‘However, you have always skaters bitching about things. Especially if it is not hardcore.’
Director and Producer of ‘Double Pits To Chesty’ Axe TV Commercial
KEVIN HARRISON I Owner-Executive Producer
Tell me something about yourself?
I grew up as a skater and surfer and worked for MTV sports. We started in like the skate surf snowboard world back in the day and then you started doing more mainstream stuff. More branded stuff. More TV shows.
How was the transition for you to work on skate/surf stuff to mainstream productions, dealing with corporates?
We started doing snowboard commercials for Burton and surf videos. I just gradually kind of gravitated towards doing mainstream stuff and doing commercials because as a you know filmmaker, television producer and director, you can’t do skate videos your whole life. After a certain age you realize you can’t do that so much anymore. Keep the money on the table, keep the lights on, keep the editing machine going. We were focused breaking into the commercial world, in the advertising world.
What was your role for this Axe commercial with Ryan Sheckler?
God, do you know when this this commercial was done? I just remember it was really fun making it. It was ten years ago and in my late 30ies. I was the director and producer. The advertising agency working with Axe came up with that concept. They came to us because we were a production company in the skateboarder/snowboarder scene who understood the core but could deliver them a professional, commercial product. The concept was not ours at all, but we had fun making it.
‘I wanted to like and appreciate it but I kind of wanted to do something different. Not just a typical skate video for 3 minutes in the skate park.’
Have you had any concerns with the brief prior to production?
It was really kind of make up a sick skate video with these three superstar skaters with Ryan being the star. They had these wacky moments they wanted to include in it. One was the jumping over the policeman, jump over the ostrich and the crazy golf cart jump. As film producers we were like ‘why not?’. That point in my life and my career, I wasn’t really concerned about the core skateboarding kid. I wanted to like and appreciate it but I kind of wanted to do something different. Not just a typical skate video for 3 minutes in the skate park.
When the ad went live, were you aware of some of the controversy that it has created.
It was interesting because I wasn’t aware of the controversy at all. Back in the day you did not listen to those comments. Half the people said this is so lame, the other half said this is fun, something different. Now people just ignore this bullshit. However, you have always skaters bitching about things. Especially if it is not hardcore. With Ryan Sheckler there always seems to be some sort of controversy like with his reality show. So, controversy or criticism from the core is always going to be inevitable. I was a hardcore skater in the 80ies/early 90ies, growing up with the Bones Brigade. I guess what I’m proud of that if you watch the long version, there’s a lot of good skate action. We shot almost that entire project in 2.5 days only.
I agree. The actual filming of the skate part is very good. It reminded me of some old Bones Brigade movies. Who shot all these sequences?
All our crew were guys that used to do skate and snowboard videos and had a ball to do mainstream stuff. I had four camera guys on there and all of them skated. But we also couldn’t make it too slick and polished. It had to look somewhat like skate video, so it looked nice and had an authentic feel.
‘Skaters fancy themselves as this super creative force, marching to the beat of their own drum, doing stuff differently but realistically, you do anything differently you get shit for it.’
When Ryan jumped over this golf cart with his double pit to chesty move, this is when some people lost it.
Our aim was do it fun, different and being silly. It is Axe Body spray for gods’ sake. I think a lot of skaters are always going to be that way. They’re going to be critical. Sheckler, Jeremy and Greg had a blast doing it and so did we. But as soon as skate community got hold of it, this is when Ryan started being critical about it too. He called it stupid and the dumbest thing he has done. The skate community back then should have taken themselves a little bit less seriously. Stop trying to be so hardcore. Skaters fancy themselves as this super creative force, marching to the beat of their own drum, doing stuff differently but realistically, you do anything differently you get shit for it. You get super criticized.
Not the brand ambassador you are looking for when you criticize something you have done only because people do not like it.
No it’s not but you know Ryan was in probably in a difficult place. He has been catching a lot of shit from hardcore skaters because he had this mainstream appeal. He always had to balance that. It is like Shawn White. It is a hard line to walk.
Imagine Lance Mountain would have done the ad and jumped over the golf cart with his silly sense of humor we all know. No one would have said anything.
I agree that’s an interesting point ’cause I think you’re right. Ryan has always been kind of right for criticism ever since he did this reality show. So, he’s had a tough road to travel.
‘I had four camera guys on there and all of them skated.’