A visual presentation by Daniel Paese’s research facility delving into the phenomena of “SPOTS”. Truly showing everyone why we love to skate the “wild” architecture of the streets. Show this one to the person kicking you out saying “The skatepark is right over there!” or to your parents who just don’t understand. We love this project very much and we hope it gets seen by many of you because we haven’t seen anything like this done so well. For more information, we talked to Daniel Paese who is the person behind “SPOTS”. Enjoy.

Film by Daniel Paese.

Additional filming by Brandon Yuenger.

Text by Roland Hoogwater.

So, Daniel let’s start off with you telling me who you are.

Sure I am Daniel Paese, born and raised in St.Louis Missouri. As far as skating goes my crew of friends growing up got me stoked on skating. Being with them also got me into video making, starting with classic skate edits. That ended up evolving into me going to film school, which I just graduated a few years ago.

Ok, that is a good baseline to start from. So, are you working in film at the moment?

I am currently working as a video editor, first bouncing from St. Louis to Kansas City for a few years but currently, I am working in Chicago as a video editor and an animator.

That is nice, so does your job tie into the video we are presenting today?

My videos for work are far removed from the videos I like to make privately. I work for a university and a lot of the videos I make are animations for social media, the job is steady and provides me with income and the time to pursue projects like SPOTS.

Nice bridge to talk about the project (laughs), tell me how you came to have the idea for SPOTS.

It started in Kansas City, I was working for a different media company, and I was making videos for an adoption agency. That job was pretty soul-crushing and I think I was really looking to find the joy that I had making videos with my friends as a kid.

SPOTS itself was part of an idea I had for a long time about wanting to make more of a film based around skating. I didn’t quite know what that film would be about, but it hit me while driving around in my car looking for spots. I always really enjoyed searching for spots and so that is how the idea started. It was vague at first but I did have the feeling I didn’t want it to be a traditional video, so I started filming the spots themselves.

So where did this idea start, was it in Kansas?

It did start in Kansas, but the video is equally divided between St. Louis, Chicago & Kansas City. It was important to get spots in there that I skated growing up. I think the process started roughly 2-years ago. At first, it was just the spots but then I started thinking about what people enjoy about watching skateboarding and I figured that I would need illustrations of how skaters interact with the spots. In the beginning, I wanted to film myself doing the tricks but luckily my friend Brandon Yuenger who filmed “Q is for Cow” stepped in and helped me with the footage he had. I am an OK skater but they are amazing and their footage allowed me to have interesting tricks on some of the spots.

So who made it into the video?

Avery Miller, Max Wheeler, and Alex Kehoe are the “main” skaters in the video, but there are a lot of small cameos with other friends as well. Their footage came from Brandon’s video “Stained” and was mostly filmed in St.Louis. Brandon helped a lot, I don’t think the video would have been the same without his help.

Their footage did elevate the project for sure. As far as the narration goes, how did you get the script written?

Actually, I wrote the script in a single night, I just couldn’t sleep, sat down and after that night I had the basis for what you hear in the video. As far as the female voice goes, that is AI-generated, I was going to record my own voice, but I could not stand it, so this British female voice was the best alternative, I also felt it would be a funnier way to tell the story.

“SPOTS itself was part of an idea I had for a long time about wanting to make more of a film based around skating. I didn’t quite know what that film would be about…”

Daniel Paese, 2024.

That makes sense. Getting back to the video, the tempo of the edit is really important, it can be a tricky thing, how did you achieve the right balance?

I think it worked out because I wrote and edited the project. So, I could go back between working on the script and shooting the video, the rhythm came to me more organic. If I had followed the normal editing “assembly line” I think it would have been a lot more difficult to make the video if more people had been involved. An example would be that I would write a few new sentences and notice that I didn’t have the footage for that yet. That would lead me to go out and fill that hole so that everything fit together well. I was editing, shooting, and writing so I would notice quickly if things didn’t work, it wasn’t the most efficient way but it worked for this project. +

It turned out so well, so how satisfied are you with the outcome?

Very satisfied, like 9 out of 10. I have shown the video to friends and family and they have responded positively as well, still, they are my friends and will support me even if the video wasn’t great (laughs).

Fair, well we also loved it. Lastly, is this a “one of” or will this become a series of videos?

I have been thinking about making it a series, there are more things to be said and topics to delve into. I also enjoy the style of this video and I believe there is more to be done. I would say, hopefully, it is the beginning of a lot more stuff, but let’s see!

Alright, well we are thankful you chose us to do this with and we would be excited to see more in the future. Thank you Daniel for doing this.

No problem, thank you!

Stained by Brandon Yuenger.