One Step Beyond

While there have been a handful of how-to skateboard videos over the years, 411VM’s latest venture aims to raise the bar. First Step is spearheaded by Dave Metty, Steve Douglas, and Salman Agah-and with their good-willed ambition, they’re already changing the realm of instructional videos.

“We give them (first-timers) a skateboard and expect them to get it (how to skate), but we don’t help them get it,” says Douglas, co-founder of 411 Productions. “We spend so much money bringing in customers, we can’t (afford to) lose them.”

Douglas adds, “The most important thing for us with First Step is to break it (each trick) down. Our vision is to have a specialist approach. You’ve go to break it down, and it needs to be explained, because a lot of the kids need to know. The videos are very educational.”

Agah says the idea for First Step wasn’t his or Metty’s: “It’s really kind of Douglas’ passion-something he’s been wanting to do for years, and talking with Dave (Metty), we just formed this team.”

What they have planned, explains Agah, is an encyclopedia of instructional videos. He admits that while there have been a number of individuals and companies who’ve done instructional videos over the years, First Step is much different: “They’re (the others) what we call the general practitioners. We’re what we call the specialists-the surgeons, as we like to break it down. We just want to be more in-depth in every way.

“We just want to expose kids to skateboarding culture and help them to realize that skateboarding can be a part of their life, and that they can skate for a lifetime,” Agah says.

Metty is also the skate-camp director at the long-running YMCA’s Visalia Skateboard Camp in Sequoia, California, which offers a video internship program. And it’s there that Metty found the First Step video production team. “The First Step production team has been born out of the Visalia video internship program,” says Agah.

The first in the series of First Step videos, appropriately titled Getting Started will be released this summer. It features Richard Mulder, Greg Myers, Ryan Sheckler, and Agah himself.

Asked where the instructional videos will be sold, Agah says he hopes to see them in every retail outlet, both ‘core shops and more mainstream stores: “I believe they’re going to be in Best Buy and Tower Records. Basically, we want them to be available for everyone.”

Each video will run for approximately an hour, and the First Step crew is aiming to release four videos a year. “I hope it’s not just ‘I think my baby’s cute syndrome,'” says Agah. “We want it to appeal to all skaters. Ultimately, we want to have an instructional video for all levels of skaters. Different pros specialize in certain aspects of skating, and we want to showcase that.”

However, the First Step crew seems to have a lot of big plans. “First Step is the ultimate trick-tip revolution,” Agah says, “because we get so many requests for trick tips, we’re doing a trick-tips video featuring what the kids want to learn. It’s called All Request Trick Tips.

“As much as we want everyone to watch our video, it’s very clear that this is for the newcomer to skateboarding, and it’s a product for the beginner. We really want to get kids skateboarding for life, and to do that, we want to get First Step in the hands of kids who don’t skate,” Agah explains.

Douglas reiterates the importance of working with kids to maintain their interest in skateboarding throughout their lives, rather than introducing them to a skateboard and walking away. “The obvious intent is to make these kids skateboarders for life and to never quit,” he reflects. “If we’d released these videos maybe four or five years ago, perhaps our industry wouldn’t be facing the slump it is now.”