Name, Age, Location, Riding since, Filming since?
Bobby K. Carter, 31 years old, worldwide, Riding hardcore since 1992, but an enthusiast since 1987. I have been filming since about 1993.
Tell us your thoughts about the ebb and flow of flatland over the years.
In the 1980s everything related to doing tricks was called freestyle.
Whether it was flatland, ramps, street, or dirt, everyone rode a little of everything. Once the level of difficulty in the various disciplines got to a certain point, people started to specialize in the various disciplines to get to the top level of riding. Also, the bikes became much more specialized for each discipline. As far as tricks go, people are still progressing, probably faster than ever these days with the light bikes and being able to communicate and see Internet videos from around the globe. As far as business goes, flatland marketing is much different than street or ramp riding. So the flatland industry has finally broken off almost completely from street BMX media and distribution. I think we’re really feeling it right now and it’s the first time flatlanders have had to be on their own without the rest of BMX.
What do you like about the current state of Flatland?
The best part about the current state of flatland is that it’s global! These days, it is normal to know riders from around the globe. People are communicating more than ever, which brings us together and makes flatland stronger.
What would you change?
We need cheaper bikes for beginners. Everyone is trying to make Flatland Lamborghini’s and Bentley’s when people need Honda Civics. We need to lower the barriers to entry into flatland for beginners and get the AMs hyped up. A lot of contests seem to be pro-rider centered. That’s good, but there needs to be more for AMs. Amateurs are the future and the consumers of flatland.
How did you get into making flatland films? What´s your favorite part? What´s the worst part?
I saw the Bones Brigade video “Public Domain” back in the day. It was a skate video that hyped me up to go ride my bike around the neighborhood. When I looked at BMX videos, the production quality was well below that of the “Public Domain.” I wanted to make a BMX video with that quality and I wanted to hype people to ride. I started riding flatland more exclusively so I started concentrating on exposing the global flatland community.
My favorite part of making flatland films is when the video concept comes together and exceeds the expectations of the original idea. That happened in Diversion 6.0 with the Yasushi Tanabe section. That only happens once in a while, but when it does, I’m really stoked! The worst part is the production expenses and manufacturing expenses. Also, lugging all that heavy video equipment around the planet gets old.
Tell us about your trip to Thailand. What´s it like making a movie there
Making a movie Thailand is about the same as making a movie anywhere else.
Each place has it’s own unique environment. In Thailand, there’s crazy traffic and it’s hot. The Tuk Tuk’s (3 wheel open air taxi vehicles) are fun! The riders are dedicated and stoked to be filmed!
How do we have to imagine a usual Diversion trip? Do you have a tight plan and know which riders you want to film at which spots before the trip?
The trip usually starts about 6-10 months before I actually step onto the plane. Usually there’s at least one rider I’m in contact with who will let me know about the scene and what’s going on there. I don’t always know all the riders I’ll be filming or the spots. Usually the plan is made once I get there unless I need to book a domestic plane or train ticket in advance to move around the country. The plan usually stays pretty loose. Something always seems to happen that’s unexpected, like a show, a road trip, a festival, or something. Trying to capture enough tricks in a short period of time is usually the real challenge. On top of that, I usually try to come up with some interview questions for the riders. Interviewing in foreign languages can be difficult, but I try to learn some of the rider’s language to ease the process.
What´s the most notable thing that happened while you were there?
Martti Kouppa was hired by the Thai government to train the Thai riders to compete in the Asian indoor games. This was most support for flatland that I’ve ever seen from a government. I hope other governments see this example and support flatland.
For the Cream magazine Martti wrote about the trouble he got into in Thailand. Did you ever really get into trouble at one of your trips? A crazy story you want to share?
Actually, over the past 10 years, I haven’t run into any trouble during my travels. Everyone has been kind and has shown extraordinary hospitality to me. In Thailand, everyone got up at 4AM and came to the hotel to ride in the taxi with me to the airport! I thank everyone around the planet who has helped me along the way!
What´s the flatland scene like in Thailand? How is it different from other parts of the world?
The scene in Thailand seems to be centered around Bangkok. There’s not a lot
of riders like Japan, but the riders are very dedicated. Their skill level
is really high. Besides the Asian X-games there aren’t any major flatland only contests that I know. It seems as though if riders want to compete they have to travel to other countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan. They do have local jams though!
Did one of the riders stand out to you? Is the next Matthias Dandois coming from Thailand?
I didn’t see anyone named Matthias over there (HA! HA!), but watch out for riders named DA, Pop, Way, X, Golf, Whip, and others! These guys are riding everyday!
Tell us about your choice to fore-go DVDs from here on out.
DVD sales across the action sports industry have dropped. People are going online to consume video, not going out to buy DVDs. Diversion videos are very expensive and time consuming to produce. If Diversion videos are to continue, Internet distribution is the only alternative.
Diversion TV has the ability to deliver DVD quality video over the Internet. Through Diversion TV it is cheaper and faster to get the videos to the people all over the planet.
What makes Diversion TV better than other services?
Diversion TV is true uninterrupted streaming. That means there’s no time wasted downloading. The DVD quality videos play right away and you can skip around without waiting for a download. Monthly subscribers have unlimited access the entire library of videos. (No rental time limits.) They can switch videos faster than they can eject a DVD and pull another one out of the case and load it. For the video producers, it gives them another means of distribution and a way to make money to support their productions. Consumers don’t have to pay $30 for each DVD and producers can still earn money.
What´s in the future for Diversion TV?
Macintosh support is being developed right now.
I hope that more professional athletes and companies can understand the benefits of Diversion TV. They can make video sections and earn money from the video rentals without going through the expense of manufacturing DVDs and spending money on the postage.
Do you have a long term plan or some kind of goal at the moment besides offering MAC support?
The long term plan is to keep expanding the library and delivering action sports videos to people around the planet. Eventually, we hope to have the largest database of action sports videos.
How is the industry responding to your effort with Diversion TV? Is it difficult to get people on board?
Many people are enjoying the benefits of being able to have access to a lot of videos for so cheap. It’s not difficult to get people on board once they experience Diversion TV. Diversion TV is a new way to consume videos. For all the Mac people out there, Mac support is coming. Until then, boot camp with windows works perfectly!
Producers are really into the idea. The DVD is fading out year after year and people are searching for a new solution.
So if a rider would like to make some money with his or her next video project. What do you have to do to get a video published on Diversion TV?
It is free to submit videos to Diversion TV. All they have to do is send the DVD or miniDV tape or VHS tape along with the signed distribution agreement (which is available for download on the website under “submit video”) to Diversion TV. It’s simple.
Tell us about your riding.
I live in Los Angeles and ride with the crew out here. Studio City is the main spot. Sometimes I’ll head out to Ocean Park or Zuma beach too. The Los Angeles scene is spread out, so on the weekends, people usually ride together. Weekdays are usually solo sessions. The weather is really good, but the air is polluted in Los Angeles. The traffic is also getting worse. It takes quite a while to meet up with friends.
What is your current set-up?
Sick Child Aquaduct with some Odyssey, Bizhouse, Ares, Magic fruits, 059 and other classic parts.
Besides film and Flatland, what else do you like to do?
Travel, learn languages, and learn about different cultures. I also like playing drums.
Do you play in a band? Can we check out your drum skills on YouTube or somewhere?
I used to play in a Jazz Band and I would often have various friends come over and jam to various styles from funk to metal. I don’t have any online video of that. If you catch me near a drum set, maybe I’ll kick some beats.
Do you think they´ll ever release Rad on DVD?
Probably not, but it would be tight if we could get it for Diversion TV!