Steve Berra has been a valued member of Active's Team for a number of years now and as Active's Valentines Day present to you, Steve Berra took the time out of his ultra busy schedule, juggling his time between being a professional skateboarder and film mogul, to speak out on a few touchy topics and to answer some questions that help us get to know the mind, life and times of Steve Berra, a little bit better.
Speaking Out – The Steve Berra Interview 2007
Interview By: Erica Yary
February 12, 2007-
Active: Tell us what 2006 was like for you? Everyone knows you've been all over the place so sum up 2006 for us.
Steve Berra: 2006 was a really myopic year. I was only able to focus on one thing, my movie. It's called The Good Life. I wrote it and I directed it. It was incredibly tough and I'm very glad it's over and I'm back on my board.
Active: What are your plans for 2007?
Steve Berra: Strictly skateboarding. Alien Workshop video. DVS ads. I'm working on a couple interviews for the magazines. Eric (Koston) and I just rebuilt our park, so there will be a lot of skating going on in there.
Active: What positive changes have you seen within skateboarding within the last few years?
Steve Berra: I've seen a lot of good skating. I've seen a lot of younger guys really come together and show what they've got. There seems to be a lot of guys out there that are friends and push one another. I've seen 411 reduce itself down to only 4 videos a year and concentrate more on quality than quantity. That's nice to see.
Active: What negative changes have you seen within skateboarding in the last few years?
Steve Berra: There will always be negatives to any field, to any part of life and really, I think we're all aware of them. But some of the things that stick out? Obviously, blank boards. But that's a touchy subject. I understand the dilemma as I was a poor kid growing up. I really do. I don't, rather, I can't support blank boards by the shear fact that I'm a professional and it's directly affected my sales and taken money out of my and my friend's pockets that could feed our families. Now, when I say money, I'm not talking about that much either, because we don't make that much, but it's enough to where every pro has felt it. I've read things where kids are saying that the pros and the companies are just greedy. I think if they really knew how little profit margin there was in boards and how little we, as professionals actually get, they might not speak with so much hate about us and our sponsors. And when I say they, it's really on a handful of really bitter guys that make it seem like everyone feels that way so maybe it's not really worth mentioning, but I guess I will anyway. Put this up against the guy who is actually selling the blank boards to the shops, I tell ya', those guys are the ones making the money. And quite a bit of it. But, you know, that's capitalism. That's a free enterprise. Like I said, it's a touchy subject and I'm sure there will be people on the internet calling me all kinds of things.
Active: What would you change about skateboarding or it's current culture?
Steve Berra: I think skateboarding suffers from the same ills the rest of the world is suffering from. Drugs, gossip, degradation, the party train, irresponsibility. I don't mean to sound like a goof or a holier than thou because I'm certainly not, but there is and always has been those things and as the world gets worse, skateboarding gets worse with it. I've been attacked for these viewpoints, but that's the liability of having the viewpoint. I don't care. I love skateboarding. I don't love people riding the party train so much so that it inhibits them from doing the thing they love as much as I do.
Active: Is there anything you would like to see accomplished by a skateboarder?
Steve Berra: Koston for President?
Active: What does an ideal day of skateboarding entail for you?
Steve Berra: Getting footage. Taking photos. Coming home with everything intact and able to do it again the next day.
Active: Is it hard to make time with such a busy schedule like your? To just go out and skateboard for the fun of it and not to just go out and skate to film tricks?
Steve Berra: It is hard. But I just prioritize. I don't go on meetings with people who just want to meet. If I don't have a movie I want to make or a script I want people to meet with me about I don't have any reason to just go out on meetings. And that's hard sometimes because there are instances where it would be good to just know someone who wants to know you and get a nice lunch, but right now, skateboarding is my priority, so I don't do anything that affects that.
Active: Do people in the entertainment/movie industry view you differently at all, being as you are a professional skateboarder? Or do you think it affects the way they view you in anyway, good or bad?
Steve Berra: I think they can see that I'm an accomplished person in another field and they appreciate that, but people in movies tend to think the world revolves around movies so there is the idea that because I made my movie and for the people that liked it, they think I'm never going to have to skateboard again. They think that I, for some reason, don't want to skateboard again. Also, they think because I made a movie, I'm a former-skateboarder. It's hard for them to fathom that I can actually do both things and I understand that as it's just not been done before, so I try not to be annoyed by it. Bottom line is, when you're not in skateboarding, you really have no idea what it's about. I think to some people, it's “cute” what we do. To us though, it's serious. So there's frustration there to try and get people to see what amazing athletes and people skateboarders are.
Active: How and when did you become a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of guy? Have you always been into film and skateboarding or were either of them a passion that developed over time?
Steve Berra: Well, skateboarding has been my passion and love since I was thirteen, but I've had an affair with film since I was about 18 and I love them both. I would have to say that skateboarding has won more of my love, as I could have acted and left it or made movie and left it awhile ago. And I don't say that it would have been easy, I'm just saying opportunities were there. But I've always loved skating and I think it would be really depressing to not skate.
Active: Who are some people that inspire you in skateboarding and film?
Steve Berra: Eric Koston, Rick Howard, Rob Dyrdek, AVE, Heath, Mikey Taylor, Guy Mariano, Pat Duffy, Jason Lee, Rowley, Greco, Reynolds, Paul Thomas Anderson, Walter Salles, Leo DiCaprio, Mark Webber, Matt Damon, oh man, the list is too long. Every skateboarder out there doing good stuff and every actor and filmmaker doing the same.
Active: Do you have a 2007 resolution?
Steve Berra: Stay committed. Stay on purpose. Be better. Skate better.
Active: Tell us about anything we should be on the look out from Steve Berra in 2007.
Steve Berra: The Alien Workshop video. My new shoe, The BERRA 5. My movie, The Good Life, starring Mark Webber, Bill Paxton, Zooey Deschanel, Chris Klein, Patrick Fugit, Donal Logue, Drea DeMatteo and Harry Dean Stanton. And theberrics.com. You can watch footage from our park of your favorite Los Angeles pro.
Active: What's up with you and your clothing sponsor situation, do you have something in the works?
Steve Berra: You know, the clothing game has been something I haven't really pursued. I like clothing and I there are a few companies out there that I like, but I don't know. We'll see.
Active: Lastly, how do you feel about Valentine's Day?
Steve Berra: I feel that it's a day you get to acknowledge the person who loves and supports you. It's nice to acknowledge those people.