Learn To Ride A Skateboard
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(Apr 04, 2011)
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Filmed entirely in California and independently produced by Eric Muss-Barnes, a longtime skateboarder and artist, Learn To Ride A Skateboard is a new skateboarding instructional DVD which showcases the teaching talents of professional skateboarder Holly Lyons - ranked the #1 Female Bowl Skateboarder in the World according to her standings in the 2006 World Cup Skateboarding.
Although there have been entertainment-oriented videos featuring female skaters, explaining tricks in brief segments, with the Learn To Ride A Skateboard project, Lyons earns the historical distinction of being the first woman ever featured as a teacher in an instructional skateboarding video.
"The popularity of skateboarding is always in flux," explains Muss-Barnes. "Although female skaters have been a minority for decades, I believe supporting and encouraging more girls to skate is a key element in helping skateboarding remain popular on a permanent basis."
"However, I didn't want the video to draw special attention to women skaters. I wanted this video to be ahead of it's time. It portrays female skaters as equal to the males. It just mixes the boys and girls together, giving males and females equal screentime, and showing us all as skateboarders. Gender is irrelevant."
Smirking, Muss-Barnes adds, "All that being said, I'm certainly not equal to Holly as a skater. This girl could be blind with one leg, and still skate better than me!"
Another first in instructional skateboarding videos is showing actual students learning tricks as the instructors teach them. The students in Learn To Ride A Skateboard, ranging in age from 12 to 15, are Madylin, Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten, the real-life siblings from the hit sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond. Having no experience as skateboarders, we see the Sweeten kids being taught by Lyons and Muss-Barnes as they help the children develop their techniques.
Despite the name, the video goes beyond teaching how to ride a skateboard. It also covers buying a skateboard and explains every single component, down to the bearings. After that, there are thorough instructions on assembling a skateboard from scratch.
Once the assembly is complete, the video illustrates the geography of skateparks. Another first among skateboarding videos, explaining the layout of skateparks is ideal for parents having difficulty understanding the terminology their children use when describing the terrain. This section also comforts new skaters who may be intimidated by the challenging landscapes. Parallel with teaching the topology of skateparks are lessons on "unwritten rules of etiquette" and courteous behavior that is universally expected at skateparks, so beginners can avoid any social faux pas.
Unlike any other skateboarding instructional video ever produced, Learn To Ride A Skateboard is available absolutely free-of-charge and people are actually encouraged to copy the DVD and give it away. Created without any copy-prevention security, when you put the DVD in your computer, you find instructional files on the disc explaining how to duplicate it.
"I'm a decent artist, but a terrible businessman," laughs Muss-Barnes. "Over the last decade, I published a novel, directed independent movies, and showcased my photography in art galleries, yet I never earned much of an income with any of it. This time, I decided instead of making money, I'd create something simply for the love of making it. I love skateboarding. I want to inspire people of all ages to skate, and I'm not interested in making a profit from that. I invested time and money into this project to share the fun of skateboarding with as many people as possible. My hope is that this DVD spawns the ultimate viral-marketing-campaign; where I only produce a few hundred copies, then, over time, thousands of people will copy it, and give it away, over and over again."
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The DVD is divided into 7 chapters, all available free on you tube, plus there is a "Learn to Skateboard" website that sells the DVD for $10, but also offers the option to download it for free (though you need a high speed connection). The authors are so dedicated that they encourage you to download it for free, copy it and give it away. That's dedication. Good production values, very competent and well explained and demonstrated.