Category Archives: NODdocs

Tara Norvell & Yuji Haraguchi, Co-Executive Chefs, Okonomi

Our third NODdoc goes to Tara Norvell and Yuji Haraguchi – Co-Executive Chefs of Okonomi restaurant based in Brooklyn, NY.

Tara: There’s a lot to learn from, Japanese food.

I mean there’s so much to learn about cooking it, but just in the way that it… especially the philosophy, and the whole philosophy is like “mottainai” and… that’s a word that I didn’t know existed but like it’s *everything* to me know, it means everything to me because, it’s… just a mindful way of life.

Living mindfully and… not just an awareness of others, but an awareness of your surroundings, your food, your… and your waste… your personal waste and the waste around you, and how to not waste not just food but time, or ideas, or…. especially time and ideas.

We use what we have, you know? We don’t really think about like “oh what if we had this and we’re gonna get it with this and that would be GREAT and we could swirl it and twirl it and throw it in the air, and you know, see if someone catches it!”

Yuji: So the important thing for me is that no matter how much I want to grow business, I sort of don’t want to succeed.

The idea of being successful can make you feel a little bit overconfident sometimes, and then you stop learning.

So I’d rather make mistakes that are not critical… so people keep coming back… and so I can improve.

I just cut myself, two days ago, very bad. And I was like “wow, I thought I could’ve cut this fish after so many years, but still missed it and cut myself… you know, that’s important. Because that makes me realize that I’m not good enough. And I always tell my teams “see, I cut myself, don’t ever think you can cut fish.”

Tara: It’s really satisfying. Even going home at the end of the day and just changing the way we cut one vegetable… it satisfies me so much more than like, you know, making commission on sales, or, making money, or… yeah, something that I guess you would think drives ambition, but that’s not what drives us. Learning things and creating new things is what drives… our ambition.

Yuji: It’s really hard to change your career and then… trying to pursue your dream, but sometimes your ideas are much stronger and passions are much stronger than your skills or experience and then, those will catch up eventually.

So experience and skills you can build, but passions and ideas you can’t build.

Tara: 🙂

Interview & Edit by Jenna Matecki
Shot & Produced by ROARK
Color Grade by Na Thirakomen

Jeff Gaites & Kristen Howard, Uncle Funky’s Longboard Shop

Our second NODdoc goes to Jeff Gaites and Kristen Howard of New York City longboard shop Uncle Funkys.

Jeff: I have a book, I have it back behind the counter, and I wrote in there “longboard shop,” I still have it, written in the margin, and it was like, it was a note to myself – open a longboard shop.

I always said “you know we could do it but it’s crazy” and then… she was the one who said “we’ll do this.”

Kristen: [Laughing]… is that what he said? [Laughing] Yeah, no, that’s pretty, that’s accurate in many ways. It also exists because he already had created this.. foundation.

When we met and I got involved in the business, Jeff was very much, a very important part of the New York longboarding community which at that time was not very big.

Then he started the store, which was primarily an online store, and he was, he had a full time job, and he would be taking calls like really quietly at his job, like you know trying to set people up with different boards that he either had in stock, or you know they would demo the boards and then order them online…

Jeff: I basically invested in about 25 different completes… and put them up on the… I put them in whatever closet I had or up on top of the cabinets in the kitchen, which was actually like, surprisingly you know New York you don’t have a lot of storage, so you’ve got to go up, and most people don’t use the above-the-cabinets area for too much, cause it’s gross up there, but it actually, if you lay them down right you’d be surprised at how many skateboards you can store in a kitchen.

Kristen: its always a lot more obvious… to someone else that it’s possible to realize your dreams. You know? And your own dreams seem like so much more impossible, somehow? But for him it was very clear, for me. I just thought like yeah, there’s this demand for this, you have all these great relationships with all these people in the community and manufactures and skaters and event organizers…

Now we’re at a place where we look around and we’re like “ahhhh it’s so *juicy* in here,” that’s the word we use when it’s like really, like filled with stuff.

Introducing people to this idea that they can do something that is fun and dangerous and challenging and scary is really rewarding.

Jeff: This is my dream job. So everyday, from here on out that I get to do this, is kind of like, you know, it’s like, you know it’s my dream job, so this is kind of like heaven on earth?

Let’s say I was rich, I would never move to another city. I’d be here in new york. And if I was rich what would I do for a job? This is it.

It’s great, tons of fun.

Interview & Edit by Jenna Matecki
Shot & Produced by ROARK
Second Camera by Edward Choi
Color Grade by Na Thirakomen
Score by Russell Elliot & Andy Nye

Mark Phillips, Animator, Marked Animation

Our first NODdoc goes to Mark Phillips, a talented director, animator, and illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. Check out his design studio, Marked Animation

“It’s just something that I.. always thought was magic. You know? Just like… drawings can move. That was so amazing to me as a kid… and I had no idea how it worked. and I remember learning, I remember learning that it was 12-24 frames per second as like a six year old, and you’re like “well, I guess I’m not doing that!” but like, somehow that didn’t dissuade me as much as it should’ve… and I came back to it…..”

“My Dad always said do something practical and I didn’t really follow that… so.”

“The thing I’m most proud of is when I was four years old, and I wasted a whole ream of paper just drawing fat guys. And all the fat guys were was just a whole circle… I just circled the paper… draw a head, arms, and legs, and just… move on to the next sheet.”

“I’d like to think my work is… slightly off base. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of drawing… people that are hairy. or nipples. or tongues. or eyeballs. It’s not that they’re gross it’s just that they’re like everyday fun.”

“I know a drawing is going to be good if I’m laughing while I’m drawing it.”

“You know sometimes you’ll get like a good 9-6 job. And it’s pretty comfortable. You just do your work, and go home, and people said you did a good job. And you’re like “well, I did a good job. People told me so. I can just go home, and just like hang out, and just wake up, and do it all over again…”

“It’s good to be uncomfortable, because then, if you get comfortable, then you stop.”

“You know whether it’s a great piece of modern art that we’ve seen at the Armory Show, or like, the butthole level in South Park the video game, you know, certain things stick with you in certain ways, and, you know, you’ve just got to carry, you’ve got to carry that like “can I ever make something that’s going to make me laugh, in this way? Or make me really think about “ooo that’s a really cool idea” you know, you just want to…

you just want to find something like that.”

Interview & Edit by Jenna Matecki
Shot & Produced by ROARK
Color Grade by Na Thirakomen