Who is Steel City Media?
The Joe Bowman Interview
Photos by Callum Wood, Duncan Philpott & “Mad Dog” Boris
In an age of incessant video content being released weekly, few media outfits have the ability to create memorable content. Steel City Media happens to be on that list. With fun, captivating series like This is Peaty, the Sheffield-based company has managed to do just that. Our interests are always piqued when we see a Steel City flick about to drop. Wanting to know more about the lads, we dropped a line to Steel City foreman, Joe Bowman for some insight into the other MTB export from Sheffield town.
TLW: Who is Steel City Media?
JB: Steel City Media is a film production and digital marketing company based out of Sheffield in the UK (God’s own country) and is headed up by myself. Depending on the size of the project, there’s normally a small crew of trusted friends/ freelancers brought in to tackle things. My old mate Duncan Philpott is normally on site to capture everything imagery wise, as long as he’s not fishing haha.
TLW: Tell us a bit about yourself and your role?
JB: I guess from the start there’s never been any specific ‘roles’ unless it’s a slightly bigger job where you can step back a bit and direct others, but to be honest I love to get involved with every aspect of filming and struggle to sit back and be just a lump directing from a chair. I should probably learn to delegate a bit better to reduce stress sometimes.
Keeping busy and getting involved with all aspects of production can also keep things fresh because you’re always learning new stuff and just trying to make things happen. Filming, editing, pre-production planning, marketing, social and everything else can all become pretty personal I think. And when you’re producing things for clients I’ve worked with for a long time, I always want to kill it for both them and myself.
Photo: Callum Wood
TLW: What was the catalyst the led to the creation of your group?
JB: To be honest I think it was out of last minute necessity and panic, hahaha!
Back in 2012 when I was still a wee squid, Steve Peat asked me if I fancied ‘making some web videos’ with him and a few weeks later I was on a flight to the first World Cup… SCM was basically born out of needing to put a name to producing those videos I guess?! Looking back, it was probably a good move setting up a legit business because it definitely looks way bigger from the outside than it actually is, hahaha.
TLW: What is your favorite thing to film?
JB: Filming with close mates is usually the best, especially when both you and the rider are psyched on the idea and really want to smash it. I’ve always been a big believer in trying to make sure the rider is always stoked on what you’re doing. I try to look after their opinion during shoots, because if they’re not happy, then the riding won’t be as rad and the final product ain’t gonna do either of you any favors.
Over the years filming with Rat and Steve we’ve definitely had more than a few standout moments from the, “This is Peaty” days. I also loved shooting a bit closer to home with Craig Evans (Hardline Champ). Swinny for Hope Tech and Cotic Bikes has been rad too. I’ve always been really fortunate to shoot with some of the most fun and creative riders, which has definitely helped shape the way we do things.
TLW: During a typical day on location, what are your biggest obstacles?
JB: Honestly, the biggest obstacles are normally happening before the shoot. Developing elaborate ideas, logistics, or even just getting the actual go ahead for things takes up so much time and is definitely the gnarliest part of filming. No one really gets to see, but without nailing all of the above, you’re shoot isn’t going to go too well.
Living on the side of tracks at World Cups, I guess the classic problem is missing your rider when you’ve stood in the same spot for over an hour! Always a classic squid issue. Like any job, I guess it’s just one big learning curve as you go along and all the above things have definately gotten easier over time.