Jacob Harris and Casper Brooker’s ‘Trust Fall’ interview
Readers of the mag will have already been partly aware of the impending release of Trust Fall thanks to the Jacob Harris penned ‘Nike SB in Warsaw/London/Sardinia’ article that graced the pages of Free 23. In it, Jacob charted the first few months of the project, which saw the assembled line up of Daan Van Der Linden, Caleb Barnett, Donovan Piscopo, Blake Carpenter, Casper Brooker and Kyron Davis embarking on the initial handful of missions that served as the building blocks for Nike SB’s first full length video in four years. As quickly and unexpected as that article appeared, this last fortnight has seen the unveiling of the finished video in both LA and London with a hugely anticipated online release scheduled for any time now.
It’s fair to say that prior to this, a global Nike SB video project would have its roots firmly planted in the US, though with Trust Fall, that thinking has been thrown out of the window for the very first time. Thanks to the geographically diverse line up of the video, London’s very own Jacob Harris and the LA based Ant Travis have evenly split the filming duties (with a little help from Johnny Wilson), with Jacob being drafted in to handle the editing alongside Aaron Meza at the last minute. It’s a special day indeed when a project the size of Trust Fall finds itself being edited in the bedroom of a rented house in Peckham.
The day following the London premiere of Trust Fall at the Rio Cinema in Dalston – which, it’s worth mentioning, was Nike SB’s first ever ‘open to the public’ screening in the city – I ventured to Peckham to spend an afternoon in a shaded corner of The Rye’s beer garden with Jacob and Casper Brooker in order to find out more about the project. Fuelled by Aperol Spritz and a desire to no longer be epically hungover, here is this dynamic duo’s take on the globe-trotting ten months they’ve just spent gathering footage for Nike SB…
– Ryan Gray
How was last night’s premiere of Trust Fall at the Rio in Dalston? Please tell me that Casper blessed everyone with one of his legendary speeches…
Jacob: It was really fun. I attempted to goad Casper into giving a speech, but it was basically to try and embarrass him.
Casper: There’s not a chance I’d be doing that, not for a second.
Jacob: You managed to get half a sentence into the microphone.
Casper: That was terrifying.
Jacob: For the first time in my life, I feel like I handled it alright, weirdly. It was fun; everyone just got steaming, basically, which is how it should be.
It looked like there was some chaos afterwards at Jazz Square. I saw Kyron (Davis) was there for a bit at least.
Jacob: Was there? We went to the Marquis but the guy on the bar wouldn’t take Vaughan Baker’s card. Vaughan wanted to put some money behind the bar for everyone but the guy was like “no”, so we went to a place across the road instead.
Casper: You know the place that used to be Birthdays? It’s a Brew Dog bar now, the guy there was more than happy to take two and a half grand off Vaughan.
You both were at the initial premiere in Hollywood, right? How did that compare to the London one?
Jacob: The LA premiere was really good. The two premieres were kind of like the opposites of each other, in a way. At the London one, because the video begins with Casper and then Kyron, everyone started off being rowdy, then once their mates had been on it all settled down a bit. Whereas in LA, it starts out with Casper and Kyron…but everyone just wants to see Blake Carpenter switch flip back tail a handrail (laughs).
Casper: Yeah, to be honest, I still think it’s strange how you didn’t put my switch flip back tail down a handrail in there.
Jake – for the sake of those who may be unaware, can you explain what your role in Trust Fall was? Am I right in thinking you were predominantly the London/European filmer? Also, how much of a hand did you have in the editing process?
Jacob: I was filming Casper, Kyron and originally Daan (Van Der Linden), who took himself out about a month into filming, so did most of his skating for this on one trip. He fucked his knee up and he’s only just had surgery. Ant Travis was filming Blake (Carpenter), Donny (Donovan Piscopo) and Caleb (Barnett) on trips, and in the end Johnny (Wilson) picked up some duties filming Caleb and his New York boys.
About a month and a half ago, they were figuring out who was going to edit it; I’d been talking to (Aaron) Meza a lot throughout the project, I didn’t know if I was in mind for it all along or not, but he asked me if I wanted to do it and I was well up for it so I ended up editing it as well.
How did that work, from a logistical point of view? With you being in Peckham and Meza presumably being in LA…
Jacob: I’d do cuts, send off timelines, then I’d get Meza on the phone usually at around 2 in the morning my time and we’d go through shit, streamline things…and that’s basically how it worked.
Taking it back to the beginning, when and how did Trust Fall come about, and how did you get involved Jake? Was it the intention from the start to produce a full-length Nike SB video?
Jacob: It was always the intention for everybody involved to have parts, but they knew that was quite aspirational from the start because of the short time frame we were working with – we only filmed for this for ten months – so we were all aware that it would be quite montage-y, in the way that it is; people sharing songs and that sort of thing.
I got involved via Colin (Kennedy). He just called me up and asked if I was interested in working on the video. I guess because I’m so close to Casper and Kyron – at the time I was living with Casper, and Kyron was living around the corner – that was quite convenient. Colin and Vaughan had a big say about who was in the line up, they both had a lot to do with it.
Just before Colin called me, I was at a really bad point in a relationship I was in…it was terrible, in fact; she’d already broken up with me twice. I was quite ready to stop filming skating because going away had become really stressful and I thought that my relationship was the most important thing at that point in time. Just as I was about to say no to Colin, she broke up with me, and then literally a few of hours later I was on the phone like “yeah Colin, I’m in mate, definitely, 100%, get me on those trips, lets do it” and it was the best decision that I never got to make (laughs). I’m so stoked that it happened that way, genuinely (laughs).
How did the line up of Trust Fall evolve? What were the deciding factors that went into earmarking riders for sections?
Jacob: So the video, in a way, is to celebrate ten years of (Stefan) Janoski’s shoe, so a big part of it was highlighting the people who enjoy skating the Janoski shoe, riders who skate that shoe naturally.
Casper: They wanted to switch it up a bit, right? Not switch it up, but…
Jacob: They wanted to get some more people involved that maybe would otherwise be overlooked a bit, and reach out into Europe.
Casper: Which is cool.
The roster at Nike SB is obviously huge, so it was nice to see the spotlight being shone on a different part of the team with this video. The likes of Koston, Mariano and Luan, they’re nowhere near this; Sean Malto is in there and Stefan obviously has a couple of clips but there’s no fanfare around their appearances, they’re just in the mix with the rest of the crew.
Jacob: Exactly. Malto was just keen so he came over to London and got involved. Anybody that wanted to be involved could be. Stefan was really hyped too…he’d been busy for a bit and then we told him we were doing this project, so he jumped on a trip with us to Portugal, and he made that trip, he was amazing.
Casper: He was so good on that trip.
Jacob: He was the hype man, wasn’t he? Him and Kyron kissed a lot; it was beautiful (laughs).
Is there anybody that you would have liked to have had make an appearance in the video but it didn’t quite work out? I was surprised not to see a (Nick) Jensen clip or Chris Jones clip in there…
Casper: I wanted Nick and Chris to be in my part, obviously.
Jacob: Nick wanted to be involved but he was pretty busy with painting, being a dad and doing some other stuff. Towards the end of filming I was like “Nick, let’s get some footage for Casper’s part”, so he bought some Janoski’s off eBay because there were some old ones that he really wanted to skate, but they arrived later than he thought they would…
Casper: He ordered them on a Saturday and paid for next day delivery out of excitement…they’re not going to come on a Sunday (laughs).
Jacob: Yeah, Nick just gets excited about things. When they didn’t come immediately I think he was a bit deflated, he’d lost the hype. After that there was only a week left in which to film, and he had to look after his son. It would have been sick if Kyle (Wilson) was involved, I was thinking that.
Casper: He just doesn’t skate Janoski’s though. But he is the best skater; he’s so good. And me and him do skate quite alike, so it would’ve made sense to get him in there (laughs).
Jacob: That’s why Kyle wasn’t involved, because you two are just too similar, yeah…
When we did the trip to Sardinia we tried to get Chris Jones involved, but he fell over gate, and he was fucked (laughs).
Casper: He fell over a knee-high gate that you could easily step over.
A knee-high gate? How?
Casper: No one saw!
Jacob: He tried to vault over a little gate thinking it was a fence, and it was actually on hinges so it just swung open and flung him to the floor. The only person who saw was a two-year-old baby eating a burger in McDonalds (laughs). So Chris took himself out; it would have been nice if he was involved but he was hurt, and he was living in Berlin at the time as well.
Casper: Karsten (Kleppan) got involved a bit later on too, didn’t he?
Jacob: He was drafted in after Daan hurt himself. I’m stoked on the line up though; they’re all solid dudes.
How has filming for a full length Nike SB video fitted into both of your schedules the last ten months? I guess with the Atlantic Drift trips being confined to certain periods of time, when you’ve not been away for those you’ve been free to mainly focus on this.
Jacob: We’ve had to put Atlantic Drift on a bit of a backburner in order to focus on this video. We still did the Athens Drift, but other than that, we’ve not really had chance to do much else there.
Casper: Well it’s pretty safe to say that I don’t have a lot on most of the time so it was really nice to have something to work towards (laughs). With it being a big Nike SB video, the pressure that I put on myself especially was driving me a bit insane, but it was nice to have something to concentrate on.
It definitely sounded like you were having quite a bumpy start to filming for this.
Casper: Oh I had such a terrible start. I couldn’t land any tricks, I was not feeling very confident, and then I got hurt which didn’t make me feel any more confident.
Jacob: Casper doesn’t respond very well to pressure. There wasn’t much outside pressure…I mean, there was because it was a big Nike video, but he heaped it on himself. But then I don’t know what happened, you relaxed or something?
Casper: That always happens though; when there’s actually not that much pressure at the start, I’m like “fuck!”, then when it actually comes to the point where the deadline is looming…
Jacob: You’ve burnt your stress gland out.
Casper: …I just have to think, “right, stop acting like a selfish princess and do your job”.
You did get hurt really early on as well. I remember seeing you at Sam’s birthday in the winter and you were on a detox, trying to fix yourself up again in order to restart filming.
Casper: I hurt my knee in New York and couldn’t skate for like five weeks. I went on the first Athens Drift trip and couldn’t film anything, I just went to hang out, but that obviously made me feel super chill about everything as well.
Jacob: But then we went to Athens for seven days a little later on, to finish the Drift, and that’s when you started landing tricks again.
Casper: Yeah, it was. About six months into a ten-month global Nike project (laughs). That was right when I started seeing my girlfriend too and I pretty much lost my virginity again…that might’ve had something to do with it (laughs).
Having two crews – one in Europe and one in America – meant you obviously covered a lot of ground in order to get Trust Fall wrapped up. Where were some of the places you found yourself jetting off to during filming?
Jacob: We started off in Poland; everybody went on that trip. That was the first time everyone met each other as well. Daan asked Caleb how long he’d been living in Warsaw for when he was out of his mind (laughs); the least likely dude you could ever find that would speak Polish.
Casper: It would be so good if Caleb could speak fluent Polish though (laughs).
Jacob: After Poland, we all came to London to skate a little, but mainly to hang out and get to know each other better. The North Americans kind of went on their own trips quite a bit; I’m not sure exactly where they went. I know there was an Australia trip that Ky went on.
Casper: Oh yeah, because Daan couldn’t go, right?
Casper: Ky was meant to come to Sardinia with us, but he went to Australia instead. I saw a photo of him and he got the most sunburnt I’ve ever seen anyone; it was pretty insane.
Jacob: Between the beer and the sunburns there must’ve been no moisture in his body (laughs), like a brick.
Casper: But he killed it though!
Jacob: He did kill it. We went to Sardinia for a big trip; that was nice. The whole of Sardinia was like an off-season holiday resort.
Casper: Yeah don’t go to Sardinia off-season. It’s a weird place…beautiful, but it’s kind of crazy.
Jacob: There’s no one around; I think the population doubles in summer. Then me, Casper and Kyron went to New York for a couple of weeks; Ky smashed it all in one day.
Casper: That was crazy.
Jacob: It was one of the last days.
Casper: It was insane; I haven’t seen something like that before, apart from with Tom (Knox).
Was it like Muska’s Day from the Transworld video Feedback?
Jacob: It was, yeah.
Casper: A few days before I walked in on him completely naked, asleep, spread-eagle on the floor, which was pretty gnarly (laughs). You could see everything.
Jacob: After New York we spent a month in LA, just so we could escape the winter, basically. That was sick.
Casper: That was really fun; it felt like we lived there for a bit, which I guess we did. We lived there for a month (laughs). I ended up extending my ticket, thinking that I was going to film with Ant, and it rained the entire time. I was just sat in this hotel in Sliverlake thinking to myself “what am I going to do?”
Jacob: It rained four days in a row twice during the month we were there, which never happens. Everybody started freaking out. They don’t have anything to do indoors in LA either, so that was a weird time. It’s hard to skate in LA, so it wasn’t hugely productive, but I think that what we did manage to film was good. Casper did a legendary picnic bench line.
Casper: After reversing into someone’s car, then they drove off…which was really bad (laughs).
Go on, tell us what happened…
Casper: Basically – I’m going to make myself sound the best I can out of this – we were outside Gardner School, obviously the roads in LA are massive, and the road that school is on is not skinny but it’s tighter than most. There were loads of people outside Gardner school, like all the Polar guys and Ben Colen, they were all waiting for us. I was like “hey, what’s up guys”, all excited and not paying attention to how I was parking, and I reversed straight into the front of a car and just fucked it.
Jacob: The bumper was pretty much hanging off.
Casper: The front of the car was fucked. I was freaking out, like “what do we do? What do we do? Oh my God…” and the two guys who were in the car came out of the shop with coffees, got into the car and drove off. They didn’t notice the front of the car was totally fucked.
Jacob: In our minds we didn’t have enough time to tell them. It all happened too quickly for us to intervene. You were so angry.
Casper: I’m so good at parking usually too. I let it ruin my day.
Jacob: Then our last trip was Porto I think.
Casper: It also rained there a lot, too.
Jacob: It rained a hell of a lot in Porto.
Casper: We were there for a week and there were three, maybe four rain days.
Jacob: That was a sick trip, though. That was Kyron, me, Casper, Stefan came along, and Karsten. It rained a lot, so we just got fucked off Sangria.
Casper: I was so mellow on that trip; I was just in the room most of the time.
Jacob: And it paid off because you filmed one thing (laughs). That was our last trip.
I was going to ask you for stand out Kyron moments that might have occurred from filming Trust Fall. Can you elaborate on his day in New York?
Casper: That one day in New York was so good; he did three ridiculous tricks at three spots.
Jacob: He did the heelflip into the bank, fifty on a handrail to crack nollie out, then did the back noseblunt into the bank off the ledge in the Bronx. I think that was it for that day, but Kyron is the best person on Earth; he’s my absolute favourite. I’m literally wearing a badge with his face on it right now (laughs). I wish all good things to Kyron.
Casper: On that first trip to Poland, Kuba and the other guys who were showing us around took us to this party and me and Ron got pretty drunk. We got back to the room and started wrestling in our pants, we spilled peanuts everywhere and were just rolling around, and we were smoking out of the window too. The next day the hotel manager came in with two bodyguards; they walked into the room, I was in my pants and I’d just farted so gnarly, and me and Ron were just chilling there. They were like “you’ve got a smoking fine, you owe for this, you owe for this”, and we were like “oh, ok”, but the state of the room was insane. I literally woke up with peanuts squashed into my back.
Jacob: I can’t single out any moments, but Kyron’s just the guy where you’ll get a message from his girlfriend on Instagram saying “yo this is Ky, I’ve lost my phone, do you have my passport in your house anywhere?” and something along those lines happens once a week, at least. Kyron is a free spirit.
Tell us about some classic Daan moments that went down during his time filming for Trust Fall. That first trip to Warsaw looked so productive.
Jacob: In about two days he filmed a minute and a half, and it was some of the best shit in the video.
Casper: That gap to lipslide was fucked. It’s like he doesn’t even ollie he just powerslides and floats down to the ledge. Obviously that fifty at Battersea is insane, but that lipslide to me is the gnarliest thing, because it wasn’t like it was even a waxed ledge he was landing on.
Jacob: Yeah, that was pretty special.
When I was in Warsaw a little while back, everyone was talking about the nosegrind down the rail at the Palace of Culture and Science.
Casper: Oh my God yeah; he fiftied that first go.
Jacob: We came round the corner and he was fiftying that. So the way that I film, I don’t get my camera out until someone basically begs me to. Everyone was like “you have to be a bit different with these guys”, and I was thinking “yeah, sure”… But when came around the corner and he was fiftying this insane rail, and I was like “oh shit, I guess I’ve blown it then.” But luckily he nosegrinded it (laughs). Daan just skates. I’m sure you’ve filmed with him before so you know what I mean; you’re lucky if you film everything. He does shit just to get other people hyped. He fiftied that hubba at the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park to get Donny hyped, because Donny had said that he’d wanted to try skate it, so Daan was only jumping on it to hype him up.
Casper: Daan only had three wheels too. He did it on the most fucked up set-up.
Jacob: He’s special. I went out to Eindhoven to see him for a long weekend; we filmed two things in an hour then got smashed for three days. It was nice to see Eindhoven though; we were driving around with his brother.
What was Daan like off the board when you were filming this video? How much did he test Vaughan on a daily basis?
Jacob: Vaughan was only on the Sardinia trip that Daan wasn’t on. The one trip that Daan was on was the first one to Poland, and that was with Scuba. Scuba has such a good way of handling people; he’s amazing at what he does; he’s super patient and very calming. Daan is pretty reasonable as well, he fucks around but if somebody tells him to chill out, he listens.
Casper: When he is steaming, he does apologise. He can be a bit of nightmare but the next morning he always tells you that he’s really sorry.
Jacob: He’s definitely not a rock star; he’s a really nice dude.
So Jake – how was it for you working within the confines of a brand such as Nike? Obviously through Atlantic Drift, your work for Isle and other independent or one-off projects, you’re pretty much allowed as much creative freedom as you’d like. Was that still the case when working on a project such as Trust Fall? Or were you working within much stricter parameters than usual?
Jacob: It was definitely a different experience; it was much more of a vetted process, which I fully knew it would be going into it. There was quite a lot of me and Meza working through things together. I’d try and do certain things, maybe sometimes the editing would be a bit too personal, and Meza would correct it, and his decisions always made sense. I’m completely spoilt normally. I can do whatever I want most of the time with filming and editing, so it was difficult for me to get used to working alongside somebody else, but he was such a good person to work with. He’s got such a good way of explaining why changes need to be made, and I wouldn’t ever need to question his decisions. It’s been really nice working with him.
I’d say the one thing that people wouldn’t have expected – and I didn’t realise it would be like this – but it was such a quick turnaround with the edit; it was done in about a month. That’s not so long to cut footage together, but the main difficulty was getting songs cleared within that time. We had seven or eight songs to find. You’d have the video how you’d want it to be, but then a song would get denied. When that happens there’s a lot of scrambling about to do in order to find other songs to replace them. A lot of stuff is out of your hands in that sense, because that’s all down to the music lawyers, but I was happy with how it came out in the end. It was stressful getting there, though. We were still having songs denied the week before the premiere.
Was it refreshing in a way to work alongside somebody else who had their own vision of how a video should be?
Jacob: Yeah, it actually was. Having that outside perspective on your own decisions is really good. To be honest, when I edit, I don’t think I’m very professional. I try things out and if something simply feels alright to me I’ll let it stay in; there could be a few dodgy moments or some dodgy cuts that slip through into a final edit. Meza was very good at watching something and being like “OK, this bit actually does not work”, and I’d look at it and be like “oh yeah, it really doesn’t”, then we’d figure out a way around it. That was cool.
I heard that the amount of camera kit you were required to be out with at any one point grew to ridiculous levels, so much so that you’re now having to take a roller-bag out on the session.
Jacob: I got a roller bag because my knee is so fucked from carrying a backpack. I always used to carry 16mm and VX, so I got a roller-bag for the sake of my knee basically, and it’s way better, and way steezier (laughs). I feel like I’m on holiday all the time. Sometimes I’d still be filming Tom for Thrasher stuff or whatever and I’d take the VX and sometimes the 16mm as well, so it get pretty heavy at points. I feel like Sam Ashley sometimes.
Casper: (Alex) Pires runs one as well, right?
Jacob: It was Pires who recommended it to me. He would talk to me about it so much; he loves those bags. But he can’t use it properly. He’s regular and he holds it with his right hand, so when he’s pushing, he’s almost kicking it. I don’t understand that (laughs).
Am I right in thinking that this is your first proper foray into the world of HD filming too? Did making the switch from VX to HD cause you much of a headache?
Jacob: I had dabbled in HD a little bit in the past, but the HVX camera is so similar to the VX because it has the zoom on it. For me, that’s what would change things – if I had to manually zoom a lens – that would make things so much more difficult. I’d say the main difficulty is to try and not film like Bill Strobeck when you’re using that camera; it’s so fucking hard. He showed everyone how to use the HVX, so to keep things exciting it’s fucking hard not to do that long lens zooming, and I did it so much, but…that’s how it is.
Does any aspect of filming for Trust Fall make you wish you’d have taken the HD plunge sooner? Have you got plans to work on any more HD projects now this video is done?
Jacob: Well I had to give the camera back, so no (laughs), it’s done. It’s so nice to be able to film something then show the person afterwards though, without having to film it through the viewfinder on your phone, and you can check the audio. That’s a really good thing.
Casper: There is something quite nice about when we’re all grouped around the VX and Chris Jones is like “oooohhhhhhh” (laughs).
Jacob: I have so many recordings on my phone from when you film through the viewfinder, and every time Chris is like [adopts Welsh accent] “oh that’s really fucking good that, mate. You did that soooo good!”, then when you watch it back afterwards he’s like “why the fuck did I speak? I hate my voice” and he gets bummed out. But with the HVX, it is nice to be able to watch footage straight away, although that does mean sometimes people want to re-do stuff, whereas with the VX, when you have the preview on the phone you can barely see the thing. “Looks good, mate…”
Is it true Malto was sleeping on Will Miles’ couch in order to get some London clips for the video? Surely that guy should be booking himself into the Ace Hotel or something.
Jacob: Yeah I think that’s true; he loved staying in Peckham, actually.
Casper: It’s like a bed in Will’s living room though, not really a couch.
Jacob: He specifically didn’t want hotels or anything. I think it was a breath of fresh air for him, to be honest, because he’d been cooped up in LA for a while. I mean he’s been on a bunch of trips, but not like his stay in London. He loved it; he was getting down Canavan’s, the pool club down the street. He nollie flipped the Meanwhile gap too, which was insane.
Oh yeah, that’s fucked! Was that much of a battle for him?
Jacob: Nah, he just didn’t commit to it for half an hour, then committed once and landed it. I’d actually never seen him skate in person before that I don’t think. He said he wanted to do it, and when people on that level say they want to do something, I just assume they’re going to do it, and then he did and I was unsurprised (laughs), but it was fucking amazing.
Casper: That is so gnarly. You kind of forget how mental he is at skating, not in a bad way, but because he’s so nice and humble.
I saw Magee was at the premiere last night; did he have much to say to you about the video?
Jacob: Weirdly, he only said nice things.
Casper: He said really nice things, and he texted me this morning as well.
Jacob: What did he say?
Casper: He was being really sweet, and said, “I can’t wait to see your part again”.
Jacob: Something’s broken in him.
Casper: But he did text me yesterday saying, “I can’t believe Casper is in a video called Trust Fund” (laughs).
Jacob: That’s really fucking funny. It was nice though; he really caught me off guard. I was ready to have an argument with him.
Standard end of interview question – so what’s next for you both now Trust Fall is done? Any more projects on the horizon you can tell us about, the return of Atlantic Drift maybe?
Jacob: We’re going to Moscow in a couple of weeks for another Drift. We’re going to do another Drift later in the year too, and we started doing this other Catfish thing, but we haven’t done much there, what with the Nike video happening, so we’re going to put some energy into that. Catfish is more of a loose Drift related project, where we can do what we want. We’re going to do a couple of trips to get that going…that’s about it.
Any final words from the two of you?
Jacob: I really want to thank Colin, Vaughan and Jugga, Scuba, Meza and everyone else for sorting it out and for having me involved. It’s been fun.
Casper: And we love you Ben. That’s it.