I would like to share an and video that I filmed at Southbank Skate park. Apart from learning how to skateboard, I would like also to start filming other skaters. The post that follow was published in my old blog. Hope you find the video and the post interesting.
I would have never imagined that get into skate filming had to be so hard. It took me 2 months before I found the courage to approach London skaters and ask if I could interview and record them doing their tricks.
I started from the basics:
First of all, I had to research the subject. Before getting into skating, the only thing I knew was some skateboarding apparel brands, from wearing Vans high tops to long line tshirts. Of course, that was not enough.
I started by watching videos of skaters on YouTube, then eventually I bought my first skate deck.
My plan was to learn how to skate, then to buy a camera and finally start filming myself and other skaters doing tricks. In reality, it wasn’t so simple.
You don’t need expensive equipment:
I decided I wanted to film in HD instead of using a low-tech retro camera as is the current trend. I bought a GoPro. It took me a few weeks to understand how to use it and gather all the right equipment. Having done my first shoot, I’ve realised that all of this expense was not necessary, and I could have just used my Iphone to shoot.
Learning how to skate:
If you want to film others, you need to immerse yourself in their world. In skate filming, you also need to be able to follow the skater as they move. This meant I at least needed to go from zero experience to able to ride, stop, turn and avoid obstacles. At first, even riding along was a challenge, but I started to use my skateboard to go every day to work and eventually got this down. I learned a lot riding through the city, discovering hidden places which I would never have explored just walking or taking the train.
You don’t need to have a degree in filming:
All you need to do is research your subject. Read specialised magazines (for my work I read Thrasher and TransWorld), watch some YouTube channels on editing, and practice. Film anything – your trip to the park, the world around you when you take lunch – anything.
The first attempt isn’t always a success:
I aimed for the skies on my first trip out for filming, and it didn’t pay off. I went to the temple of London skating, Southbank, and approached some skaters. I thought they would jump at the chance to speak about what they do and experience a tiny moment of fame. I was wrong. At first I asked a group of skaters who were chilling out after a long day of skating, and not a single one showed any interest in having an interview, let alone being filmed. Surprised but still enthusiastic, I asked bunch of guys but received lots of excuses. Some said they didn’t think they would be interesting, others said it was too nice a day to waste on an interview, but most seemed to be simply shy. I was so disappointed. I couldn’t believe no one would speak to me and began thinking I would have no luck with anybody.
I was clearly getting nowhere at Southbank so I decided I had to relocate. I went to my local skate park in Mile End. I could instantly feel the atmosphere was a million times more relaxed. No tourists, journalists or crowds were bothering the skaters. Everyone was chatting amongst themselves and the vibes were good. Here, I finally got lucky and interviewed two very different skaters: Kyle Wilson – a professional skater from London, and Eliza – an Italian who loves skating as a hobby).
So don’t give up! In just one day I learned a lot. You need passion and dedication, to put yourself out there and not to be put off by failure. Even if at first it seems impossible, you can eventually get lucky. Make sure you get to know people before you ask for an interview, and bring a supporting friend if you can, especially when you’re starting out and you need some extra courage!