That’s way back! Were you in L.A. then?
No, I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I came to Los Angeles, California in 1999 for graduate school and to ride at the beach.
So what schools did you go to? Did you study film?
Yup. I went to University of Michigan for undergrad and studied film/video production and a lot of science. Then I went to American Film Institute to get my masters in motion picture editing.
So who else is putting in work for flatland?
Everyone riding flatland is helping to promote flatland. Anyone making videos, putting on contests, organizing jams, creating websites, organizing photo shoots, entering contests, making products, or writing articles—it all helps flatland. Things are happening in a lot of countries and people are helping each other. It’s awesome. Flatland is going to be really strong in the future if we keep going. I see guys in Japan and Thailand helping people in Singapore. People in the USA helping riders in France and Germany and vice versa. Basically, if you ride flatland and you’re positive, things will only move in a positive direction. The instant you think negative thoughts, things slow down and start moving backwards.
So you’ve seen the game go through a lot of changes over the years, how has flatland changed since, lets say, 1996?In 1996, the Internet was just starting to get out to the public. It was the first time people could communicate cheaply through e-mail and websites. The whole BMX scene was being de-fragmented. For the first time riders around the world could share ideas. The “tamu e-mail list put me in contact with a lot of riders. I went to Singapore for a family vacation and met a bunch of flatlanders on the other side of the planet. Back then, that was on par with going to another planet to find people that were riding flatland! These days, the younger riders have grown up with the Internet. For them, to communicate with riders all over the world seems normal. In ’96 the only way to see what was going on outside of your local area was to look at print magazines and/or VHS tapes and their scope was really limited. Since I had access to some digital video equipment, I was able to post the first BMX video clips on the Internet in 1995. The Internet has gone crazy since then. If you want a more detailed history of Diversion you can check the website and go to the section called Historical Preservation Society.
What scene has left the greatest impression on you?
Japan—without a doubt. There are so many flatlanders there. They are really positive and want to have fun. There’s no drama over there. They have flatland shows in the clubs and they also cater to beginner riders. They have flatland schools and flatland how-to books. Even if the rest of the world fell off, the Japan scene would continue to thrive.
What can the average kid out there do to help flatland?
At the mmoment I’m trying to get Diversion Video Magazine into the Public Library system. I need students to request that their librarians get Diversion into their schools. Then everyone can check out the DVDs for free. Can you imagine going to the school library and being able to check out Diversion 5.0? Make dreams reality!
Tell your librarians to contact:
Quality Books, Inc.
1003 W. Pines Road Oregon, IL 61061
Is there anything else you would like to say?
The only thing that holds us back is our own minds and negative thought patterns. Nobody will choose you—you have to take it upon yourself to move forward. If you learn how to use your mind properly, nothing can hold you down. Make your dreams reality!