So far this year I’ve spent some time re-visiting many of the past videos I’ve produced for this blog – giving most of them a lot of attention and expanding on the making of each one. For those keeping count, we are now into the second “phase” of The Terrible Company, decoupled from Coventry skateboarding and sort of existing as just a thing where I filmed whoever I was hanging out with at the time. This time is called the “Dead & Loving It” era, and here is a bit if a crash course of that time.
The main reason why I’m deciding to rush through this era rather than explore each video one by one is because the era prior to this isn’t well documented online. The older videos only existed on DVD (apart from one or two), and the details behind the scenes aren’t as fleshed out as the sort of long form blog posts I write to accompany videos now. For any of these new videos, you can see the original blog posts which include a little more information about them.
These videos also came out in a rapid fire succession – in the space of 2/3 years there was about 3 videos per year. An increased focus on quantity over quality sort of means that I don’t view these videos as highly as I do the original run of skate videos from the 2000’s and early 2010’s.
Dead & Loving It (2016)
This video, titled so because of my poorly aged comments on Terribleco being dead, came out on 30th December 2016. It’s a 15 minute video filmed on a Windows phone, with short parts from myself, Alex Walker and Lucas Healey. It’s sort of embarrassing that this thing is as short as it is considering it was filmed over the space of a year after I moved to Leamington in 2015, but I was rusty on filming and editing, and I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to invest in a better camera quite yet.
Over the span of the great Terrible Company hiatus of 2013-2016 (aka when I moved out to the middle of nowhere and suffered severe burnout from work and a mild mental health breakdown) I had penned a grand plan of a return to form. Originally Dead & Loving It had 2 working titles. Firstly, the video was called Bad Company, until another Midlands scene video dropped with that exact name. After this, the video was called The Terribleco Video, but eventually that didn’t make sense because that title implies there hadn’t been a Terrible Company video prior… And there had been more than 10.
Both of these names also alluded to the video being much larger in scope than the finished product. Originally I had planned for full parts from about 8 people, including the 3 who actually featured, and 5 more (I don’t remember the exact list but Pro Marky was definitely on it). I think you can scan some of the new faces who crop up with full parts in my videos during this time and infer who would have filled out Dead & Loving It if I had stuck to my original plan. As it stands, the video was just me dipping my toe back in the water.
Sorcerers Of Shred (2017)
This one came out merely 3 months after Dead & Loving It. I started filming this straight after the previous video, and after a few months I realised I was enjoying filming and would invest in a proper camera again. I was uneasy about mixing the footage from my new VX with the Windows Phone footage, so I planned to just put out a throwaway video of all of the random stuff I had filmed in that first quarter of the year (which was, surprisingly, a lot).
Sorcerers of Shred ended up bulking out significantly because Lucas Healey had seen Dead & Loving It and got talking to me about a video he had been filming, but never finished. He was sat on a huge chunk of footage from Cov locals (and mates he had filmed skating with the Get Lesta lot) from a few years back and had no intention of sifting through it to make a video. Donating it to whatever I was working on seemed like a worthy cause, so with that Sorcerers became the first proper full length video from Terribleco during this era – with credit mostly down to Lucas.
Peace Horse (2017)
Aka Pea Sauce aka Pee Source aka Piece Whores
Peace Horse was the first video filmed with my VX2100 – it’s probably no surprise that I quite often don’t opt for the best camera equipment because I am a total cheapskate. Don’t mistake this for ignorance. I am incredibly cheap and incredibly lazy, but I usually weigh this up with the best and quickest way to make something of remotely decent quality. Technology is a limitation that can be pretty interesting for a creative brief, so when you try and work with footage from a Windows phone, or a camera with an awful tape head, you can still make something cool.
In a lot of my previous videos I used a Sony DCR series camera with 3CCD tech inside it – this is sort of the key to the classic VX professional camera look, and the DCR was a consumer grade cheap handheld camcorder which put out VX quality footage. When I finally got my hands on a VX, filming Peace Horse sort of brought the visual quality of Terribleco videos back to that baseline. There were issues with having a fisheye that wasn’t quite right, but I was able to rectify that in the following video with some help from Chizel, who kept me in the loop on decent fisheyes for the VX going at reasonable prices.
Peace Horse was a very odd mashup of rushed parts from a handful of people. Pro Marky finally filmed that part that I had planned for Dead & Loving It, I filmed a little bit of Stan Byrne before he moved out of Coventry and I filmed all of Joe Fleming’s part in a single day. Joxa, after moving back to the area, was the only one who’s part got a lot of filming attention because I always skated with Joxa a lot.
The name is something of an in-joke between me and my wife, Emily. It’s this weird phrase which could be multiple different things, so the title of the video became the noise your mouth makes that makes the words “Peace Horse”, but you pronounce it so fast that it could be Pea Sauce, or Pee Source, or Piece Whores. I dunno, it makes as much sense as Batface or Cannonball Holocaust, so it fit in my eyes.
Dream Land (2017)
This video dropped at the very end of 2017, and is sort of where I hit my stride with this era. I think the editing in Peace Horse onwards was really good. I know some people felt the overly designed title cards and graphic design was a bit of an ill fit for these videos, but at the time I was taking each of these videos as an excuse to do a fun little graphic design exploration. Compared to the more heavy metal/horror themed style of the old videos, this was an interesting new direction.
In this era there was a really wild revolving door mentality. Every video would swap out the line up with a fresh set of skaters, and a lot of them were just people I had known for ages but had never gotten round to filming parts for. Dream Land had Tom Sly, Freddy Hackett and Tom Wildman featured for the first time in a Terribleco video. I had known both of the Tom’s for quite a few years, but Freddy was someone I had met skating in Leamington that year, and most of his part came together in those 5 months of filming.
Closing the video off were returns from Alex Walker and Joe Fleming, with a minor cameo part from Stan Byrne. Walker’s double part with Wildman was a bit of a last minute rush job as I realised I was sitting on more footage of Walker than I thought, and not enough footage of Wildman. Stan’s footage all came from the Halloween comp we held at Vicki Park that year, and Joe’s part was salvaged from a scrapped single part video I had planned which would have included all footage from Vicki Park, and would have been called “Flemington Spa”.
I think the big call out here is that Dream Land consists of a lot of rushed, half baked parts which don’t do any of the skaters in it justice. That sounds like I am shitting on my own work, and I am. The quality of these videos was not what I wanted from them, and I’m fine admitting that. What they definitely did do was document a really great time in my life when I felt really stoked on skateboarding and didn’t care so much about making sure things were perfect.
James Reilly – Rocksteady (2018)
As you’ve probably gathered, this era was more focussed on “how can we get skateboarding footage onto the internet as regularly as possible” rather than going dark for a year or two, and then emerging with something more polished. The Terrible Company was born from trying to imitate and copy what the big skateboard companies were doing, but doing it for the local scene around Coventry & Warwickshire, and by 2018 I had become obsessed with Thrasher’s Youtube video model, which mixed full length videos with shorter clips containing a single part.
I had a few of these in the works, but as you will read throughout this blog, only two ever got made and released, and the rest were morphed into the other, bigger videos (e.g. Fleming’s closing section in Dream Land was originally planned as a single part video). The first of these to release was “Rocksteady”, featuring Leamington local James Reilly.
Reilly had been skating with us for a couple of years, as the youngest lad in our group of “old men”, so after a while I started gathering footage of him for this part. Shortly after, as the crew making these videos drifted apart, Reilly would end up skating with a group of lads around his own age. If you turn up to skate Vicki Park, you’ll likely find him blasting around the place doing much better stuff than we filmed for this video part.
Ade The Terrible – Risky Business (2018)
Shut up. You all know the very reason I started this blog was to give myself a video part in a skate video, because I am accutely aware it was never going to happen in any other skate video. “Risky Business” (which, in fact, doesn’t really feature anything remotely risky) was a way for me to clear out footage of myself I had been sat on since 2016’s “Dead & Loving It”. I wasn’t happy putting this part into any of the other full length videos, so it made sense to release it as a single part.
There are only 2 good things about this part: The music, and the last trick. I can save you some time by just telling you to go listen to “Old Time Rock N Roll” by Bob Seger on Spotify, and watching the upcoming “20th Anniversary Spectacular” video to see the last trick, as well as many other actually good tricks I’ve done over the last 22 years of me skateboarding.
Shredventures Into The Unknown (2018)
Shredventures is a way better video than Dream Land. The parts feel less rushed, the video is paced better, the tricks are better, the spots are more varied and the last part feels like an actual last part. Again, this video from Summer 2018 was a rushed 6 month jobby with a new host of skateboarders stepping up for full parts. Harry Tomecek, Nich Horishny and Alex Kililis were the fresh faces, with Pro Marky, Pip Sangster and Lucas Healey returning from previous videos.
Alex was a surprise part that came out of nowhere. He had recently moved to Leamington and I had every local I skated with telling me he was amazing and encouraging – no, demanding – that I film a full part with him. The crowd had spoken, so I filmed a bunch of stuff with him. Alex was always easy to film with, just always chill, always shredding, and never taking things too seriously.
The last part from Lucas was another scrapped single part video which had been in the works for a few years by that point – slowly gathering footage whenever he wasn’t too busy filming stuff for Get Lesta. It isn’t his best part but there are some really solid tricks, as well as some laughable goofy and stupid moves that fit one of my videos more than anything you would expect from Lucas’ other video parts elsewhere.
I won’t dwell on this, but the production of this video was hell: there was ridiculous pressure from myself to spit something out in 6 months which weighed heavily on me, the group dynamic within the local scene was strained because of clashes between specific individuals (of which I caused my fair share of bullshit), and overall things just weren’t as good as they had been a year prior. The fractures that occurred meant that the large group sessions we had where everyone was getting clips became splintered, and it became harder for me to film certain people as they were off skating and filming with others in the scene who didn’t want me there. Rather than bring people together, what I was doing was pushing people apart, and I felt like shit.
Sorry, that all sounds like silly high school drama, especially coming from a group of blokes in their 30’s. As much as I look at this video now and think it’s pretty good, really it was a symptom of poor mental health and putting far too much pressure on myself. The fractures within the local scene that came out of this time haven’t really healed themselves and likely never will, and that sucks – because before this video shit was so fucking good.
If it wasn’t clear already, I was in a bad place when I made Franchi$e. I spent this era sort of experimenting with graphic design and exploring new ideas, but when I made Franchi$e I was really in a nostalgic place, and was trying to replicate what made Batface and Cthulhu good. I really didn’t give a fuck about care or quality, and I really didn’t like skateboarding.
I was sat on a bunch of footage for a collab video with a local brand that never happened, as well as a few single part videos. I was also on the edge of big life change with the birth of my daughter, so I saw this as an opportunity to clean the slate and basically wash out the bad taste in my mouth that skateboarding had left. Because of this, I was sat on a lot of actually decent footage, and all of the new stuff I filmed in the back half of 2018 made it into the video as well.
The surprising thing about Franchi$e is that it saw the return of some friends that had not appeared in a Terribleco video for years. Harry Myers, Chris Mander and Tony Lui all feature in some capacity, and their inclusion brings a bit of the old Terribleco with it. The abundance of footage that formed the foundation, combined with the return of guys I had fond memories of filming, removed a lot of the pressure for this video, and the “skateboarding kinda sucks right now” attitude just meant that the only person I was making this thing for was me.
What came out of this is, what I felt, the best video of this era. To me this felt like what I expect these videos to be. If you read between the lines, basically I spent this whole era a little bit lost and not sure of myself. Franchi$e was unapologetic in just doing what Terribleco does: make skateboarding fun, keep it daft, and don’t over think it (which is ironic because I just spent 20 years overthinking making skateboarding videos).
Anti-Social Butterfly (2019)
The footnote on the Dead & Loving It era is Anti-Social Butterfly, a video compromised entirely of footage from mobile phones. It’s a bit weird. There’s no full parts and the footage is sort of throwaway stuff. It sort of paved the way for what Synergy ended up becoming.
The reason I made it was because after my daughter was born I was trying to figure out how I could still make skateboarding videos. Anti-Social Butterfly was rushed out in 6 months and was an experiment to see whether using mobile phones (and having friends donate footage) would provide a fresh new take on making a video. It didn’t, but that’s OK.
He would humbly deny having any major involvement, but the credit for this video is a joint effort between myself and Nich Horishny. He donated a lot of footage for this video, and was on board with my “let’s just film a bunch of stuff on mobile phones” plan. If I didn’t have Nich as my branch to the wider skateboarding scene during this video, it quite simply would never have happened – cheers dude.
After this video I decided to concentrate on filming a proper video using my VX again, and that’s when filming on Ghostface began in earnest.
The only thing to really say about this era is that it was a time of experimenting and trying to balance the ingredients of film making to get something decent quality using lacklustre equipment. I perhaps felt that having more knowledge behind me might make these videos better, but it turns out I already had the right ingredients.
There are definitely elements of this era that were carried forward into Ghostface: the more eclectic music selection, the more refined and confident graphic design elements, the admittance that where this blog is now is far less far reaching than it was 10 years ago. Experiments like Anti-Social Butterfly allowed me to re-focus and create things like Synergy, giving me room to muck around with incredibly daft ideas and put out regular edits, whilst still retaining quality footage for something really epic later on down the line.
I think the best thing these videos taught me was what The Terrible Company actually was all about though. The short hiatus had created a bit of a disconnect and it felt to an extent that I had to “learn to ride a bike” all over again (but, you know, the skate video equivalent). Putting these videos together was a crash course in how I was meant to do stuff, and Ghostface was the real culmination of all of this learning.
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