- “Just by Doing It, We Made It Appear”Dustinn Craig on We Shall Remain: Geronimo, 4wheelwarpony, and the Apache Scouts Project
The following excerpts are taken from a three-hour Skype conversation between Dustinn Craig, in Mesa, Arizona, and Joanna Hearne, in Columbia, Missouri, on January 24, 2013. It has been edited for both length and readability.
On Becoming a Filmmaker
How did you become a filmmaker? I know you were a skateboarder first.
The cool thing about skateboarding is it’s very conducive to all kinds of creative types. As a teenager, growing up, I looked at skateboard magazines. Videos weren’t as readily available then. It was pre-Internet. It was cool to do things yourself, that was kind of the culture of skateboarding then—it was still kind of a very punk rock, do-it-yourself ethic. So I think I was just a byproduct of that. I was always the kind of kid who was tinkering, doing things like that, playing with my dad’s tools. One day my father brought home a video camera, a big vhs camcorder, from work. We just thought it was the coolest thing ever. So naturally I wanted to film me and my friends skateboarding.
So we’d have these big vhs tapes. You’d have two hours per tape, and pretty soon they started stacking up. This is probably like 1988, ’87, around there. And that was kind of the extent of it—we would film each other and do little skits and goof around but had no way of really editing the material. But while visiting one of my relatives [End Page 71] up on the Navajo Nation, I bumped into some skateboarders there. So we skated with some of the locals there and then went over to their house, and they wanted to show me a skate video that they had made. I thought it was going to be like the kind of tapes that I had—just these long, endless, you know—
Yeah. So they popped it in, and it was edited, and it had a music soundtrack. No titles, no nothing, but that really showed me that it was possible. Immediately, I was like, “How did you do this?” So they—you know, poor kids like myself—they said, “Oh, you just get two vcrs, and you make it just like you would a mix tape.” So we’d have two vcrs stacked on top of each other. In the bottom you’d hit record and then pause, record, pause.
I’ve done it.
Yeah. And so that began the initial process of editing. But it also, you know—if you’re going to commit to that kind of editing, you also have to be very organized. So it all kind of happened very organically as a means to an end. No one else was going to make a skate video in my town, and I happened to have the access to a video camera, and we were able to have two vcrs. And so that was kind of the beginning of it. Once I was able to actually edit down a skate video, add some music, show friends and family, I think that immediate reaction that they got was very similar to my immediate reaction when I first saw these kids’ skateboard video. I was amazed!
But in the process of filming with this video camera, I was also sort of intrigued with the footage that I was getting. I had these questions like, “Well, how come my footage doesn’t look like a movie?” And I didn’t know, you know, different formats. I didn’t know there was 35mm film, and so on and so forth. But these things were the questions that entered into my head very early—wondering, “How come I can’t make my footage look that good?” That was always the challenge, trying to make something look really cool with very little gear.
It’s a production-value problem.
Yeah, basically. So in that process of putting shots together and...