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Director Eddie Martin, editor Chris King and former skateboard world champion Tas Pappas talk about making All This Mayhem. Martin and King explain the challenges of trawling through hundreds of hours of archive skateboard footage, while Pappas talks about his time in prison and the perils of drug abuse.
For me, I knew the brothers as kids. So that's where it got going and then obviously after I heard their story. Then I was close with Ben and after his tragic death, mutual friends were saying to me, "You know, you should make a film. We should make a film."
I'd previously made two films. Yeah, I'd previously made two docos. So it was out there but it just didn't feel right at the time, because it was still such a raw wound and it just felt exploitative for me to, you know go, "Oh my friend's dead. Great. We can make a movie."
Then what happened was, another guy wanted to make a film and he asked permission from the family and Tas and they all said, "No, we don't want to be a part of it." But he still pushed forward in trying to make it. Then it got some funding and we all kind of got together as a group of friends and said, "This can't happen. We need to tell this story properly." Then we went to prison and asked Tas what he thought, and Tas can take it from there.
I just said "It better be bloody good, Eddie." No. The other bloke, he approached me and I was sort of doing it for a second, but then he wouldn't, everything just sounded dodgy and then he just went solo. I just cut off from him, said, "No, I don't want to do it." And I'm just stuck in jail wondering what do I do, call in a favour on some crim mates or you know.
But I was reading the Bible and I was like, "All right God, if you're real, handle this." Then bang. Eddie rocked up, assembled the senate team and I was like, "You're real. Thank you." And then miracles just kept happening. So thanks mate. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
What's the best trick you ever did on acid?
That run at the end was on acid. Actually, nearly all of them, man. No, the heelflip to fakie no grab. Acid. Come to think of it most days in Tampa. Acid. So yeah.
We should say Tas just did the 900. It was quite recently wasn't it?
Yeah. Thank you.
You can see it. It's online somewhere isn't it?
It's on YouTube and all that.
Yes. So if you Google it, you'll be able to see it. It's pretty cool. It's good.
If your son wanted to get into professional skateboarding what would you say to him?
Well, he sort of already knows what, I mean when he asks me, he's saying this. He's like, "Daddy what's cocaine?" I said, "That's the stuff that makes me get a bit tripped out in the head sometimes." I've done, you know, a lot of bad things growing up and as he starts to understand more, I'll show him this and I'll just explain to him, look, it's guaranteed to fuck you up if you try to go, you know, a heathen Roman style" you know so I'm just going to just be honest with him the whole way through and just try and prepare him for life you know. That's all I can do and pray. Hope for the best.
Do you reckon he'll be bonze in it or will he be a bit more technical?
He has his moments. But then he goes completely like he's not into it. Then out of nowhere he's just killing himself so he can be temperamental, yeah.
How long did it take and what was your process in assembling this film?
It was three years in all, I think. Three or four years. So we started filming when Tas was in prison and then obviously, after getting the archival eventually it was three years and it was still trickling in in the end motivating people to go into their garages and dig up old tapes and stuff like that.
I'm not sure exactly how much, how many hours of material there were. There were hundreds certainly, not thousands, but hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and one of the biggest challenges was actually watching all the stuff because the skate videographers, all they're interested in is that moment when the skater pulls of his trick but it usually takes 400 attempts before they do that and on the vert ramp, I mean Eddie and I would spend all day just sitting in front of the monitors going, waiting for something to happen. Then there would be a moment and we're obviously only interested in the bits that the skateboarders weren't interested in, which was a the little bits of dialogue, the little conversations. The stuff that are in the film that put you in the scene, put you in the moment. But it was quite grueling really, it was quite hypnotic when you watch that stuff at length isn't it?
And they'd always button off at the good moments, wouldn't they?
Oh yes. Soon as people started speaking, stuff we are interested in, they'd put it in pause and we'd lose the moment. I mean the trick is always to take that kind of material that is shot for one purpose, then twist it and reuse it and try and turn it into something which feels like a conventional narrative. A drama with all the different types of scenes that you would expect in a narrative film. That took about seven months really, in the end, to kind of get it down.
What reaction have you had from the mainstream skate world?
Well it's obvious isn't it? Tony Hawk was one of our major funding sources.
[Question from audience]
You want to take that one?
Tony called me up and he was just like, "Yeah. Here you go. Tell it how it is mate." Yeah, no. Not at all. I mean I've got a lot of friends who are still in the skate scene and I've talked to them personally but they can't sort of physically rock the boat, because I mean as you saw it, as soon as your sort of, well Hawk's sort of in charge of ESPN and getting into comps and stuff. So yeah, I don't expect my mates to commit career suicide. It's a hard thing.
But it was a strength for us.
It was a strength for us yeah.
There was no political gender.
Yeah. They're protecting a career you know, and if you're not getting into ESPN, you can't, you're not on the top echelon line of the promo. Getting your name out there and that's what big sponsors want. If you're paying off a house and supporting a family they're just playing the game you know. Yeah. Does that answer your question?
We should probably say at this stage that the film is only just starting to break. I mean this is the first screening in the UK.
Once it's in the States we'll see. I mean…
Yes so it hasn't really hit North America. I guess when it hits North America Tony Hawk will have to come out with…
See how many feathers get ruffled.
All This Mayhem
More about Eddie Martin
More about Tas Pappas
Welcome to Lagos[22/4/2010]
More about Chris King
, Ben Pappas
, Danny Minnick
More about All This Mayhem
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