Photo: Brian Myers
From Issue 155, November 2001
Andy Pitts / Greg Wrotniak – Directors/ Henchmen
Aaron Ohrt – The Technician/ Digital Cub
In the summer of 1996, 100 degree plus temperatures, a broken swamp cooler and an excess of cheap beer fueled the beginnings of the runaway freight train that was the Dirty Hessians and the videos they spawned —videos that set the standard for local skateboarding videos forever. What started out as a drunken vision to create a local skate zine was quickly put on the backburner with the omnipresence of the video camera. The name “Dirty Hessian” was coined from a t-shirt that depicted a third-grade drawing of a mullet rocker with the term “Dirty Hessian” above it—classic.
The first few videos were primitive; camera to VCR was the standard technology. No understandable music, legible titles or clean editing were even conceivable for the first video. A total of one copy was handmade and is now lost, but that was the beauty of it—a skate video made by friends for friends. By the third video, Andy had joined forces with Greg and would continue to film and edit 90 percent of the next several videos. With Andy going to school for video production, he had the University’s editing equipment at his disposal. Needless to say, the production quality increased greatly, as did the level of skating in Salt Lake.
Fast forward to 2000: Greg, Andy and Aaron film and edit videos to rival the professionals. “On our first video with Ohrt, we decided to change our name from Dirty Hessian, which we felt was getting stale, to 48. (D is the fourth letter of the alphabet, and H is the eighth.) Five years of videos is really taking its toll,” says Andy. “All year round, if I’m not working, I’m skating, filming or editing. I still love doing it—it’s a creative outlet for me. And with Ohrt now filming 80 percent of the video, it takes a little stress off of Greg and I. The videos are starting to be more expected now than fun for us. People who used to call me to go skate now call to see if we’re filming today. Aaron has actually been making appointments with skaters to film. It is a lot of work for little to nothing as far as profit goes. We have even lost money on a few videos. Unfortunately, this could possibly be our last video. Ohrt is moving out of state soon to pursue a higher education. We have our fingers crossed that we can possibly generate enough money from video sales to purchase a computer and software to continue. But we’re not holding our breath.”
The latest video, “I’ve Been Skateboarding,” is by far the best to date. The best local talent is showcased along with a few cameos by some well-known pros. The editing is not only top notch, but imaginative without the abundance of artsy crap prevalent in many of today’s videos. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, 48 videos are a staple in the skateboarding community.