Storytelling is a unique thing. It’s all around us, at all times of the day and night, yet it’s very easy to disregard. I would argue that all of us are storytellers to some level. Whether it’s water cooler talk at the office or writing some long-winded Instagram caption (hey, that sounds like me), we tell each other stories all of the time. However, when you decide you want to be a professional storyteller (specifically within filmmaking), you can quickly realize there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Within the realm of filmmaking, storytelling is one of the many art forms happening at once. From the cinematography, to the lighting designs, the production design, wardrobe, sound design, and more; each department is telling a story and helping to further push the main story which is that of the main character(s).
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of younger motocross filmmakers reach out to me for advice. Often, their main question is how to make this job a career. Often, my answer is as follows, “Telling stories, not Instagram bangers.” While the Insta Bangers have their place in our world, it is a career decision with instant gratification and a shorter financial life span than that of a nat.
If you want to be at the levels of individuals like Wes Williams and myself, you have to learn story. Our clients don’t hire us for Instagram bangers, they hire us to tell the stories of their athletes and/or brands. So, when up-and-coming moto filmmaker, Garrett Poll, reached out to Wes and I about a small documentary series he was shooting on his own volition, and wanted our input, it brought Wes and I great joy. Granted, we probably didn’t provide him with enough time (at least on my end) that he deserved with the feedback, but we did what we could with how crazy the last year has been with work (Garrett, one day you will understand this, I promise).
Garret is now set to release a unique series called, Coalescence, right here on vurbmoto. The series is about the local, amateur motocross scene. But, not the scene with the delusional kids who think they are the next Ryan Dungey. It’s, well… Here is what the man behind the project, Garrett, himself had to say about its origins…
“This project is the culmination of two separate series of events. The first was interacting with friends and family outside of the sport. Becasue I raced motocross, they would make comments about how good I must be at racing dirt bikes. The reality was that I raced as a mid-level C class rider (at best). I got the feeling people who had never experienced local racing maybe thought it was intimidating.” Garrett continued, “It leads me to the second series of events, which was racing my local series (the RMX Series) on and off for the past 10 years.
“If you know me, then you know I’m pretty shy and keep to myself, especially in a crowd. However, when I’m at the races, I love the opportunity to get to know the guy next to me in staging or on the gate. Mainly because it’s so easy to start a conversation. ‘Hey man, is that a 2022? Have you done anything to the suspension or motor? What made you choose those parts? What do you do for work? Are you local?’ I’ve met so many great people from different backgrounds and skill levels at the races this way. It’s really made me appreciate the variety of stories from each rider and why they come out to races.”
Garrett’s not wrong. The local racing scene provides a unique opportunity to cultivate new relationships with individuals that have the same interests as you. While my passion for riding a dirtbike has died faster than Wes smashing the “decline” button when I attempt to call him, I still love the sport, and I do wonder what makes those that race the local scene for the right reasons (fun) want to do it despite the risk vs reward.
As Garret explains, he wanted to show a different aspect of motocross racing, “I wanted to create a small docu-series that would highlight the fact that local racing isn’t just a bunch of kids trying to be the next big thing in professional motocross. Instead, it’s a community of diverse individuals who enjoy friendly competition against one another on the weekends, regardless of how fast or stylish they are. These are the people who keep this sport alive, and they are a big reason why I love hanging out at the races.”
And with that, we have the origin story of Coalescence. It’s a unique approach to the local racing scene, and it is also a great subject to tackle when first starting out in the storytelling side of filmmaking. Now, how exactly did Garrett go about shooting this project? We’ll share that in the following article where he explains a story or two that hits a little too close to home for ol’ Art Dog.