Photo via Facebook
Becoming a skate filmer is something you have to work hard for. Monique O’Toole knew she wanted to be involved in the industry. She never dreamed that becoming a filmer, and getting to film an all girl skate video would be a reality. Working full time on “Quit Your Day Job” has been the opportunity of a lifetime for her.
Hey Monique! Thanks so much for your time! I’m so excited to chat with you! Can you tell us a little bit of your background and maybe how you got into the position of shooting for “Quit Your Day Job?”
Yeah! Thank you for the opportunity! I started skating at around 14. I always had to skate with the boys, and actually taught my brother how to skate! It was tough though, I was constantly in and out of skating, I would quit and start again, and quit and start again. When I was 16 I decided to go to an all girls extreme competition in San Diego. When I was there I met Lisa (Whitaker). We kept in touch over a few years, and she kept me in skating. Eventually in 1999 the Vans Park opened up in Orange County and I ran into her again when she was working behind the desk there. Later she started MEOW Skateboards.
Isn’t it crazy how many opportunities are opened up through skateboarding?! It seems like each person you meet in the industry offers an opportunity you’d never expect!
Yeah, Erik and I actually met at a park in North Hollywood! He knew me a little through social media. I really didn’t know anything about filming and he offered to help me out. I had decent equipment, and he had the experience and knowledge that I needed to get things going.Since then we’ve been working pretty closely on the video. And actually, Erik was the one who threw out the idea of making the promo video for Meow and helped me pitch the idea to Lisa. Erik has put in hours of editing with the video and has really done a great job.
So you mentioned that you’d been in and out of skateboarding. What was it that kept you in it this time?!
Well, I had been working as a secretary at a construction company and actually got laid off of my job. I filed for unemployment, and decided to follow a guy to Las Vegas. That was a normal, yet ridiculous type of decision that I make, ha ha ha. Anyways, when my unemployment ran out, I decided to come back to California. I’d created a profile on that Malakye website and was constantly looking for jobs to keep me in the industry. I started working for a truck company and also at the Etnies park. I guess meeting Erik and pitching the idea of a promo video for Meow is what has kept me here this time. The idea of that project was exciting.
So cool! What was the game plan for shooting the video? Did you and Erik work pretty in sync on the project?
Yeah! Well, in the beginning Lisa was a little nervous about Erik helping out because she didn’t know much about him. She was also kinda worried that it may be kind of hard getting the girls convinced to film; for instance, Vanessa (Torres) loved skating the Brooklyn Projects mini ramp daily and would she give that up to shoot a part in the streets? We decided that the best thing for us to do was to start shooting with three Meow ams for the promo and hopefully then some of the pros would come around. After we started that process, some other girls who didn’t ride for Meow started heading out with us to film. Through all of that we started thinking about the last time there was a full part filmed by a girl. I think the last one had been Lisa’s “Getting Nowhere Fast” part that she had filmed in 2004. So we were kind of like, why don’t we just make an all girl video?! Erik said he was down to do it, and I was too so we jumped in!
So what has that process of making the video looked like for you guys? How long have you been working on it?
Well, since beginning the video, Meow has gone through a few roster changes, but at this point the video had become about any girl, not just Meow riders. We ended up with eight girls who were going to shoot for full parts, and honestly we just got done shooting a few weeks ago! It’s taken quite awhile. We have the eight full parts edited, and also we have four girls who shared a part, and we have that edited as well. We are still working on the friends section of the video. The deadline with the production company is the 26th so we will have to have it all done by then. We premiered the full parts, and the shared part already and it went over so well. We were all so excited about the turnout at the premier.
Yeah! I saw a lot of coverage via Instagram! I saw that Manny Santiago even showed up for the premier! So cool!
Yeah! We are getting a ton of support, and Manny seems to be super supportive of the video and girls skating! We’ve actually gotten quite a bit of support from Transworld also! I’ve been working a lot on the music licensing for the video, and Transworld has offered up to us that we can work with one of the music companies that they have rights to music through! It’s been great.
Wow! Transworld! That’s awesome! Are they helping out with anything else?! What a great level of support to have!
They are partnering with us and helping us out quite a bit, and planning on throwing an official premier once it’s all done -in return for advertising in the credits and on the case of the video. Steve Berra got to see a clip from our premier too, and he seemed hyped about it as well! He does a few things with The Berrics to support girls skating. Once a month he opens The Berrics up for my friend Christiana Smith to host an all girls skate night, so that’s cool to have his support that way.
So tell us your next steps with the video? When can we expect to see Quit Your Day Job?!
Well, I’m not sure when the official premiere will happen. We are still trying to raise some funds to finish up everything-we need to still produce the physical hard copies of the video, as well as figure out how to produce the digital downloads, and a few other things. We have started the Indiegogo campaign to hopefully wrap up the financing we need to get those final things done. We are also hoping to go on like a six stop tour for the premiere as well.
So cool! I can’t wait to see it! Will you guys be stopping in the midwest at all you think?! Do you have any idea of cities that can expect to see a premiere stop?!
I think we are planning on a New York City stop for sure! The midwest is for sure an option as well, maybe Chicago! Other than NYC we don’t have anything specifically planned yet.
Monique, I just have to say thank you again for taking the time to chat! Also, what you and your friends have done to pioneer a place for girls in the industry is amazing! Thanks for that also! I can’t wait to see the video!
Yeah! Thank you also, I love that people are curious and interested in the video! The girls go through a lot of the same motions to do what the guys do-big moves out to California, living in tiny apartments with six friends (laughing). It’s a lot of work. Luckily there are resources for girls to go to to learn more about being in the industry-MAHFIA is an awesome website focused on extreme sports for girls. I met Kim Woozy-the founder of MAHFIA back in 2012 and she recruited Erik and I in January to help with the filming for the site.
I actually follow MAHFIA on Insta, and it looks like they are doing a ton to hype up girls in extreme sports! Super excited to see the industry continue to grow for girls! Thanks again Monique and good luck! Hopefully I’ll see you in Chicago!