The Oral History of the Making of <em>The Search for Animal Chin</em>

THE LEGACY

Hawk: I’m really amazed that people took the meaning so much to heart. I guess for us, it wasn’t a steady premise, it was one that just got us through to show all these different spots and different types of skating. I understood what the message was, but it just didn’t suit me. I feel like that inspired people to follow their own path and I think that’s huge, that something could motivate someone to chase their dreams, or to realize that you can do something different and be successful, or be happy.

Guerrero: Back then you never even thought there’d be any impact other than a negative one because it was so retarded what we were doing. It’s just one of those things that you’re only aware of 25 years later, like, "Wow, we really made an impact on people and how they relate that moment in time and that era to something really special and unique in their lives." And I do too. It’s interesting to have that connection with a lot of people, like, "Aww man, that was such a great time. We used to go skate with our friends, our crew." Now everybody is grown up and has jobs, families, and responsibilities and shit, so they definitely have an affection for that time in their lives. That's what I think so many people want to have in their lives. Whether it’s buying old skate crap to hang on their walls or just getting out there and cruising around the parks—not that there’s so many of them. Whatever it is, their kids are getting into it. It’s great. I think it’s pretty interesting. 

 

We were just skateboarding, and we were just doing what we wanted to do, and for some reason it taught everybody that you can be just disrespectful, and adolescent, do whatever the heck you want, and you're free, and F society and everyone else. Which is not anything we were trying to do.
—Lance Mountain 

 

Caballero: It was fun. Like I said, it was a new experience for us. We had always gotten to skate new places. It was exciting because every place that we went to go skate was a new place that we never skated before. Every place we went to go film, It was a new experience. That’s what made the film fun, because we were searching for this mysterious character, but we were having a good time everywhere we went.

We were definitely a little bit leery of what people thought because we did act in it. We weren’t actors, but we try to make light of it. We wore more of our personalities, and sometimes people let their skills talk for themselves. We were putting ourselves out there where people would get a little bit more than just us skating and who we are as people, and how we interact with one another. When we went to the premiere we definitely were hoping that people didn’t think of it as cheesy—not trying to make skateboarding look bad. But people had a kick out of it.

Mountain: This is one of the things that helped me be able to do this for the rest of my life, for the life of my family, and have a home and a job that I enjoy. It's selfish. I had friends on that team who were as good or better than me, that weren't able to parlay this into a full life. I still get to skateboard and make a living off of it ever since—cool. But I don't look at it as anything deeper than personal. If I start looking at it that deeply, I start freaking out. I start looking at it as, "You know what? We were doing what we did and this cultural thing happened." In my opinion, people's understanding or version of what we did as a cultural thing is not what we were doing. We were just skateboarding, and we were just doing what we wanted to do, and for some reason it taught everybody that you can be just disrespectful, and adolescent, do whatever the heck you want, and you're free, and F society and everyone else. To me, that's what people had turned it into, which is not anything we were trying to do.

If I look at it that way, I start looking at it way more cynical, like, we're part of the problem of kids not knowing how to get out of adolescence. They don't know how to get out of age twenty so at age thirty-eight they're still at their parents' house doing drugs thinking that they can just live the lifestyle. I don't want to be a part of that. That's what people think that we taught them. No, we didn't teach them that. We taught them to work hard, go for your goals, do something. So I start tripping on it way hard. I don't even want to go down that road. I think that the legacy is positive. I don't know. People take things differently.

 

When we were growing up, we did it because our parents were going, like, 'Don't do that, grow up.' It was our outlet. Now parents want the kids to do it, like, 'How much can my kid make?'
—Lance Mountain

 

I think the majority of people have a different take on what was really happening. This skateboarding as a culture and a lifestyle or whatever, is awesome in itself, but not if it becomes a problem for the rest of your life. Not everyone can be Tony Hawk, not everyone gets to make a living off of this. It's something you can enjoy, but if you don't put it in its right place there's lots of guys that have gotten nothing from it. If you get nothing from it and you're bitter, that's not a positive thing. If you think it's a way to just rebel against society, it's not a good thing. There's no intention to rebel against society. The intention is to do something positive. It's so different than what people's interpretation of it became.

I think America has a huge problem of adolescence, which I don't think even existed before our culture. In the past you're 14, 15, you're almost ready to get married and go to work. Now we're like, “I'm just gonna be a kid and skateboard, and do whatever I want till I'm 40.” [Laughs.] I don't look at it that way, I look at it more as selfish for me is what I'm saying, like, “Man this was positive for me that I was blessed. I'm one of the lucky ones that was able to turn this into something.” It didn't put me in a situation where I'm crippled for the rest of my life physically, spiritually, mentally, or any of that stuff which anything in life can do if we put it in the wrong place.

Stacy always had a great, positive way to look at it. I think most people think if you succeed at it it's positive, if you don't, you did something wrong. There's a lot of guys who are gonna just do it for the enjoyment sake, and they're taught that if you don't reach Tony Hawk status, then you failed. There's only one of those guys in the world. There are thousands and thousands of kids that skate, and only a few are going to make a living off it. I think back when we were doing what we did it was teaching kids more of this is a fun life. Now it's a such a sport that everyone is focused on making a living off it. When we were growing up, we did it because our parents were going, like, “Don't do that, grow up.” It was our outlet. Now parents want the kids to do it, like, “How much can my kid make? What's the sport?” That's a whole different pressure on kids. That's a whole different outlook on it. There's a whole business behind it. There's livelihood, everyone's shooting for that goal of “My kid can make money on this.” It's so different now, that message that Stacy wanted to give is a harder message to give and understand at this point.

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