I've known Josh for quite a while so I'm always hyped when he puts out some footage. Dave Green, owner of WNTR shared the part. Dana Ross AKA Pizza has been coming to Chicago year after year and now premiering multiple full length videos across the US. I had to ask the man a few questions, so we can get to know what's goin' on with him!
This is a part from his latest release, purpose, available on DVD here.
I thought, why get some words from both of them?
Dude! How many full lengths have you filmed at this point?
I’ve made 10 full length videos. My first one premiered in 1998. We did the premiere at the little local skate park that I was working out at the time we did it on the big screen TV there, we probably only had about 20 people show up. . . but yeah it was such a small little homie video at the time.
What keeps you so inspired to go everywhere and film these videos?
Filming has been my life from 1997 to now so all I’ve known is filming with my friends. Traveling and meeting new people, seeing new spots keeps me pretty motivated.
What made you want to go with the name purpose?
The reason we went with the name purpose was actually because my friend Elijah who is 40 years old and filmed a part came up with the name. I guess it really gave him purpose. He’s got a 15 year old daughter, a full-time job, and this video just gave him purpose to get away and hang out with the crew. So he came up with it and I really like the concept where it just gives everyone a purpose.
Filming with Josh has always been a breeze, he makes sure to go home with something every time. How were the missions filming for his part?
The missions with Josh were chill. I really like his vibe - very laid-back, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met as well so I like that. While we worked together he was really laid-back and friendly from the get-go. I felt bad because he definitely dealt with some injuries so that was a little bit of a setback when he was hurt a lot and his work schedule was pretty hectic but we made the best out of it and I’m still stoked it turned out. Wish we had a little more time. It's always difficult to get out when I don’t live there in Chicago and I only have four days to film and I gotta work around his coffee shop schedule. And of course being in the Midwest, we got rained out a couple times as well. I started working with Josh later on in the video process as well so he didn’t have as much time as the other dudes did.
What was it about Chicago that made you want to keep coming back?
At this point I’ve been coming to Chicago for easily a decade or longer and have fallen in love with the city. I love big cities for multiple reasons,
1. It just looks raw on film.
2. I like that you can get around for the most part without a car and Skate from spot to spot. I’ve always liked that vibe.
But also Chicago has always shown me nothing but love between the OG Uprise crew and the deep dish crew showing me love keeps me coming back. I’ve made so many strong friendships over the years of traveling back-and-forth and having some of the OG Uprise dudes come to the Twin Cities. I count Chicago as my home away from home!
How are these skate trips planned?
These skate trips are definitely very sick. Tediously planned out since everyone I work with are older and have jobs or family so I definitely have to plan ahead to make sure they’re free to film while I’m in town. I take pride in being quite the planner. I’ve always been one to plan ahead, I’m not very good at spur of the moment style, I’d rather have it planned out. I try to fill up my calendar and kind of know what I’m working with.
What other cities did you film in for these videos?
Other go to city is New York City. It's on my top of the list. It’s probably for sure number one. I enjoy going to the film for the same reason why I love Chicago is because you don’t need a car you can skate spot to spot, take the train to spots and I just love this city vibe and how it looks on film. I’ve been going to New York since 1998 and built such a strong relationship with people in that city as well. Other cities that I have traveled to - Philly a long time ago! Need to get back there I love the East Coast, I need to explore there more. But we were definitely filming in Madison, Wisconsin quite a bit since it’s on the way to Chicago so we normally stop there for a day and film. This year I definitely want to explore some new cities.
How do you balance work and skateboarding?
Luckily the balance between filming and work is pretty easy where I own a delivery business catering to doing deliveries to bartenders servers and other workers in the food industry in my town, so it’s flexible, I get to make my own schedule, so that helps out for filming and trips.
Hit us with a few shout outs
Here’s the shout outs hopefully I don’t forget anyone I’d like to shout out Familia Skate Shop for always having my back Uprise Skate Shop for always supporting me, Freedom Skate shop for backing me forever, Labor Skate Shop for always showing me love, Grady Moquin, Shane Brown, Trevor Carlson, Graham Thoms, of course Josh Ferro, Max Dylan, Deck Neil, Herrick Marcus, Eagel Ben, Patrick, Greg Szudzik, Elijah Collard, Dave Green for putting in the work for Purpose. Kate for hosting me in Chicago, also Eric Beaudry, Christian Spraungel. Shout out Shane Brown, Dan Rusin two legendary filmers who helped put MN on the map. Shout out Larry and Uriah from Uprise, Matt Boeltl and to Richard Korducki for shooting photos. I appreciate anyone that takes time to film with me it really means a lot filming has been my livelihood for once again 25 years.
Anything new in the works?
My dream project for a long time has been to make a best-of video with all my videos from once again 1998 to present time. Then I want to do a montage at the end of the video with everyone that’s ever had a part with me through the years but have them get new clips to make a montage at the end of the video.
The Minnesota scene is so amazing, so much history, how does it feel to be a part of such a rich history?
I feel very honored to be a big part of the Twin Cities skate history. It goes back to the 80s to the vert scene, it was huge when I started in 1989, but I was so drawn to the new thing so called street skating at the time. There were a lot of guys my age were pushing street skating at the time. Legends like Steve Nesser, Clint Peterson, Seth Macallen and they were pretty lucky to have a guy to chase them around with a VX. His name was Benji Meyer, he really put our city on the map by making local videos and shop videos for Fobia skateshop. They used to put on a lot of premiers, and another thing that helped our scene grow was the younger kids that got hyped on those videos started making videos. So filmers like Pete Spooner, Tim Fulton and Philip Schwartz, then Saint Paul legend Kevin Horn and Chris Burt, the list goes on. I think this is why our skate scene is so strong is because we’ve had so many legendary filmers to put our city on the map and put on video premieres!
Any advice to new filmers out there who are just getting started?
So anything I would say to any new film or is enjoy it have fun with it don’t try to copy anyone else’s style of filming come up with what you think looks cool work with your friends is always a good way to go, that reflects in the video. When it looks like you’re all having fun and you’re actually friends, that’s a good thing. I am a strong believer of going on skateboard trips with your friends, documenting it, checking out new spots, and seeing new cities, meeting new people. I’ve met some of my best friends on skate trips and those memories I will cherish for the rest of my days.
What makes you want to go skateboarding and film?
At this point what gets me hyped to Skate is just being able to skate at this age I’m 44 years old. I’ve been skating for over three decades and what gets me hyped on filming once again is creating things and my favorite part of making videos is the premieres. Getting the community together is hands-down my favorite thing about filming. Traveling is my other favorite thing about making videos. I love meeting new people, seeing new cities and seeing what the vibes about. I've been lucky to make videos for over two decades. I’m very lucky and thankful for those long lasting friendships. I love skateboarding and skateboard community has shown me nothing but love.
How did you and pizza meet?
Me and pizza met at my old job at dark matter. He came in with a couple Uprise guys and we started talking and met up to go skate eventually.
You told me you had an injury while you were filming for this, what happened?
I got hurt skating Clemente trying a fs flip off this wave bump, it took me out for 3-4 weeks.
Pizza comes all the way from Minneapolis to film for these videos, fuckin dedicated right?
Yeah he’s definitely one of the most dedicated guys not only coming out but staying out till 4 am with us
What are your missions like when he's in town?
They’re good. It was pretty chill then after my injury we got into crunch time so those sessions got not serious. It’s rough working a full time job and skating and filming after working 10 hour days.
How did you end up sharing the part with Dave? Were you guys skating together?
Actually me and Dave have known each other for a while now and we both were kinda just skating with pizza and it worked out. It’s just rad to have a part with someone as legendary as Tootall.
Did you choose the song?
Nah I had an idea of the song, like genre-wise, but I’m not too sure who picked the song.
Any memorable moments or funny stories you want to share from the missions?
Yeah I mean we definitely have a few one day we were just cruising down an alley and just messing around and this security guard came out and was flipping out and Pizza actually started yelling at her and if you know Pizza it’s wild to see him get there.
Any shout outs to homies, sponsors, now is dat time!
Yeah big ups to Fargo, Art department skateboards, Trabajando, my girlfriend Jenny with being cool with the late nights and being supportive. Ariel from Fargo helped me get to the point of skating that I’m at today. Really anyone that skated with me or hung out at a sesh.
What have you been doing for work? What is it like balancing work / skatelife in Chicago?
I’m a barista at Sawada coffee. It can be really difficult, especially the late night stuff when you gotta be up at 5:30 am and be on your feet all day. It’s all for the love though to be out with your friends downtown without anything but skating on your mind is the best
I feel like the skate scene in Chicago has been evolving a ton, feel like adding your two cents?
Thanks man I hope so it’s just wild growing up being the only skater in your high school to being in one of the biggest skate scenes in the world is awesome. still trying to put a few other parts down just to do something more.
What makes you want to go skate apart from having a video part to finish?
I think skating is something that I need now. You do something your whole life and it’s just a necessity now.
What have you been hyped on in skating these days?
I mean the younger guys coming up in Chicago. Seeing all my friends do amazing stuff and just seeing the community in Chicago grow and become more inclusive of everyone.
Sw pop shuv trick tip, i know you got em’.
Back foot scoop strong and slow. Front foot kinda chill till it’s time to put it down
Last but not least some advice to the young guns trying to make it happen on the board.
Just go skate everyday you’re gonna get to a point in your life where you don’t bounce back as quickly and you need to take more time off and things don’t come as easily. Just go skate, don't worry about anything, just be in the moment with your friends. ❤️