Jon Freeman and his filming partner Dana Nicholson have been creating freestyle motocross movies since the sport's earliest days.
They are also well known Down Under for their Crusty live shows, which play to a rabid audience each and every year.
This year, the boys changed their tactics a little bit to produce "Crusty Demons: Outback Attack," a film that is just slightly out of their norm. ESPN.com caught up with Jon in the darkness of his Southern Californian edit facility.
ESPN.com: So what are you up to these days?
Freeman: Editing a new film. Basically the concept came from our distributor in Australia that has done very well for us over the years. We put it out on our Facebook to our fans in Australia -- which we have a lot of -- and asked them what they would like to see in our next film and of course they came back and said "more Australia!" and, you know, the Australian heroes.
We took a month and traveled through Australia. Pretty much went to all the shorelines, West Coast, East Coast and the first thing we did was hang out with Robbie Maddison and get to know where he grew up. Not really too much riding with him, because he did not really have his bike prepared and all that, so he showed us more about what he does in his hometown.
That's Kiama, right?
Yeah, we were actually just down the road on the river in Nowra and he jumped off these gnarly cliff drops. We went wake surfing and wakeboarding and then we got inducted into an aboriginal tribe that is pretty close to where he grew up.
What do you mean you got inducted into an aboriginal tribe?
Leave it to Maddo!
How did he get himself in that situation?
Those guys are real good friends of his and they consider him like a brother I guess. So what he did is he lined up a film shoot for us because we wanted to get indigenous people for the film shoot, all painted up and doing their dances. They knew all about the Crusty films and Maddo growing up with us in the shows and all that kind of stuff so they were kind of fans as well. They asked us to give our cameras to people who were hanging with us and come across and get painted up with Maddo and get inducted into the tribe.
So who actually got inducted?
Me and Dana (Nicholson), my editor Scotty and Maddo and his little protégé Luke McNeil, who is an up-and-coming Australian FMX star. We were like, "Wow, this is different" because it doesn't really happen to anyone other than their family when they are becoming men. That's usually what it's for.
So that was your Australian rite of passage?
Our rite of passage and they happen to have a wave right their on their land, it's called the "Australian Pipeline." So they are like surfing aboriginals! They surf really good.
Now that you are inducted does that mean you can go and surf that break anytime you want?
That's a nice little perk.
There was this guy Joe, "Uncle Joe" we call him, just this super nice guy and he is probably about 35 to 40 years old so he is a pretty young guy, but real knowledgeable about his history and his ancestors. A real spiritual kind of guy. He was a really cool guy to hang with and get the lay of the land. He showed us all around their area there, it's kind of like a national park with huge bluffs and beautiful beaches down below.
We moved on from that to Maddo's compound, with all his jumps, which he has had for years. We watched young Luke McNeil trying to perfect the 360 in the foam pit. He had it down just perfect and then took it into a competition when we went to Perth. He nailed the 360 in competition and nailed one of those little mini flips, you know, like Pastrana does? Just off a bump! He came second to (Rob) Adelberg and it was pretty cool to see the next generation coming up.
You have spent so much time down there so why do you think the Aussies became so good and such a dominating force in the global freestyle world?
Well that's a bit about what our film is going to tackle. As Crusty Demons we were invited over there because of the passion they had watching our films. They were in awe of the Americans and what we were doing out in the desert, playriding and all that stuff. They probably didn't even know that was possible back then.
When got contacted by some people to come over and do it live in Perth, we came over and the Australians were just awestruck with [Mike] Metzger and Seth [Enslow] and Carey Hart, all the guys we took back in the day. I think they were such adrenaline junkies that it just broke out into a riot [laughs]. That's what happened at the first one; cars were turned over, vehicles were burned. The guys ran out onto the field and you think "Oh, everybody's in danger" or something, but all they wanted to do was run up and lift them up like heroes.
So how many films is this? What number is "Outback Attack"?
It's No. 16. It's a different film because usually we bang your head and blast you with images for about 45 minutes, full on. This one is more of a look back at what makes the guys tick and specifically all about Australians coming to rise. It will be narrated and lots of interviews between the guys and me and Dana giving our look at what happened. We will show historic footage when we talk about it, but we have plenty of brand new footage from hanging out there for over a month.
There must have been some other crazy things that happened out there?
We had a fun time at Jacko's. We got a helicopter and chased him around his compound to check out his lifestyle in the middle of the bush, in Wagga Wagga. Then I bought my first Australian car, but I didn't buy one, I bought three so we could smash them up at his house. It was me and Jacko and Joel Balchin in a smash-up derby. The guys smashed my car and knocked my battery loose so I was outside the car and trying to get back in the mix and they just completely destroyed my lame duck! While I am standing there my door comes flying off. Then we put Luke McNeil in the car and he did some crazy jumps in the thing, so at least you can see something other than freestyle motocross.
It's funny because even the narrator's voice on your promo sounds more mainstream. More grown-up documentary style.
That's what we are going for. A bit of a documentary about the history of freestyle motocross, but this is a nice little niche and a fun movie to make about one particular area that we, I guess, influenced in the world.
So when is the movie available?
Should be available around the end of March.
You were also talking about the event you are doing with Formula One this year.
Yeah, that's coming up in March. It's going to have a best trick element to it so we have Jacko and Kyle Loza. Those guys are kind of headlining the best trick area and we will see what they come to bat with. There's also a couple of days of really cool freestyle shows like we put on. We've got some of the elements of what we do in the big arenas, plus we are putting up a $50,000 prize for best trick, best combo and best whip. Best trick will probably yield about $30,000 of that.
Are you doing a touring show this year?
In Australia we are not. We are looking at possibly doing New Zealand coming up next and we are looking at more of a global kind of plan right now.
Are there a lot more people jumping into that marketplace these days?
(Laughing) Yeah, I would say so. You see that Travis is in it and Nuclear Cowboyz, there's quite a few things in Europe. I guess what it proves is that it's a popular sport. People love that type of entertainment and we like to provide it.