Although I’m biased because of my appearance in it, there’s a super cool new video series based around the various Red Bull athletes competing in Monster Energy AMA Supercross called Moto Spy Supercross. If you’ve seen it, then you know that the guys behind the project managed to capture some real drama, excitement, and action that goes around elite level athletes. One of the main guys behind it all is Wes Williams, one of the premier videographers in the sport.
We recently had Wes on the Fly Racing Moto:60 Show to talk about the series and all that is going on behind the scenes.
Racer X: The folks at Red Bull did it again. The Moto Spy series has been out. To me, the biggest problem you have with this is there needs to be more episodes. Red Bull’s got to open up their checkbook. I want this thing weekly, man.
Wes Williams: You’re telling me, dude! Even with that, the amount of stuff we’ve left on the cutting room floor is pretty staggering. If they found a way to be able to do it… I would definitely say this year was more of a pilot year and an idea more than anything. I know everybody up top at Red Bull is crazy stoked on what’s going on, from what I’ve been told. So who knows? Next year they may beef it up a little bit and get us to go to a few more places. On our end we’re stoked because everybody else seems crazy happy. Especially hearing something like that from you and Weege, [David] Izer… Everybody’s saying how much they love it. It definitely helps fuel our fire to keep pushing and keep shooting. It’s definitely badass. It’s not often you come out with cool content that people actually like and watch. Most of the time they’re like, “I didn’t see that.”
How does the genesis of the idea come together and where do you guys come up with sort of letting the media—which is a lot generated by fans—media/fans generate the questions and the content and the voice of what you’re seeing? Talk about that idea a little bit, because I like it.
We actually started Moto Spy a few summers back, but it would normally be one rider, one race, and whatever the story was that day was whatever it was called. Red Bull wanted to do something Q1 this year because they never do anything Q1 and they’re like, well obviously that means supercross, right? So obviously we wanted to do supercross and it was like, if we do this, how can we make it different than Troy’s [Adamitis] deal because it’s already been done? You can’t really do it better than Troy. So Hammer [Red Bull’s Jeremy Mallot] and Eli [Moore] at Red Bull came up with the idea let’s use podcasts for the narrative. I was thinking about it like, I don’t know, dude. How are we going to do that?
Originally I was like, okay, I’m going to sit Matthes and Weege down at every single round and interview them about what’s going on. They were like, “No, dude. It needs to be more grungy than that. Let’s just use the podcast, the actual podcast.” I’m like, “I just don’t know how that’s going to go, dudes.” After a week thinking on it I’m like, maybe it can. We laid out some clips and believe it or not you guys sound pretty damn awesome as narrative underneath video, if you didn’t notice.
I think it has worked well because it’s a look obviously behind the scenes and you’re embedded with these teams and riders, but the narrative of what’s going on in the series is spread across these different platforms. It’s a pretty neat idea because you have us talking about things, right or wrong or speculating, and then you have the actual acts right in front of you on the screen. It’s a neat idea.
Not to mention, I think it lends creditability to the series. It’s not us writing this narrative. We’re just listening to what you guys are saying and using what you’re saying. You can write anything you want. “Marvin Musquin is the best rider on earth,” and then you show footage of him. But we’re actually using the narrative from our industry. We haven’t used too much conflicting stuff. I’d say most everybody is agreed on the talking points thus far, but especially as we got six rounds to go, you guys might end up start having differing opinions as hopefully the championship becomes closer. The drama might build between your narrative. It’s inevitable that the drama will also build in the pits, right?
Teams have the final say here in what comes out?
They see it, but I’d say it’s very limited input. We know what’s secret and we know what’s not secret. It’s definitely a fine balance of making sure that we don’t piss them off or we’re showing people what they’ve never seen before. So I can honestly say episode one when that dropped and Marvin [Musquin] telling us to turn off the cameras, Cooper [Webb] dropping some F-bombs asking for [Blake] Baggett’s settings. I was like, okay, we’re going to see how the reception of this is. But KTM loves it. Kenny [Roczen] seems to love it. They’ve opened the doors even more so since the episodes have been coming out. Especially with that new F1 show coming out on Netflix, I think so many people have watched that now and been like, if these F1 dudes can do it, then maybe it’s not such a big deal if we do it.
Absolutely. For people who want to put their arms up in the air about the teams having some say, they’re letting you guys come into their pits with microphones and boom mics and everything else. So you can’t burn these people.
I would say that’s a big part of having us do it. You can’t hire some Hollywood crew to come in here and do this, because the trust factor is not there. They’re going to be trying to build the drama. I’ve known Ken since he was eight years old and he trusts me, and the people around him trust me because of that. Same goes for Coop and Marvin. There’s definitely times that they look at us and it’s like, “Okay, turn the camera off.” But even if we do get some stuff that maybe shouldn't be on camera, they know that’s not going to make it in. I know damn well if I burn them they’re going to be like, “Cool man, you’re not allowed back in the pits.”
Roczen’s recent slide here, and he put out in the press release that he’s not feeling well. He’s not able to train and race like he wants to. Certainly his results are looking that way and he’s going to go get some tests done. That’s got to be an interesting storyline for you guys right now.
Oh yeah. That will be episode five of Moto Spy which isn’t the next one but the next one coming out. So you’ll have to stay tuned on the details of that.
I talked to you guys and you were hoping to add maybe one or two shows or something. How many are officially slated?
We were originally slated to do six and it looks like we’re probably going to stay at the six for this year, and hopefully next year if it keeps going the way its going then I can’t imagine the Red Bull guys wanting to cut back on it. They already wanted to add some more this year, but we’re already so busy doing some other stuff it was kind of a hard call. Like, hey, if you guys do this we’re literally going to die. To be honest, it’s kind of hard. We have probably the best year we could have ever picked to do this with.
I was going to say to you that this season has been fantastic for you guys.
In episode three we actually put that. One of you guys said, “You could not have scripted this better,” and that’s so true. It’s hard to think how we’re going to top this one next year because we’ve had a lot of highs this year. It’s easy to get the access when everybody’s on a high. I think when things get a little bit grittier and gnarlier at the end of the season when it’s coming down to the championship, I’m curious to see how that continues. But even next year just knowing if we’re not having this good of a storyline, if we were to do eight to ten episodes, how do you fill in that much content? So it’s easy to say we want one every week, but you’re limited by the content that you’re able to get and shoot. So what if you go to a race and it’s a dog shit race and you don’t really get anything cool? Like, oh sweet, we’re going to release an episode on this. We have had the luxury of being like, we spent a lot of money to be here and we’re not going to use a single shot.
So obviously it’s a Red Bull thing, Red Bull funded. You’re focused on the Red Bull guys. You could expand that a little bit. Red Bull is a pretty cool company. They’re not going to freak out if you had a Monster or Rockstar Energy guy in there or whatever.
No, and originally that was our plan. We had talked to [Jason] Anderson about being part of it, a few other guys, and we definitely featured Zach [Osborne] a fair bit in the coming episodes too. I think we were going to until our three dudes just started absolutely crushing it. And it’s like, well, do we go spend the money to go film competing brands, or do we spend the money on our own dudes? Again, we couldn’t have scripted it better. It’s like we did script it.
I think Marvin’s going to start separating himself a little bit. Eli’s going to continue to be up and down. Ken’s got problems going on off the track with his body. Obviously Cooper Webb. I think Marv starts to break away a bit and things start getting tense underneath that KTM truck and you’re going to be there to get it.
Especially with what [David] Vuillemin said on your show the other night about he’s got to start racing Cooper differently. I can imagine that bit is definitely going to show up in the show. Even talking with Hammer though, we’re worried that these guys are going to get mad but at the same time, we’re not the ones saying it. It’s Vuillemin that said it, and it’s not like we’re trying to create the drama. It’s already out there and we’re just using what’s out there. It’s not like we’re trying to build the drama between these guys. It’s got to be happening.
You try to keep every episode around 12, 14 minutes, right?
Originally they were supposed to be 10 to 12 but the stuff’s so good. We’ve kind of gone above and beyond on that. The last one was like 16. Especially after Dallas, the drama there… If you watch that one, you can feel it, that emotion. Instead of being on a time limit it’s like if what we’re watching supports it and you feel it, let it roll.
Your shot of Courtney Roczen after the Webb pass was epic. I don’t know who did that. I don’t know who found her.
Credit goes to Danny Stu [Stuart] there. We’re pretty much relegated to the podium via Feld’s rules, so me and him were swapping off on Courtney. What’s funny is we thought he was going to win. You can’t really see too much on the floor, so we thought Ken was going to win. So we were filming her to get her excitement. Sure enough, right after that she just stares blankly at the camera like, you dickhead.
She’s just shocked.
It’s cool getting that. It shows the emotion that all of them feel. It’s not just rainbows. These dudes feel it.
You mentioned that it’s been successful. People liked it. Is that shown in views? Is Red Bull happier than ever over this? Is this breaking other view records and things like that for the other Moto Spy series and all that? Is this really making a dent for the guys at Red Bull.
It’s hard because I used to run Vurb Moto and there were some videos that would just absolutely blow up, but that was a different time and I always have to remind myself that. 200,000 back then was a norm. I think it’s really, really hard to get 200,000 now. So I know everybody at Red Bull is elated on the view count, which is averaging like 200 [thousand] right now. I don’t see it as phenomenal, but it’s tripling or quadrupling the benchmarks that they have on that Red Bull Motorsports channel. That YouTube/Red Bull Motorsports is fairly new. I think they started it like nine months ago, so it doesn’t really have that big of a following. They don’t do any kind of paid marketing behind it or anything. So I know they’re ecstatic about the numbers. The powers that be put it on the Red Bull Motorsports YouTube. I wish it was on just Red Bull. I think we’d see even bigger numbers, but that’s way above my pay grade.
I was barely in the last one and I was pissed. I was not happy at all. You need to ditch JT [Jason Thomas] and ditch all these other janky podcast shows and just go all in on me.
Especially on my end, I definitely think you’re one of the best voices we have. At [the] Dallas [Supercross] I shot the Fly Racing Radio with you, JT, and Weege and I thought that was really cool just to change up the look or style or whatever and being live at the race. I know on my end, it’s just more of creating this different feel. I don’t want every single episode to feel like it has the same people.
When we’re like, “Talk about Marvin and Coop some more…” I can only send Danny Stu out so many times.
Main Image: Brian Converse