Tag Archives: skateboarding

How to get sponsored

Urban athletics is a pretty rubbish term imo, but it kinda fits when trying to categorise obscure outdoor activities that young(ish) people tend to like doing nowadays. There’s also a growing demand I’ve noticed within these circles for praise and reward. Largely because there isn’t much of it available out there in the realms of competitions and medals etc. So it tends to be sought after by the weak from the alpha males (or peers) of the groups. And well those at the top, are looking for praise and reward too, and generally the only way they can get it, is from their peers.

The only next step available to them is peers ‘outside’ their activity group, which tends to materialise as sponsorship by some company, often only loosely connected with an activity, looking to associate itself with (often) young people, whereby they can brand them for the rest of their lives and all the jealous people, can bitch and moan about them taking from ‘the man’ and ‘selling out’ etc.

*yawn… give it a rest.

Soo… how is this all connected to ‘getting sponsored’ like the title says then?

Well, lets face facts; you have a skill, which in most peoples eyes is pretty impressive, crowd pleasing and ‘cool’… companies want to be associated with impressive coolness, and therefore either spend vast amounts of money, trying to look cool (and often failing) or hanging their products on people that tend to be cool, without trying much.

In nutshell, companies want to be associated with:

clean, good looking, healthy, active, talented, positive, confident, role models.

That list is important to remember, cause if you honestly don’t adhere to that spec, then no matter how hard you try, you ain’t even getting a foot in the door.

Now notice I didn’t say ‘super-models’, I didn’t say ‘weathly’ or ‘intelligent’… because those things aren’t required. All companies need is a good walking talking naturally impressive ‘coat hanger’ to represent them in the social circles that they are desperate to break into… probably looking to launch a new range of catalogue products for the spring/summer 2010-11 range.

How exactly would a company do that?

well they’d probably sponsor a high profile, social media network, full of desperately seeking attention ‘media whores’ and then encourage as many of them as possible to join in their fun, spending their marketing budgets. One example would be the recent Adidas London 2012 urban athlete marketing campaign they’re running. A channel is set up on YT for people to send in their best clips. And for all those that are raising their eyebrows, in preparation of complaining about the corporate ‘machine’ taking over the fun stuff. Well, keep thinking that dim people, cause that is a perfect example of how a company with budgets available ‘reach out’ to the masses and invite them to get in contact. Once you’re in contact with them, you can begin a dialogue, and its that conversation which will add to your visibility within their company. And that’s half the battle. Getting your name and face known within the walls of the brands is where it all begins.

Another approach people aren’t aware of is through shops. Pick small shops, with products you like, Nixon Watches for example, or Billabong clothing, perhaps Fly sunglasses. Well each ‘little’ shop will have regular visits either from reps directly or to the salesmen through telephone orders, the smaller the shops, the more acquainted the owners tend to get with the distributors and employees. Now lets say over the course of a few weeks, you got chatting to your local shop owner and mentioned that you’ve a bit of an extreme flipper… photogenic like with good steez and all that shizzle. It won’t take long for you to establish a little rap-or with the guy… and once you’re on good speaking terms (buying products there helps btw) … you can start asking questions. Like do they know any reps or contacts at the distributors that you could send in some photos or portfolio for flipping, in the hope of getting a bit of supportive ‘flow’ on the go. Play the owner your show-reel, show some kick ass photos (you don’t have any?? damn, get that sorted!) … and basically work on winning the man over with your ‘grinning like you’ve just passed your driving test’ smile and witty charm.

It works, believe!

Oh and don’t give up. It’ll be tempting to do all the above to one shop and sit back and see what happens…. but nah, go to every little shop you can find, get your face in their face, make every rep, salesman, and distributor know who you are and that you’re looking to become their next clothes hanger for their 2010-11 range.

This is the common route to sponsorship. When competitions aren’t available, you gotta go directly to the source. And remember, you gotta look good, smile, laugh, be happy and be a clear notch above the rest of the wannabe’s begging for attention.

mark

I have more to add on this subject, but got fed up typing. Might add another ‘part 2’ later.

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Filed under Flips, free running, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, parkour, Tricking

AZO Showreel 2008

If you haven’t seen, you should, and if you have, you should again – clicky clicky:

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Filed under acrobat, Flips, free running, Martial Arts, parkour, skateboarding, stunts, Tricking

Bristol Parkour: Project 360

 

Bored in Bristol this weekend? Head down to the Lloyds Amphitheatre on the 30-31st August, for a Parkour Demo and Workshop – whereby you can be guaranteed you’ll find a ton of kids flipping about. Also BMX, Skate demos b-boy and acrobatics going on too.

Will probably pop down there myself and lap it up and see whats going down – armed to the teeth with cameras as usual. Infact its probably a great opportunity for everyone to get out the cameras and document what they see. I’m looking forwards to it already. Say hello if you see me :)

mark

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Filed under acrobat, breakdancing, events, filming, free running, parkour, photography, press coverage, Promotion, skateboarding, Tricking

Statistics for all things Tricking

I started looking at stats for Martial Arts & Gymnastics:

Then I thought I’d see what Parkour & Free Running looked like. This surprised me, I thought free running was more popular:

Whilst we’re at it: TaeKwondo Vs Capoeira ?

Finally, where have all these parkour kids come from? Skateboarding Vs Parkour: Yip you guessed it, loads of skateboarders gave up and found parkour:

Click the pictures for more info from Google trends btw. Any requests? don’t even think about trying to compare trickstutorials or anis, cause the hits are waaaay too tiny to find any results.

mark

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Flying out of the gym

When I’m not trying to fly in a gym, I’m trying to fly at a skatepark:

frontside nosebone - bath 2008

Thanks to Jason for the photo: http://jasonlunn.com

and whilst I’m mentioning Jason – he has a great gallery of ‘Everyday People’ for the artistically inclined amongst you lot. Including this one of Phil Nock chucking a flare (or flair?) on the pommel. So click the picture and go view, then send him an email and tell him to post up more photos – its the karma thing to do:

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Filed under Life, marks progress, photography, skateboarding

William Spencer steps flip

I’ve just sat and watched the whole of william spencers video part and love it so much, I thought I’d post a clip up here…. and it kind of goes together with I had to a post on the Streetflips blog:

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Filed under Flips, skateboarding, Tricking, video

Keep your style in buckets

Hows your style? like it? love it? unaware of it? c’mon, surely not. Well if you didn’t think you had style, I won’t blame you. Most people think style is a drilled looked born through good technique, repetition and discipline… and it is. But its not my favourite type of style. I personally prefer natural style, self discovered and unique… and luckily we all have it. But most of us aren’t aware of it.

Style is everything, literally. Its the invisible force of natural technique we all have for doing something. Born from our uniqueness and trial and error approach of figuring out for ourselves what works and what doesn’t, making up for the strengths and limitations of our physical self. (muscles etc)

I know you have style, because you got dressed this morning. Really? yes, really.

Style is the way you stand, what you do with your arms, how you hold your hands, what finger shapes you throw, the way you make a funny face with your tongue when concentrating, it can be the choice of clothing you always wear, the way you land something, and the way you celebrate successes too. These are examples of the invisible style that we rarely see for ourselves. The more obvious ones are how we flip, twist or step into tricks, do we pull our arms into our chest, or fly them out to the sides, do we do a little skip before take off, are our legs straight and knees together, or bent and buckled? Everyone has some element of style… its impossible not to have it.

Most people rarely see their own style, I mean they can ‘see’ themselves doing things in videos, but normally we’re too close the action to focus on our own style. We are too busy assessing whether our trick was good or bad in comparison to all the other ones we’ve landed, or we’re watching our bad technique so much that we’re not even aware of the fact that it may contribute towards making us ‘cool’ or stylish. Very often we’re striving for a look and a degree of control and confidence held in our peers, and that’s good to aim for, but suck it up too much and we end up being a copy of someone else.

Our style is also evident in the moves we prefer, the ones we are confident in, gravitate naturally towards and also in the way we see our terrain. Traceurs and Free Runners are an obvious example, because their terrain is vast, diverse and without rules… what they utilise and how they utilise what they’re offered, can bring their style to the forefront. But even those without such obstacle choice have style in buckets. The martial arts tricker with a simple open floor stamps their style over every move with authority, from pre-setup, to setup, to take off, to extension, to kick, twist, land and flow in the next move… however it appears the more disciplined the art-form, the more natural style is suppressed in favour of a uniformed consistency… I’m thinking of gymnastics here… but even then I still know that individual style exists in each athlete, however its subtle and a more trained eye is needed to identify it.  

If you don’t think you have good style and want it. They you’ve already failed. You can’t learn natural style, you have it already, you can learn technique and improve your look, to become textbook in its appearance, but your natural style is your individuality, why would you want to change that? Just like how cool people, are completely unaware of what makes them cool. They are simply, being themselves.

The best way to identify what style elements you carry with you, is to ask your closest friends, or training partners (if that’s a different thing!) People who see you regularly, probably know a hell of a lot more about your style than you do. They will probably be able to see the subtle visual clues you give prior to trying something, just like how you can see theirs.

I’m naturally thinking of my own style here, and this post is a result of it. 2 comments on my latest video stood out at me. 1 stated I needed to change my setup, and the other claimed I had good style… both are right, and strangely, both are wrong too. Style is subjective, my setup is neither right nore wrong, it could be better or worse, but it does what I need it too, and I get through the move. If the move wasn’t landed at all, then the technique would actually be wrong… not the style. Technique and style are often confused.

So its occurred to me today, style is something that is much admired in talented people, but is also something we can lose in ourselves easily if we take the advice of others too literally.

Perhaps we shouldn’t worry about the style of our successes, just the technique of our failures?

yeah I like that sentence, I’ll put it in bold. Why do I always think the size of a mountain to say the simplest things? (answers on a postcard to the usual address)

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Filed under acrobat, breakdancing, Flips, free running, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, parkour, skateboarding, technique, trampoline, Tricking