Unsung Heroes: The Wing Ko Interview
What’s up Wing? Welcome to Theories of Atlantis. Tell us how you first got involved in skateboarding.
What skaters did you first meet in your younger years? Anybody that we ended up seeing in videos down the road?
I remember watching skate vids in the early 90’s and seeing your name in the credits all the time. How did you originally get involved in these California-based videos if you were living out in Chicago?
It’s interesting that you became primarily an editor of skate videos. How’d you find yourself specializing in such a specific piece of the skate video process?
So had you had any formal schooling as an editor before getting involved in skate-videomaking?
The list of videos that you’ve edited is pretty amazing. After first talking with you I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t known you were behind some of my favorite skate films growing up. So it started for you with the Alva video, and then your next project was a video for the little known Milk Skateboards? How did that come about?
The 3rd video that you put together is easily in my top 20 favorites of all time. I’m talking about the World Industries video “New World Order”. This was one of the cleanest videos produced in the 90’s. It had a higher production value than most other videos of this time. What were the scenes like Shiloh’s graffiti intro shot on? 16mm or 35mm?
Were you involved in the selection process for the music, or any of the art direction for that video?
Daewon’s part from New World Order was always a personal favorite. How was it working on that part?
Any interesting stories from the time you spent working on that video?
Wow, then you go right from one amazing video to another and you get to work on what is one of the more significant videos in the history of skate videos, the first Girl Skateboards video “Goldfish”. Again, how did this come about? I know Spike Jonze was heavily involved in this video, but did he just shoot his vignette ideas and then have you do the editing?
Now, moving into 1995….I remember hanging out at a skateshop in Tampa and seeing that Flip segment in 411 VM called “Coming to America” for the first time. I think that was most people’s first introduction to the paranormal abilities of Tom Penny. I remember being really stoked on this piece because it was one of thse rare occasions where a skit actually worked pretty seamlessly with skate footage. And all the skate footage as well as the skit scenes were all shot on film. Could you explain the process a little bit?
I always wondered how the hell you guys managed to shoot that line of Penny down the hill at the Earl Warren school in San Diego on film. Shooting that on video would’ve been difficult enough, but holding a Bolex down through that whole line seems impossible.
Jesus, then you go once again from one gem to another and you end up being the editor for another classic video, “Trilogy”. This video seemed challenging since it was encompassing all of the companies under the World Industries umbrella.
It seems like videos from that era had a rawness to them that is lacking these days. Do you think the feel of that video was helped made possible by having such raw skaters on the teams?
“Trilogy” had a very unique art direction. Who was responsible for the look of that film? Who did those amazing titles for the 101 section?
Well, the list of videos you’ve edited goes on and on but the interview would take a month if we talked about them all. But some mentionables in your list are “Rodney Vs Daewon”, Plan B “Revolution”, Powell “Strip Mall Heroes” and your involvement in bringing “On Video” to the world.
I’d actually like to hear a little bit from you about On Video. I’d bet that most people don’t know that you were the narrator for most of On Video’s pieces and skater profiles. Who were the original people behind it?
I’d say that On Video gave birth to the snowball of documentary-style interview pieces on skaters that we see happening on so many different websites, videos, etc these days. Did you intend for it to go into so many different episodes?I felt like, as with everything else, the On Video series was an awesome idea that got caught up in having to be produced on a schedule and soon it eventually eclipsed itself by putting out too many episodes. Why did On Video eventually bite the dust?
Do you ever get a chance these days to catch up on the more current videos that’ve been coming out?
Do you feel that things have improved/evolved significantly since the days you were more involved in the skate video industry? For the better or worse?
You were involved in an era that many filmmakers and skaters would agree was the golden age of skate videos and skateboarding altogether. Back then, only a few company videos were coming out a year, if that. Now with the video market is pretty flooded. How do you think that has effected things?
Do you think that with the advent of the internet making everything so much more accessible and pushing for a more immediate delivery of skate videos and video content, that it has cheapened the skate video process?
Looking back, would you say you were influenced by any other filmmakers/editors of your time?
So, what’ve you been doing since your involvement with skateboarding has waned?
Do you ever have any desire to get involved in another skate project?
Well, I just wanna thank you first for helping to make some of the greatest videos of my generation. I have easily spent a year of my life watching your work. And thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your story.