We sat down with the star players of Skullcandy's #RainingHesh video to get some insight on what went into making it happen. Steve Berra, Eric Koston, Sean Malto and Theotis Beasley all shed some light on their personal experiences.
We're giving away 16 sets of Skullcandy Hesh 2 headphones. All you have to do is guess how many Hesh headphones fell from the sky in the #RainingHesh video. The closest answer wins the white pair used by Koston in the video... oh yeah, did we mention they'll be signed by Koston? Email your answers to email@example.com.
Steve Berra Interview
How was the #RainingHesh storyline conceptualized?
Initially it was a much longer project that I wanted to do with everyone involved in skullcandy. Basketball players, musicians, skaters, everyone... I wanted it to be 15-20 mins long. But, because I only have so much time and we only have so much money to work with I paired it down to doing a project with just the skaters revolving around the Berrics since The Berrics has a special relationship wtih Skullcandy. So, I got together with Mike Jones, our Director of Photography and we brainstormed ideas. At one point we had each one of the us in different situations, from a riot in downtown LA to being inside a plane as it tears apart in the air a la fight club. But then reality set in. We couldn't do any of those ideas with the money we had to do it. I always wanted to pay homage to Magnolia so after talking to my friend Benjamin Loorman who did the special efx on Raining Hesh, we figured out that that idea was the most feasible one as we wouldn't have to pay for locations and the special efx wouldn't take 3 months to do.
What was your role in the project?
I conceptualized it and directed it. I also edited it.
How much time was spent on shooting vs. editing?
We shot it all in one night. Started around 5pm and ended around 6am in the morning. Editing, even though there were only about 14 shots, took about 2 weeks to get it just right. The special efx took about 3 weeks because my friend Ben was doing it on his off time at night. He's a professional so he had other jobs he was doing while moonlighting on this.
The video has a great night time feel to it. How do you achieve that night look without being too light or too dark?
Well, we shot it with the RED Epic which is incredible with low light coupled with high speed lenses. A lot of it was natural street lights but we did pump in a little bit of light when we were filming Sean and Theotis in the car.
What were some challenges you faced with directing pro skaters to act?
Haha, luckily there wasn't too much dialogue and most of it was just all reacting to which they all were really good at. Eric has the kind of personality that if he wanted to be an actor he probably could as he has a basic understanding of it and just has one of those personalities. Theotis and Sean had the most difficult part as they actually had dialogue, but they killed it. The best you can ask of any one of those guys is that they be them, and they were.
Explain the process for making it rain thousands of headphones over the city of Los Angeles.
That is a Ben question really, but I'll try to explain the best I can. Basically, we shot a bunch of headphones against a blue screen, one at a time, falling in different ways in different directions and in different sizes so that Ben could manipulate them in different ways in the computer. He spent about 3 weeks orchestrating what they would be come. I don't want to tell you how many are falling as I think it's going to be a trivia question for some free headphones, but there are a lot.
What is the significance to Koston's pair being white and the others being black?
I wanted the pair he picked to be special and to really stand out. I didn't know what the color heaphones were going to be that were dropping at that point but I knew they weren't going to be white so we chose white as they would pop the best and feel more significant. It was more of a style choice than anything. But... If you want to come up with a story that the white headphones symbolize the ears of God and the supreme sound coming into his ears via some skullcandy hesh headphones, that's okay too.
One of my favorite things about #RainingHesh was the sound design. How important is it to get the sound correct in a video about headphones? Was this difficult?
Sound is everything... The whole piece depended on the music and the sound design, of which I have a basic understanding of but cannot do with the tools we have so Ben had a friend at this place in Santa Monica called Barking Owl and they totally understood what the piece should be and that it all depended on sound. I had laid in some temp sound efx but nothing as deep and layered as what it would become in the hands of professionals. Honestly, I had to give them minimal notes for them to get it right. I think I went there once for about 4 hours to finalize the sound design and that was it. The other key was the music that our friend, Isaac Hartiens, who we've used before on other projects, did. He knows the vibe of music I generally lean towards so when he was given the piece, again, it was minimal notes to get it right. Filmmaking is a total collaborative effort and as we keep doing this we keep meeting and making friends with some really incredible people who make and idea like this, done for very little money, come to life.
In the car scene with Malto and Theotis, where did you find the pay phone in the background? Aren't those things extinct?
Hahah! It's right around the corner from the Berrics. It's wild. It's just this lonely old pay phone just sitting there on the corner. I mean, there's not even any high foot traffic on that street. It's so random. We were so psyched to get it in the shop. We lit up the inside of it so it would pop in the background. I'm glad you noticed it!
How did you feel when you were giving out the headphones at the skateparks last Tuesday, was there a sense of gratification or celebration?
It was great that so many people showed up. Because it was the first day of school we didn't think so many people were going to show and when we ended the day at Chino and there were like a thousand people there, I was blown away. It was a great thing to see that word could travel so fast over the Berrics communication line and that so many people were psyched to get some headphones and come out and see us for an hour. The locals at Stoner, Westchester and Chino are the greatest.
Eric Koston, Sean Malto and Theotis Beasley Interviews
How was it working with Berra as a director?
Koston: Piece of cake! I knew what his vision was and he's really good at getting that point across.
Malto: It was fun. I've known Berra for awhile now so just every time we get to hang out we have a good time.
Theotis: It was great, he has been in the industry for years and good at things he choose to do on the side and outside of skating and is professional at taking care of business and make us look like at G! That's my dawg!
Which scene was the most exhausting to shoot and why?
Koston: I'd say the final scene because it was around 6 am and we started shooting at 5 pm that evening.
Malto: The last scene when Eric puts on the headphones. It was 5 in the morning and we had been shooting this commercial for 12 hours straight.
Theotis: The one with me and Malto in the car , we had to move and look around and be on point when we first heard a headphone hit the car.
What prior acting experience did you have?
Koston: Bro, you name it! Titanic, Batman 9, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 6, the list goes on.... Just playin. Not too much. I was Charlie Chaplin once in this old skate video.
Malto: Not much as you can tell! Just random little projects but nothing big.
Theotis: A little experience from doing music videos. Gotta do it to the beat and the spot they need in the camera.
Any thoughts on pursuing an acting career?
Koston: What do you mean persuing?! I act like a pro skater every day.
Malto: Nope. It's so scary! I'll just stick to skateboarding.
Theotis: I would like to but not quite thought of it yet.
What sort of feedback did you get via social media, in person, etc. about the final result?
Koston: There's been great feedback either face to face or through all my social media outlets. Only a small bit of hate, but those are the people that are jealous of my amazing acting skills. Haterz gonn hate!
Malto: I got nothing but good reviews which is awesome. People were hyped on the idea and liked the quality of the video.
Theotis: The kids were constantly posting the scenes from me and malto in the car and especially my face expression on instagram and twitter.
What music have you been rocking lately in your Skullcandy headphones?
Koston: 2 Chainz and Daryl Hall & John Oates. Isn't that what everyone's listening to??
Malto: A little bit of everything. From M83 and Beirut to Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.
Theotis: Right now Drake, French Montana, Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar, Odd Future, Jay-Z, and 2 Chainz
For Malto: We saw Theotis's face pressed up against the glass in the last scene, but you were no one where to be seen. What happened?
Malto: Well we had been working of this commercial all night and it was the last scene. I flew in from Kansas that day before so I was extra tired. Theotis and I were suppose to look confused in the window together but it was taking awhile to get the camera set up. Next thing you know I'm getting woke up from a deep sleep in the drivers chair by Berra! I just slept right through the last scene!