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Abandoned places are hard to avoid if you’re a skateboarder. It has something to do with the whole, "One man’s trash is another man’s treasure" thing. Without being too corny or trying to paint ourselves as edgy rebels, the fact of the matter is that it’s rad to skate somewhere with free reign to do whatever you want, and know that you’re not gonna run into anyone. Left for dead properties generally give you ultimate freedom once you hop the fence or get inside, but that freedom isn’t just enticing to skateboarders. In his new show on Viceland, Rick McCrank explores abandoned buildings in a way that goes much deeper than just getting a trick or taking some pictures. Rick and his crew are telling the stories of the cities, people, and circumstances surrounding these ghost buildings - and meeting an interesting cast of characters along the way. We caught up with Rick to say hello and ask him a few questions about the first season of ABANDONED.

Yo Rick! Where are you right now, and what are you doing? Hey! I’m in Vancouver right now and am currently preparing for the Antisocial Video premiere.

So your new Viceland T.V. show "Abandoned" just premiered? What has been the general response to the show? So far it’s been great! I’ve been getting some really nice messages via twitter and Instagram from people all over that really appreciate the show. That feels good to hear.

How did the idea for the show come about? Did Vice come to you or did you go to them? It was a collaborative idea that we both made up together.

What has been your favorite location so far? I like different places for different reasons, I loved being in Newfoundland and going to remote and rugged locations. My favorite city to visit was St. Louis, amazing place! Great people fun stuff to do and skate and the food was amazing!

How much skating do you actually get to do when you’re filming these? I usually skate for one or two days each episode. It’s definitely not a show about skateboarding; it has a lot to do with a skater’s perspective though.

In that first episode, things take a really creepy turn and you guys go all ghost hunter. Do most of these places have a pretty haunted vibe? Not to me, I don’t believe in ghosts, etc., so to me they were just musty old buildings, I’m more interested in the human stories at these places.

It seems like you run in to some real characters when exploring these places, how do you come in to contact with these people? Sometimes we find them on the internet, they might have made a video on YouTube at the location were going to or something, and sometimes we just run into people while we’re shooting. Usually when you are walking around with a camera crew some interesting characters will pop up.

How many people are on your crew for one of these shoots? We have 5 people on the shoots. Alex Craig directs and shoots, we have a camera operator named Dave Ehrenriech (who used to make skate vids), our Producer David Galloway (who used to own a skateboard company called The Village Green), a production assistant who also shoots B roll named Dane Collison (ripping skater) and myself.

When you started shooting the show, did you imagine that you would get as deep in to the stories of these places as you have? Yeah that was our main goal, we didn’t want to make "ruin porn" and just show decaying buildings and say, "that’s fucked up right?" We wanted to connect with the people that are affected by these places and get their stories.

Do you come up with the locations yourself? And is there a heavy skate influence on the places you pick? It was a team effort; we definitely made an effort to find skateable locations whenever we could.

Are there any locations coming up that you can talk about, or anywhere you really want to go that there are no plans for yet? Depending on when this interview comes out, our episode about nuclear sites is about to air and John Rattray joined us on that one. The following episode Frank Gerwer and I drive Route 66 from California to Chicago (that was really fun!). We have a New Orleans episode, one in Northern British Columbia, one in the Carolinas, and we will end the season in Detroit.

When did you start the transition out of the full time professional skateboarder life? I kind of always had other projects going for most of my skate career, I still identify as a "pro skater" whatever that means.

Was that a call you made to ease your way out and start experimenting with other things? I don’t see this show as an exit from skating. I hope to continue to do that as long as my sponsors and skaters want to support me. I have a deep appreciation for the skaters that have supported me throughout the years. I don’t think enough pros acknowledge that they are the reason they get to "live the dream".

You’ve always seemed really comfortable speaking in front of the camera. Were you an actor as a child or anything, or does that just come from years of skate video skits and full length motion pictures? HA, no I wasn’t a child actor. It’s funny because I’m actually pretty shy. I think the main reason I seem comfortable is that I’m making this show with my best friends, I’ve known them for over ten years so it’s just like a normal day.

Is there anything else you’re working on in or outside of skating right now that we should check out? We are working on new ideas for the TV world but I hope to have the time/strength/health to film some more skating!

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