Vans 'The Circle - Meet The Judges

Got any tips? "Wake up early"

30 Oct 2020

Judges W Logo

In conjunction with VANS

Get to know a little bit about each of the Pro judges picked to make the big decisions on the the first ever VANS 'The Circle' video contest and hear their thoughts on the importance of those local BMX communities and what they'll be looking for in their search for that winning edit

Look for the trailers dropping Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday next week via the DIG Instagram and remember you too can vote for the final videos from Friday November 4th here on DIG.

Find out everything you need to know about THE CIRCLE here.

Dakota Roche

A powerhouse of street riding and purveyor of supremely high quality video parts - Dakota Roche has done it all, either side of the lens, and for a long time, filming at home and abroad with standout video parts like his Nativeland series. This guy knows what he likes, and what he doesn't, and that will define how he judges The Circle videos.

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How important has your local BMX community been to you?

Man, it’s honestly been one of the most important parts of BMX for me. I grew up in Huntington Beach, and we were blessed to have a huge bmx scene. Constantly having people to ride with and hang out with growing up truly allowed me to feel like I was apart of something special.

What are you going to be looking for in 'The CIrcle' edits?

I’m gonna be looking for creativity first and foremost and that “feel good” crew vibe. I think it’s really important for the videos to come off in a way that highlights the classic elements of why we all got involved in the first place!

The crews are filming to a pretty tight schedule and mostly sticking close to home, what are the advantages and disadvantages of that?

The advantages are definitely the opportunity to try something at a local spot you’ve been putting off, and also the opportunity to think outside of the box to bring some fresh creativity to older spots. The disadvantage is missing out on exploring a new place and riding something fresh and special. That can definitely make things more difficult.

Filming and riding close to home is a central theme to your CULT Nativeland series. What made you want to go with that theme for a video project?

It all started years ago when I realized I didn’t have anything in particular to film for and I really wanted to start on a new project. The concept made perfect sense to me because it gave me the motivation to explore new areas around California and revisit spots to try new tricks. It works perfect because I’ll always have something to work on when I’m in town and not traveling. Thankfully, CA is pretty damn endless for spots so the saga will continue.

Got any tips for the crews on how to get the most out of their time filming together?

A crucial factor is making sure the vibe is right with your crew; enjoy it and have fun with it. I guarantee you this will make things more productive and a lot less stressful!

Alex Valentino

Besides being a pro rider for United and Vans, France's Alex Valentino is also the man behind clothing brand MArieJADE, the classic NO FUTURE full length video project, 4Down's French Connexion distribution setup and numerous other consistently quality projects throughout the years. He more than kills it creatively on whichever side of the lens he chooses.

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How important has your local BMX community been to you?

The MarieJade crew was build around my local BMX community, this always been really important to me to push talent around me, I can’t imagine BMX without this actually.

What are you going to be looking for in 'The CIrcle' edits?

I’m trying to not look for anything specific. I want to be surprised but obviously, what’s going to make it for me, will be creativity from the filming as well as the riding. For me, the winner is going to need to have the whole package.

The crews are filming to a pretty tight schedule and mostly sticking close to home, do you prefer filming under those conditions, or does it make things more difficult?

I feel like these conditions are normal conditions 90% of the time for most people who are not able to travel and their only option is to film local. Obviously being in your comfort zone means you do need to be more creative if you want to stand out. As a rider or a filmer, there is always some sort of challenge.

Got any tips for the crews on how to get the most out of their time filming together?

Wake up early!

Your edits have always been about much more than 'just the riding’. How do come up with the theme for each video and how difficult is it to stick with your vision throughout the filming and editing process?

I’m always taking my inspiration from outside of BMX, even outside of Extreme sport. It can come from a movie, art, music. It’s like a web in my brain where my ideas merge to give a mood. For example, in The French Connexion videos, the inspiration is coming from the mafia of Marseille in the 70s. At this time I was watching all the movies related to this, it inspired my way of filming the choice of the music and even the title. And most of the time I have the whole video in my head before starting filming and my goal is to be as close as possible to what’s in my head which is the hardest part.

Peter Adam

DIG family man Peter Adam is a definite glass half-full kinda fella. He's done it on all levels, from homegrown scene videos in Belfast Northern Ireland, to producing X Games medal winning sections in California - and all with the same love and excitement he shows every single project he works on. He's not too shabby on the bike either. A true DIY champ and inspiration for riders from outside the typical hotspots. Just don't ask him to tell you a joke...

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How important has your local BMX community been to you?

Your local BMX scene/community is everything, it's who you ride with on the regular, they're there for you through the good and bad times (injuries etc.) and keep you motivated.

What are you going to be looking for in 'The CIrcle' edits?

These videos are all about the shops community, so I'll be looking not only for great riding but how they include everyone, from the pros to the locals and how they bring across all those personalities on screen. Each shop is in a very different location too so I want to see how they tell that story as well, I hope Moscow looks and feels a lot different compared to Barcelona etc.

The crews are filming to a pretty tight schedule and mostly sticking close to home, do you prefer filming under those conditions, or does it make things more difficult?

I'm not going to lie, I haven't filmed a local Irish scene video in close to 9 years. The scene here is so so small and spread out and there's no BMX specific shop in the whole country, so for me, yeah it would make it really difficult haha. For the shops involved with vibrant scenes, it's an ideal opportunity for everyone to focus their time, have fun and get some on their local spots!

Got any tips for the crews on how to get the most out of their time filming together?

Going into a filming project like this, especially in a video competition and with a tight schedule, you need an idea, a vision, something that will make it stand out from the rest. It doesn't have to be ground breaking, just something that will tie the video together and make it interesting and fun to watch, think a little before you hit that red button.

As someone who films mostly in areas where the weather is regularly pretty bad, how do you deal with getting enough clips in the bag when things aren’t always going your way.

Rain is always a factor here and on trips, checking your weather app and seeing seven days of straight rain is always demotivating, but there's always a way. Undercover DIY spots, multi storey car parks or as we did on my last trip to Scotland, just ride in the rain, "you're not made of sugar". It rarely rains everyday on a trip, just go with it and use it to tell the story.

Jon Taylor

To say Jon Taylor has been there and rode it all is somewhat of an understatement. The man better known to many as 'Mad Jon' has been with Vans for as long as we can remember (as a rider and UK Team Manager) and has constantly been involved in BMX at all levels all around the world since way, way back. Having spent his most recant years on the road dealing with local bike shops, Jon knows more than most about how important those shops and scenes can be.

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How important has your local BMX community been to you?

Throughout my whole life this has been massively important. For me BMX is all about riding with friends and having fun. Through riding I have made friends for life - just from meeting someone at the local shop or skatepark, hanging out and having that common interest. Wherever I go to in the world, either riding or just on a trip, I always go and visit the local bike shop, its the perfect way to check out a local scene and meet other riders you either haven’t seen in years or meet new likeminded people.

What are you going to be looking for in 'The CIrcle’ edits?

I will be looking for creative, fun vibe in the edits - there are some great characters on all the teams! And I’m really looking forward to seeing their personalities come through.

The crews are filming to a pretty tight schedule and mostly sticking close to home, do you think it’s an advantage or disadvantage to film under those conditions?

Sometimes filming where you live can have its advantages; you know when is the best time to go to the spots - like when they are less likely to be a bust! But equally its hard to come up with something new on a spot you have ridden a load of times before. I’m thinking the guys will be able to come up with some really creative stuff on the spots they know super well, so I think this is an advantage overall.

Got any tips for the crews on how to get the most out of their time filming together?

Don’t over-think it and just enjoy it. And then the filming will just come together.

You’ve spent years dealing with local bike shops - how important are they to BMX and have you seen much change in their popularity over the years?

Local bike shops have always been a really important party of BMX. Over the years I have seen a big change in how shops trade with a lot being done on line now. But I have also seen a lot of physical shops move close to, or inside skateparks. I think this is because in my experience people seem to be getting worse at bike maintenance! So having someone to build and fix the bikes is becoming more of a required service. Which in turn has meant shop owners have become more diverse in what they are offering. I hope shops will always play an essential part of a local riding community, as they always have done throughout my life.

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