Steve Berra Interview 2007 – Speaking Out

Steve Berra

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Active: Is there anything you would like to see accomplished by a skateboarder?

Steve Berra: Koston for President?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Active: Do you have a 2007 resolution?

Steve Berra: Stay committed. Stay on purpose. Be better. Skate better.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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STEVE BERRA YOU RULE!!!!!! I’m kinda in the position you were in when you were a kid. but if I can get a 5 blanks for less than the price of one then I skate what I get.I’ll skate your shoes though. I’ll also try one of your alien workshop board since I’ve heard good things and since you are AWESOME!!! keep shredding!!

STEVE BERRA YOU RULE!!!!!! I’m kinda in the position you were in when you were a kid. but if I can get a 5 blanks for less than the price of one then I skate what I get.I’ll skate your shoes though. I’ll also try one of your alien workshop board since I’ve heard good thins and since you are AWESOME!!! keep shredding!!

man you guys are complaining about spending 60bucks on a pro board? i live in new zealand,try paying 160 for a pro board. no joke. how fucked is that? i dont know whos making money off that but im sure someone must be making a butt load. doesnt stop me from buying ‘em though. i feel so much better about myself watching the pretty colours of a pro board as it flips through the air and knowing that at least some of that money i spent isnt going to some fat business man with dollar signs in his eyes selling ****** chinese wood. we need to keep supporting skaters and skater owned companies.

hey steve, your skating is really incredible. do you care about being skater of the year someday? you always seemed to me to be that category of skater.

I knew this blank board topic was going to be touchy so let me clarify something. I understand the issue. I didn’t know anyone more poor than I growing up skating. I understand it and I think it’s the board companies and the skate shops responsibility to figure out a solution. You’ve got to understand, professionals aren’t the only people pro board sales supports. There are people that make them, screen them, stock them, ship them, sell them etc… that all depend on them being sold. That’s part of what I left out of the interview because I actually did the interview quite fast. I understand all of you have to make money and eat and do something you love to do with no hopes of being in the position to get free boards which means you have to pay for it. I really understand that, so I definitely don’t hate anyone if they have to or want to ride blank boards because it’s the only thing they can afford. It’s not you I’m disagreeing with because I get it. 100%. In these days and these times, people need to look forward to doing something they love and if that something is skateboarding and they can’t do it because the skateboards out there are too expensive, then it’s cheating them of something that seems right to them in a world where almost everything appears wrong. I don’t want to take that away from anyone. Skaters are what keep skateboarding alive.
I love the companies I ride for. In particular, I love the Alien Workshop and I’d love to see it continue to thrive and employ the people they employ and make the boards they make. I love Girl and Baker and Zero as well because they give to skateboarding and I’d like to see them stick around as they make things exciting, they give an awful lot to skateboarding and to the people who skate, they give a lot of a people a lot to look forward to and I’d like for them to still be able to do that. That’s all I’m saying. Collectively, we need to find a solution because there is one I’m certain we can all be happy with.

ABOUT BLANKS. Hey… for me… when i was a kid… me and my friends didnt have any money, we saved and saved and then we bought a blank. We skate cause we love it, nothing wrong with selling blanks to children who barely can afford even a blank. Yeah you want more money… ok… how about people who just wanna skate? you want to skate and get money… not all people are as fortunate, some people just skate you know, and some people dont have much money, BUT THEY ARE REAL,, they skate REAL… they are just skating cause its fun and GREAT, skateboardings great and its for everyone to enjoy. A cheaper board is often godsend for poor familys.
I dont even want to support companys, why would i? they are making money of something thats holy ffs… that shouldnt even be allowed.

Blank is good. I’m better. Want to know why? Yes. I don’t have a slight clue. It bothers me that i know the ways of telepathy. Why? Well simply because nobody else I know knows telepathy so it is typically useless to use the ability of telepathy if i cannot communicate with someone else through it. We need to feed Bush to the sea otters. World War, Spiteful arguments, then sea otters should cure it. Ruptured splene. Im outie.

Sincerely, Hugo Aguirre

blanks are wack- but what about keeping food on my table- i mean i like to skate but not everybody who is poor like me can afford to drop 55-60 dollars every 2 monthes on a graphic board-

what really matters is from 1996- 2001 when i was 12 to 18 i only bought pro boards- thats it-now i live on my own and i gotta worry about me and my girl. not if steve berra is eating good

it good to hear from berra. I have not seen much of him since skate more it good to hear from him again. I think thats tight thats he is working on a movie.

-hey

I completely see what berra means with the whole blank issue. i bought one because i was short on cash but i hated it and it sucked after a week or so, so i might as well of bought a pro deck. I’ll remember that in the future cuz you gotta keep food on the table. the shoes are good. keep shreddin bra.

-drew

hey, about the blank board issue, i know wut u mean and i understand, i love buying graphic boards, but blank boards r so much cheaper, i can grt a blank board with grip for 26$ and a graphic with grip is like 60$, and i dont have alot of money to buy graphic boards, but i’ll try in the future to maybe by some pro boards more often, good interview tho, peace