Titling a video with such an all-encompassing name like “The Michigan Video” is a pretty daring move, and I was unsure of what to think. To me, the name suggests that it is the sole video to come out of The Mitten State and therefore had some pretty big shoes to fill.
Although the intro sequence initially caught me off guard (even going so far as to making sure I had started the video from the beginning) after watching it a second time, it made sense. Cory Wiergowski is not a new name on the scene by any means, but his opening part definitely cemented his name as one of the burlier riders of our day. His second-to-last clip was all at once completely unexpected, mind-blowing and definitely something that is NBD to my eyes. His last clip is just ridiculous. Connor Keating comes through with some of the crazier crank arm grinds to date (super smoothly too, I might add). Up-and-comer Mikey Tyra (whose section went online not long after the release of the video) made quite a name for himself, with his first line as one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen. Tyler Fernengel, another one who needs no introduction, completely destroyed every gap and rail in sight, and just as the smoke cleared and I thought the video was over, Nick Bullen came out of left field, screaming loudly “NOPE! THIS AIN’T OVER!”. There’s a good reason that he just got put on Subrosa pro and his ender section proves it.
When it was all said and done, I felt like the name was justified and after talking a bit with Cory and Alex Burnside (filmer/editor) about the creation, it was apparent that they really had no other choice.
Where in Michigan is everyone from?
Cory: Every person in the video that has a full part claims Detroit but a few guys are from neighboring cities like Dearborn, Taylor and the Bullen brothers are from Lapeer.
Did all you guys grow up riding together?
Cory: Nick and I grew up riding together because we’re from northern michigan. Than we both moved down to Detroit area and met everyone down there about 5 years ago. Everyone else grew up together though like all the young dudes Connor, Mikey, Tyler, burnside etc. Than when they started to all grow up we kind of all became homies just from all of us riding transitions skatepark together on a daily basis. It’s crazy to see all of them grown up and killing it. I swear, it feels like just the other day I was giving Tyler pointers on tail whips now he’s like the best rider ever.
Alex: I grew up riding and filming with Connor Keating, but didn’t meet anyone else in the crew until maybe 3 years ago when I made indoor park videos at TRP. That was my first work with Cory, Nick, Govan, dudes like that.
All photos courtesy of TMV
“The Michigan Video” is a pretty bold name- Did you include riders/crews from all around the state?
Cory: Every weekend I’d just send a mass text message to the normal crew asking if they wanted to go to X city for the weekend and tell them how much it’ll cost each. Whoever replied saying they were down would be at my house Friday morning and we’d go. Just stay in cheap hotels and film good times every weekend all over the state of michigan hence the name “the Michigan video”. It was supposed to be more focused on the spots around michigan and film the dudes from the area riding them. Southeast michigan is easily the epicenter of the bmx scene here. There’s still a little scene in Lansing including Luke Swab, Brian Block and a bunch of other little shredders coming up. The Grand Rapids crew kind of fell apart but the dudes I link up with there are Alex Burgnon and Jordan Youngs, those dudes are rad. The west side of michigan holds it down with dudes like Tyler Ellis, Pat Ellis, Chance Garrison, Alex Elko, Kyle Line and the rest of the holland crew. They’ll usually travel together, they’re the only other “true crew” in michigan right now other than our crew that has been kind of dubbed the ” tmv crew” as of late. There was a good scene in traverse city, MI with Steven Ramos, Domke, Marcus, Mikey and a bunch of others but it kind if fell apart after there indoor park closed. As for not including people in the video, Alex and I would film everyone and anyone willing to ride in front of our lens.
How long did you film for? Were there any major setbacks/injuries?
Cory: We ended up filming for about 7 months we set out to get it done in one year because we didn’t really want to just sit on footage for a whole winter in order to film for 2 years. We def sat down a few months and all talked about filming for 2 years but we didn’t all want to stay in michigan as much this year and we had enough footage at the end of the year to make it happen, everyone killed it. There were only a couple set backs during filming, Tyler broke his foot trying that half cab in his intro. Which put him out for about 3 months. That was the only real injury the whole year other than rolled ankles and Nick got knocked out trying this big kinked rail in suttens bay. The last month or so of filming we only had one camera because one of our dvx’s broke and we didn’t care to get it fixed but even that wasn’t really a set back. We got lucky, everything kind of fell into place.
Was every single clip filmed in Michigan?
What was the inspiration for the intro?
Alex: The inspiration for the intro actually came from Cory. We were sitting in my room one night trying to find a good song for the intro and he must have had an epiphany because it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole video. I really wanted to break some stereotypes people had for the video and we felt like a raw intro would fit well with our theme and also break the mold for what a ‘normal’ intro usually is.
Is there any one outstanding story behind a certain clip?
Cory: So many stories that I don’t know where to start. When we went on a trip to the upper peninsula for a week, I had prior knowledge of this reservoir spot that my friend Scott Wanhala took Tony Neyer to last year to shoot that primo advert. So while we were in Marquette (about 9 hours from Detroit) Scott hit me with a google earth location, little did we know the spot was at a federal water reservoir about 45 min deep into the woods with a mile long hike after you’re there. I don’t know I’ve never been to a spot with an adventure like that. It’s so rewarding in the end. There were multiple 2 or 3 hour trips we took just to film one trick on a certain set up. We drove to suttens bay about 5 hours north of Detroit to check out this big kinked rail that Nick wanted to check out that ended up knocking him out, that was the scariest thing ever to witness your friend lifeless at the bottom of a rail without a hospital in site.
What gear did you use?
Alex: We were pretty strict on filming and which cameras were used, we wanted to keep a similar feel and style throughout the entire video. We relied on two DVX100B’s for the entire course of filming. We fell in love with them, they’re built like tanks and have an awesome fisheye option. We used an Opteka fisheye rather than a Century mkII because of the cost and ease of replacement for inevitable lens hits.
How long did the video take to edit?
Alex: Editing only took about 2 months miraculously. I started editing early November and finished on December 22nd. We had to get the master copy out to our chosen distributor by the 23rd in order to have our copies ready by the 11th of January for the video premiere at TRP. We got the copies the day before the premiere, it was way too stressful.
What’s the deal with Nick Bullen’s last clip? It’s definitely a novel idea.
Alex: It was super windy that day and we all knew it needed to get done then as bad weather and winter were closing in on us. Nick grinded the rail a few times to get loosened up, then tried to get mentally ready for the clip. He went down the rail a few times feeling out the first part, then finally stuck one right off the end of the rail, couldn’t have been more perfect. Everyone tripped out and he ran back up the stairs, got lined up for the banger and a huge gust of wind hit him about 15 feet before the ledge. He was so mad and everyone was bummed. We were going to just take the rail trick and call it, but I pushed the issue a little farther and convinced him that the double banger would be so worth it in the end, and that I’d make it worth his effort. Once he got back up and pulled the clip seamless, I knew who would get the ender section. Nick is the dude and put in so much work and he totally deserved it.
Are you guys planning on making another video?
Alex: As of right now, we have no plans for another project as big as The Michigan Video. It was a miracle things came together as well as they did this year and I know that won’t be able to happen in the near future. Too many dudes in the crew have plans to move or get jobs or do things outside bmx so it’s hard to commit to a big project. But we’ll be filming, that’s for certain. The world will just have to wait and see what we come up with.
How did the “Project After Hours” video come about?
Alex: The After Hours video was super fun to make. Basically, Cory does some work for Ron Thomas, who owns the shop we filmed in. Ron has been working on some really cool projects based around his Xtreme Builders business and his work with AGA Nation and Rise Above BMX. Hopefully you’ll be able to see more of his work soon, I can assure you it’s pretty cool. So Ron was down to support us with the space and time to film a video. Putting Ron’s support together with Cory’s welding ability, we were able to get the project done in a few short weeks.
The Michigan video is available here for just ten bucks and I highly suggest you buy it. It’s still early in the year but I guarantee this one will make lists for 2014.