Stories of Bike explores the relationship between the motorcycle and the owner, their history and the reasons they ride.
This detailed exploration of the owner and the possession intricately showcases the joys of motorcycling and the culture itself. Shot in and around Sydney, Cam Elkins’ project is spectacular for someone who does not call himself a film maker.
An Alumni of Melbourne WebFest, Stories of Bike won the award for Best Editing at last years festival. We are glad to see them back again this year with Season 2.
Are you a motorbike rider yourself? If so, tell us about how you started riding?
I definitely am a motorbike rider! My dad used to take me out on his bike when I was a kid. I loved it and would always pester dad to go riding, even in the middle of winter. There were was something about it that I couldn’t get enough of. But when I had moved out of home and could finally afford to get my own stuff, I got my bike license and a bike and away I went. I’ve been hooked ever since.
How do the relationships between the bike owners and their bikes differ? Do you have a favourite story?
If you ask a motorcyclist up front why he or she rides you’ll pretty much get a similar set of answers like “the freedom”, “the thrill” or “it’s just a great way to get around”. But like anyone, bike rider or not, the more you ask questions the more you discover what their real story is, what their deeper reasons for riding bikes are. Everyone who rides shares that experience of riding a bike, but everyone’s stories are different. I think that’s what makes the motorcycling community so close; we have this instant thing in common which open us up to relating to one another.
But the story that most resonates with me is Romance from Season 1. It’s so lovely to watch Chris and Karen’s love for one another on screen. I shot that at the same time my mum was diagnosed with cancer so I could relate very closely to what Chris and Karen were going through. Sadly, Karen passed away at the end of last year, but that episode remains as a wonderful memorial for Karen.
Why should people watch your series?
I don’t think you have to be into bikes to appreciate the stories. Yes, I think it certainly helps to understand what riding gives to you, but each of the stories are just about everyday people and what they do to get the most out of their lives.
What do you want audiences to take away from your series?
I get told that most riders want to go out and get on their bike straight after watching and episode or two. Or non-riders want to finally go and get their license. So, if audiences feel like they want to go out and ride a bike, I think that’s a pretty good response!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome making this series?
Up until very recently, it’s all been self-funded, so the trick has been to find the time and resources to make episodes between my day job. Also, to maintain momentum. I think, once you have an audience, they appreciate what you do, but also want you to keep doing it regularly. So if you don’t maintain that momentum of regularly producing new episodes they will find something else and move on.
How long have you been making web series for?
Stories of Bike has been my first and only web series which I started in early 2013. I’ve got my eye on getting into a couple of other video projects this year, but it’s early days.
What’s the magic formula for a successful web series?
I don’t think there’s any magic formula. That’s the great thing about a web series is that you can just do what you love and, if you keep doing it, an audience will find you.
I think I was able to identify the elements of what made Stories of Bike unique within the first couple of episodes, those being beautiful cinematography, original musical score and, most importantly, good structured storytelling.
I just worked on these elements and, sure enough, it’s what my audience ended up telling me that they enjoyed about the episodes.
In what ways do you utilise social media to further your brand?
It can be hard to maintain audience interest when you’re only putting out an episode every one or two months. So social media plays a big part in keeping your audience connected and informed about what’s coming up.
Why did you make a web series instead of an independent film?
I’ve only recently entertained the idea of doing an independent film now as the thought of doing one early on just scared me. Doing a web series has been a great way to learn and also build my network in film making.
Stories of Bike on the web: