S: Hopefully making films that make a difference, that make me happy, that I'm proud of. And hopefully not doing films for the money. 'Cause I'm a reluctant
director. I'm a not a director, per se, because I want to just direct. I simply
like to make films that I want to see. So that's why I do this.
J: Well that makes sense based on your background. Obviously the release of the
movie and it's acceptance has affected your life a lot. Do you think the release of the movie has affected other members of the Dogtown team as well?
S: Oh, without a doubt. Tony Alva * has a complete career resurgence. I mean, he literally is a skateboard star again.
S: And he has shoe deals with Vans *, he said his skateboard sales at his company
have just gone through the ceiling. Jay Adams * has a shoe sponsorship now and a number of board sponsors, and his life is doing a real turn around because people in the skateboarding industry, have seen, because of the film, have seen the impact he had on skateboarding and they want to be affiliated with him. And they also want to do something for him to help (him) get back on his feet. As well, Jim Muir * is doing very well with his skateboard company *, Bob Biniak *
has a skateboard business now, so a number of the guys have really taken advantage of this. And are getting a shot in the arm. And itís been really, I've loved seeing that happen.
J: That's got to be gratifying. Is there anything you'd like to add or mention for the reader of this interview?
S: I would say, whatever you do in your life, you got to follow your heart. And sometimes in doing that you're blindfolded, and it's a very risky business filled with a lot of insecurity, but when you do follow your heart it leads to places
of meaning in your life. So I would say that.
J: There was one more question I just realized, which was, I wonder if a bunch of people have approached you about doing a direct follow up the the dogtown movie, maybe like what happened next, or... ?
S: Yeah, there's been a bunch of people who have approached me for that, there's
been people who have approached me to do a documentary on the Bones Brigade * years, things like that, but I don't want to push my luck too far.
J: Right. Let someone else do that.
S: Yeah, exactly.
J: Great well, anything else?
S: That's it I think.
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