Skateboarder Magazine’s Exclusive Interview with Brian Lotti About Blue Line

Brian Lotti Interview
About Blue Line
Interview and photos by Seb Carayol
Sketches by Brian Lotti

Might come off as a surprise, but there have been other skate videos that came out recently besides Pretty Sweet and Parental Advisory. Brian Lotti and Nathan Factor Sacharow’s short film, Blue Line is one. It’s one that makes you all feel all fuzzy inside and stare vividly at your estranged board as you’re stuck at the desk. Why is that? No 30-stair rails, no Jimmy-legged curb combo; mostly cruising. Shouldn’t it be boring? Well, it’s not. If there was a skateboarding counterpart to “soul surfing” that didn’t sound too damn hippie-ish, Blue Line would probably fit right there. Brian Lotti explains how this film came about and how it doesn’t even have anything to sell you! The heresy!
(Watch the video then read the interview below it.)

Blue Line (extended) from Brian Lotti on Vimeo.

When did you have the idea for the film?
I started wondering about a skateboard-journey from the mountains to the sea about four years ago. The ideas for filming and snap cutting developed after that.

What was its initial intent?
This piece served to “sketch” out some basic approaches to tracking a continuous kind of skating and also to flesh out some possibilities for jumping smoothly from one location to an entirely different location.

Why is it called Blue Line?
To imply the sense of a route, a path. The infusion of jazz and improvisation. The suggestion of arriving at the “blue” ocean.

Wasn’t it supposed to be called Mountains to Sea?
This name has been discussed, but Blue Line was really just a sketch. It came out rad, but it’s not yet the Mountains to Sea project I’ve been envisioning.

Why this idea of a cruising film going from the mountains to the sea, by the way?
There’s so much great terrain (banks-blocks-pools) within this continuum and I’ve been interested in the challenge of creating meaning and form within this little universe of different but connected zones. There’s so much footage of skating happening in more or less predictable ways; what happens when you spread skating out across a whole big area and open it up a bit and include more of a context? That’s when things get interesting for me.

Why was it important to you to have that continuous “narrative” going? What does it say?
There had to be something to drive the whole piece and connect all the different locations. If it had just been one skater doing the whole run, maybe he could have stopped to eat a couple of doughnuts. This was a sketch with many skaters, so we relied on the artifice of continuous motion to connect everything. This piece shows how much control and skill a lot of skateboarders have now, but even more, I think this piece speaks about the romance of seeing the landscape as something to ride, have fun with, and be sparked by.

How did you hear/link up with Nathan Sacharow?
A mutual friend named Areyeh sent a link to check a piece Nathan had made called For Skateboarding and The City. It was nice.

As usual, you got pros and relatively unknown people in this film. How did you cast the skaters in it, and what were you looking for in them?
The skaters were cast by our sense for their 1. Ability to bomb hills 2. Way they skated 3. Ability to be patient and work collaboratively 4. Willingness to jump into the experiment.

Can you tell me a bit more about this David kid? And about Adrian Adrid?
David Bowens is a semi-underground ripper who actually has a lot of fans. That guy is fearless, can haul ass and ollie high as hell, and just generally rips. Hope to see more skating from him soon. Adrian Adrid was actually David’s roommate and is perhaps a little more known by folks. Adrian is also a fearless ripper who has a sick bag of tricks and approach to things. Both David and Adrian have this funny new school thing where they ride really wide trucks with really tall wheels like 56 or 57mm. Their boards are heavy and they claim it helps them ollie higher!

Tell me about how you guys filmed the travelling sequences?
Hmm. A good craftsman never reveals the secrets, right?

How many bumps did your Prius’ hood gather from Nathan sitting on it?
Right? Nice car plastic, Toyota. Great rebound. Those bumps didn’t last long.

Cooper Wilt, frontside ollie

Any particular anecdote from the set?
Yeah, one of the guys in the Ride Aid slappies scene literally slappied super hard right into some woman who fell over and had a huge bump on her shin and immediately threatened to sue Rite Aid and had the manager out calling the police on us when we only needed one last shot to finish the scene. We had to play cat and mouse with the manager until we got the shot. Shooting with the Channel Park critters was sick. They all self-choreographed their skating for that sequence. Funny and sick!

Didn’t you get some kind of threats from skating that quarter pipe in the ‘hood, the one you painted?
Yeah, I apparently whitewashed out some one-of-a-kind tags that morning. You remember when they walked past while I was still rolling out the stripes and stuff and one of them was cursing me out and pretty flighty? Somehow that flared down but the next day there were big holes sledgehammered into the bank. Big props to Jerry Gregoricka for building AND patching that thing. Thanks Jerry.

What kind of reception do you expect with this film?
Not much. Just wanted to get it out for all the guys who were in it to see and also see what other folks might think.

Some might object it’s not showing “progressive” skating. Is there room for this kind of filming object in today’s skateboarding, you think? Who is it supposed to talk to?
Again, I was really invested in exploring a series of hunches and ideas for filming skating differently and for telegraphing across the landscape. In that sense, it doesn’t matter if this piece speaks to anyone. It was my own R&D. We weren’t pushing the skateboarding too hard. The creative edge was playing with lenses and native audio recordings. Things are pulling together toward a fuller-length project, and I certainly want the skateboarding to be sick and progressive in that. Having said all of this though, I think the little Blue Line piece does have some edgy skating. Skating and doing tricks downhill will always be gnarly! All these guys just made it look really smooth and effortless.