Years ago, when someone started to reach a level of talent with their skateboarding, and had a desire to try and pursue it as a profession, one would film and send out a VHS tape to a company that they liked and believed in. This was called a “Sponsor Me” tape. There wasn’t internet access like there is today, so it had to be sent via USPS. It usually would cost between $5-$25 to mail, depending on the transit time you wished it to arrive. You waited for the team manager or brand to get back to you, if they did at all.
Let’s fast forward to the present day. Every brand has an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Web address. Every kid has a cellphone with video and internet capabilities. The number of “Sponsor Me” requests that are sent out daily are astronomical. Most are so awkward and pitiful that they hardly warrant a response, let alone get looked at.
We have decided to make a list of things NOT to do when sending a sponsor me DM.
1.DO NOT forget to change the name of the last company you sent your DM to.
Kids. We all know you are sending hundreds of these out per day, but don’t let the brand KNOW that’s what your doing. The first thing a brand wants is loyalty, so the least you can do is pretend like you know the brand and think they’re cool. Get this one wrong and your crooked grind body varial is sure to never be seen.
2.DO NOT say that you need a sponsor because your family is poor and you can’t afford to buy product.
Cry me a river. Everyone is poor. Especially the smaller brands that you kids think are easier to ride for. This line never works, and makes you look stupid when it is followed by “Sent from my iPhone 7 plus”. How about you sell the phone, get a flip phone, and buy a deck from your local shop? No? Well, your not as poor as you thought then, are you?
3. NO SKATEPARK FOOTAGE
This should probably be #1, but if you obey the first 2, you should at least get your footage looked at. Now, sponsors don’t really care about someone skating a pre fab park in their hometown. Get down in the streets, or go home.
4.Make sure your filmer doesn’t suck.
One of the worst things is watching a poorly filmed “Sponsor Me” video. It’s bad enough most of them are little kids in their driveways, but add a shaky camera to the mix and its like having a case of motion sickness. If your filmer can’t handle holding a camera, chances are you’re not good enough to have a real filmer capture your skating.
5. Keep the edit to 2 minutes or less.
This one is key. It’s bad enough watching most in the first place, but even for a talented skater, sending in 6 minutes is a bit overwhelming. In all honesty, someone knows after the first 1-2 clips if they are even going to keep watching. If I saw a 6 minute tape, I would ignore it. Who has time for that?
6.Make sure to rep the companies product that you’re sending the tape to.
This one will eliminate you getting a rude response. If you are already supporting the brand in your footage, that means the world to a potential sponsor. If you were to send a tape to The Killing Floor, and aside from not being a vegan, you were decked out in Plan B and DGK gear, you’re probably not going to get an answer, or will get told to send your tape to those brands. At least if you’re wearing the gear, the brand may tell you points to work on, and to possibly send a tape back in the future….
Not the end of the world, but it also looks better if you take the time to spell at least 1/3 of the words correctly. Put in a little effort to make it seem like you’re trying to be a professional. It also makes it easier for the potential sponsor to actually read your message and make sense of it.
8.DO NOT try and use leverage to get a sponsor.
Don’t start off your “Sponsor Me” message by saying “If you sponsor me, I will get your boards in my local shop”. This is not what a brand wants to hear. Obviously you are buying boards at the shop now, and if you want to ride for a brand, it should be their boards you are buying. Basically it comes off as “Your brand is cool for free, but I usually buy Primitive”. Getting the boards in your shop prior and possibly riding for a shop are better ways to start a relationship with a brand.
9.Make sure your skating makes sense to the brand you’re sending it to.
It wouldn’t make much sense to send a hardflip down a 20 set to a brand such as Traffic, as much as it wouldn’t make sense to send a wall ride from a cellar door to a brand like Plan B. You can be the best skater on the planet, but if a brand can’t market your skating to its clientele, it’s worthless to sponsor you. There is a reason Zero guys usually have all black on and skate rails, while DGK usually sponsors suburban white kids with inflated 90’s skate shoes.
This is the most important. If you’re actually good at skating, sponsorship will most likely come along without sending footage out. For the exceptions where you live out of the way, or not in an area where your favorite brand resides, the “Sponsor Me” is a great way for them to see your skating and possibly send you some product to represent them. From my own experience, you can usually notice right away if someone is good or not.