Jordan Standley: Skateboarding, Filming, and the Texalona Series.

Growing up in the Dallas skateboarding community, you tend to run into a lot of really great and creative people that you would have otherwise never gotten the chance to meet outside of the skate world. This has spawned a really great atmosphere of friendships and personal growth that I'll probably never fully appreciate as much as I know that I should. Regardless, I am cognizant (at least a little) of that fact, which is why I'm always so excited to meet Dallas locals who shape our society like filmer/filmmaker, Jordan Standley. 

Photo by Ana LLorens

Photo by Ana LLorens

I first met Jordan at the Texalona premiere a few years back at the iconic Texas Theatre. The videos concept seemed really interesting. The premise was described to me as being a mixture of clips from not only my home state of Texas, but also the city of every skateboarders dream: Barcelona, Spain. 

I attended with my friend James Daniels and arrived to find a packed theatre. The video met and even exceeded my expectations. I shook hands with Jordan, but that would be the end of communication for a few years.

Fast forward to a month or so ago when I saw that Texalona 2 was coming out. I began promoting on a small scale the release of Texalona 2. I was beyond excited, but for personal reasons I was unable to make it to this premiere. I met up with Jordan during a skate sesh last week to purchase the video and support his creative mind. We got to talking and I really wanted to write an article about him and his relationship to skateboarding in general.

Dallis Thompson, from left, Kenneth Jordan Standley and Carsten Boyer .

Dallis Thompson, from left, Kenneth Jordan Standley and Carsten Boyer .

What originally got you into skateboarding?

I grew up in Dallas Texas. I got into skateboarding through a kid named Ben Schlesinger when I was about 12 years old in the 6th grade (thanks, Ben!).

I spent a whole year just learning how to push and ollie on the carpet. Basic stuff: kick turn, manual around, nose stalls on curbs, drop in on quarters etc. Once I started to Ollie while moving it was all on from there. Then I learned a new trick, then another then another.

In the 7th grade, I started skating with other kids in my class: Sean O’Brian, Austin Adams, Ari Markle, and David Pink. We were doing ollies over things, board slides, 50-50’s, kickflips, ollie 4 stairs etc. Austin and David left my school, but I continued to hang out and skate with them outside of school. I would say around 8th grade I kinda got a “skate crew” together. I was skating with my friend Austin Adams and David Pink mostly. Austin started skating with this kid from his neighborhood, Jake Ward. I met this kid a grade ahead of me at my school named Oscar Herbas. He, by coincidence, lived down the street from me as well. I started skating with him more regularly since we went to school together and lived down the street. Austin and Jake lived down the street so they would skate together after school more, but on the weekends we would all meet up.

We would meet up mostly on the weekends, but would also try to make it over to each other’s houses during the week. I would get over to Austin’s house sometimes during the week and see what new tricks he had learned on his box or we would call each other on the phone and tell each other what new trick we had done or what new trick Oscar had done or Jake or what new spot we had found. I had a quarter pipe at my house and a rail and a cool box with two levels, one lower and one higher like a picnic table seat, a bank ramp, and a launch ramp.

Austin had a bowl quarter at his house and a box and a rail and a launch ramp. We all had something at our house either a box or a rail or something. We would skate schools around our neighborhoods, churches, shopping centers, downtown, anything we could find; just trying to find new spots and learn new tricks. On the weekends we would try to skate downtown a lot. We would go to the famous rooftop spot. We would see Jeremy Holmes there, Aaron Baugh, Josh Hurley, Elijah Moore, Aaron Dupree, and Jeremy Blakemore. These were the older local guys we looked up to. We would occasionally meet up with Aaron Baugh and Josh Hurley and go skate.

Once we had cars it became a lot easier to go skate together and wouldn’t depend on our parents for rides, it also made it a lot easier to look for spots and crash at each other’s houses on the weekends, and do things we weren’t suppose to be doing haha. Then another group of kids Jake knew came into the picture, Kerry Armstrong, Miles Becken, Shane Flynn, Anthony Molino, and Stephen Bishop. David as well had some new guys he was skating with, Eduardo Picasso, Ryan Leahy, Ian Colwell. I also met through David Pink a kid named Patrick Biffle who would have a part in the first Texalona and help make the art/animations for the videos. I was mediocre. I would have fun and learn tricks. I definitely progressed, but if I compare us to the guys I have filmed with we were nowhere close to that kind of level but also this was 15 years ago and the level wasn’t quite as high as today.

Now-a-days skateboarding is crazy and kids progress so much faster then when we were kids. We had different types of skaters in our crew. David skated big stuff, Oscar skated everything extremely well, Jake and Austin were super tech with good style, Kerry did weird flip tricks, etc.

Our skate crew was called M.S.A. Midway Skate Alliance. The midway comes from that being the major street near all of us. We all hung out together and skated together all the time and at the age of 16 and 17 came all the other stuff that came along with that age, lots of partying haha. Naturally like with most kids as they get to be 18, a lot of us slowed down and got into other things, girls, partying, drugs, drinking, music, working etc. Partying took a big toll like it does with most people as they get into their late teens. All of my friends have stopped skating or being involved with skating except Patrick and I.

When I was 19 I first went to Spain and came back to the states but then a year or so later when back again to study and then came back again and went back with a one-way ticket as they say. I kept being involved in skating and would come back and slowly all my friends would skate less and or would have quit. Life takes you into many directions and you go through many phases. Some of them got into working and girl friends, some into playing music etc. It’s funny when I look at some of them whose lifestyles have taken a complete 180 and I look at what they are into now and see how much they have changed. Through out your twenties and thirties you change a lot and drift apart too. Sometimes it’s not purposely but everybody gets into their own stuff and it makes it harder to have frequent contact or meet up frequently.
— JS
Jordan Stanley and Dallis Thompson filming Texalona 2.

Jordan Stanley and Dallis Thompson filming Texalona 2.

Was skateboarding your motive behind getting into film?

Skateboarding was my main motive to get into film and to go to school for film. I had always been really into movies and television. I had periods or phases as a child where I watched TV non-stop. I would come home from school and just watch TV. I would hang out with friends and play video games or play sports, but I mainly wanted to watch TV and I had my shows I was really into and would always watch when they would come on. I watched lots of Nickelodeon and adult shows on Nick at Night.

I was 6-9 years old and watching all the American classics from the 60’s and 70’s, I love Lucy show, Bewitched, Taxi etc. All of the Nick at Night shows. As I got older I liked to watch movies more then TV. When it came to skateboarding I always liked to watch skate videos before skating. I still have all of my old VHS tapes at my dad’s. Watching the videos would get me hyped to skate. I always liked the editing and how it got you excited or got you to feel a certain way after watching a skate video.

I had a digital 8 camera and so did some of the other guys. We would film each other all the time when we would go out. Now that I think if it, the filming was horrible haha. I still have those tapes and have thought about capturing them but I’m afraid to see the filming and some of the stuff we were doing.

My friend Austin had some stuff put onto VHS, but I’m not sure where they are. We had a moment where we were really into CKY. I think it was right when CKY and CKY2K came out. So we wanted to do crazy stuff and be like those guys. Those VHS tapes had us doing some pretty crazy stuff along with skating. I think the crazy stuff was crazier then the skating haha.

As far as skate videos, my first skate videos I think were 411 Europe 97 and Shorty’s Fulfill The Dream. That Shorty’s video was the video that did it for us. I can’t describe how special that video is and was for us. It was way ahead of its time. The tricks are still on par with today’s skateboarding. Some other videos were Zero’s Misled youth, Thrill Of It All, Osiris’s The Storm, Birdhouse’s The End, Toy Machine’s Jump Off A Building and Welcome To Hell.
— JS
Dallis Thompson in Texalona 2.

Dallis Thompson in Texalona 2.

How did the Texalona series come about?

When I went back to Spain with a “one way ticket” was when I really started to get into filming. I had a VX 2100 I had purchased and brought it with me and started to put a lot of effort into learning how to properly use a camera and film with it and to edit. I was around 22 years old.

I had been learning to film in Barcelona with guys I was skating with. I was going out and skating and would bring my camera too. I would skate a bit then pull it out and try to motivate the guy or guys I was with to try to film something. I was making the effort to try to use it more and more. For whatever reason all of a sudden I had this grand ambition to learn how to film well just like the clips I watched in skate videos when I was younger, and what better opportunity did I have being in one of the skate meccas of the world, Barcelona.

I was filming and skating with pretty good guys. I would say as I continued to film the level of the guys I was filming got higher and higher. I was still learning though. I started filming a lot and skating less and less.

I met Flo Marfaing and he said to come out and bring my camera. With Flo is where I really started to learn quickly. We started filming everyday. I started from there progressing very quickly. I also started going out with Enrique Lorenzo and Shadi Charbel and going out with different guys as well. I was coming to the states for periods of a month or two at a time. I was going back and forth between Spain and the US but I was mostly in Spain.

I was skating with Josh Love a lot when I was in Texas and Patrick Biffle. I was trying to come up with a name and I wanted to make a video. I was with Josh Love and Mack Dafoe and was telling them I wanted to make a video and described the concept. I think it was Mack and he just said, “Why don’t you call it Texalona?” and I immediately thought, “wow yeah that works easy”. I didn’t think twice about any other names, that was it.

A guy I knew made me the logo and then I had a logo set. Other things just kinda fell into place. I started filming A LOT and filming with all kinds of people.

I met David Sauceda, Sean Greene, Ryan Strader and more guys in Texas. I started skating and filming in other cities in Texas and meeting more and more guys, I bought a generator and lights and bit-by-bit more camera accessories. Back when I would be in Spain I was filming freelance for money and going out with more and more people but I still had my regular guys who I skated with the most, Flo, Johannes, Dave Gilbert and some others. I was filming with Johannes Bayer in Spain a lot.

We filmed two parts in the first video, his regular part and the paral-lel part. He would crash at mine for months and we would go out everyday the two of us or go out with Flo or with other guys too. I had a shared apartment dead in the center of Barcelona, crazy apartment with crazy times. I asked the guys I was filming with the most and had the best chemistry with if they wanted to have parts in the video.

In a way Texalona is a homie video still. All the guys who had parts are my friends. There were other guys I tried to film parts with but in the end it didn’t happen due to injury, unavailability or just simply not getting enough footage in the end. We filmed for Texalona 1 from around roughly 2009-2013 and Texalona 2 from around 2013 to 2016.
— JS
Jay Kadence Choi - Hardflip in South Korea

Jay Kadence Choi - Hardflip in South Korea

For people out there that want to film their own full length skate video and host a video premiere, what advice do you have?

Advice for someone out there who wants to make a skate video and have a premiere: watch lots of skate videos haha. I think it obviously helps that you skate and have a good comprehension of the tricks and how hard it is to do them, the trick names and just how skateboarding and the skateboarding world works.

If you are out filming with guys you have to be into skating and know how it works and everything and hang with them. Imagine you bring out a film student or a DP/camera guy who has no idea about skateboard cinematography and doesn’t skate. It’s not easy to film fish eye while riding a skateboard for example. You have to get use to the weight of the camera and where to angle and center the camera and lense etc.

Skateboard filming has its do’s and don’ts with how to film and edit and it’s very artistic and has different styles and so on. For example, a skilled cinematographer who can’t ride a skateboard would have a hard time filming a line or know what’s accepted and not accepted in skateboard cinematography. It’s very hard to film skating if you aren’t a skater and don’t understand skating. If you understand skating, skate and want to start filming, start with a VX1000.

I feel starting with a VX 1000 or at least a VX of some sort it will help you understand the basics of skateboard filming. You will be learning with the classic skateboard camera, how to get close filming fisheye etc. I think it gets you a good feel for filming skating and let’s face it the cameras aren’t too expensive.

I always compare it to DJing with vinyl and not CD. VX is a nostalgic thing kinda like vinyl. Also it’s like trying to jump a few steps ahead of your self, like someone wanting to film skating and they go and buy a RED camera or an expensive 4K camera. Start with the basic and classic and if you get into it and decide you want to you can upgrade to an HD camera. It’s like not paying your dues haha. Knowing what it’s like to capture tapes, have glitches in footage, all of that. It’s like you have to put in the hard work before being promoted, you gotta work your way up.

In my opinion, the VX cameras get you a good first feel for using a camera. You should learn to use that camera inside and out and get good at it and then if you want, move up. Some people might disagree with me but whatever.

Other things would be to watch a lot of skate videos and see the different styles of filming and editing because there is so many out there. It’s pretty interesting to see all the creative styles now a days and how it’s progressed so much.

Read online and ask other people you know who film. I learned a lot from other people who filmed just giving me pointers or tips on things and you kinda figure out what works for you and doesn’t. There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to anything you do; especially when you are in an environment that isn’t based around a structured classroom environment. You aren’t in a filming skateboard 101 class, but asking people who already know is a big help.

Lots of practice. Don’t be afraid to try stuff and have fun with it. As far as premieres go, my only advice is be prepared, have it ready, test it and make sure everything works way ahead of time. Have back up plans in case something goes wrong and always try to do it in a movie theater or somewhere with at least a good set up.

Oh and if you have DVD’s have them at the premiere to sell.

Last thoughts on full length videos: don’t make them too long. It’s your first video so you’re allowed to make it a little too long, but on your second video, shorter! Have a really good first part and last part but don’t let it get stale in the middle. You have to keep the flow going throughout the video and pick the order of skaters perfectly. The music also helps to set the tone.

To me this is very similar to a DJ set. You need to carry the mood a certain way through out the whole experience that the viewer is watching the video just like a DJ tries to provoke a specific feeling and carry the listener on a journey. The DJ knows what song to start with and what song to end the set. You should do the same with your video.

Try to have as they say “Straight killers no fillers.” A shorter but heavier video is better then a long pretty good video. Don’t mix HD and VX, it can be done well, but it’s a pain and very time consuming.
— JS
Ricky Moore - Huge Ollie in San Pedro

Ricky Moore - Huge Ollie in San Pedro

Do you have any projects you're currently working on?

I’m currently working on Texalona 3. I don’t have anything solid yet, but I definitely have a bunch of footage. The parts haven’t really formed yet.

It will definitely have a few guys back in it from the other videos. Besides that I’m trying to work on other film projects besides skating. I just finished school and have been involved in all kinds of different genres of film while studying so now I want to get out there and get involved in different kind of projects and just see what’s up.

I’m making a small Texalona brand of boards and accessories to go along with the video and setting up a collectibles business. Working on several things at the moment. Trying to have my eggs in several baskets, as they say.
— JS

I love doing these types of interviews. I always get so much out of them; I hope you have too. You can stay connected with Jordan and follow him for updates on future projects:

Check out the Texalona 2 Trailer below: