SMLTalk With: Pat Donfro

Before we go into this, I really have no idea what Shape Deuce means...care to share?

Me and my buddy John used to run a company called Shape Skateboards. The first video was “The Shape Video”... Then came the second, "Shape 2"… Nah, Shape Deuce. At this point it’s more of just a crew.

Alright Donny, with that out of the way let’s start at the beginning. When/How did Shape Deuce start and who made up the original crew?

Shape Deuce came out almost five years ago. We just had all this footage on a computer and were like, I guess lets make another video? The crew is and was heavy. The people with parts were John Coyne, Bachinsky, Mantiago, Brad Miller, Matt Fenell, Dyllon Horne, Jay and Justin Clement, Kruper, Shane Perry, Joey Ragali, Cromer, Serge, Nicky Lamarche, and not to mention just all the homies with clips.

What role did you play specifically in the making of these videos? How much did you film/edit yourself?

I hardly filmed anything in Shape Deuce besides second angles. I just was the one that brought it all together and had it happen. I did most of the editing with help from my buddy Mac who filmed a lot of it.

What was the vibe like when you guys were first starting to film for these? Was it everyone donating footage separately or was everyone skating/filming together?

Everyone was filming together. Those were the golden days. It was great. We had a couple friends that filmed so on any given day there was usually someone, so it worked great. We stacked footage pretty quick.

The videos always struck me as local Massachusetts videos, but there is a pretty varied mix of dudes who have clips/parts. How did dudes like Cromer and Ragali become affiliated?

Remember myspace? Pretty sure it was Dave and Manny who met Joey and Brad on that and went and stayed with them one winter to skate and then the following summer when it was hot as hell down there they came up north to stay with us. It sort of became an every year ritual for a while. We just all become friends.

What was the gnarliest thing you filmed/witnessed live?

There was this 16 stair rail in Carlisle, MA. Big. Crappy downhill landing and a curb you gotta ride of. Brad Miller back 50-50ed it like a champ. That always sticks out to me.

Lowell, MA seems to produce some of the most productive skateboarders video-wise. What is it about that scene that motivates people to film so much?

I wouldn’t say I was the type of kid to always jump on handrails but if you ended up on a session everyday and all your friends were skating them… It just sort of happened too. It’s just everyone pushing each other.

Did you feel like Lowell was lacking a presence in the greater skate world? What were the videos that inspired Shape?

You gotta be the cream of the crop to make it in the skate world outside of Massachusetts without leaving Massachusetts, so yeah I’d agree. As far as what inspired us, it’s probably pretty obvious… The Baker videos.

How established were Manny and Dave at the time of the first video? Was there a feeling that this could be their breakout into the industry or was it just something they wanted to be apart with their friends?

I sold close to 1,000 DVDs hardly trying. I never expected that. I don’t think anyone knew how big it was going to be. Manny and Dave both had given me a lot of their good footage but were still saving some for their other projects. Dave was already there, it might have been more on the rise for Manny.

Tell us about what Branny. What can we expect?

Five parts. Serge Murphy, Nicky Lamarche, Sean Hernandez, John Coyne, and Myself.

Coynes part is incredible...and yeah, the rest of the videos pretty great too.

What the hell does “Branny” even mean?

I found a camera when I was staying in Florida. It was a shitty handycam. I used to film all the random shit and 2nd angles with it. This was when Brad Cromer and Manny were both just starting to get big. I always said I was gonna make a video with Brad first part and a Manny ender. Brad + Manny = Branny. That never happened but I still had most of the footage, so you’ll see a lot of that in this. Me and my buddy Nicky Lamarche always just liked the name Branny so I figured we’d call this video Branny.

You have hard copies of Branny available to sell at the premiere and thereafter. Don’t you know skate videos go online these days? Why make a hard copy?

I only made 100 copies. I’ve already sold some pre-orders online, but the real reason I made copies is for everyone involved in it. One day we can all be diggin' in our attics and be like shit… remember this? We used to not change diapers and have car payments.

I want to know why I wasn’t bombarded with hashtags and trailers before this thing came out...why no hype for this new Shape?

Nobody was “filming” for this video. It’s just all the footage we somehow got since Shape Deuce. And some of the footage is from even before it. Was I supposed to have a hashtag and have people hype it up? I must have missed that memo.

How would you say the crew has changed from the first video to this new one? Does everyone still talk/skate together? Have there been any VH1 Behind The Music-esque fall outs?

No fall outs. Everyone still does here and there but people are more busy than they used to be. The golden days are fading away.

Of all the Shape memories, partying/skating/traveling etc., which is your favorite? Give us a good story from the glory days.

Oh man. I miss Kuzmas van. My buddy Kuzma had like a 13 passenger van. He drove it up from Florida, we’d all just cram in and go skate. Didn’t even matter where, just anywhere. Sort of made all of us feel like we were actually doing it, like actually professionals on a trip. I always miss that.

Of all the Shape parts, whose is the stand out and from what video? Which are you most proud of and why?

Matt Fenell and John Coyne split a part. I always liked that because there were random guns and four wheeling in the part. It showed who those dudes really were more than just through their skating,

Is this it for Shape? Are we witnessing the final chapter? Or can we still hope for some more on the horizon?

Oh man, this could be the last of the series. I sort of thought after Shape Deuce that it was all was over and then this happened, so who knows. I wouldn’t be upset making another.

Why don’t you give some advice for some kids thinking about making a video, what would you say to this young generation eager to put their videos all across the internet?

For me, putting out multiple short edits just gets lost and forgotten. I like the idea of working towards something. Something that represents a time in your life. One day I’ll look back on a handful of full length dvds rather than 50 web edits. Just my preference.

Any last words/shout outs?

Thanks to everyone involved and anyone that supports it.

 

*Special thanks to Donfro for providing the photos and taking the time. Premiere is tonight, info on the flyer above.