For one weekend each year teams of skateboarders take to the streets and skateparks of Greater Manchester to film footage for a five minute skate film that has to be submitted one week later.
It’s quite a challenge to get your team organised, to perform for the camera and then – if you’re me – to stumble your way through Adobe Premier tutorials in the hope of putting together a reasonable film.
The event, known as ‘Weekend in the City’, is an annual Manchester competition organised by Lewis Threadgold, and though it is a competition it’s very light-hearted. At the end of the week-long editing process everyone gets together to watch the results and to have a few drinks, with a prize-giving at the end.
When this year’s Weekend in the City was advertised there were various ripples of interest in the Manchester Girl Skateboarding community about submitting something. Especially given that we didn’t know of any previous films submitted to WITC by female skaters.
Of course, we felt a bit anxious about filming ourselves skating; it’s sometimes easy to fall into that trap of thinking that you’re not good enough and worrying about what people will say. But, in the end, we all felt strongly that we wanted to represent girl skaters in Manchester.
We got together a group including Zoe Tyler, Chrissy Collins, Rachelle Wigham, Connie Gasgoyne, Dina Hein-Hartmann, and myself, and we went out into Manchester to have some fun and do what we love.
I spoke to a few of the team after Weekend in the City was over to get their perspectives on the filming process, and why it was so important to put a girl’s film in to the comp – regardless of our abilities and anxiety. Read on for reflections from some of the girls about the process, and you can watch the edit, affectionately titled ‘Shitty Little Tricks’ (thanks for the title, Dina!) above. We hope you enjoy it!
What convinced you to take part in Weekend in the City?
Zoe: It’s good to represent girl skateboarders in Manchester as real people, who aren’t necessarily amazing at skating, and to show that it’s more about having a good time and having fun. We wanted to promote Manchester as a good laugh, a good cup of tea, good cake, and a good skate.
Connie: Yeah, stopping caring what other people are thinking. It was about saying, ‘we’re girls, we’re skating, and we don’t give a shit’.
Rachelle: I’ve been skating in the Manchester girl scene since the beginning of girl’s night at Projekts and I really just wanted to be involved and represent how much fun we have together.
Chrissy: I mainly wanted to take part because I wanted to spend the weekend skating, and because I hadn’t done any street skating since I took up skating again. I also thought it would push me to try hard for the film and incentivise me to improve.
What was most enjoyable about filming for the edit?
Zoe: If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this, it’s that you’ve got to get your crew together and get out. Street skating’s where it’s at. I’ve had so much fun in the short time we spent filming. There’s nothing better than getting all your girls together, hanging out in the city, falling over, hitting some gravel, eating some cake, having some beers.
Connie: Being around all the girls was great; we don’t get much chance to get together. It’s always fun and a good laugh.
Rachelle: Doing the film got us out of the skatepark and I had so much fun skating and watching others skate street.
Chrissy: It made me realise that I can actually do stuff, and that I should be pleased with what I can do rather than constantly apologising for being rubbish.
What was challenging for you personally as a skater and/or in the making of the film?
Zoe: Everyone’s got conflicting ideas about where they wanna go and what they wanna do. Everyone has different artistic ideas. But, you know, you’ve got to be easy going and just go for it. Also, we were lucky the sun was shining! In Manchester it’s usually raining.
Connie: There is some pressure when you’ve got someone filming you, and knowing that the footage will be publicly available; you get a bit worried about what people will think.
Rachelle: Dropping in off the BBC bank was pretty damn scary! It was really bumpy but I managed it and after I did it I wondered why I had been so scared.
Chrissy: Beast Ramps was impossible! I couldn’t skate there at all.
Why do you feel it’s important to represent the female skate scene in Manchester?
Zoe: I’ve been skating for 10 years now, and sometimes getting shit left, right and centre for it. It’s only recently becoming less and less of a deal to be a girl on a skateboard. The more we skate, the more we put ourselves out there, and the more that will help the scene.
Rachelle: It will hopefully help to keep girls night busy by encouraging new people to get involved. Every girl that comes along to girl’s night brings something with them, in terms of tricks to learn, but also by just being a new face; someone new and super awesome to get on with and skate with.
Chrissy: I think we have to be as visible as possible in order to break the perception that only males can skate. Entering a female team for Weekend in the City is part of that. Hopefully more girls will enter in the future.
Any final words?
Zoe: Go out there and have fun. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, what skills you’ve got, how good you are. As long as you’re with a good group of people you’re gonna have fun and that’s what it’s all about.
If you’re in or around Manchester, why not come down and meet us at our bi-weekly girl’s night at Projekts Skatepark on London Rd?
Details of the next one and future nights can be found here.