by David MacKinnon, photos courtesy The Manboys
If anyone deserves an elaborate introduction, it’s Rusty Ockenden. His riding is progressive, his style is right, and his work ethic backs up his talent. And yes, it’s tempting to fan accolades on his multi-hyphenate status– dude did direct and edit Selective Memory, after all. But that wouldn’t quite be right. See, while his cinematic sensibilities might suggest otherwise, Rusty isn’t some shut-in filmmaker. He’s a boarder– he’s not looking to be cast as a creative, not asking you to look for meaning, not forcing snowboarding to be anything it isn’t. Rusty just wants 14 minutes of your time, enough that he and his friends can stoke you out. We caught up with Rusty to chat Selective Memory– scroll on down for the goods.
Rusty, congratulations on Selective Memory. You decided partway through the summer you were going to cut it together?
This was the first year we went into the season without much of a plan. We had just done the webseries the year before, and that went really well, but we didn’t want to re-do it. We wanted to take a break. We were just gonna give our footage to other people, like Craig [McMorris]. But we decided to put together a short, just to do something.
You put it together in Ucluelet?
Yeah, it’s so nice working out there. I can wake up and go surfing, and then I just feel good, you know? You’ve got some blood flowing. If I just start working on the computer I just feel like a zombie. So I wake up, go surfing, come home and get in a few hours of work, go surfing again, come home, work again. I was living with Austin [Sweeten] and Robin [Van Gyn]– it was such a fun summer.
Do you have a preference between full-length and web series? Which is more fun?
They’re pretty similar, but I think web series is more our style. It’s easier to put together a five-minute edit that’s interesting rather than trying to retain everyone’s attention for 30 minutes. When we did Manboys Movie I felt like it was really good, but it was so traditional, just video parts. With the web series stuff you can do an edit out of a trip– we’ve done Italy, Japan, Cooke City, and those all feel more nostalgic. That approach feels more like it shapes your season too, you plan differently.
You’ve edited The Manboys stuff since the beginning, yeah? Had you done much editing before that?
This is my second season doing it alone, but since the beginning Nate [Laverty] and I would do it together. I always dorked around with editing– in high school I made a snowboard movie actually. It would be so funny if I could find it. I don’t even know if it had a name. I was in a film, drama, television class and we had to do a main project for the course. I made a snowboard movie. We were all like 15 years old, me and my friends from Summerland. And at the end of the year I’d always make a promo, cut together my footage to try and get sponsors and stuff. I’d make them for my friends, too.
Is that how ManBoys started?
Somewhere along the line, when I was filming for traditional companies, I realized I really didn’t like not having control over my part. Sometimes I wouldn’t even have input, like at the premiere I’d be like ‘this isn’t even the song I wanted.’ So I was like ‘we should be doing our own thing.’ ManBoys kind of started out of that, for fun at first– we’d just smash our footage together at the end of the year. Then that one year we were like ‘fuck it, let’s do this for real.’
Do you like the behind the scenes work do you?
Yeah, for sure. I mean it’s work– sometimes I bitch about it. But I was thinking about it today, and I was like ‘man I shouldn’t complain. I’m doing the job that I want.’ You know how computer work is, it can be tedious, but at the end of the day I’m playing with snowboard footage. I get to be creative, and it’s way better than a lot of other jobs.
Has that work led to any ambitions in the video production world?
My goal is to be able to keep our group of friends filming together. I just hope we can keep doing it every year. I’m not trying to lead into some kind of editing job, or some kind of business job. I think that people are stoked on what we have going, and the brands that are involved get good value out of it. And we all get to hang out and film with each other. It’s been so good so far, why change it? Why fuck with a good thing?
On that note, what’s in the works for this year?
The one thing we want to change this year is do proper premieres. We want to do a full movie and tour it properly. People like coming out and we love hanging out with snowboarders. Everyone’s so focused on Instagram and quick shit on their phone that they miss out on the connection, on the actual enjoyment of it. People’s attention spans, and what they focus on are so fucking lame now. They’d rather watch some little thing that’s not even cool than something special that people worked hard on. You used to wait for movies to come out, buy them and have your friends come over to watch them. It was way more special. How many people sit down and watch something these days? Selective Memory is fourteen minutes and I feel like people won’t even watch it. But if you actually get people out of their house, get them to put their phones down and hang out with each other, that’s a better experience. That’s what I want to step up next year, do an actual premiere tour where we can get people out in multiple locations. Maybe partner with another crew, have a couple movies, throw parties and have fun with it. I just want to step up the engagement and actually hang with people.
I love it. Let’s end on boarding– you’ve got a front three at the end of Selective Memory, tell me about that shot.
That was one of the most special days we had. We got to the face, it was in the light. I had hit that thing before and not landed– Chris was like ‘you should go first, because you’ve hit it, you know what you want to do, just go do it.’ He went up after– his is literally right beside it. We got those front threes one after another, it was a heavy day for sure.
If you haven’t seen Selective Memory, what are you waiting for? Rusty thanks his sponsors (Oakley, Endeavor, and Airhole), his friends, and the rest of the brands that support the Manboys.