More than two decades ago, Rusty From Maine became the avatar for all viewers shocked by Ty Evans’ departure from skate video norms.
“I just bought your video number nine, The Reason. Man, the opening montage there, no little captions with the skaters’ names on it? What are you guys doing? You know how annoying that is?” asks Rusty in a voicemail immortalized in the opening minutes of 2000’s Modus Operandi.
At the time, the lack of skaters’ names in a Transworld video was a jarring experience, when — for the better part of the preceding decade — 411VM had served up captioned names for all. Then again, such titling wasn’t always the case. Go into the distant skate video past to a time before name titles, and skaters had to play the same detective games we play now, albeit without social media clues.
Do such clues mean we no longer need to be told each skater’s name? Is it a simple aesthetic choice to leave titles out of a video, or is there a responsibility to let the world know who’s in what clip?
We spoke to four videomakers to find out where they stand on the question.
Each interview is condensed and edited for clarity. They are presented in the order in which they were conducted.