During the ’80s, Christian Hosoi was a household name if you owned a skateboard. He lived every skateboarders fantasy, going pro at 13 and blazing a trail through skate culture. But Christian became involved in a dangerous crowd, leaving him drug addicted with nothing. Desperate, broke, stung out, Christian began selling crystal meth and was imprisoned for possession with intent to distribute. Facing 10 years in a federal penitentiary, Christian decided to turned his life around. This is the story of the Rise, the Fall and the Re-Rising of Christian Hosoi.
Behind the Scenes:
This is one of my favorite pieces I have every produced and also one of the most recognized. I was working with my producing partner, Evan B. Stone at Current TV. We were brainstorming ideas on what our next project was going to be. I suggested that we do something on an action sports character that had a really great story. Evan suggested Christian Hosoi. Christian’s life is one from a movie, as you will see in this segment. But here are the most interesting details of this piece that no one ever knew.
We went to Huntington Beach to meet Christian and film his interview. He could not have been more inviting and easy to work with. He shared his whole story without regret. Evan and I knew we had something amazing and we returned to the office to start putting it together.
The biggest challenge was licensing footage of Christian skating in his heyday. After all, most of it was VHS footage taken on video cameras from his friends; lord only knows where they are. I managed to find a documentary that had all of the footage and tried to negotiate a deal where we could license it. It was a no go. So I started calling everyone and anyone I could find that knew Christian. Low and behold, I reached one of his best friends who had all of the footage I would need for this segment. He told me to come to his home and I could sort through it and choose what I wanted.
I arrived at a beachside bungalow in Venice. I was alone and I immediately thought that was a bad idea. The gentleman was very nice but also seemed to be a little rough around the edges, if you know what I mean. He invited me inside. In his darkly lit living room, he had a cardboard box of VHS tapes. He told me that was everything he had. I looked at this box like it was a pot of gold. For the next several hours, I sat in his living room, watching VHS tapes of this legend skating half pipes that he build in his backyard. After I gathered all of the footage I needed, I thanked him and went on my way.
This piece would not have the impact that it has if it wasn’t for these VHS tapes. Once the segment was complete, Current TV decided to enter it into several film festivals for short form content. This segment was deemed a New York Film Festival Finalist and we also won a Remmy Award. To this day, I still talk about how I found those VHS tapes in a scary guys living room.