TWO WHEEL DRIVE — Dilo’s Summer Of Manuals Interview

WORDS: Stu Gomez

The Florida Daze crew put out their latest video this week, and it’s another Daze doozie. “Summer Of Manuals” is John “Dilo” Dilorenzo’s brainchild, a slapdash compilation of his wildest dreams on two wheels. Working with Mikey Glover (FD’s filmer), Dilo manifested nearly every crazy notion of what a line or a trick is supposed to be and just leaned back (or forward). The video is exhilarating and challenging: there are times when you’re not sure what just happened.

Dilo admits that this video is the byproduct of his “abnormal manual thoughts”; “Summer of Manuals” is where balance meets imbalanced. Somehow, Mikey needs little explanation when Dilo comes up with another manual idea. He just captures it flawlessly. Meeting with both of them for this interview, it’s clear that they have a classic dynamic: Dilo, very animated and expressive; Mikey, subdued and calm. (I could have told Mikey that there was a huge spider crawling on his shoulder and he would have been chill about it.) The two just click.

“Summer Of Manuals” is not just a video about manuals. It’s a concept that highlights how there are countless little elements in skating that make it so fun. The result is a video that gets you hyped to skate. Dilo and Mikey chose to focus on wheelies, but it could have just as easily been ollies, nollies, or wallies.

Like Dilo says in our conversation: “I wanted it to be something that people would want to watch and would make them want to go skate.” What a concept.

(Visit the Florida Daze site for more info.)

How did you come up with the concept for “Summer Of Manuals”? Most of it was dumbfounding. I struggled to describe some of the variations you came up with.

DILO: That’s like exactly what I wanted to happen! It’s so weird, ‘cause I’ve always done weird shit like that. Since I was little, I always had ideas, because I always would just manual a whole bunch. When I was sixteen, I remember going to spots and looking at spots and just manualing on flat, or ollieing up to manual or something weird. They were all just ideas that I’ve never really said [out loud]. I always just thought about it.

            Then Mikey came to visit me—I was living in San Diego. We filmed some iPhone shit, and I hashtagged #SummerOfManuals for no reason. Just ‘cause he was in town or whatever. We did like three Instagram posts in a row of just manual tricks, and we just kept hashtagging #SummerOfManuals.

            When he got back home we wanted to do another Florida Daze video. We’ve made three of ‘em. It’s just like a homie thing we’ve been doing. I knew it was just a perfect thing to do, because it was such a random idea, with all of the homies and everything. I said to Mikey: “Let’s make a “Summer Of Manuals” video.

So everyone in “Summer Of Manuals” is part of Florida Daze? Like Zion… 

MIKEY: For the most part, yeah. They’re all from Florida. Zion’s always been a part of it…

DILO: But we’re down for everybody from Florida. It was really just a random idea and I know that I had the right mindset for it. I always came up with weird ideas like that.

When you were getting people involved in the video were you pushing them to come up with crazy manuals?

DILO: I really just wanted it to be fun, because I know that no one thinks the way I think. It was more like if we were on a session and if I was with Zion or somebody. Like, if Zion could skate a big rail and then do a manual trick after that, that’s what I wanted. Everybody taking what they do and tying it into manuals.

            It turned out great and I love what people got for it, but that’s what I was thinking. Like, “I just need to be around everybody and influence this.” But a lot of people were in Florida at the same time and I was doing a lot of this in San Diego. Mikey was in Florida, so we would just pass around the VX. I really wanted to make it happen and everybody else was in Florida.

MIKEY: Dilo was the director, for sure!

For some of the longer manual combinations, did you visualize all of it beforehand? What about that last trick?

DILO: For that one, I wanted to do that because I’ve been there before and I nose manualed it, just like off the curb, years ago—we’d actually filmed that line. I just knew it was a perfect one to do something weird with it. There’s like a little incline where you land and it’s down a hill so you can just, like… cruise! You can’t really find good ones like that.

            I just wanted to come up with something weird. My vision was I was originally going there to flip off the curb and continue to nose manual and then nollie up it. That would have been way harder, but we got kicked out and there were cars parked. I was lucky that I got that one with how many variables there were to it!

            I like the way it turned out—it was super random.

Mikey, what’s it like for you to film this craziness? 

MIKEY: It’s almost like so normal now, which is crazy.

Dilo has to kind of describe the whole path of the trick to you, right? But it seems like he’s all over the place!

MIKEY: We talk about it beforehand, plan it out. It’s pretty much just him saying, “Go over there.”

DILO: I would text him so randomly. When I was brainstorming, I had a book with all the illustrations I drew that are in the video…

Like the bible of manuals.

DILO: Yeah, and I wrote it and put tricks in it. I had it in my bag: “Summer Of Manuals Tricks” is what it said on it. If somebody were to read it that wasn’t involved in the video, they wouldn’t be able to make sense of it.

            I had one of them that was like, “Set trick. Flatground manual. Iconic spot. Manual.” In my head, it made sense and if I were to read it, it would jog my memory.

That’s good that you weren’t too specific. It gives you more room to be creative.

DILO: There were a handful of real specific ideas—a very select handful—but for the most part it was just like, “I wanna find a spot to go switch to nose manual over the bar.” Just random shit I came up with.

Mikey, so you guys just kinda communicated in a “manual shorthand” via the book and texts?

MIKEY: Yeah, I knew what we were trying to get at, what we were trying to put together. Most of the time I felt like we were trying to find spots that weren’t even spots where you manual and try to do it on there. Super out of the ordinary.

TWO WHEEL DRIVE -- Dilo's Summer Of Manuals Interview 

Like that white bench/planter spot where you ollied up, heelflip nose manualed, dropped off, and then kickflipped off?

DILO: That’s in LA, actually. Joey Brezinski took me to that spot.

[laughs] Of course!

DILO: He took me there but he didn’t really think of it that way.

When you think of these tricks, do you make up your own names for them? Like, all the drop down “negative manual” combos?

DILO: I’ve seen my homies label those “inverted manuals.” In my head, they’re all just kinda manual tricks. Like what Mikey said, I was really focused on skating spots that weren’t “manual spots.” Try to put a twist on it, like, “How is he gonna manual?” That’s what I wanted, that weird element.

            It was so exciting to me to just toy with the thought that anything can be a manual. And it’s endless. We could do more. You could go anywhere with the right crew of people who just want to have fun and make manuals happen.

It’s like when people calculate odds: If you add a manual it increases the trick possibilities exponentially.

DILO: You could flip in, flip out… it’s just crazy. It made it more exciting to me, and made me more motivated. ‘Cause it gets boring to do the same thing over and over.

MIKEY: I think it’s just that you got real bored doing normal shit.

DILO: [laughs] Yeah, seriously!

MIKEY: You wanted to just let it all out.

DILO: Yeah, I had thoughts like that. We’d film like homie videos and parts that weren’t manuals, and we may have just sprinkled in little hints of stuff here and there. But I always wanted to really indulge in it! My abnormal manual thoughts.

You went pretty far in one direction. Instead of straining the viewer’s patience with ultra-long manuals, you were doing surprising stuff…

DILO: I was conscious of people watching it and being bored.  I wanted it to be quick and exciting. We did good with filming it VX and everything. I think it was perfect.

TWO WHEEL DRIVE -- Dilo's Summer Of Manuals Interview                                                  

That was a good choice. Much more accessible with VX.

DILO: You could skate more unique spots and make it look interesting.

MIKEY: I’d always have the VX along with me. So I can pull it out just in case. Like if we go to a spot not do any manuals but we notice that there’s a manual pad that we could film for the video.

Or you notice something that isn’t even obvious, like that curved bench with all of the slots in it.

DILO: Yeah, that spot’s in San Diego.

Do you have a favorite manual from a skate video? Like, for me it’s Herman’s Stay Gold kickflip nose manual opener.

DILO: I don’t think that there’s a specific one. Dude, there’s so many people that I know have the same brain as me, like Sebo Walker. When I watch him skate, he’s like someone I can relate to. There are those people who I don’t even know, but there is like a connection.

            You can’t really imitate that. He does what he does, but it’s different. And I do what I do. Yeah, I manual and I do weird shit, too, but it’s not the same.

MIKEY: Big fans of Ben Fisher.

DILO: Yeah, Ben Fisher! He’s another one when I watch him he just knows how to make something bizarre happen. It’s really impressive.

Everyone has their own little twist.

DILO: Dude, it’s crazy the way he does 180 fakie manuals so far and then he’ll revert.

The momentum of his manuals almost doesn’t make sense.

DILO: It’s like his trucks are bionic or something! I just don’t get it. He’s got a crazy method for what he does.

How did you guys choose the music? It’s very summer-y.

DILO: It was all just timing, like where my head was at the time. When I came up with the idea I had been really wanting to skate to music like that. I’ve been talking to friends of mine just thinking of some aspect of my skating where I could incorporate this music, ‘cause I’ve never skated to anything like that. I’ve always liked it when other people have, though. It seemed like a good fit for a “fun “ vibe. Carefree.

Mikey, how did you decide on the format for the video?

MIKEY: We just filmed everything for it and then pieced it together slowly. We wanted a bunch of homies in it, too. Dilo just happened to be on top of his shit, always trying to film more manuals. As we were trying to get more people into it…

DILO: It worked!

MIKEY: I definitely wish we could have gotten a lot more people in it, but I like how it turned out with the section in between.

Was it urgent for you guys to get the video done by the end of summer?

MIKEY: Yeah, we tried to have it out by the last day of summer—September 20th. But that’s the day that we stopped filming for it and I started editing.

How’s the #SummerOfManuals hashtag doing now?

DILO: It’s been running for a while! We just have random Instagram clips and I see a lot of other people hashtagging it, too.

How have other skaters been getting hip to it?

DILO: I have no idea. Probably just me shoving it down their throats! I’ve said this to Mikey: I want it to be so obnoxious, I want people to be like, “What is this?!” Because we never explained it. It would always just be me doing a solo trick and hashtagging it #SummerOfManuals.

MIKEY: And there were a lot of people who didn’t even know that there’s a video coming out.

DILO: I like that. Because it just drew attention to the hashtag, which led to “Florida Daze.” It was great hype for the video! At the time, I didn’t have a VX so I would just film it with my phone. I knew people would get the clue.

Have you guys that about how you’re gonna follow up “Summer Of Manuals”?

MIKEY: We could fully do another one!

DILO: Yeah, ‘cause there are tricks that I wasn’t able to get for this whether it was time or not having the right spots.

MIKEY: We can get even more obnoxious with the next one! Spots that aren’t anything! This is just the start.

DILO: Yeah, this is kinda just an experiment to see what people thought and what the reaction was. I really wanted to get on it before somebody else did!

This is a good reminder for people who have ideas like this to just go out and make it happen. Sometimes all you need is a cool concept.

DILO: Just do it.

MIKEY: You can do whatever you want.

DILO: And I wanted it to be something that people would want to watch and would  make them want to go skate. Not even to do manuals. It’s so hard to find that nowadays.

What if someone came up with a “Winter Of Manuals”? Would you be bummed?

MIKEY: I don’t know. I’d have to see it. [laughs]

DILO: I’m down for a collab!

Load more