Gorecki's background in skateboarding is pretty hefty. He started skateboarding young, "Since I was four or five," he said. "My mom bought my one of those plastic cheap skateboards."
"Those are the worst!" I groaned.
"Yeah they are, but it got me started. I got a mini shop sponsor at like fourteen or fifteen, and first started getting paid to skate at age 18. I went to college, but I had to take some semesters off as a pro skater, but I went to skate at places like Europe and Japan. It was pretty great."
I asked how he got from there to becoming a "Skateboarding Consultant. "It was pretty Random!" Gorecki laughed. He started out doing guerilla-style skateboard filming, and got involved with the company behind Jackass and Viva La Bam. That led to meeting a guy from Big Brother Magazine (a skateboarding magazine), who introduced him to Fred Savage who was directing the Zeke and Luther pilot. "Make it look authentic," was all Fred Savage asked at first. He was to pick the skateboarding doubles, and train the actors. But then four months later they picked Gorecki up full time. It all goes to show that you never know what will come out of things, if you do what you love and do it well!
The three main characters in the show (Hutch Dano as Zeke, Adam Hicks as Luther, and Daniel Curtis Lee as their buddy Kojo) are all skaters, and though each of the actors can skate, the big stunts on the show are all done by pro skater doubles (Billy Roper doubles for Zeke, Sammy Baptista doubles for Luther, and Tony Mongomery doubles for Kojo).
I was curious what would go into preparing actors to portray skaters. "They need to carry themselves like they really do skateboard," Gorecki explained. "Skaters wear certain clothes, certain footwear. You need shoes that you can feel the board through. At the least they need to be comfortable pushing on the board."
And how does he get them to be like this? Through making them into actual skaters! "They do a little bit of the skateboarding action," Gorecki said. "Adam and Daniel are actually good skaters. Hutch grew up surfing, so he gets it. He gets what it's about. The actors are in awe of what the pro's can do for them."
At the start, before filming season one, Gorecki asked them to skate every day to build up their confidence. Now that the show is under way, the actors are still active. They just love to skate, want to improve, and care about keeping it legitimate.
That's something that I was personally impressed with - that the actors care that much about keeping the skateboarding real, and improving their own real skateboarding skills. But it brought up another question. I asked Gorecki how he would respond to people who would say that he is helping to push skateboarding even more mainstream.
"In everything," he sighed, "There's a core community who doesn't want to let it go. Skateboarding has been breaking barriers and stereotypes for years. Skateboarders have all been put into this one basket, but it's coming out how different skaters really are."
"For example, in LA there are two Carl's Jr skateparks. Nike, the Maloof brothers, Adidas, Carl's Junior - they're all putting money into skateboarding. That's another way to look at it - they are putting money into it. I've heard that with Rob Dyrdek, Carl's Jr is building eight more skateparks in LA. There'll be ten skateparks, all because of this."
"If we just kept skateboarding core, then there would be like five skateboard brands, two skate shoe companies and like two skate shops, you know? We all want skateboarding to grow."
James Gorecki is set up in a pretty sweet spot. He's right, that skateboarding is growing, and more people are dumping money into growing skateboarding every day. With more TV shows and movies in the works featuring skateboarding, I'm sure having "Skateboarding Consultant" on your resume will be great to have. I asked Gorecki what his future dreams where, and he said, "I'm just taking it day by day. I don't know where this is going - I still push around every day! But people are reaching out to our production company asking for help, and I'm getting calls like this and I'm like NO WAY! But I'm just taking this one day at a time right now…"
I'm sure that Gorecki's future is bright - the Zeke and Luther show is very popular, and wherever the future goes with skateboarding on TV and in movies, I'm personally stoked to see that companies like Disney XD cares enough about what they are showing kids to hire a REAL ex-pro skater who is passionate about skateboarding, and who cares about keeping it legitimate.