Adapt or Die: Troy Adamitis on Twenty Years of Filmmaking


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“Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s not even about the race, it’s the struggle to even get there and line up. All of the people who are in this sport are these ‘salt of the Earth’ types who have sacrificed, and they have a story to tell. That’s what keeps me going.”

 

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For the tenth installment of World of Echo, I got to speak with the man responsible for some of the sport’s most iconic and celebrated works of film. Troy Adamitis took the tools left over from the beginnings of the Crusty Demon’s era and used them to manufacture a new standard for motorcycle films through the next generation: high profile, high quality projects showcasing the sport in its truest form. It’s impossible to imagine who would’ve filled the space taken by Troy and his crew (including our last subject, Ms. Jessica Young), because it’s hard to even imagine not having a collection of the seminal “Great Outdoors” catalog to look back on.

What I took away immediately after our conversation ended was that Troy struck me as incredibly smart. Not to say that I ever had the impression he was unintelligent, but you can usually tell when someone knows what they’re talking about, and when someone is just blowing smoke up your ass. Troy spoke with fervor about his mistakes as an aspiring filmmaker, as well as topics not even related to filmmaking that our conversation landed us in, like the ever-growing disparity between the everyday rider and the sport’s elite. He speaks passionately and carefully, the mark of a true professional.

Anyway, it was surreal getting to talk with Troy. I grew up watching his movies with my cousin Travis, back when we’d have sleepovers at each other’s houses and ride BMX bikes all day pretending we were throwing seatgrab indian-airs like Pastrana and Kenny Bartram. I even borrowed his copy of “TGO 1” recently for an unrelated project, and we were both amazed by how well the movie held up. I haven’t yet told him that I got to chat with Troy, but I’d imagine he’d be excited for me.

I hope you enjoy our conversation. Thanks again, Troy.

Discussion includes: Getting hired into the industry straight out of film school, blowing Fox Racing’s budget on “Frezno Smooth,” missteps with No Fear’s “Chapter 2” and success with “The Great Outdoors” in 2002, the rise and fall of “Supercross: Behind the Dream,” “MX Nation” / “MX Planet,” and much more…

 

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World of Echo: I have no idea where to start with you, Troy. You’re one of the first people I’ve spoken to with a solid history of interviews under their belt, let alone being one of the most recognizable names in motocross filmmaking. I was stumped thinking about what to ask you, so let’s just go back to the beginning. How did you get involved in making movies?

Troy Adamitis: Well, I was going to university in San Jose at San Jose State. I was an environmental studies major because I went into college knowing I wanted to do something in communications, Radio/TV stuff, while also becoming more interested in the environment. This was all back in the nineties, when I became aware of the fact that there’s this crisis going on with pollution, recycling, and all that. I was at the age when I really started to realize how important that stuff was and I thought there’d be a great future in that, because it was something I was passionate about. [Once I dug deeper] I started to find out that being an environmental studies major was very scientific, the only way you could really be successful in environmental studies is if you’re super smart. The only other jobs you could get would be like a management position at a company, so I thought to myself that this path had a bit of a ceiling to it.

I’ve always been kind of a creative person so I started taking some Radio/TV and film classes, which were real basic to start out. How to record, how to shoot with certain cameras in a studio, etc. Part of the curriculum was to go out and make these little five minute films as well, where’d you learn how to load 16mm film, which was still the thing back then. I made a student film and Greg Fox, the president of Fox Racing at the time, he just happened to be at one of the screenings and saw it. They were shooting Terrafirma 2 at the time, so I met them pretty early on and luckily for me they wanted to start shooting on film, so I went on two shoots that winter after I graduated. The first one was at Glamis with team Yamaha which had Kevin Windham, Damon Bradshaw, John Dowd, Doug Henry, and also Mike Metzger at the time. He was there on some three digit bike, still racing at the time as a privateer. He came out and was doing some freestyle tricks over the dunes. I started capturing that, and I think when Fox saw that footage it reminded them of On Any Sunday, which was this classic motocross documentary…

Bruce Brown’s On Any Sunday!

Yeah, Bruce Brown. I just watched that again the other day. No one’s ever gonna do what they did, that’s just a classic. Nobody’s ever going to do that again. One of these days I might try, but no one can touch what he captured at that time. Motorcycles were so much more popular back then.

Right!?

When they were in southern California in 1971 filming at Elsinore, everyone had a motorcycle. People had places to ride… there were entire families on motorcycles! I don’t know if those shots were set up for the film, but I think that’s what everyone wishes the sport could be now, what is was back then. I think we’re all trying to get back there, but the cost of motorcycles and the reduction of accessible land have put us in this situation where only the professionals do it. If you’re doing it, you’re super committed and you’re going to try to be a professional racer. All of the fun is gone now.

I can see that, yeah.

But, anyway… Fox liked the look of film and that’s the look they wanted to go after, so they sent me on the other shoot with Jeremy McGrath and Steve Lamson at Glamis. I kind of knew who Jeremy was at the time, but I didn’t know I was in the presence of a legend. Him launching those sand dunes… I couldn’t even believe that it was possible, that they were able to go that far and control the bike in the air like that. And he was just this normal dude, like, “Hey, go stand over there and watch this!” Then I’d shoot it and go, “Oh my god!”

I was pretty hooked after that. I got a little better on that shoot and came back with better footage. After that I did a mountain bike film called ChainSmoke, when mountain bikes started getting popular. Did a movie called WrathChild, then I went to No Fear with Chapter 1 and The Great Outdoors, which was my first effort to make an actual film and shoot actual motocross racing. That’s kind of how it started. That was a long answer, but that’s how it happened! (laughs) I haven’t had to tell that story in a long time.

So when Fox picked you up, you didn’t have any experience with motocross? You were just a film student chosen based on your filmmaking merits?

Exactly, I had never ridden a motorcycle and I didn’t know the first thing about it. The first time I ever saw a motorcycle race was when Greg Fox was interested in hiring me, he told me about the San Jose supercross. (There used to be a supercross race there in northern California.) He said, “You should come check it out!”

I remember watching it and thinking, “Oh, that’s kind of cool? There’s a lot of people here,” but I didn’t really get it.

I just didn’t understand racing because at the time it was all about freestyle, those Crusty Demons movies were the ones that were selling. But there was something about the racing, even if I didn’t get it, that I wanted to tap into when I did The Great Outdoors. I was really into NFL Films at the time, and the NFL Films of today is much different than the NFL Films of the early 2000’s. Back then it was basically three cameras, some mic’s on the coaches, and they would just film games and capture it in a totally new light. They did a lot of “behind the scenes” stuff: different angles, slow-mo with narration. They had the luxury of taking all of the best moments of that game, and re-piecing it together to tell a story by being able to hear what the players and coaches were saying on the line. You could hear what a tackle sounds like. I really thought that that format and motocross were a perfect marriage. So I thought to myself, “Why not do the same thing that NFL Films is doing?”

 

“I thought [TGO] wasn’t going to be successful. I thought everyone just wanted to see these guys jump and do backflips. Are they going to want to see riders going through corners and blowing up sand berms? Can you maintain that for sixty minutes?”

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They have a guy embedded on the ground, they call him a mole, that’s the guy that’s getting the close ups and all of the real “behind the scenes” type stuff. There’s a guy that’s called a tree, his job is basically to cover the scene, but cover it well. Think tighter than what you’d see on a broadcast shoot, more cinematic. The third position is almost a journalistic style of position where you follow all of the players who are mic’d up on the field. I took that three camera concept and applied it to supercross first, because I thought it would be perfect for supercross, but when I pitched it to them they just didn’t get it. They didn’t want it and they didn’t care. That was kind of a bummer because I thought supercross would have really been the way to document the sport, but I’m kind of glad that it happened that way because that’s how I discovered motocross. That’s how I discovered Glen Helen, Hangtown, RedBud, and Southwick. That’s how I began to understand that motocross was the truest form of the sport, and that’s where the truest fans are. The happy accident of supercross not wanting to do a project like that, motocross was more than willing, they looked at it and saw that it would be great for marketing and they all wanted to support it. That gave me a lot of freedom to try to define what the audience likes and what they want to see. Some of it was my instinct and a lot of it was just from feedback, talking to people and riders.

I thought it wasn’t going to be successful, I thought everyone just wanted to see these guys jump and do backflips. Are they going to want to see riders going through corners and blowing up sand berms? Can you maintain that for sixty minutes? It was a big challenge but it was instantly something that I became passionate about, and I’m still trying to make these better as we go. That’s how the evolution of the story came in and that’s why we’re getting more personal with the riders, less cinematography and helicopters and more storytelling. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s not even about the race, it’s the struggle to even get there and line up. All of the people who are in this sport are these “salt of the Earth” types who have sacrificed, and they have a story to tell. That’s what keeps me going.

That’s interesting to hear that the framework for TGO was lifted from NFL Films. It makes perfect sense, though.

I could never take credit for that format, that format was borrowed from someone else that had figured out a brilliant way to portray sports to the masses, as well as a way to bring non-fans in. If you look at an NFL Films show now, they’ve blossomed, like how I’ve been wanting to do. You look at a show like Hard Knocks, anyone can watch that show. You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy that show. It speaks to the girlfriend’s who don’t understand why their boyfriend’s sit and watch football all day. When they watch Hard Knocks, they can see that these players have families and there’s a struggle. They want to watch the game on Sunday because they’ve found out Phillip Rivers has six kids and he’s this perfect Christian Dad. Most people wouldn’t know that from just watching the game on Sunday, but when you can kind of get more intimate with them, non-fans are more willing to watch because they know who these people are now. That’s what I wanted to do with motocross, and so far it’s gone pretty well. Everyone’s been pretty easy to work with and I think there’s a certain level of trust there. The riders see us working hard on their story to present it in the best possible manner, and they appreciate that. That’s how we’ve been able to keep doing it for so long.

So while you were filming that first run of TGO, you were also filming No Fear’s Chapter 2. This kind of pre-dates that, but I wanted to know what it was like during the WrathChild era being at the forefront of that action sports movement? What was it like making the videos that represented that movement?

It was definitely during that time as well, during TGO and Chapter 2. Chapter 2 didn’t get nearly the same attention that TGO got, so that was a time where my freestyle movies were fading away, they were basically gone after that. I was much more interested in racing than freestyle at that point, so Chapter 2 was the last freestyle movie I ever made, and it’s the worst one I’ve ever made.

I liked it! (laughs)

Oh, you did!?

(laughs) Yeah!

Well, one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed my career is because you’re given a certain amount of money and you have to be creative with it. It’s like going to film school every year, you have “X” amount of money and you have to figure out how to do something that’s good while simultaneously keeping some of it for yourself at the end. I didn’t have a big budget for Chapter 2, and I only had a certain amount of time to film it while TGO was going on, because that’s where my real passion was. Chapter 2 was before the internet really, but I could tell that the attention span of the viewers was getting shorter, so half-hour, shorter documentaries seemed like the way to go. Something someone could just throw on real quick and be done. I didn’t know it at the time [that projects would become so short], but everyone just wants a minute now. That’s all they really want. At that time though I was thinking that we should try to do thirty, or even twenty-minute documentaries with the budgets we were getting.

That was a really short film, Chapter 2, and I didn’t have a lot of time to do it but I was thinking “television.” I want to make something that fits in a thirty minute time slot to try and take this to TV. I think DVD sales were starting to decline around this time as well, VHS too, so I was trying to think of a way to reformat it for television. That’s what Chapter 2 ultimately was, was an experiment to try to make a movie in a half hour time slot with a small budget. I think people didn’t expect that, because Chapter 1 was around fifty minutes and the Crusty movies were still huge. Those were videos though, and I wanted to try and tell that story through a television format. That’s when I started thinking about TV in general, and I didn’t get my first TV show until The Moto: Inside the Outdoors in 2010, but that’s what really set me up to think that this sport could be good for television.

 

 

I think that’s why I like Chapter 2, it’s a freestyle movie, but it kind of deviates from its predecessors that were comprised of soundtrack-heavy montages. Those videos are great in their own right, but I like Chapter 2 for its look into the world of freestyle in the early 2000’s. I think it offers some of the best insight to freestyle. Even movies today don’t go as in-depth, or do it with such accuracy. I can see where some people come from though, such as yourself, in saying that it’s not the greatest.

It didn’t sell well, let’s put it that way. I was definitely embedded in it, though. I went to X Games, I went to Gravity Games. I mic’d up the riders and showed what it’s like behind the scenes the day of an event. That’s how I thought TV should be, there should be a thirty minute TV show about the guys getting ready for X Games, competing, and being there right before they drop down that ramp to do something that’s never been done before. I think the idea was good, and some of those moments were good learning experiences, but I think as a whole package I wasn’t able to pull it off. I made a TV show and sold it as a DVD, so I wasn’t able to get the point across. It ended up on the wrong format, really. I shot a TV show on a shoestring documentary budget and put it out on DVD. So, you’re probably one of the only fans of Chapter 2. I appreciate that!

I’m holding it down out here! The one fan! (laughs) I want to dive a little further into your filmography before we get to the more recent stuff. I don’t know how true this is, but on your IMDb page you’re credited for Frezno Smooth. I’ll be honest, before doing some research for the interview I had only heard of this movie. I knew bits and pieces, like the whole Emig-O’s thing, but I finally sat down and checked it out. It has to be some of the most off-the-wall stuff I’ve ever seen. Not even exclusively in motocross, just in general. I want to know how much of that movie was your input, and how much of it was Adam Barker (M80, Red Bull X-Fighters)?

Well, Adam was the writer and I came on as producer/director.  Once we realized we worked good as a team we abandoned the traditional titles of producer, writer, director and worked together as a collaboration under the pseudonym, The Gut Brothers.  That was a fun time because our egos were in check, there were no power struggles and we were bringing out the best in each other.

I think Frezno was supposed to be for BMX at first, actually. The script was pretty short, but we took it and started to add more. We started adding in scenes, doing this and doing that, and before we knew it were saying, “Hey, let’s do a montage of little people with donuts to open the film.” We just decided we were going to try and make a cult classic, we were going to do something totally different.  It was authentic, we were filming what was actually going on at the time, but at the same time making fun of ourselves as well as the sport.

 

 

That whole project actually ended up being a strain because it kind of ruined the relationship I had with Fox Racing at the time, they didn’t know what to do with Frezno. We were young and had our own ideas on how we should make the movie, so we’d run off and do what we wanted and come back with this crazy footage, then try and justify it. We just kept spending and spending. It was a real eye-opener about being respectful with money and respectful to the companies that are paying you.  It’s great to go out and have fun, but you have to be responsible at the same time. We weren’t, and we didn’t end up with a product they ultimately could sell.  Fox just shelved it because it was way too overboard. Granted, at the time we were doing it for the newly formed company Shift, which we were told was going to be a lot edgier than Fox. Shift sponsored Seth [Enslow] and Emig. I mean, Emig was a great champion, he had a personality. He wore the fro and the cowboy hat, did the shoots with the bikini girls in the jacuzzi. He was definitely living that life, I think we just started to push it way further for shock value and for our own sense of humor. It turned out to be a funny movie, and it’s a time I can look back on and say that I learned a lot, but the end product was a big waste of money for Fox. That was five-hundred grand, four-hundred grand, I don’t know… no one will ever know, but it was a lot at the time and the company that paid for it never was able to recoup the cost.

While it’s unfortunate that Fox couldn’t capitalize on this, in speaking positively about the movie I think it’s very much a product of the time. I kept thinking while I watched it that there’s no way you could put Brian Kranz and Eli Tomac in [Jeremy] Albrecht and Emig’s roles. You couldn’t even imagine Kranz telling Tomac they’re going to slam Jack & Coke’s and hit on some hookers, ON FILM!

Exactly. That’s how much it has changed, and that’s how much I’ve changed, too. In order to keep my career going, the more serious this sport got, the more serious I had to get. I get called out for being too serious about the sport. Kawasaki, Suzuki, Red Bull, they’re big corporate giants and they have a certain reputation, and you have to deliver something that everybody can be proud of.  In order to stay in the game I had to adapt with the times. You’re right, if I wanted to do a documentary on Eli Tomac, it’d be a serious documentary because that is the time we’re in right now. Those guys have to be on top of their game at all times or else they’re not going to win.

The transformation of your work can definitely be seen over time because your work has been a reflection of the sport, but those times before the shift to professionalism fascinate me because I wasn’t really around for it. I was only five years old when Chapter 2 came out. Whenever I get to talk with someone who was there I like to explore that because that’s an interesting time to me.

It really was. Not only [in motocross], everything started to change when the internet started to come in. A lot of things changed during those times, and if you weren’t able to adapt you were seriously getting left behind. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to re-invent the things that I do in a time where everything is so readily available on the internet, and to work with people like Red Bull now has been something I’ve always wanted. They want shorter programming, but they also want it to be high quality. They’re modern and current, they have a platform that kids want to watch, and I still get to do my high quality stuff. That’s just the nature of the business, it’s just been a reaction of what the consumer wants. I have a feeling that my projects are going to get shorter and shorter as times goes on. That’s the reality of the attention span. That’s why I did TGO last year for the first time in like, seven years, I wanted to feel what it was like to do an hour long movie again.

 

“If you don’t understand what the people who are spending the money want, then you don’t have a choice. You can still tell good stories, you just have to tell them a lot faster. Those are the times we’re in… Everyone just wants a minute now.”

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You say your work is going to continue to get shorter. How do you feel about that?

Well, there’s nothing you can do about it. Let’s put it this way, if I went to Fox Racing, Fly Racing, any of the gear sponsors. Say instead I went to any of the manufacturers and I said, “Hey, I want to make a sixty-minute documentary and put your logo on the front of it.” They’d go, “Ah, that’s great! But we don’t have any money.”

If I were to instead say, “Hey, I want to make sixty one-minute pieces. Let’s just say fifty-two. Every week I’m going to put up a one-minute, high quality piece representing your brand.” They would be way more into that than a sixty-minute documentary.

If you don’t understand what the people who are spending the money want, then you don’t have a choice. You can still do good stuff, you can still tell good stories, you just have to tell them a lot faster. Those are the times that we’re in. People in marketing that want to spend money on stuff that I do, they want shorter stuff. They want something that’s going to get passed around on social media. There are still some people that understand the value of a larger project, but for your day job? Shorter projects are where you’re going to get work. That’s why you see so many kids out there on social media, kids who have figured it out and are making a living doing shorter stuff. That’s the nature of where we’re at, it doesn’t bother me.

Really?

Doesn’t bother me, no. I think if it bothered me, then I’d just be going backwards. If I just want to make films then maybe I could, but I think you can more easily find someone who is interested in one-minute of content that’s badass. That’s just where we’re at.

That surprises me! Personally, I’m not a fan of the trend we’re on, it is something bothers me. I find it interesting that you don’t feel the same given that you made your career on films, the “marketable movie.” I just assumed you’d have more of an attachment to that than I would.

I mean, if I bitched about it then that would just show my age, that would just mean that I’m old and I’m not ready to accept what’s really happening. When I see my nieces and nephews watch content, they have short attention spans and are always on their phones watching quick little videos. If I tried to preach to them to sit down and watch ninety-minutes of something or sixty-minutes of something, I would just be a dinosaur. I could be one of those guys, be a “purist” or a grumpy old man saying, “This is the way we used to do it!” But, I can’t do that. If I want to keep a living I have to adapt, we all do.

I feel like I could go on and on with TGO, it’s your most popular series and it is certainly your most recognizable work. I almost want to save that for another time though, we could do a whole interview on the TGO series. What I want to do instead is skip ahead to Behind the Dream in 2014. I think what you did with that was leagues above anything else at the time that, even today, it’s such a moving program. I think the show even continued on as Behind the Dream but you weren’t involved?

Right.

Yeah, it just wasn’t the same, but that run in 2014 was nothing short of amazing. I can’t even lie, that fifth episode where you captured Adam Cianciarulo getting his first SX win, I seriously cried. Full on, wept at the TV screen because that’s every kid’s dream! Any kid who has ever thrown a leg over a motorcycle has dreamed about turning pro and winning their first supercross race, and Adam lived it. What was it like capturing that and capturing that season as a whole?

That family is amazing, and honestly that [situation] just worked out. We filmed that family a lot. You have Alan, his father, and we all know Adam and what a great kid he is. He’s funny and he’s got the best attitude. His Dad was always portrayed as hammering him and being really tough on Adam, basically holding his son accountable. He’s saying, “Hey, you know what? You’re the one making me go to the track everyday and taking you to the races. You better not quit on me now. You’re not going to quit on me, are you?” That’s how his Dad always went back to Adam, he said, “You promised me you were going to put all you have into this, and now I don’t think you are. And I wasted all this time on you…” His Dad wasn’t hard on him, he was just honest with him. So we got to capture all of that, and for him to go win his first supercross race, it was… it never happens like that, let’s put it that way. You can build and prepare a really great story, but you never know how it’s going to end. With documentaries, you just don’t know.

 

“When [Feld] came in for the second season, they actually wanted me to do sixteen episodes. I showed them what it would take to make sixteen episodes like that and they said I was crazy.”

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I think that was one of the few times where we picked the right story, were in the right place at the right time, and just happened to be there. That’s the thing, because a lot of times we’re there when that doesn’t happen, then you have to scramble to try and make sense of what we got. That’s the good and bad thing about documentaries and that’s what makes them exciting, you can spend a ton of money developing a good story but it can just peter out. Most of the time we spend money on a story the rider ends up injured on the couch, and that’s how it ends. But yeah, Behind the Dream was special because I knew it was an opportunity to really get to the heart of the sport on a major network. The show, just like what I said with Hard Knocks, it’s now the boyfriend who’s totally into racing… or the son, the kid, or the husband. He can sit the wife down and say, “This is why I love the sport, just watch this.” And that was the goal with Behind the Dream.

Nate Scribner, who was the editor and the writer, brilliant guy, was with me on that project. Together, he and I worked well. I would shoot and he would take what he saw and write a nice copy of what we’re seeing and what we’re not seeing. It just worked out really well. I don’t think that Feld [Entertainment] really had the capacity to keep that going, though. We did something on a major network and people liked it, but I just don’t think that that was something they were willing to keep paying for, them being in the shorter program television business. When they came in for the second season, they actually wanted me to do sixteen episodes.

Oh my god!

The first season was only five episodes, and they wanted sixteen! They asked me to make a budget for sixteen episodes and I was like, “Really?” When you’re doing sixteen episodes back to back throughout the season, the race happens and a week later a half hour show is there with the same quality as before, I began to think, “Ok, I need a crew in Florida. I need a crew in California. We need this, we need that.” The budget ballooned to a point where it just didn’t make sense. I showed them what it would take to make sixteen episodes like that and they said I was crazy. I said, “But this is what HBO’s 24/7 does, this is what Hard Knocks does, these are the budgets that they work with and this is the turnaround time they have so you need the staff to do it.” But they thought, “No way.”

They asked if I could make something less-polished instead. I thought, “…I don’t know, man.” What was I supposed to do, make something not as good because there’s less money? It wasn’t appealing, you know? It was like they were asking me, “Just try half as hard and turn it in, then we’ll give you the money to do that.” That was kind of what the alternative was and I just didn’t like that. Why not just make five more really good ones and put the money into that? Ultimately I think they ended up doing eight episodes and they hired another company to do it. I didn’t really watch them or anything but, yeah. That was another time where we had something going really good and money just got in the way of it. You have to fly to every event because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. We can go to some events and nothing cool happens, so you have to burn a lot of film when shooting a documentary, you can’t half ass it because then you don’t cover the story right. You don’t have a camera on the mom crying, freaking out because her son just won his first supercross race. If you don’t have the budget, you only have a camera pointed at the track, and you’re missing the most important part. You need three or four cameras out there so you can cover all of your bases. We couldn’t do that on Feld’s sixteen episode budget. If we can’t do it right, why do it at all?

 

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AC’s story arc in 2014 capped off an incredible five episode run.

 

That’s a bummer to hear it didn’t work out. Like you said, I didn’t watch the next season either. It just wasn’t as good. From the second that cheesy narrator comes on, you just know.

I just think that it was another opportunity that they didn’t want to go all-in on the way I wanted to go all-in on, that’s where it broke down. If we’re going to go for it, let’s really go for it. Let’s make something just as good as 24/7. Let’s really try to bring in new fans, this is one way we could do it. We could bring in new fans through these shows and make them care about the sport. We were doing it, we were definitely on our way until the plug got pulled, but… that’s alright.

Their loss I suppose?

Eh, they do fine. They don’t need it. They really don’t need that kind of show. If their goals are different, and my show doesn’t help them reach those goals… I don’t know. It’s not my company. They can do whatever they want.

I guess strictly regarding entertainment, they don’t need your version of Behind the Dream, but I think at the very core of the sport you need to get these outsiders interested, and more importantly get them to ride so they could possibly begin a career towards Feld’s Monster Energy Supercross. I race a decent amount at the local level, and while I don’t believe we’re in dire straits just yet, it wouldn’t be completely out of the question if the bottom of the sport just fell out in the future.

But they don’t really care about that, that’s not really their problem. They’re going to get twenty guys to line up on that gate. There’s always going to be twenty guys to make the sacrifice to get to that gate. Maybe they care about growing supercross and getting more eyeballs on supercross, but I don’t think there’s any investment or any care in the fact that only a handful of people are showing up to the local races, when before there were hundreds. I don’t think that’s their problem, and I don’t think that their resources are going to go towards solving that. We can’t blame them, because all their doing is putting on a race series with the best twenty guys in the sport.

I think we’re talking about two different things. I think that may be more of a manufacturer problem, that’s kind of their problem, right? Less people are buying bikes and less people are riding. The manufacturers are the ones who really need to prioritize that, or it’s just going to go in the opposite direction. The bikes are going to be for the people that have money and want to be professional racers. It’s going to be more specific, and it’s going to target a higher-end clientele, as opposed to your average person. I don’t know, that’s a big argument and I don’t really know what the solution is. It’s two different things, Feld investing into a program that showcases their stars and the struggle to get there, and the problem with the fact that there aren’t that many people riding anymore. I just think it isn’t their problem.

It’s just a shame, I guess. At the end of the day it stinks that it has to even be discussed. We could probably talk about that for hours, but…

I’m not really good at the whole politics thing, figuring out what’s wrong with the sport. I have my opinions, but the way I operate is that I’m available to anyone who wants to tell their story, or any story. I try to do the best I can and appreciate their time and their budget. I feel like if I really had any opinions a certain a way I might not get those opportunities, so I try to stay neutral and appreciate what’s given to me. I can’t blame Feld for how they want to run their business.  They have enough going on to where they shouldn’t be worried about making Behind the Dream better.

I understand. So, what’s up with the rest of the year? We spoke about it briefly at RedBud. You’re going to be here for the MXoN?

We are in our fourth season of MX Nation. The first episode actually airs today (Friday, July 27th) and will air every two weeks after for five episodes. We are doing some cool stories this year and one that sticks out to me is the episode we are doing on the Cycle Trader team. They are the underdogs in the pits and whenever one of their riders does well, they are snapped up by another team with a bigger budget. I always wanted to know what that was like for the Cycle Trader owners and how they can financially do it year after year. I also have a new Red Bull project called MX Planet that is a six episode series on the MXGP’s. We leave for that next week and Lommel will be our first event. I am really excited about trying to create a show that will do justice to the World Championships. It will be a challenge because I will be starting new relationships and dealing with language barriers, but I kind of like the chaos! (laughs) It keeps me motivated. It will be interesting to find out what the rest of the MX world wants as far as content, because that is who MX Planet is for, the European audience. The Americans are going to be involved in the last episode at the Motocross of Nations, but it’s going to be more focused on Cairoli, Herlings, Paul Jonass, Jorge Prado, a lot of those guys. It’s going to be about their experience of coming to America and what it’s like, so the European audience can kind of look through their eyes. I’m going to try and see it from their perspective as well. It goes against [what I want], (laughs) because of course I want the Americans to pull it off, but I want to make sure it’s from their perspective of, “Can we beat the Americans?” The Americans are going to almost be the nemesis on MX Planet, or the “bad guys” the Europeans are trying to bring down. It’ll be an interesting angle, I think. I can’t wait to see it all unfold at RedBud in October!

 

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