Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Standard Hotel

Raven Tershy

Skateboarder Magazine held a sick Mini-Ramp Jam Contest, judged by the skaters themselves at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. While initially I was a little skeptical about the scope of the event, when I saw names such as Andrew Reynolds, Mike Carroll, Vincent Alvarez, Daniel Castillo, Eric Koston, and Dylan Rieder among many others, I immediately retracted my statement. An awesome night of skateboarding, pros, girls, and drinks. Check out the recap and photos of the night at

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nollie Flips With Justin Nguyen

This was an old college essay attempt that I was experimenting with. It's totally cheesy, but I threw in some profanity to help it out. It's kind of like a photo with accompanying text.

1. The feeling of rolling away from a trick, no matter how simple, is purely liberating. Unfortunately for you, this trick isn’t so simple – it involves flipping the board from the nose instead of the tail, essentially kickflipping switch stance. Roll nollie, with your front foot on the nose and your weight in the middle of the board.

2. Check yoself before you wreck yoself. Being hotheaded and breaking your ankle is one of many ways to humble yourself, as I’ve learned. So make sure you chigity-check yoself. Set your feet up - front foot square on the nose and your back foot hanging off the bolts in a pointy nollie-flippy position.

3. This is where vision meets reality. Pop the nose like you’re poppin’ a cap. If at first you don’t succeed, call an airstrike.

4. Every jump is a leap to defy the laws of physics and to be finally amount to something greater than this limited world - so jump high. Flick your back foot across the board to make it turn on its axis. Try to avoid looking like a frog.

5. Take your time – watch it flip and wait for that familiar grippy tape. Good things come to those who [skate] (I think its supposed to be “wait”). Appreciate the beauty of the physics – its pretty wicked eh?

6. Do not think. Feel. As Bruce Lee said. If you’re feelin’ it, stick that shit!

7. Bring your board down and roll away like a boss. Destroy all obstacles, be it rocks, bumps, or even security guards.

8. Congratulate yourself and repeat about one thousand more times. Practice makes perfect, being steezy ain't easy.

Like art, skateboarding has no set of rules or boundaries, and everyone has their own individual style. Now that I’ve shown you the basics, go out and make it your own; craft your own personal Nollie Flip. I’m Justin Nguyen and that’s how you Nollie Flip. Now throw it off some stairs!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chasing Perfection (Short Film)

A short film about an individual's compulsive behavior and its accompanying loneliness. Filmed with Canon's 5D Mark II and the Rebel T2i. Edited in Final Cut Pro. Featuring Chris Robertson and music by The Album Leaf and The Veils. Enjoy.

A Day in the Life

A short edit filmed by Brandon's Nikon d90 and Kevin's 5D Mark2. Edited in Final Cut Pro. Graphics done by Sam Jau. Inspired by Fred Mortagne's shorts.
It was a fun experience filming and being unproductive. Stay tuned for more shorts!


A short film shot in three days with Kevin's Canon 5D Mark II and a broken focus ring. Somehow edited on iMovie. Music by the Album Leaf and from the Wristcutters Soundtrack.

Brandon's Viewfinder

Brandon took some photos as I filmed John Nguyen of Hammers Skateshop this summer. Check out his photostream.

Under angle

Justin 2

gap spot


Maloof Pictures

Eric Koston

Stefan Janoski

Ryan Decenzo

Check out my Flickr.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World Review

From the moment the Universal Studios classic intro is played in 8-bit sound, you know you’re in for something different with this movie. Michael Cera is once again type-casted as his typical shy, heartbroken awkward-character, except this time he’s got video-game fighting abilities. The plot follows Scott Pilgrim’s journey from coping with a heart-wrenching breakup with She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named through an epic Battle of the Bands in Toronto and falling in love with the girl of his [literal] dreams. The catch is that he must defeat her bitter evil exboyfriends, each with their own superhuman video game powers. The supernatural ridiculousness isn’t too questionable since, from the start, the entire movie is set like a big video game, with plenty of childhood references for you gamers. The smaller quirky things, like on-screen texts and classic anime-like animations (split-screening faces and crazy flying backgrounds), also make this an extremely innovative film. The editing was superb for these subtleties. The scene transitions are very quick and creative, as expected from Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). The film displays a new style an genre of cinema I haven’t seen before; it’s definitely worth the watch. What can I say, that shit was fresh!

Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

Another movie review - this one was released in 1998 (still amazing 10 years later). For those who don’t know, the director Guy Ritchie also directed the latest Sherlock Holmes film, if that sparks your interest. Forget your convoluted-‘Inception’-plot syndrome. Forget your classic Pulp Fiction cross-cutting and juxtaposition. This pre-“Madonna” (before he married her) Guy Ritchie film is the British enigma of an ironic story. With over seven or eight different parties (the main group of protagonists, their theif-neighbors, a legend Harry the Hatchet, his debt collector, a group of stoner pot-growers, a Samoan drug boss, two idiot-goons, and two expensive smoking barrels), Guy Richie somehow manages to over-explicate dramatic irony as all we see the separate stories interweave and unfold. I can’t do the ridiculous story justice, nor would even a Wikipedia summary, so I won’t say anything more than that it’s a story about criminals taking risks and making chips. While the dialogue isn’t as fresh as say, Pulp Fiction, it is definitely there and very crispy. The characters are all very hip (this was before Jason Statham became lame), and their accents and use of the “F” word make this an enjoyable watch. Be careful not to get lost though, there are many characters and they all tie in together in some twisted coincidental irony. Go out and rent it. It’s bloody brilliant.

Inception Review

The most contagious thing is an idea. Once an idea is planted it grows into a virus or cancer or something like that, according to Leonardo Dicaprio. And the idea or concept behind, what I feel is not only the best summer movie but perhaps the best movie I’ve seen in QUITE a while, Inception, is pretty original. I’d like to say something cliche like my opinion is worthless and I’m just writing this for the hell of it, but if I didn’t feel strongly about my taste or thought it was no value, I probably wouldn’t be writing this for the hell of it.

First of all, goddamn. I don’t know where to start. It was brilliant, definitely up to par with some of my favorites (can’t beat Pulp Fiction, of course). It wasn’t the typical summer blockbuster with explosions and car chases and shootouts (Transformers sucks!); it also had one of the most intricate twisted plotlines breeching that of and requiring the logical processing to follow The Departed (also with Dicaprio). Although, at times, the ridiculousness of the plot approached a little too farfetched, everything pieced together perfectly which makes this film a pretty damn good work of art.
The premise is based around manipulating dreams and the subconscious to extract or implant information in a person’s mind. With this we get dream-within-dream scenarios, worlds that break the barrier of reality, and impossible anti-gravity fight scenes, while all the while raising the existential questions of “What is real?” and “Are we even here?” Nolan did a great job as the director (this was better than The Dark Night), with the help of actors Dicaprio, Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe and personal favorite Ellen Page. The ending is beautifully up to your own interpretation and will have definitely earned a spot in my heart as a “classics” a few seconds, years, decades from now. For those who haven’t seen it, you should go out and watch it now. Stimulate your mind and finally think, for a change. I’d gladly see it again.

Kick-Ass Review

Believe me, the trailer is no joke. This is not your average high-school super hero comedy. This is some real shit. A crossroads of wicked awesome violence and more-than-the-typical-crude humor along with some sarcasm and just straight up funny shit. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat the whole time - overwhelmed by the pure awesome fight scenes, witty dialogue, and even seriousness at times. This was my first time going to the theaters since - I don’t know - Zombieland, and Kick-Ass blew me out of the water. Probably the best film I’ve seen in quite a while. The director displayed a variety of editing styles that bordered old westerns and Terentino. A great music selection along with actress Lyndsy Fonseca doesn’t hurt either. We all go to movies to escape reality, get lost in a far off scenarios - and, trust me, I was there one hundred percent of the time. Look up the other trailers and check out the movie. Kick-Ass kicked some major ass. I’d love to see it a second time.

The Hospital

The lobby is finally empty. There are some lingering – a Hispanic child with his coloring book, an Asian-American with those thick-rimmed glasses that evoke a Steve-Urkel stereotype, and an old man with a beard reminiscent of Santa Claus. However, there is nothing magical about this place; it is, in fact, far from it. This is the most boring and realistic of positions to hold, aside from the one eerie light that now illuminates the hallway. When the eighth hour is struck and that minute hand hits the twelve, I am finally free – absolved of my duties, and escorted by the two security guards that define my volunteer experience.
D and N are a strange duo, the former an African American whose gravitational attraction is due to his size and deep voice and easy-going personality, while the latter a short stout Puerto Rican who, due to the culture in which he was raised, doesn’t mind chasing underage girls – or any girl for the matter (he doesn’t like to discriminate). Although he doesn’t seem to catch some of the Dave Chappelle references or the subtle humor between me and D, the three of us are nonetheless a pack of some sort, adjoined by some cosmic coincidence or a mere twist of fate.
“Ready to go?” asks D, and I instinctively hop on the back of the black-and-white golf cart – one of those stereotypical of those douchebag-campus-advisor-pseudo-authorities, but here, the differences lie within the driver. And thus, begins our hourly adventure on the premises. We prowl the landscape, the three of us, on the surface appearing busy, but instead engaged in an eternal conversation that is always cut too short. These are the Monday nights, searching to find a meaning, or pursuing the even-greater fight against never-ending boredom; this is the reason I put up with the menial tediousness of working the front desk where people seem to have an obligation of faith in my all-knowing ability to get exactly what they need. Too many a person waits for that slight head-nod of approval to pass the double doors behind me. But what they don’t know is that they’ve been fooled by a white-collar shirt and a nametag, and that secretly I am just a seventeen year old knowing barely enough to get by, let alone provide the answers to all the questions in his head.
This is one of my many faces, someone I pretend to be, a person of temporary significance, with a meaning, asserting and thus proving my very existence. One day, I hope to take off my masks and find that I, too, am human.

Lost In Translation

Looking up at the bustling Tokyo cityscape, I felt like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Visiting Japan two summers ago was quite the culture shock. Throughout my studies, I had never found the Japanese language in any way, difficult or confusing, but there I stood, alienated by the foreign landscape. I walked around the city of blinding lights, helpless, and in search of a bathroom.
I walked in a nearby convenient store.
“Irrashaimasse!” rang the owner’s words in my ear.
I froze. Out went two years of grammar patterns, phrases, and expressions. Instead I nervously muttered a feeble “Konichiwa” and began to browse his wares. I don’t know what it is about the male ego that makes one hesitant to ask for directions, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Luckily, the shop owner spoke to me in English; so I asked him where the nearest restroom was. However, “How can I help you?” was apparently the extent of his English capabilities. Feeling a little confidence kick in, I asked him again, this time in his native tongue, “Otera wa doko desu ka?” And from there all hell broke loose.
He tried to give me directions, but he spoke too quickly; this wasn’t like class where I could replay the tapes if I missed something. I listened closely, and I listened hard. Hidari meant left, migi meant right, naka meant inside. I had to decipher his words, translate his sentences into English, and by then I was already two or three statements behind. We resorted to a more primitive channel of communication, a hand-drawn map. And after a humorous exchange of mutual confusion, I thought I knew my way.
I walked along the street, on the left side this time, not the right. As I followed my directions, I took note of the interesting fashion and hairstyles in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district. But my bladder told me that this was no time to appreciate some of the finer points of Japanese culture: miniskirts, big hair, and delicious-smelling noodle shops. Instead I had to interpret a very foreign map, lest my fate end like Tycho Brahe’s.
Eventually, I found myself standing in front of a small temple. Retracing my steps I wondered where I had made my mistake. But soon enough, I saw the restroom sign and asked no further questions. Little did I know, that I had accidentally asked the clerk for the nearest “Otera” instead of “Otearai,” the former actually meaning “temple” or “shrine.” Regardless, I was rather lucky to have found a restroom there.
My summer experiences in Japan were humorous, to say the least; and I learned much about the Japanese language and culture. My Japanese phrase book became my best friend, and I discovered that Sumimasen (excuse me) and Kudasai (please) were the only phrases I needed to get by. Japan and its culture were totally different than how I thought it would be, and I got a real taste of its customs and traditions. As Bruce Lee once said, “If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.”

Ankle Break

It was like a Quentin Terentino movie where the plot twists at the end; only I wasn’t killing Bill or adding chunky pieces of pulp to fiction. But I knew for a fact that my ankle was more twisted than any other aforementioned screenplay. I stared at my large swollen ligament, which felt so numb I was nearly convinced that it wasn’t mine.
I don’t know why I jumped. Maybe it was the applause of fellow skateboarders encouraging me to think myself invincible. Maybe it was my ego slipping and forgetting Ice Cube’s advice to “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” But that wasn’t likely for me; I just really wanted to do it. Jumping with my board off of the 12-stair set was a challenge, an obstacle to prove myself something more than ordinary, a leap for independence. If only I had succeeded, I would have broken free from all limitations – fear, physics, and myself. I considered trying it again, but my logic told me the damage was too great for a second attempt.
The jump was irrational, but skateboarding in general is irrational – how the timing and coordination of my feet can manipulate a wooden board to flip, spin, and turn. I think that the worst enemy of skating is logic; once you start thinking, you hesitate; once you hesitate you fall and fracture your ankle. I longed for the pure emotion, the euphoric satisfaction of rebelling against the laws of physics, but my three or four seconds of mid-air suspension was interrupted by gravity, and I walked away with a broken bone, but not a broken spirit.
I was in the waiting room for urgent care, a place I had become acquainted with throughout my four-wheeled endeavors. I dreaded seeing my parents’ concerned faces, an image with which I am far too familiar. They didn’t understand my desire to be extraordinary, my leap to be something better than Justin Nguyen. Closing my eyes, I thought of the times where I was too scared to prove myself, where my logic trumped emotion – not riding Six Flags’ X2 rollercoaster, not entering beatboxing contests, not trying spicy Indian curry, ditching my friends for homework… I was enumerating the list, when I heard the nurse call my name.
“Nguyen, Justin.”
I rose, but now with a little pride, and I limped my way to the emergency room.
“Back again, I see?” asked the nurse half-humouredly.
Smiling, I nodded. This time, I was glad I had chosen the irrational thing. I would never look back and wonder “What if?” The shooting pain in my leg was a shining trophy of my passion for greatness. In fact, I couldn’t wait for the three months of healing to pass so I could try the very same maneuver again – to taste freedom in the few seconds of weightlessness. If every injury were a mark for my jumps and leaps for the extraordinary, I would gladly break my ankle over again.

Summer Montage

Throwaway footage from Joe, Travis, myself, and a little bit of James, John, and Drew. Filmed with my VX1000 and edited in FCP. Music by The Radio Dept.

Maloof AMs 2010

Goin' HD! Some janky clips from my 550D of Friday's AM preliminaries of this year's Maloof Money Cup. Cory Kennedy, Austin Gillette, Kevin Romar, Evan Smith, and much more.

Maloof 2010 Pros

Some janky clips from the Maloof Money Cup 2010 filmed with my Canon T2i

Hollenbeck Skatepark - Make A Wish
Make A Wish Skate Jam at Hollenbeck Skate Plaza | Filmed and edited by Justin N. | Thanks to DC, Skatepark of Tampa, Analog, Gravis, World Industries, Volcom, WarCo, Stereo, Deluxe, Native Amercian Action Sports and Welcome.

Imaginary Folklore

Finally had time to throw some footage together. Filmed/Edited by Justin. Song: Passion Pit - Moth's Wings

Butteryass Impossibles

Impossibles made possible.

VX Montage

First full length edit with the VX1. Some footage from over the past few weekends.


My first edit with my VX1000. Filmed at night about a year ago.