In the world of modern day skate video production, anything from Girl and Chocolate has long stood out as, quite simply, the best of the best.
From the teams collective talent, to the high caliber of filming, editing and all-around visual presentation, it goes without saying that Girl and Chocolate video’s exist in an exceptional league of their own.
The lensman and creative backbone behind each video is none other than the legendary Ty Evans. His resume of films speak for themselves. Feedback, The Reason, Hot Chocolate, Yeah Right and Fully Flared, to name just a few. Each and everyone are undeniably classic, utilizing innovative use of the camera, inspired skits, visual effects, and not to mention, a roster of serious heavy-hitters. The upcoming Girl/Chocolate video is hands down, the most anticipated video in skateboarding right now.
I caught up with Ty to talk about the progress of the film, the burn-out effect that Fully Flared induced, Ty’s plaguing injuries, filming from a wheelchair and much more. Have a read as Ty breaks it all down alongside some behind-the-scenes shots.
How’s the Chocolate video coming along? It’s good. It started as a Chocolate video and has been morphed into a Girl/Chocolate video. It’s kind of equal between both sides of the companies. It’s funny because everybody kind of still refers to it as the Chocolate video, but seeing it now after I’ve looked over the footage, it’s shaped now into a Girl/Chocolate video.
So with both teams involved, is this thing going to be extra long? I wouldn’t say extra long because we went into it with, whoever wants to film a part can film a part. Whoever doesn’t, they can just get whatever they want. I think it would be awesome for everyone to have a part, but there’s 20 plus dudes in their, so it would end up being way too long of a video. It’s cool; I mean the dudes that are really out there going for it are the ones that’ll have the parts. And the other dudes, they’ll have some stuff in there as well, so it’s pretty cool.
What’s the process been like so far? Have you guys been traveling a bunch? It’s been good. We haven’t been traveling around the country much, we’ve just been filming a lot here in Los Angeles and doing just local trips. We’ve done some trips into the Midwest and into Seattle, just some of the standard stuff you can do at home. And we’ve done a couple trips here and there. We did a trip to China a couple years ago in the winter and it was super cold, and it rained most of the time. That was our first real trip and it became kind of a bummer. We did a Spain trip a couple years ago. And aside from that we pretty much just stayed at home and have been filming out here. We just did a trip to China recently and it was really good. We were out there for three weeks. The China X Games, their version of the X Games wanted a bunch of Girl/Chocolate guys to come out. It was really cool. They flew us out there and got us tickets and hotels in Beijing. We went to the X Games and made the most of it once we were done with our obligations with those guys. We continued filming for a couple more weeks after. It was really good.
Is it important for you to find new spots to film at? I wouldn’t say it’s important. It’s more like when you go someplace like China, it’s that same feeling you had when you were a little kid, where you can go out skating all day and no one’s going to bother you. You can skate all these amazing spots in China and it’s like it was growing up in the 80’s here in Los Angeles. You can skate and just not get hassled. That’s part of the reason we travel to all these other countries, because people aren’t sick of skating yet and worried about all the things people are worried about in the states. I think that’s more of a reason to go to those places…it’s easier to just go skate all day and not have to worry about getting kicked out of spots.
A couple years ago when I interviewed you, you expressed how difficult the process of making Fully Flared was. You seemed really burnt out at the idea of making another skate video. Have you approached the making of this video differently to avoid some of the pitfalls of making Fully Flared? I definitely was pretty burnt out after the Lakai video and I think I still feel a lot of the effects of that. I don’t know, to make a film you need to be really motivated and willing to work 110%, 24/7. It’s hard to say, ‘I’m going to go into this next project and let whatever happens, happen.’ You’ve got to try to motivate people and give it your all. I think I went into it like, I just finished this big video and I’m going to start the other one and go into it easy. And once things start ramping up, you sort of give it your all again.
I’ve had three ankle surgeries in the last two years. I think that was really hard for me because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, I couldn’t film the way I wanted to film. I still can’t. I’ve had three surgeries and it’s still nowhere near where it should be. In the middle of the night when I get up and walk or even once I take a shower and get warmed up…it’s still really painful to walk on it, let alone move heavy equipment and stuff around. I think that’s been my biggest burden, dealing with that. It’s been really hard because with this film, I’ve been behind a tripod on a chair a lot, which is crazy. Before I would be skating every day with the guys and breaking a sweat and being on the same page as them, like, This spot’s fun, let’s go skate it. Now I’m showing up to a spot and sitting down, watching what the dudes are doing and getting out the camera. It’s definitely a different dynamic and that sucks. I think after the Lakai video my ankle was still good and I could still do all the stuff I wanted to do. But going into this one, I have all these cool ideas for the stuff I want to do but I’m physically not capable of doing it. It’s frustrating because I have to rely on other people to film. And nobody’s going to film something exactly how you want it regardless of how you tell them to do it. It’s been frustrating to say the least, but I’m making the best of it. In a perfect world I’d have an ankle that worked.
What actually happened to your ankle? I folded it when I was 16 and ripped all the ligaments on the outside. Since I ripped them, my ankle was unstable, and I continued to fold my ankle over the years, multiple times. I probably folded it like 20-30 times. In my head I just thought I had bad luck and bad ankles and didn’t realize that the ligaments were ripped and there was nothing holding my ankle together. In hindsight, if I would have gotten the ligaments reattached after I first did it, I wouldn’t have done all that damage to my ankle. But I would keep folding it, and every time I did, my fibula would rub against my talus bone. And my talus started to get worn away with the cartilage and the bone. I have what’s called a lesion on my talus that won’t heal. It’s basically this big open cavity on my talus. It’s extremely painful because I don’t have any cartilage that’s supposed to layer over that. The first couple surgeries they reattached the ligaments. But they had to drill holes in my talus to stimulate my bone, so it would bleed and the blood was supposed to turn to scar tissue. The scar tissue acts as what the cartilage would do. It’s sort of a poor mans version of cartilage. So that never really worked. I had that done twice. And after I was like, It still hurts to walk, let alone skate. So the doctor went in and put in denovo tissue over it, which is 12-month-old baby cartilage that they go in and glue over the area, and it grows over. And you’re supposed to have new cartilage. It’s been over a year since I had the third surgery and it feels the same as it did before all three surgeries. It’s been pretty frustrating. When I got those, I was out for a couple months, laid up and can’t put any weight on it. I’d get frustrated because the guys would be like, ‘We’re just waiting for you to come back so we can start hitting the streets.’ So I’m sitting around like, Alright, I guess these guys aren’t going to film until I’m ready so…I got out the crutches and the wheelchair and started hopping fences with these guys. We’d throw the wheelchair over fences and I’d be filming from a wheelchair.
What’s crazy is that a lot of this video I’ve filmed from a wheelchair. It’s ridiculous. It’s beyond frustrating. I did everything in my power to make my ankle better. After the first surgery didn’t work, I decided that I was going to go to do everything I could possibly do to make my ankle better. I gave up drinking alcohol, I gave up caffeine, I started eating healthy foods, and started eating meat again. I went a saw a nutritionist, got a trainer at the gym so I could at least break a sweat and feel like I was physically doing something. I’ve been on that program for the past two and half years and it’s still not working. I think I’m at the point now where I realize it its what it is and I have to deal with it. I can’t skateboard anymore, which is pretty depressing. I’ve got a son, and I want to run and play with him in the grass and I can’t even do that. That was the trade-off for all those years of skateboarding. I think going into this video, that’s been the number one hardship for me.
Not being as hands-on with things as you’d like, how has it been delegating your overall vision of things? It usually doesn’t look anything like what it would look like if I had an ankle that was 100%. I’ve had different people helping me out here and there when I couldn’t film. And I’ve shown them how I would film stuff and how I would like it to look. Some stuff looks cool and other stuff doesn’t look like what I was thinking, but you can only do so much.
How involved is Spike in this video? He’s been busy. He just started working on his next movie. So he’s been busy with all that stuff. It’s pretty much been me this whole time. He came out with us a couple weeks ago and we filmed some stuff over the course of a week…some fun, cool stuff that might make it into peoples parts and some things that could work for the intro. The last couple months he’s been around. We had some meetings at his house where I showed him some selects and he was really excited about it and he’s got some really cool ideas. So schedule permitting, he’ll come in and help as much as he can.
Will there be a bunch of high budget, visual stuff in the mix? Well, the high budget stuff you need a budget and right now we don’t have a budget [laughs]. So we’re trying to figure that out.
There have been some new additions to Girl and Chocolate over the years. How’s it been filming with the new guys? That’s been great, man. Because I think a lot of the older guys were so burnt out after Fully Flared that they didn’t want to do anything for this one, except maybe like a MJ, Guy and Mike Mo. A lot of the guys were pretty burnt out, to say the least. It was cool to have all these new guys that were hungry and really wanted to be part of another film. All these new guys like Cory Kennedy and Stevie Perez and Elijah Berle, Raven and Vincent Alvarez…all these new guys, they bring so much good stuff to the table. It’s awesome. Those guys are the ones that are going for it everyday and are just so psyched. Even Malto, it’s been awesome. It’s funny because as long as Malto has been on Girl, this is the first real video part that him and I have done together, which is kind of funny. It’s been awesome. All these new guys are going for it, giving 110% and it’s really going to show in their video parts.
I have to ask you the question everyone wants to know. Will there be full Gino and Pappalardo parts? That’s up to those guys. Like I said, whoever wants to have a part, it’s up to them. Gino, I’ve been talking to here and there, and he’s filmed some stuff. And Pops, I have no idea what he’s been up to. I haven’t talked to him in a long time.
Do you guys have a deadline in place? Just as soon as possible. I think we got to do a couple more trips, and then I’ll come back and start editing. So hopefully, really soon.
All photos by Ben Colen, Courtesy of Girl/Chocolate.
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