The Follow Up: Cody Green and Ryan Lovell
Vans dropped a bombshell with "No Other Way." We caught up with filmmakers Green and Lovell to find out how this gem came together.
Interview and photos by Michael Burnett
What is your official title at Vans and how did you reach this lofty position?
Cody Green: Skate Team Videographer. Anthony Acosta and AVE kind of put in a good word for me over there and Jamie Hart and Robin Fleming kind of gave me the job after my first Europe trip to Croatia in 2009.
Ryan Lovell: Pretty sure it's "Skate Team Videographer" or something along those lines. Basically I worked for Skateboarder Magazine before they went out of business. The last thing I did for them was an edit of a Summer Euro trip, so I emailed that to every skate contact I could get. After months Greg Hunt hit me up saying he needed help with "Propeller" and next thing you know I'm working for Vans. Kind of insane that I would have never gotten this job if I hadn't lost my other job.
Where else would we know your work from?
CG: Gravis “Dylan," Vans “Propeller,” Spitfire x Vans Skate - Keeping the underground Lit (LA), Vans “ Stage 4"
RL: Hopefully all of these Escapist videos! Most definitely do my best to always let it be known that I'm from Kansas City so thats what I'd like to identify with here the most.
Cody Green: HUGE in the Midwest.
A filmer's work is never done. De-knotting Dan Lu before a heavy move.
Premier night – how sweet it is!
When did it become clear you were working on a new Vans video?
CG: First filming Trip in Kansas City in October 2015. Every spot was so gnarly and it seemed like everyone who was there stepped up and got some stuff!
RL: Can't remember specifically but around March Kyle said he wanted to put out a part this year.
Seems like y'all banged this out pretty quick. What was the timeline for No Other Way?
CG: Probably a solid 9 months.
RL: The original release date was gonna be around May 2017. I'd say we worked on the video for about 8 months.
Was there a trick that solidified "this is really happening?"
CG: Kyle's 360 flip over the big hip in Sacramento and that night Elijah did the nose grind nollie flip. That was one hell of a day!
RL: For me it was Kyle's KC kinker that was in his intro. Being from Kansas City that has always been the joke spot that we all kinda knew was possible but didn't really think anyone would actually do it. Once Kyle did that so easily – that's when it really felt like we were gonna do a vid.
It seemed like a joke spot.
There's no 'I' in Bondo.
Yew! Kyle's wild ride in KC kicked this project into high gear.
Where did the name No Other Way come from?
RL: It's the name of a song idea that I had for Kyle... I sent a rough edit to Jamie and titled it "Kyle Walker - No Other Way" and he liked how it sounded. Beyond that we kinda look at it like nowadays there's no other option other than the internet to put things out no matter how gnarly they are. So that's kinda what it means to us.
How did the line-up for No Other Way come about?
CG: Kind of fell into place by just basing a video around Kyle. Elijah came through shortly after that and started really filming a lot of stuff in a short period of time.
RL: K Walks kinda led the charge on this thing and then we gave everyone else the opportunity to get in where they fit in. With this one though there was no real pressure either way for anyone to film full parts. With such a short time frame it was basically the situation where whoever was around and down to skate was gonna be a part of this thing. A lot of the team dudes had other obligations or didn't live in LA so that kinda narrowed it down. Elijah was always around and from the very beginning was down to do something this year to help support Kyle so that's how it came together.
Elijah and Kyle are the stars of this project. What are they like, personality wise?
CG: Both feed off each other when it comes to skating! It's really rad to watch even though they have somewhat different styles of skating.
RL: Dude, they seriously rule! Those dudes are the coolest. Elijah is always energy and fired up to skate. The dude just loves being out there skating. That's all he needs. It rules! Kyle is super mellow and easy going which makes it so fun to watch him do what he does. He's somehow so calm mid 32-stair kinker session.
Eli rides walls, Kyle grind down 'em.
Rockin' in the free world, always.
How have you seen these dudes change since you first met them?
CG: For Kyle, when I first met him, he would skate a lot more gaps and stairs. You’ve seen the video part. Since then he's taken his skating to such an incredible level. He can pretty much do anything he wants to on a board as far as I’m concerned. Elijah has always been a close friend. He’s been an ATV as long as I’ve known him. He’s a lot more wise with his spot/trick selection than back in those days. Which to me is a very mature outlook on skateboarding.
RL: Elijah definitely changed the most. During "Propeller" you could tell that the pressure of filming stressed him out. But for this thing he was so motivated and so down for everything. He always had ideas and was always down to roll. Him and K Walks skated so good together. Seriously the best crew. Those dudes beyond stepped it up and made this thing happen.
Holy shit! Kinker sacrilege in Middle America.
As seen in his Toy ad.
What makes these dudes rip so hard?
CG: One word comes to mind: confidence.
RL: These dudes just want to skate with their friends. That's what always got them fired up and that always made it the easiest. Although the spots were gnarly, all of the sessions always felt pretty casual. We'd all just warm up at the parks together and just go get it all day. Seriously the best days.
What are their breaking points?
CG: Always be a good battle. They're not always going to be winners!
RL: Kyle's breaking point was definitely staying solo. We'd always try and get the boys to roll, but on some sessions it just ended up with K Walks being cornered by the media. Haha. He handles it well though. The Mega Ramp kickflip was just Kyle with four cameras pointed at him!
They're not always gonna be winners.
Describe something unusual, interesting or funny about them that only their filmers would know.
CG: Kyle loves security or police pressure! He feeds off of it! I’m pretty sure three or four tricks in this part are because of that very reason. Elijah, low key, is a tech ledge skater.
RL: Kyle doesn't like it when you throw out those classic "next try" encouragement lines. He's always super polite about it but one time he told me to chill on all of that. Like basically saying, "It'll happen when it happens."
I know you guys are all really tight. Are there any special advantages to working on a project with your friends?
CG: Of course! Too many to list. Traveling, skating and filming with your friends is what makes it not seem like so much of a job.
RL: Hell yeah, it never felt like work! That's what I think it takes to really get the stuff you want out of a skate video. Being actual friends with each other goes so far because that allows you to really get to know a person and see their personalities come out both on and off their boards.
Brad's not feelin' it.
Lovell on home turf.
What about challenges?
CG: I wouldn’t really even say there are any.
RL: Music rights were the only real challenge. Everything else took a lot of work but honestly was just completely fun.
He may not have gotten that Wu-Tang song, but Lovell never misses when it comes to fakie flips.
Describe a really low point making "NOW?"
CG: Towards the end trying to get last-minute tricks and constantly being booted by police at every spot. Looked grim for a second. But Lovell made a fake permit that would have fooled anybody!
RL: The last week with music rights falling through.
Looking for art to point the Super 8 at in Pittsburgh.
What was a moment skating with Kyle for this thing that you'll never forget?
CG: That damn kinked rail! Go check that thing. Glendale College off Verdugo. Trip on that for a second!
RL: Kyle's last trick goes unsaid for this one. True skateboarding magic there! I feel insanely lucky to have seen that one go down. I truly couldn't believe how the cover kickflip worked out though. I'll never forget that one. Basically it was his last weekend to get a Thrasher cover and we only went there because we were close to it. It wasn't planned or anything and he did it 4th try. The kids opening the blinds mid pop was seriously video gold to me. That was straight up magical and I fully remember that after he did it we hung around at the spot for so long because no one wanted to leave that feeling. So incredible and that's what it's all about!
Kyle's cover, now uncropped!
What about Elijah?
CG: Impossible 50-50 to broken board. Man, that was almost a breaking point. Lovell yelled, "$100!" and that was next try! Stoked we got that one, Elijah!
RL: Dude, I'll definitely never forget Elijah's triple grind. That was just the weirdest day of driving and getting kicked out and we were fully over it but decided to check out one more spot and on the way passed that thing and pulled over. I was completely tripping when he did the double grind and fully thought that was the one. After watching the footage he just so confidently said he wanted to try the triple grind and seriously did it minutes later. And somehow after all of that he ollied onto the waist high ledge at the end.
Through the kink to FREE AIR! Berle gets burly ... again.
What lessons did you take from working with masterlensman Greg Hunt on "Propeller" that you brought to this project?
CG: One would be just communication with Lovell on the session. Just making sure the angles aren’t looking the same. It's important, especially with stuff this gnarly! We both learned that from Greg.
RL: Dude, everything. Greg was hands down the inspiration for this one, production wise. I've always loved his videos and felt like he portrayed skateboarding in the perfect way so that was definitely the goal. I've got endless respect and admiration for Greg Hunt.
Tailgrab nosedrive on the hip.
How was this video different from "Propeller?"
CG: It's a lot easier to focus on only a few people at a time as opposed to the whole team. It means more time to do whatever you have to do to get the trick. "Propeller" was an awesome learning experience though!
RL: It was just easier because it was more focused. With a project as big as "Propeller" if was definitely a challenge biding time trying to finish seven video parts.
Skatin' trash, LA weekdays.
What were some of the hardest moves to get in this thing?
CG: Gap-to-hill-bomb manual in Kyle's part. That was a really tough one to film! We went back almost five times, trying it for 3-to-4 hours at a time!
RL: Thats' a tough one, but Kyle's mega grind was definitely a struggle. We ended up going four weekends in a row and each time he would make it to the end and then we would get kicked out. On the day he did it I had a fake permit in hand, but he somehow did it in 15 minutes that day which was truly shocking!
Wish I shot that switch back tail. Flash n rolls are always tight, tho. Chima's NOW moves are gold!
Dan Lu on the slag heap.
Without playing the blame game, who do you think shit in the bidet?
CG: Aw, man! C'mon! You know it's a coin toss 'til the day I die.
RL: I really just can't wrap my mind around cleaning that thing up if you weren't responsible for it.
Don't stop, run!!!
What's Curren Caples really like?
CG: Definitely one of the boys! Curren rips, dude.
RL: He rules! He such a weirdo but in a totally likable way. I'm actually a big fan. Those DM's are outta control tho!
Ollies, as wild as Curren's DM.
The hard way, though it's never easy.
How would you describe Dan Lu's kit in the nosegrind clip?
CG: Urban mummy. I LOVE that kit. Plus it was fucking freezing that day.
RL: I love that clip. DL came prepared for a KC winter day. I've never seen the longjohns-below-shorts move but, wow, was the kit incredible. Totally glad it wasn't worse, but dude how incredible is it that he did the splits in that gear?
Lovangles, for days.
Take notes fashion bloggers!
What are your hopes for this video? How do you want it to be received?
CG: I just want the best for everyone in the video. Kyle and Elijah deserve everything. Those dudes went above and beyond and I believe that kind of hard work pays off!
RL: Beyond anything I want to people to want to go skate with their friends after watching this thing. The goal for this was one just to make a skate video that shows how fun skateboarding with your friends is and that anyone can do this stuff.
Another 'NO' guy. Didn't stop Berle.
Tickling the flagstone under the SOTY's watchful gaze.
An all-pool video? That'd be Berle's dream.
If you could do a dream Vans project what would it be and with whom?
CG: Anti Hero x Vans video! They all practically ride for Vans anyways! That would be so sick.
RL: Not even trying to be cheesy here, but this was totally the dream project for me: two of the best skateboarders in the world and definitely two of my favorites. Eli, Kyle and Cody are all the truth and being able to make a video with them was the coolest experience I could have asked for. Every day was truly a pleasure.
CG: Vans Presents - NO WAY OUT! :)
RL: The streets! Next thing on the list is to get back out there and get the ball rolling again. The road goes on forever and the party never ends.
It really doesn't.
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