Florida's independent filmmaker Joe Perrin has been cranking away at yet another video for almost 3 years and it is just now poised to premiere and hit skateshop shelves. What motivates filmmakers to sacrifice so much just to offer up a video that'll likely just be pirated online by the masses? How are people like Joe able to produce such massive projects without a company
WHAT’S UP JOE? WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND WHAT’VE YOU BEEN UP TO LATELY?
Right now I’m at home in Miami, just been dealing with a bunch of stuff here- getting the video stuff taken care of.
SO THE VIDEO’S READY TO GO NOW?..........HOW LONG WOULD YOU SAY IT TOOK YOU TO PRODUCE IT FROM START TO FINISH?
Yep, it’s ready to go, it ships from the duplicator on Thursday.. That is, if I can scrounge the money up to pay the second half of the invoice, haha. It feels like I’ve been working on it forever, like 3 or 4 years, but I think the real answer is probably 2 and and three quarters years. It’s the worst thing when you’re just getting into the first stages and people are asking you about it, and you feel like a broken record telling them about the video, but you really have no sight as to exactly how it will turn out and when it will be finished.
FOR THOSE OF US WHO’VE BEEN THERE TO WATCH THE PROGRESSION FROM YOUR FIRST VIDEO, “ABSTRACT”, ON THROUGH “DANGO” AND “THE GOOD LIFE”, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE DIFFERENT IN THIS NEWEST INSTALLATION?
Hopefully people will recognize that we’ve broken the formula a bit here. That was my main goal, I wanted all expectations to go out the window. I mean, I think there’s seriously like a blueprint that people follow now to make a video. Get your dad’s funk and oldies greatest hits CDs and make your whole soundtrack, etc. It’s so stale. We wanted something to come out where no one would have any guesses as to what they were going to see or hear.. As far as the other videos are concerned, I think this one is still raw, but a little more polished than in the past. A lot more thought went into the smallest details, that most people probably won’t pick up on right away, but I know they’re there, so I can be happy watching it.
YEAH, YOU SEEMED TO REALLY CHARGE AT THIS ONE FULL SPEED. YOU’VE TOLD ME FROM DAY 1 THAT THIS VIDEO WAS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT FROM EVERYTHING ELSE YOU’VE DONE BEFORE. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO PUT SO MUCH EXTRA ENERGY INTO THIS ONE? I MEAN, YOU SEEMED TO DO A LOT MORE TRAVELING WITH THIS PROJECT THAN YOU HAVE IN THE PAST FOR YOUR OTHER FILMS.
I just felt like this one had to be the cornerstone for me. It had to be the one that we could be really proud of. I think Dowd is one of the most slept on dudes, and when he said he wanted to go full steam to film a new part and help make a really special video, I knew it had more potential than anything in the past. We had a running joke that this was his “Comeback Part” Haha. It also had to do with me just not being that pleased with “The Good Life”. I felt I rushed a bit, and that “Dango” was a lot better. I didn’t want that hanging over my head.
I CAN SYMPATHIZE WITH THAT FOR SURE…...NOW, I STARTED WARNING YOU OVER A YEAR AGO THAT IT WAS UNWISE TO INVEST SO MUCH MONEY AND TIME INTO AN INDEPENDENT SKATE VIDEO NOWADAYS. WHY DIDN’T YOU HEED MY WARNINGS?
Haha, I think it’s something that every filmmaker or artist probably experiences- You feel like every video is the last one, and than you hate the last video as soon as it comes out, and see so many things you felt could’ve been so much better, and you have to give it another go, no matter the cost. I seriously didn’t want to do another video when Dango was done, and the same with The Good Life. But something just kicks in. It’s like Jay Z, always faking retirements.
HAHA….NO SHIT. IT TAKES SO MUCH OUT OF YOU THAT YOU SWEAR EVERY TIME IT’S THE LAST VIDEO YOU’ll EVER DO. BUT NOW WITH EVERYBODY STEALING EVERYTHING ONLINE, IT’S AN ESPECIALLY AWFUL TIME TO BE AN INDEPENDENT GUY. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT BEING ABLE TO MAKE YOUR MONEY BACK AND DIG YOURSELF OUT OF DEBT?
Well, I think I’ll break even on getting the copies made, MAYBE… But definitely not on money spent during the filming.. But I think I’m lucky in the sense that the guys in the video like 80’s and Dowd especially, they had so much involvement in the video, and wanted to do the best they could, and so everyone kind of paid their own way to be a part of it. I was broke on the last trip of the video, and 80’s and Dowd had to actually pick up some of my tab. I think it’s supposed to be the other way around. but isn’t it sad? Like, my only hopes and goals financially were that I would make back the money spent on getting the copies made. That’s how bad it is right now to be an independent filmmaker.
DUDE, IT’S BEYOND BAD RIGHT NOW. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE INDEPENDENT VIDEO? TO INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS LIKE YOURSELF?
I honestly don’t know. I can’t see how I could possibly do another video right now. I’ve been on Craigslist every day looking for camera or editing gigs. And trust me, those gigs in Miami are harsh! Every other one is either porn or cheesy Spanish soap operas. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Telemundo, but there is some seriously cheesball stuff on that channel! Plus, I don’t speak Spanish fluently, so no dice there. I think the only route is to sell out, or find a way to work with the market available. Internet TV, stuff like that. I’m just going day by day, doing the best that I can.
THE NEWEST VIDEO IS CALLED “LAST OF THE MOHICANS”.......HOW’D YOU COME UP WITH THAT NAME?
That’s the most frequently asked question. Renaud would say that as a metaphor for a lot of things- Mainly the decline of raw street skating. I think he heard it in a Wu song, or some hip hop song, and would say it all the time- He’s good at taking songs or movie quotes and incorporating them into his every day communications. It was kind of a running joke between Dowd and I. I would always just laugh it off, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to work on, but I was hesitant about working on something titles like that! But then it just clicked and I was like “Fuck it, let’s actually make that video!”. That’s when the ruckus started.
APPARENTLY DANNY HAS LIKE A MINUTE OF NEW FOOTAGE IN IT?.......THAT’S ENOUGH REASON TO BUY THE VIDEO RIGHT THERE.
Yeah, I’ve always felt blessed to have him around, as a friend, and to have him be so down for my projects. He’s got a good minute to 2 minutes, and I’m psyched on all of it. He’s the gifted one. How’s that for hip hop quotes, D?
WHO ALL HAVE FULL PARTS IN THIS ONE?
Let’s see- well, to start- One idea I had from the get-go, was that there would be a bunch of parts, but short and sweet, and only a few that ran what would be considered a full part. The mini-parts would help the video flow. We stuck with that principle pretty well I think, but of course a lot of the “mini-parts” ended up not so mini, when all the footage was together. That being said, the video’s got Jon Newport, Al Davis, who I think is one of the up and coming greats in skateboarding, The Michael, formally known as Dango, Jimmy Lannon, Steve Durante, 80’s Joe Staley, The Loose Cannons, i.e. Joel Meinholz, Freddy Gall and Wed-Man Selego, Ross Norman, who I feel really shines in the only west-coast-dominated part of the video, Danny Renaud, of course, James Frankhouse, the mad man, Dave Caddo, one of the best spot seekers in the biz, and of course Josh Dowd, in his “comeback video part”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE IDEA YOU HAD IN YOUR HEAD FOR THE FILM AND HOW IT ACTUALLY TURNED OUT IN THE END? I KNOW IT’S ALWAYS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM THE BEGINNING ONCE YOU’RE FINALLY WATCHING IT ON THE SCREEN AT THE PREMIERE.
Yeah, we had a lot of ideas that never came into fruition. I think with more money, we would have pulled off some spectacular things, but I’ll save ‘em for the next one. But I love how it came out, the feeling we wanted to create is there, and the fact that it was so DIY makes it more worth it. I love making something from nothing.
LOOKING BACK ON ALL OF THE PROJECTS YOU’VE DONE THROUGH THE YEARS, IS THERE ANY ONE VIDEO PART YOU WOULD CONSIDER YOURSELF THE MOST PROUD OF?
I’d have to go with Danny in Mosaic. Just the shit we went through filming that part- He was so manic the whole time. That’s a lot of stress to be under, to film this premier part for one of the best companies in skateboarding. And I’m not sure they even knew what to expect. We would go on these road trips and he had no phone- I think communication was cut off between him and Habitat for a lot of the time. We had no money either, I actually had to steal DV tapes in Philly a couple of times, it was a nightmare. But it turned out great. I think that’s my favorite video part of all time, but bias is definitely a factor, I think.
HOW ABOUT THE VIDEO PART YOU’D SAY TURNED OUT TO MOST MATCH THE IDEA OF WHAT YOU’D WANTED IT TO LOOK LIKE FROM THE BEGINNING?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d say Jimmy Lannon in The Good Life. That part pretty much came out exactly how I pictured it- The skating, the flow.. The song idea was a late choice, but it had the feel I had been thinking of from the get-go. Dango’s part in Dango too- I think that might even be more spot-on to what I was picturing from the beginning. Just the wackiness of it- I think it showed him as the crazy genius he really is.
FOR ME IT’D HAVE TO BE DOWD’S “DANGO” PART AND JIMMY LANNON’S “THE GOOD LIFE” PART. I KNOW A PART IS GOOD IF I FEEL JEALOUS FOR IT NOT HAVING BEEN IN MY OWN VIDEO AFTER WATCHING IT…..AND THAT’S HOW I FELT AFTER BOTH JOSH’S AND JIMMY’S PARTS.
That’s quite a compliment. Yeah Dowd’s part for sure is one of my favs, but that one was weird because he was in LA, so with the exception of stuff we filmed on some road trips, a lot of it was him going out bro-cam style and sending me footage. I had no idea how that part was going to come out when we started that vid. I think his last couple “bangers’ were filmed the last possible day to film for that video. I had this song by Love in there originally too, but he wanted something different. We argued for days, and then finally I showed him that Kinks song, and he was down.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS INFLUENCED YOUR STYLE OF VIDEOMAKING THE MOST?.....SKATERS, VIDEOS, ARTISTS, ETC?
I think a culmination of things. To be honest, you influenced me a lot when I was younger- I loved seeing videos like Cigar City, coming out of my backyard. You probably don’t remember this, but when you worked at SPOT, I had asked you if you had editing equipment for sale and you said you did. My friend knew I was trying to get it, and he tried to snake me! I think I was only 14 or 15, but I know I annoyed the shit out of you quite a bit. Neither of us got the editing equipment in the end.... Umm, getting back to the point, I’d say just straight rawness has always inspired me- Fred Gall’s skating in The Sub Zero video and EE videos. Dan Wolfe’s approach to filming, your filming and editing, The Alien videos, any kind of art where just fucking it up is applied. The Girl Goldfish video with the skits by Spike Jonze- I love irreverent humor, dry wit, etc.
SO WHAT WOULD BE THE IDEAL NEXT STEP FOR YOU? WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK AT A COMPANY FULL TIME, OR WOULD YOU IDEALLY FIND SOME WEALTHY FINANCIER WHO JUST PAYS YOU TO KEEP MAKING YOUR OWN INDEPENDENT SKATE VIDEOS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
Man, I’ve been debating that so much lately. I know no one will pay me to make my videos- At least it doesn’t seem possible right now, it just wouldn’t make sense, but who knows? Working full time for a skateboard company, also just doesn’t seem like it would be worth it. I was talking to a friend in the industry and he said they needed a full time filmer- The pay would be around $1000 a month. This might sound pretentious, but I’m 28 now, and I can’t really see myself doing something like that. I made way more working at MIA- that actually helped me fund the video for a while. I’d rather do everything on my own, and work on the side- I’d make the same money if not more, and be happy with the product I was putting out. Don’t get me wrong- there are a few companies that I really respect, and would be more than happy to work for, and would take less money to work for, just out of love. I guess I just have to take everything as it comes, every opportunity presents its ups and downs.
I want to do so much, it’s hard sometimes. I want to make a feature film. I have ideas and scripts that I’ve started, and I hope to be able to complete them by the end of next year, now that I have some time. I want to make more music- 80’s and I along with our friend Ryan actually recorded a lot of the score in Mohicans. That shit is too much fun. Bums With Guns! That’s our fake band… I really just want to keep creating stuff, as much as I can, and I guess the trick is going to be finding out how to get paid to do it.
IF THIS HYPOTHETICAL FINANCIER WAS TO SAY “I’LL GIVE YOU $500,000 TO PRODUCE THE BEST INDEPENDENT VIDEO OF ALL TIME”, AND YOU KNEW YOU COULD HAVE YOUR PICK OF ANY SKATER, PRO OR AM, IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD THE LINE-UP LOOK LIKE?
Oh man, I’d need weeks to calculate that! But for now let’s go with Gino, for sure! Renaud and Dowd- those dudes would blow minds with unlimited funds and resources! Kareem Campbell? Could I pay him to film an ill part? I would definitely try! I always think about how ill it would be to get some of the greatest Cali dudes to Miami and New York, and the East Coast in general to film a part- Like what if you paid Carroll and Henry Sanchez to come to Miami, and just spent 3 months traveling the grittiest spots filming with those dudes! Combined with Gino, Dowd and Renaud.. Lannon and Al Buttaz?- Damn that would be sick!
WELL JOE, I’VE GOTTA THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND FOR GIVING THE INDEPENDENT SKATE-VIDEO SCENE A GOOD NAME WITH ALL OF YOUR GREAT PROJECTS IN THE PAST. I HOPE THAT “LAST OF THE MOHICANS” GOES TRIPLE PLATINUM. WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING IN THE MEAN TIME?
Praying for a miracle.
WELL, BEST OF LUCK WITH EVERYTHING MAN AND I ORDER ALL WHO ARE READING THIS TO GO OUT TO YOUR LOCAL SKATESHOP AND DEMAND THAT THEY ORDER “LAST OF THE MOHICANS”. I UNDERSTAND THE VIDEO IS AVAILABLE DIRECTLY THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE AS WELL, RIGHT?
Yep, The Killa Tapes.com, I gotta thank all the faithful heads that have preordered it from me! Thanks to wifey as well, not many women could put up with my lifestyle the way she does.
SICK MAN….THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME AND BEST WISHES DOWN THERE IN MIAMI.
Thanks Josh, looking forward to Static IV!!! Maybe I need to have more involvement in that, I am Joseph Albert Perrin the 4th you know, haha.