Beyond The Lens: Interview with George Toland, Filmmaker for Serious Adult
Dropping online yesterday, the Serious Adult Promo was filmed and edited by LLSB campaigner George Toland. With a healthy dose of Southbank locals mixed in amongst Jersey ripper Luka Pinto and young Oxford shredder Cam Barr’s sections, the video highlights the quality of underground skateboarding in the UK. We caught up with Toland to talk about Serious Adult, Southbank and his long nights spent scouting for sketchy brick banks on Google street view.
Cool George! Maybe you could start this off by telling us a little bit about Serious Adult. Who’s involved in the company and how did you get involved?
Serious Adult is a clothing company that I guess has developed into a crew. SB local and LLSB campaigner Greg Conroy started it around 4 months ago. He asked me if I was down to film and edit a short promo featuring a little team he’d got together. I was hyped on the team and the t-shirts and we started filming pretty much straight away. The guys involved are Jeremy Jones, Lukas Kacevicius, Jasper Woolf, Luka Pinto, Valentine Katz and Cam Barr.
Unless I’m wrong, this is your first time filming for a company. How does it differ to filming and editing for yourself?
Yeah it is. I suppose the main thing is as I’m working for Greg there’s a lot of discussion necessary when it comes to editing etc, as it’s representing him too. We have fairly similar opinions on what we think is good though and what gets us hyped so it hasn’t really been that different really.
Yeh you can tell there is a really consistent style. In quite a short space of time you ran off on filming missions down to Bristol and Sheffield too. How were they? Did any good stories emerge?
Really sick man . I’d never been to another big city in the U.K. outside of London before so it was sick to skate somewhere different with all the locals. In Bristol we were skating in massive groups of like 20/25 people which was rad, everyone was hyping each other up. Just before we got on the coach back to London, Greg got a banging line with a tre flip in the road, which was sick way to end the trip. Unfortunately my camera glitched so the line wasn’t usable haha, but yeah was still a rad moment. The Skateboard Cafe premiere was sick as well. Sheffield was fun too, I wish we could’ve stayed a day or two longer to explore the city centre a bit more but there’s always next time. Cheers to Beall and Bill for putting us up in Sheff and Briz!
Who’s skating on the team gets you most hyped?
I’m hyped on everyone’s skating on the team, but I’m stoked that Lukas is getting some recognition as he’s been killing it for ages. Everyone at the premiere was hyped on his section in the promo. It’s sick to just chill and watch him and Jasper skate SB cos they just smash it. But yeah I’m stoked on the team in general, everyone kills it.
Yeh Lukas’ part was so good, there must have been non stop cheers at the Parlour premiere. When not filming Serious Adult, you’re often chasing skaters with your VX down at Southbank. Tell us a bit about Lords of the Undercroft and Boom Bam Boom. How did you end up filming Tom Penny sprinkle some magic on the banks?
Haha yeah that was mental. I was just chilling with my camera out and he just came up to me and asked if I was down to get a clip on the bank. There’s only really one answer when Tom Penny asks you that! But yeah I was so hyped to get some footage with him. Regarding the SB edits, I just like making videos where everyone’s got a trick or two. There’s so many people killing it at SB everyday and I just wanted to make something that documented that. I thought it was important that everyone from older heads like Greg King down to the kids like PJ and everyone in between was represented and had a clip so as to give a true feel of Southbank.
Yeh that’s what I like so much about your edits, when everyone who’s stuck in the Southbank vortex is represented. Are there any skaters down at Southbank in particular who the skateboarding world should be keeping their eyes on?
Yeah it’s really rad, so many kids are smashing it. As I mentioned earlier you’ve got older guys like Lukas and Jasper killing it on the regular, as well as Domas, Jeremy, Josh Jennings etc. And then youngers like Cameron, Hassan and PJ progressing at a crazy rate. All hail Jizzleman!!
All hail! It is actually thanks to people like you that Southbank is even open for skateboarding, after you spent all those hours on the LLSB table, selling t-shirts and getting the membership forms signed. How was the campaign for you?
It was a really rad thing to be involved with definitely. It was heart-warming to see how most of the public were fully backing and supporting us, which gave us more confidence to keep going. The feeling of relief and pride when we got the news it was saved was just amazing. The day it was announced we all came down to celebrate and chill, everyone was in such high spirits. That was one of the sickest days I can remember. But yeah it was a long battle, but all worth it in the end!
That was a really beautiful day. I just remember sitting by the river with everyone in the sun, and just smiling. Do you think SB has a different feel now the stresses of the campaign are over?
For sure. It’s definitely a lot more relaxed. During the campaign I think everyone was a bit on edge all the time, as at times it wasn’t looking all that good, however hard everyone was working. But yeah, now it’s saved it’s easier to just chill and skate and not have to worry about the looming threat of the loss of our home.
It is definitely more relaxed down there now the campaign finished and the table packed up. Ever since we were about 15, you were on google maps spending hours scouting out new spots. What is it that attracts you to the less obvious spots?
Haha yeah it’s definitely an obsession of mine. I guess I like the idea of finding and skating something that no one’s seen before. I’m always hyped on interesting looking spots in footage and street view is a pretty good way to find stuff.
Do you have any spot finding tips for the skateboarding youth?
I suppose the easiest way is to just skate from place to place rather than get the bus or tube or whatever. That way you can check every little back-alley or go a different route to your normal one. Or you can spend your evenings trawling through Google Maps haha.
Yeh, the edit certainly shows your commitment to the spot finding search. Respect! So to round this interview off, what’s next for you George? Are there any more edits in the pipeline?
Now the S.A. promo is done the plan is to make a few shorter edits next. Also I’m sitting on quite a bit of SB footage so I need to figure out what to do with that.
Shout outs to GCS and the vortex crew!
Thanks for speaking to us George!
Interview by Louis Woodhead