Hi, in 2008 when I was 20 and superiorly stupid, I hopped on a skateboard with my best pal Mike Kosciesza along side two other good friends on bikes as our support and camera crew. 36 agonizing days later, our trip was finished.

When you're done watching Shred America, you will know exactly how NOT to skateboard across the country, because we fucked up all along the way.

The journey was half the battle, as it took us 13 years to release the film with Gravitas Ventures after a failed festival run. The trailer should fill in some blanks.

Mike will also be answering questions here. He was the producer, editor and skateboarder in the film. His answers will be signed -M

Short Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfZyuu_xSVI&t=1s

Long Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duawmf5P-tA&t=1s


12:41 CST : Off to grab food (sushi) be back in 30-45 min for more answers.

1:07 CST- We are back

Edit 01: Significance of the iphone: Yeah smart phones are a total crutch. Nowadays, if I need to know something I just Google it and find out instantly, back then you were kind of shit out of luck. You had to just wing it which made the trip way more interesting and caused us to fuck up way more than we would have liked haha.

If I didn’t know how to do something I would just call my dad.

4:44pm: Off to see my parents here for a bit and fix a flat tire. Thanks to everyone who participated in this AMA. Feel free to message me personally on our instagram page @ShredAmerica. I will still answer things as they come in but might be a bit delayed.

7:30am: Thanks to everyone who participated in this AMA. I was happy to answer all your questions about the film and also about the iPhone lol. If you want to learn more about Shred America you can visit www.shredamericafilm.com

Comments: 613 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

TheDildozer14460 karma

Do you regret not pushing mongo the whole trip?

artyswiss340 karma

I pushed mongo for yearrrrrrsssss. Sometimes I did push mongo to give my leg a rest.

I am lame mongo man

PlNKERTON151 karma

I grew up pushing mongo and forced myself to push correctly in my adulthood. As difficult as it was to switch, I couldn't be happier now - it's also amazing to be able to push mongo, because it gives you overall better balance, and also allows you to switch legs if need be. It's great for longboarding when you're doing a lot of pushing at longer distances. I can just push with whatever foot I want.

artyswiss65 karma

Couldn’t have said it better myself

_jeremybearimy_51 karma

How the fuck do you switch. I learned mongo young before I knew better and it is so uncomfortable to use the board regular now

artyswiss42 karma

I was getting made fun of and people called me names. So switching was easy.

blockingmyownlight11 karma

Are you cousins with Alex? Or one of your buddies? My friend knew the kids who did this and his whole family is from Chicocko. Maybe his cousin's name was Ben? But I can't remember.

Anyways he used to push mongo and one time visiting family in chicago his cousin and friends would practically beat him up until he pushed normally.

artyswiss6 karma

I have friends named Alex, but no cousins.

artyswiss50 karma

I already got shit on for mall grabbing my board in the film, don't want to think what would happen if someone caught me pushing mongo.

DragonDropTechnology202 karma

2008 + 13 = 2021

You’re from the future??? Tell us, do things get better?

artyswiss215 karma

I failed math.

rohdawg11 karma

Clearly you picked it up later, because you somehow invented time traveling next year!

artyswiss3 karma


artyswiss125 karma

God I hope so.

Zedfourkay183 karma

What was the biggest fuck-up of the journey, that was 100% your fault?

artyswiss304 karma

Biggest fuck up was walking onto a random farm for water.

Biggest almost fuck up: drank random river water but survived

RandomName01111 karma

Soooo, what happened on the farm?

artyswiss176 karma

We don’t talk about what happened on the farm...

Coach_GordonBombay63 karma

Squeeled like a pig

artyswiss5 karma

Fucking right we did!!

mydogsgotabigdick46 karma

I’m actually pretty curious what happened on the farm. I live on a farm out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but other farms and everyone has stories of someone coming on their property. I’ve chased people away for getting in the hemp or driving over our trash cans. I’ve been chased away myself on other people’s farms when I was a teenager. There’s never any violence (on my farm) but I’ve always secretly enjoyed how everyone is kind of their own sheriff on their own farms because the police would take forever getting out here. It’s easier to just go out there with a gun and scare them away. I’m just super duper curious man. Please?

artyswiss26 karma

But yeah. That farm was protected alright...

artyswiss10 karma

Spoiler 😋

mydogsgotabigdick16 karma

Ooohh okay! I’m gonna start your doc pretty soon my man.

artyswiss32 karma

It had to do with your user name

mydogsgotabigdick6 karma

Just saw it haha. Oh man you guys got boned.

artyswiss10 karma

Yup lol

valueape112 karma

Great trailer. How/where can we watch the film?

artyswiss248 karma

It’s free on amazon prime right, but pretty much available everywhere except Netflix...not cool enough for Netflix yet.

Even in libraries.

valueape34 karma

Great! I'll be watching it tonight. Can't wait!

artyswiss13 karma

Awesome hope you dig it

pageclot62 karma

Nothing but respect for your choices made with a huge amount of confidence and probably not enough planning. Glad you made it. What an adventure! Did you get help from random people along the way that, in retrospect, makes you cry?

artyswiss158 karma

America is full of good hearted people. It really is. There are assholes, but the majority people we ran into were just curious what we were up to. Meeting new people, making new friends, people helping us out with food and places to stay. Just amazing stuff.

Except in Breezewood. If you’re ever stuck in Breezewood, PA dont expect help from anyone.

DonRoMeltron62 karma

If you did it again, what would you do the same and what would you do differently?

artyswiss101 karma

I would have done it way differently. Shred America was a mess from start to finish. We lucky to be alive.

1live4downvotes30 karma

I watched your movie a few months ago. I’m honestly surprised at how little prep work you guys did lol. Like if I try and do a 50 mile ride I bring like tons of stuff with me (tubes, tools, etc). Where the bikes you ended up with essentially trashed by the end of it?

artyswiss18 karma

Yeah, I do some bike touring now (basic stuff) and it’s all been really thought out, from the route and all. Biking is a little easier on my knees nowadays.

Coley_D51 karma

Was it worth it?

artyswiss99 karma

It was pretty worth it. You learn a lot about who you are when you’re pushed to the limit.

abandon_all_life48 karma

What was the most memorable meal you had during this trek?

artyswiss280 karma

The most memorable meal was pizza hut pizza. It’s pretty much all we ate. In fact, when we got to New York Pizza Hut wanted us to have a pizza party with Tony Hawk. We declined because we didn’t want to be sell outs. I regret that decision every day.

artyswiss37 karma

Hmm I just checked the old board, and they are 85a and 68mm. They were perfecccct for powerslides. Love that wheel profile!

Missus_Missiles34 karma

Sick, dude.

I've met people who have done the Seattle to Portland run on skateboards. 100 miles per day. And a girl on roller blades. But that's a supported event too.

Any good poop-emergency stories?

artyswiss36 karma

No poop emergencies, but my i had some butt trouble mid way through the trip. Don’t want to give away too many spoilers.

The older I get, the more poop emergencies happen.

Missus_Missiles18 karma

Cool. I'll have to watch now.

I'm damn near 40. The never "trust a fart" adage is beginning to ring true.

artyswiss29 karma

Ive shit in the forest two times this year. I hear ya

Tangsta134 karma

You didn't take an iPhone, did you take a Samsung or a Pixel? Razer, or Moto?

artyswiss38 karma

I believe I had a razor...still love that snap sound when you close it.

jakeputz24 karma

How many sets of skateboard wheels and bearings did you go through?

artyswiss43 karma

I switched my wheels one time, but they really didn't need to be switched out. Mike still has the original wheels on his board. Mine Shred board was stolen in San Francisco in 2013.

BugzOnMyNugz19 karma

I saw your farm comment, ever end up in any other sketchy areas?

artyswiss95 karma

People were always warning us about sketchy areas but we would go through them anyway and realize that they weren’t all that bad. The only place that we really avoided was Gary, Indiana.

Szentii17 karma

At the moment I cannot watch it, but I'm looking forward to it. What about your relatives and family's reaction to this all?

artyswiss45 karma

They were supportive throughout the whole thing. My mom was scared for me during the trip as all good moms would be. Finishing the film was harder than the actual trip, but everyone was so proud of us when we premiered in Chicago a few years ago. Everyone that was important to me in my life was there. It’s the people that stick with you that matter. 🙂

robocox8716 karma

Was the guy on the bike ever like, "I'm tired of riding slow/doing circles while waiting for you to catch up. I'll see you in town."? I ask because when I was young, I skateboarded and my best friend bmx'd and he was constantly bitching about me not being able to keep up while riding from spot to spot. It's been 20 years and we still bring it up.

artyswiss20 karma

Yeah the bike crew would often get ahead of us quite a bit and then we would catch up with them or they would go ahead of us and then film us as we approached them.

Oxhage16 karma

Are u polish?

artyswiss25 karma

I am. So is Mike.

cmbrese115 karma

This may sound creepy, but is this the same Mike who is married to a Liz? I think I remember her promoting this movie at some point (she's an old high school friend of mine).

artyswiss19 karma

That is the same Mike. Not creepy at all! Thanks for commenting!

Oxhage12 karma

Witam z Warszawy!

artyswiss14 karma

Witam z Illinois. Rodzina jest z Jaslo.

thanossn4p14 karma

How many kickflips were made?

artyswiss38 karma

A few. Legs were very tired to do kick flips most days. I did one at love park though.

ImAnIdeaMan14 karma

What other things did you do the trip without?

artyswiss36 karma

We did the trip without a clue in the world as to how to survive. Just winged it.

zennyc00112 karma

Most people didn't have iPhones in 2008 why is that mentioned in the title?

GKrollin9 karma

I think his point is they did this without the aid of today's typical electronic influences; no GPS, no maps, no social media clout, etc

artyswiss9 karma

You hit the nail on the head here. Didn’t think that the iPhone comment would be so controversial. I’m GLUED to my phone. We all are. It’s actually one of the only times in my life when I was fully in the moment. I have less and less of those moments now. It’s sad.

artyswiss2 karma

Because I love my iphone and can't imagine my life without one now that I got one.

CLASSYmuthaFUNKA12 karma

Really love how you've answered all these questions.

What's your current skateboard/ longboard / cruiser set up?

Also Mike's?

artyswiss20 karma

You're talking to the guy who tries to send 40 personal voice messages to anyone who has liked our Instagram posts haha. The indie filmmaker life is all DIY. :)

Mike still rides his original Shred board. Mine was stolen in SF in 2013 from a mall bathroom. I currently ride a regular street board, Indy trucks, 40mm wheels and some reds.

themostlegit11 karma

You had to do all of that with an android?

artyswiss8 karma


249ba36000029bbe974911 karma

Tell us about the financials. How much did it cost per day to survive? Food, replacement parts, lodging, camera equipment, etc. And how much did it cost to produce the film after you finished? What kind of video and audio gear did you use? Did any of you have filmmaker experience before leaving?

artyswiss31 karma

We have rough estimates of financials.

36 days on the road: $3000 + Equipment cameras and audio- $7000+ Making the film- many many free hours and tens of thousands of dollars on top.

We filmed on Canon xha1s and me66 mics

We had some filmmaker experience, but we were pretty novice. Our skills built over time as we worked in the industry.

All paid for out of pocket.

sploan11 karma

Did you do a fitty fitty to a smitty in the city?

artyswiss17 karma

BS fitty fitty on some quarter pipes out in Ohio but didn't get too fancy on this trip.

doincatsdoggystyle10 karma

Is tony still a bitch?

artyswiss26 karma

Hahaha. Tony is going to be the god father to my future kids.

the-big-aa9 karma

So just finished the doc and enjoyed it quite a bit. Massive props to you, Mike, James, and Tony /u/artyswiss.

One of the interesting things that came up on Twitter in the past weeks was the politics behind skateboarding. I really appreciate how the documentary touches upon the tribulations y'all had to face with law enforcement, locals, and shitty terrain, on top of all the injuries, illnesses, and media snafus you dealt with too. It really came to a head when you brought up Love Park and its history.

Twelve years and change to reflect, how do you and the rest of Shred America consider the political connotations of skateboarding, especially in modern times? What's one thing you want people to understand most about skating?

artyswiss8 karma

Thanks for the thoughtful response and thank you for watching our film. I’m really glad that you liked the portion about Love Park. Though the film does not show a lot of actual street skateboarding (doing tricks etc.) I think that it is important to mention what an important role skateboarding has had in my life. The people that I met, the experiences that I had, the injuries and the successes...molded me into who I am today. I am incredibly grateful to the sport of skateboarding. Im not just a guy who hopped on a skateboard as a gimmick to get across the country, I’m a guy that loves and respects skateboarding and was an avid skateboarder for over a decade.

That being said... skateboarding and society did not get along back in 2008. It’s a lot more acceptable now and people respect it more as an art form and not as just reckless vandalism.

We really wanted to briefly show the importance of skateboarding with that scene, to pay our respect to skateboarding. Hope that came across.

JackieTreehorn799 karma

Hey bud- I rented this a few months ago and really enjoyed it! You guys were a little clueless what you were signing up for, but at that age, I thought it was cool you would take a risk like that and have a tale to tell your friends and family.

Always wanted to know; how much weight did you guys lose?!

artyswiss16 karma

Wow!! How did you find out about it?

I left 135lbs and came back 120. Currently I sit at 153lbs. I'm 5'8'' and bald.

JackieTreehorn794 karma

LOL! I figured had to be at least 15/20 lbs for you each... Do you ever talk to those dudes you partied with outside Toledo I think?

artyswiss3 karma

We didn’t ever see them again, but they were great. We’re Facebook friends with a few of them.

JacKaLantUrn8 karma

Is it true that a real skater can skate in anything?

artyswiss39 karma

We skateboarded in the rain, but only because the radio show we were on said what we were weak posers for not skating on rainy days.

Daqueef8 karma

What items did you take on your journey? And Would you recommend this type of journey to anyone?

artyswiss19 karma

Thanks for your question.

We had camera equipment, emergency blankets, water, duck tape, battery chargers, soup packets, Little pillows, tent, candy and much more.

StokingandJoking6 karma

Did you push your normal stance the whole time or did you rotate to switch and mongo? Also how big did your calves get / how bad did they hurt from pushing?

artyswiss10 karma

I switched to mongo and sometimes switch. One of my legs came back way bigger, I myself lost 15lbs.

the-big-aa6 karma

Congrats on getting this released. Probably will watch it in the next hour or so!

Native New Yorker over here. What was your favorite spot to hit up when you finally made it?

artyswiss14 karma

We were so tired when we got there, we mostly just hung out around time square and ate some pizza. We visited Queens and also skateboarding the brooklyn bridge.

James and Mike liked NYC so much that they moved there after college

artyswiss9 karma

We visited Brooklyn Bridge, Queens and mostly chilled around Time Square eating pizza because we were so tired. I think we didn't even go see lady liberty. At that point, you just want to never leave the bed if you don't have to.

forevermore916 karma

Do you think a smartphone would have made the trip less fun? Like you would have had less stories to tell?

artyswiss13 karma

Yeah smart phones are a total crutch. Nowadays, if I need to know something I just Google it and find out instantly, back then you were kind of shit out of luck. You had to just wing it which made the trip way more interesting and caused us to fuck up way more than we would have liked haha.

If I didn’t know how to do something I would just call my dad.

mikewinsdaly6 karma

How many miles were you guys doing per day? Would you ever consider doing this again with electric skateboards?

artyswiss14 karma

We did around 25-50 miles a day it really depends on the terrain. Funny you say that, a buddy of ours just did a cross country skateboard ride on electric board. Jack Smith.

artyswiss14 karma

Sweet voice over. Made me feel again.

JanPribyla5 karma

When did you lose your hair?

artyswiss29 karma

I started losing it shortly after dipping my hat in a polluted river in Indiana and putting that on my head while on this trip.

Might have been a coincidence.

Maxxbrand5 karma

Whats not having an iPhone have to do with anything?..

artyswiss7 karma

We are attached to our phones now. We google everything. From directions, hailing a cab, getting food delivered. Didn't have that.

freshfitzy4 karma

Can't wait to watch this thanks so much for sharing. I live in the UK, would you consider doing it again, and if so another country?

artyswiss7 karma

I would most likely not, but never say never. I do like dabbling in a little multi-day bike trip and would consider that. Tony really wants to go do another trip when we are 60.

bmshort4 karma

Were you guys film students?

(Also there’s some weird energy down at the bottom of this AMA)

artyswiss10 karma

This whole 2020 has weird energy.

We were film students! Mike, Tony and I went to Columbia college Chicago, James went to Loyola Academy in Chicago.

artyswiss2 karma

This whole 2020 has weird energy.

We were film students! Mike, Tony and I went to Columbia college Chicago, James went to Loyola Academy in Chicago.

jaybankzz4 karma

How did it feel when you finished your quest? How did you get back to Chicago? Has any professional skaters contacted you?

artyswiss13 karma

Pizza hut wanted us to have a Pizza Party with Tony Hawk, but we declined...which now I regret. We felt like doing a Pizza Hut thing would be selling out....

But, we had sponsors. lol...so whatever I guess.

Zoo York and SkateOne sponsored us and hooked us up with some gear, but no pros were in sight.

KingKaos4204 karma

What was the single best meal you had during this journey, and where did you get it?

artyswiss11 karma

We didn’t have much money to spend ha so it was Burger King, Pizza Hut and sometimes Ann Sather

CanYouFuckIt3 karma

You look familiar. Maine East grad?

artyswiss3 karma

I am!

artyswiss2 karma

Do we know each other?

Squadhaze7103 karma

Are you working on any other films or produced any before Shred America?

artyswiss7 karma

Shred was our first feature film. We are starting pre-production on a new documentary in the spring that is midwest based.

CalvinTaylor3 karma

Really cool story man. What did you do about your hygiene like washing yourself and underwear ? How long did it take for you guys to wanna skate again?

artyswiss15 karma

I personally gave up on underwear about half way through the trip, sometimes we wouldn't shower for a few days, but we would stay at a lot of little no name motels along the way and wash up there. After being on the road for so long, a bed was heavenly.

It took us 36 days. 6 days of those were rest days.

amalgaman3 karma

What are your thoughts on White Wine Spritzers?

artyswiss10 karma

Haven't drank all of the pandemic, so thinking about it gives me a hangover.

strangefoot2 karma

Great film. What would a Shred sequel be called? If you were forced at gunpoint to shred again.

Hi Mike! -manny

artyswiss3 karma

Tony wants to do a movie called, Dead America.

So we'd probably do that haha.

StrangeSniper2 karma

So does the film use actual footage from your trip or was it recreated ?

artyswiss5 karma

Actual footage.

ItsTheRat2 karma

What are your legs like man? I used to do a lot of distance riding on my board and now I've switched to a bike. I feel my knees slowly starting to give after years of skating, do you have any issues like that?

artyswiss8 karma

yeah! I've switched to biking, I do get joint pain and all that in my knees specifically. I dont think it helps that I work at a computer all day.

fruitybrisket2 karma

Favorite skate spots in Northeast Ohio? I went to college in Youngstown and couldn't find a lot of natural spots there.

artyswiss3 karma

We mostly saw the highway in Ohio, which we were promptly kicked off by patrol. I personally enjoyed cruising around Ohio Hight Point.

AutisticTroll2 karma

Why is not having an iphone with you important?

artyswiss3 karma

It’s just a little fun fact. iPhones make our lives easier. Didn’t have one.

karol16052 karma

Both your and your friends surnames sound polish, are you guys from Poland?

artyswiss2 karma

We are both Polish! Witamy.

tiger_boi2 karma

Did you go through allegheny? I always take the back roads through there when I'm up or down the coast and I've spent a lot of time out there with bikers, hikers, skaters and a lot of people from the punk and hippy scenes. It's great.

artyswiss5 karma

We did!! It was so beautiful over there. We took the backroads through PA and it was just really peaceful. When I’m the mountains, we would walk up the hills and just bomb them on the other side. It’s just an interesting state. Good people.

drdisney1 karma

Maybe I'm confused, but why did you say "Without an iPhone"? Were you supposed to have one ?

artyswiss2 karma

I wish we had one.

Phillysean231 karma

2008 skateboarded and biked. 13 years later.

Are you a time traveler?

artyswiss3 karma

Bad at math, rounded up.

Steamy_afterbirth_0 karma


artyswiss3 karma


Poobeard76-3 karma

I don’t think I will see this movie. How does that make you feel?

artyswiss8 karma

Okay with it. Love the negative comments on our Amazon and love you.