Stacy Peralta -- legendary professional skateboarder, founder of the Powell Peralta skateboard company, documentary filmmaker and commercial advertising mogul -- visited the Auraria campus yesterday to speak with students on the art of being creative.
"When kids tell me their kids are skateboarders," he told the crowd, "I tell them, sorry, your kids are Democrats."
Peralta opened the lecture with a quick look at his filmmaking, which extends far beyond the skateboard industry; he's worked in television and advertising, both writing for the screen and directing documentaries. "The most important part in creating a great documentary is the ability to tell a good story," he said, describing his work on such projects as Dogtown and Z-Boys.
Peralta put a lot of emphasis on letting people be creative, letting them do their the jobs the way they want to when it comes to film production. "It's important to let people be creative," he added, "and to not shoot them down when you see something that may not work in your eyes." Students asked questions about the editing process, about Peralta's struggles with film production, even what the early Bones Brigade skateboarders thought about wearing the same clothes for months at a time during the filming of Search for Animal Chin. Gang violence came up in a discussion of his work onCrips and Bloods, a film that focuses on the African-American community and how America fosters the wrong-headed notion that children raised in gang-heavy neighborhoods are just born to be criminals. "If a bunch of rich white kids from Hollywood suddenly got ahold of an arsenal and went to shoot up the Bel-Air neighborhood, another rich white community, how long do you think it would last?" asked Peralta. "Not very long."
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Peralta also dropped a tip that he will be working on a film about Hawaii legend Eddie Aikau, who sparked the largest air-sea search in Hawaii history until that fateful point in 1978.
When someone asked why skateboarders seem to go into the creative arts, including graphic design, photography and mixed media, Peralta responded simply with this: "Skateboarding is, and probably always will be, illegal. Skaters have learned to adapt to different terrains, riding surfaces, and they are always needing to look over their shoulder" - all of which contribute to creativity.
After his talk, Peralta hung out with the students -- signing skateboards, shaking hands and having his picture taken with fans.