Al Hodgson is a skater and filmmaker from Brighton, England who runs Orwellian World Landscape. He’s produced a plethora of videos and products, where he displays his curious fascination with dystopian worlds, the inner and outer workings of the VX, rugged British spots and taking alternative routes to document his crew ripping them to shreds on their skateboards.
There’s not many independent skate filmmakers in the UK who have released quite as many quality edits and full-lengths in recent years as Al has. But what’s even more interesting about him are his solid and nuanced perspectives on skate filmmaking itself, its culture and his focused points of views on the tools and equipment he uses to captures his unique lens of the world.
We’ve been paying attention to Al’s skate filmography for a long time, so we had to make him a No Comply Network member.
So to celebrate Al becoming a member, we had a chat about skateboarding, filmmaking and his creative process, O.W.L Skateboards, why he likes the work of Colin Read, Gustav Tønnessen, Josh Stewart, Yoan Tallinder and Soy Panday, his latest edit Moorland, his products and upcoming OWL video projects and his favourite skate filmmakers, brands and much more.
Read it below to discover it all for yourself.
Photo by Matt Ransom
What’s your full name?
Hey! My full name is Al Hodgson.
Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from and still now live in Brighton. But I spent a few years living in Bristol.
Cool. What is Orwellian World Landscape?
is essentially just the pseudonym through which I put skate video projects our through. I occasionally do small runs of product but it’s mostly just a name for our videos.
Do you film skating full-time or do you have another job?
I work full-time as a content creator for a creative industries university.
What do you think is the key to filming great skateboarding?
In terms of skateboard filmmaking, I’d say replicating the energy of the skateboarding being captured is probably most important. I’m definitely an advocate of the VX1000/MK1 combo for that reason. But that comes with the caveat that the filmer has to know how to use it well and get the best out of it, otherwise it’s a waste of a perfect tool.
But I’m definitely not a ‘VX-or-nothing’ person.
Any approach to skateboard videography has the potential to be great with the right amount of effort or creativity, it just has to be exciting or inspiring, culturally authentic and ideally non-narcissistic. I’d say they’re the keys.
As for the key to skateboarding? Good trou’.
Why is creativity an important element to skate videos?
I think creativity in skate videos is an intrinsic and imperative part of skateboarding in general, but for me personally it’s always been a pretty fundamentally important element to how I’ve experienced and enjoyed it.
It’s such a complex visual language that we’ve created and honed which is truly unique to our craft, and I think it can be a really beautiful thing.
Agreed. What are your thoughts on skate video editing?
It’s super important yet sometimes overlooked. Putting the time into a solid or creative edit should be a prerequisite for any skate video. It can be the thing that sets a video apart from the more run-of-the-mill content on the conveyor belt of skate media.
It does feel like the experimental and independent content gets a good amount of shine these days though, and the volume of well-edited videos at a brand level is higher than ever, which can only be a good thing.
What’s your creative process in putting together a new project?
In terms of my own creative process, like many others in the depths of our subculture I’m a pretty strong advocate of the VX1000, and I tend to get pretty obsessed with a particular VX video, approach or filmer and want to make something of my own.
That being said, I’m not really one for just going out filming with no end goal in mind, and if I am going to start working on a project, I like to know that it can be seen to fruition and some sort of crescendo, otherwise it can feel like a waste of time.
By that same token I don’t really like filming or editing for other people’s skate video projects unless I can have some sort of worthwhile creative input, and so I couldn’t really see myself as a skate filmer for hire or something, because I’d rather just make skate videos exactly how I wanted with specific people I thought were rad.
I’ve been really lucky to work on these projects so far with some amazing people and I feel super blessed to be able to call them my friends.
Dope. So what creatives working in skating inspire you?
I love the contemporary movement of underground VX filmers in the states: Zach Chamberlin & Loophole, Zach Sayles, Jake Todd, The Environs guys, the Threads Ideas Vacuum guys, Ryan Higgins
’ and the Sabotage stuff, and loads of others. Quentin Guthrie
’s stuff is great.
I’m repeatedly amazed at how Gustav Tønnesen
manages to be both a VX visionary and one of the most talented skateboarders on the planet.
Everything Yoan Talliandier did with Minuit was perfection, and I’m still a huge fan of everything brands like Magenta
and Theories Of Atlantis
and Josh Stewart
keep it very real. So yeah, a bunch of stuff.
What’s your most recent project that you have released?
I put out a few projects this year but the most recent was the Dougie part I put together with help from Quentin.
Do you have any upcoming releases?
Nothing upcoming, but I am currently working on a Sussex part with Dan Fisher, and also trying to get a short section together myself for Tom Pickard’s next Source video ‘Debris’, which should be out sometime in 2024.
For updates about that give us a lil’ follow on our Instagram
Lastly, what are your thoughts on The No Comply Network?
It’s cool. You’ve had a lot of really rad and talented people become part of the project, and it’s sick that you shout out some of the more obscure and often forgotten skate clips on the Instagram. They’re really sick.