Kid: Why do you make films?
Mike: Somedays I ask myself the same thing... Honestly, I love the process. I love being "on location", holding a camera, thinking about composition and story - it's almost like a drug, it's addictive. I'm amazed how I trend to see the world a little differently when looking through the lens of a camera.
Mike riding the ice dunes of Park Point, Duluth, Minnesota...
Kid: Do you feel any extra pressure with this film due to the success of Ride The Divide?
Mike: I'm honestly blown away by the impact of Ride the Divide. We constantly get messages from people explaining how that film has inspired them in their lives. This is one of the main reasons I've wanted to take the message of inspiration and wanderlust into Reveal the Path. It may sound cliche but hearing how your film has affected someones life is pretty amazing. There is a feeling of pressure with Reveal the Path but it is overshadowed by the feeling of appreciation for having the opportunity to be producing another film.
Kid: What are the bad days like when you are in midst of a project like this?
Mike: Making a feature-length film as an independant filmmaker is an endurance event unto itself. With small budgets you are forced to wear multiple hats: producer, director, editor, music supervisor, marketer, distributor... There are definitely days where it gets a bit daunting and feels like there are not enough hours in the day.
Kid: What about the good days?
Mike: The good days are the incredible feelings and camaraderie of working with a small team of talented passionate people. Going back to the first question, another reason I make films is the people you get to meet and work with. I've met some amazing people who will be lifelong friends. I also love when serendipitous moments occur in the edit bay where a piece of music, a visual and an interview or bit of story come together to form a fantastic moment.
Mike enjoying one of the good moments in Alaska...
Kid: We suspect you have a very supporting family?
Mike: Absolutely. I'm amazed at the flexibility and understanding of my wife, Tina - I'm grateful everyday. Before making Ride the Divide I had a corporate job in the industry - set hours and home most every night. Now I can be gone for months at a time shooting or on tour with the films. It definitely puts a strain on things at times. I feel blessed being able to do what I do. I believe she picks up on the passion I have and taking the risks and doing the hard work involved with living a dream and doing something that truly fuels my soul.
Kid: You've been hard at work on Reveal The Path for well over a year now. How does it feel knowing that the world is about to (interview was conducted before the film's release - ed) see this film?
Mike: I can't wait! I'm always amazed how long these films take from being an idea to being up on a screen. There is so much involved: raising money, logistics, equipment, editing, design, packaging... It is like seeing your child take his first steps - a very proud moment indeed.
Kid: You rode an El Mariachi Ti while making the movie. How'd the bike work for you?
Mike: The bike was fantastic. It performed perfectly loaded with bikepacking and camera gear, as well as stripped down. It handled everything I threw at it. The El Mariachi Ti and I got to know each other pretty well as I disassembled and assembled the bike over a dozen times as we traveled around the world. The raw ti is sexy but also a bit unassuming which you could see as an advantage traveling around the world - a wolf in sheep's clothing.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.