Between September 2010 and January 2014 I made over 60 episodes of the internet documentary series Behind The Barriers. Over those four years the show chronicled the rise of pro cyclocross racer, Jeremy Powers, from consistent domestic podium threat to the most dominant racer in the U.S. and World Cup top 10 contender. It was an incredible thing to experience for me, both personally and professionally. As a filmmaker, I was able to capture this exciting character’s life very intimately. More so than I feel most people would be comfortable with. And I was also able to witness, first hand, someone I’ve always considered a good friend actually reach the meteoric goals he had set for himself.
Another one of the main themes that the show documented over the years was the growth of the relationship between Jeremy and his trusted mechanic, Tom Hopper. This relationship is now almost four years strong. BTB showed these two as travel partners, friends, co-workers, and everything in between.
A couple months ago I started talking to the good people at SRAM about doing a three video series to promote some of their products for the cyclocross season. The videos were meant to be in a documentary style, being both personal and informative about their products. I immediately knew that we had to make them about the rider/mechanic relationship. As we continued planning, I learned that SRAM wanted the first video to be about Powers and Hopper. At first I thought, “oh man, I’ve already beaten that relationship’s story like a dead horse.”
I considered it a challenge to bring new things to the table for people who were avid BTB fans, but I was unsure if it would turn out actually doing that. We scheduled the shoot for the Rapha Super Cross Gloucester, and everything went great. But one thing that I love about film/video production, is you never know what you actually have until you’re close to the final cut. Once I was doing the final proof of the final cut, I thought to myself, “is there stuff here that you wouldn’t learn from watching the whole BTB series?” And amazingly, there was A LOT of stuff in this video that I feel like BTB never actually represented thoroughly, or at all. This is also one of the things that I love about film/video production. Just a few deliberate stylistic decisions can completely change the way a video can deliver information.
I’m grateful to SRAM and Tom and Jeremy for giving me the opportunity to push myself into places I haven’t gone before, and learn from my own work.