Dialogue: Scott Bourne & David Couliau

Photos and interview: Benjamin Deberdt

Tomorrow, we will premiere a new Off Size project, this one more on the documentary tip… A first for us, so we had to pick up our subject wisely! Did we? We’ll let you decide, but when we heard that David Couliau was filming a doc' about Scott Bourne, the writer, we thought this could fit the bill.
As you might not be familiar with one or another, or just find those two an odd pair, here is a little introduction to Notes From The Black Box that should explain quite a bit. And give another testimony that skateboarding is a great way to mix people that should never meet…

What is your first memory of the other?
Scott: Man, that’s a good question. I am pretty sure the first time we crossed paths was in San Francisco… In the neighborhood where the novel actually takes place. I think it would have been the late 90’s. SF was in the prime of its history as a city of skate. People from all over the world were drawn there and I am pretty sure that’s where David and I first crossed paths.
David: For me, it was through the Consolidated video Kings of Promotion, from 1997. I wasn't reading American magazines that often because it was quite hard to get them regularly in my hometown, aside from Thrasher and Transworld, unless you would get subscriptions. But I used to watch loads of videos, everything I could reach in those VHS days –the VHS era lasted really long in skateboarding! – And I remember it because, music wise, I was at the pick of my Hip Hop decade and this part was my introduction to Johnny Cash with the track he had on his part: "Highwayman". Quite a contrast, but the lyrics were amazing!

Where did you actually meet?
Scott: I want to say it was on the street in front of a breakfast joint on Fillmore, maybe with Karine or Satva Leung, but could have even been on my street, Webster, with a crew of skaters. It’s vague, David kept popping up in my life but it was quite some time before we actually hung out or skated together. I know we also crossed path in France several times, might have first been in Marseille.
David: I met Scott briefly during my first trip to San Francisco in 2002. I was staying at the Howard House with Soy Panday and Inken, the German girl that was living there and who happened to be the connection that you, Benjamin, gave us to find a place to crash in San Francisco. She introduced us to Scott one night as we picked him up at his place on Webster Street to go to an art show on Haight Street, at Red Five if I can remember. But we got to see each other again a second time, around 2004, through you, Benjamin, in Paris I think, when I was on Carhartt and a bit before I started working on the video project SPEKTRA. Scott also got on the team when he moved to France, so we became teammates and naturally got on tours and to events together.

When did the project of the documentary come up?
Scott: We have actually been speaking about it for quite sometime, now. The idea was to revolve around several different parts of my life but in the end I think the publishing of the novel pushed us to make it and focus on that aspect of my life as well as the move to France.
David: We were talking about shooting a video/film together for a while, something on film, something genuine that would fit both our visions of his world, but not necessarily of this form. Then the question of promoting Scott's book came up, as the release date was close. Scott also got offered to contribute to the 20th anniversary issue of SLAP magazine as a former contributor with his Black Box column and this became the occasion to launch the project and try to sync all of this. So, last summer, we found some time to shoot the interview at his place in Paris. I brought an intern for the second angle, a sound engineer attached to his boom pole and we just had a discussion for about an hour and a half about his writing and loads of other things.

Why work with the other?
David is just excellent at what he does. Lots of guys can get good footage or the right words but few know how to edit. David can do both and knows how to put it all together. After he created this part for me in the Carhartt video, that’s when we both started talking to each other about doing something more.
David: I had already shot a few projects for Carhartt with Scott before, but more specifically, I directed his part for the Carhartt video, SPEKTRA that came out in February 2009. I had shot it on Super8 and 16mm, half interview and half skateboarding and Scott was already talking about his writing as he was in the process of writing A Room with no Windows. Scott liked what I did and I think we got along really well on a lot of subjects, so it made it really enjoyable to work together. If you look at us, talking strictly about skateboarding, we are really approaching the ride in a really different manner, we have extremely different styles, but the vision we have of it and the meaning it has to us is really close I think. I really respect his commitment to skateboarding and his commitment to what he does in life in general. Scott is as true of a human being as you can get, he brings so much sincerity and passion in what he does and who he is, so much sensibility too that I can only be as passionate as he is when we get to talk and spend some time together. I've always been fascinated by people with such strong and uncommon life paths. They usually sweat so much energy and are so heartfelt. I think that's mostly how I also get my motivation to make my projects; I have to feel I'm doing them with people who are convinced and true about what they do. Scott is and I'm so thankful he's let me enter into his world!

Who do you think should watch the doc'?
Scott: David asked really great questions and kind of dug up some fun details about my past, the book and the events that take place in it. It’s a sort of behind the scenes with the author and I think the book and the film compliment each other. Hopefully the film will make you interested to read the book and if you have already read the book, hopefully it will clarify some of the questions you may have as a reader. So I would say anyone that wants the next chapter on my life after skating as well as the behind the scenes of my time as a professional. As I said, David asked good questions and really got me to talk.
David: People who love skateboarding should watch this film, open their minds to other visions, because in the end we all love skateboarding for the same reasons. People who are also curious about what you can do after your body refuses to skate anymore. People who wonder where skateboarding can bring you, how it impacts your life and the way you see things, the way you endure your surroundings. But also people who wonder what true passion is, how it builds you if you refuse to give up, people who wonder how to be the richest man on earth without a dollar in their pocket. I think people should just read that book! [Laughter]

As an introduction to tomorrow’s premiere, let’s watch their first work together, from 2009:

Live Skateboard MediaLive Skateboard Media

Wait to pass announcement...