Cologne and the crew preview a Jake Hayes hammer. Photo by Jake Darwen.
Cologne's 10 tips on filming.
1 First things first: be enthusiastic! A major part of the job as a filmer is to encourage the skaters you’re filming to push themselves. You need to ask for more from them. They need to know you care about them and that you want them to be the best they can possibly be. Nobody likes ‘Buzz Killington’. Keep the energy up and keep the session firing. Remember, you’ve got to be the man to be the man.
2 Now that your attitude is in check, your dumb-ass needs to learn, and keep on learning. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything, because you don’t. You will continually learn until the day you die. If you’re not continually learning then you deserve to die anyway. There is no end to this game. It goes on forever.
3 Review everything you film – and the sooner, the better. I made the mistake of filming for a long time without a computer to capture the footage. The big problem with that is that I was not identifying what I needed to improve on. I had a bunch of footage that was just too nasty to use. Go home and capture and review your footage the night after you’ve filmed it. When you do, watch it all carefully. Figure out what you need to do more of and what you need to do less of. When you go out next time you can try new techniques. You will progress in leaps and bounds – in no time at all, you too could be a master lensman.
4 Be prepared to wipe ass, breastfeed and burp the motherfuckers. I love my mates, but as the filmer I have to do everything for those derelicts. Pick them up, drop them off, bring the wax (@onti_wax), water, spare bearings, a skate tool, other tools, an old board, a broom, a sheet of tin, tape, sports tape for blisters, sunblock, and have the directions to the spot and the next spot. You should also know where you could go if the plan flops. The list goes on and on, but long story short, it’s always your fault if anything goes wrong, so do your best to deliver in the field.
5 Put it on your card. You’re not a multimillion-dollar corporation, but you sure as hell need to act like it. Life’s a gamble and it feels good to take chances. Throw down a cold can of Coke for a trick. Put up a box of beer, a dinner, even a ticket to Japan on ‘this shot’. If he makes it, just make sure you get in on the beers with him. This method is also effective in luring someone to test the waters by putting a ridiculous prize on first try. There’s usually no way they’re going to land it first try. They’ll kick out for sure and you’ll have saved yourself 20 minutes of them rolling up to it making strange noises.
6 You need to be able to skate. To film lines well, you need to be good at riding a skateboard. Also, there’s nothing more embarrassing than someone suggesting unrealistic tricks, or taking you to a spot that is not a spot. Or someone who doesn’t know who’s done what where and filming a trick that’s already been done. Don’t be a kook. I will notice. #Barrassin’.
7 Travel. Go on trips, and have a plan when you get there. Travelling is much easier than you think. Hit your boss up for the time off work, book the tickets, and before you know it you’re stuck in a damp hostel for 14 days with nothing to do but skate. It’s usually super productive, and very challenging, which is great for personal growth (learning). Your trip will give you some of your life’s fondest memories. I can’t put enough emphasis on this point. Every miracle and answer to the universe lies right here in point number seven.
8 Have standards. I’ve always said this and I still stand by it: “You’re only as good as your worst trick.” If your mate is doing a three-trick line, and a flat ground trick he lands looks gross, pull off and say, “Nah”. If you don’t, chances are he’ll make the rest of the line and you’ll be stuck with a sub-standard clip. He might try it again for a while and then lose heart because he feels like he’s already made it. He gives up and you’re screwed. You’re better off having nothing. Starve ’em out.
9 You’re in it for the love, not money. This is a no-brainer. You’ll see a little bit of coin here and there, but ultimately you will have to pay from your own pocket if you want to make this magic happen.
10 Longevity. Think about the bigger picture. The skaters you’re filming might ride for certain companies and need to hold footage for their part or project, so don’t run their footage in your montage or put it on Insta. Make sure it goes to the right place and that you’re not putting tricks online because you can’t wait to put it out. If you’re going to go to the effort of filming tricks every weekend, you should give them a good home. Try to create something that’s actually worth watching. Be committed and never forget how much you love this game.
Words by Cologne [Colin Evans].