Man on Man: Riding Bitch with Alex Vivian

(Originally posted on 20 May, 2016)

We recently sat down with Alex Vivian, writer and director of the hilarious and practical 'How to Ride Bitch.' What inspires one to compile a guide to male-on-male motorcycle riding? You'll have to take it from him...

FF: So lets start with a bit of calibration: what's your favourite film of all time?

Boogie Nights, I could watch that film forever. 


FF: Favourite film you've ever made? Why?

It would be my graduate film from film school.  It was this huge 25 minute piece I shot on 16mm reversal film, set in the 70's.  I've never worked harder in my life to accomplish something and it holds a special place in my heart. 


FF: Do you think your international upbringing has impacted your storytelling?

I'm think so.  Whenever I write or envision a film, it's always a world that's either American or British, never Australian.  I definitely know my brand of comedy has been shaped a lot by dry British humour though, for 4 years I would watch episodes of I'm Alan Partridge every night on VHS before going to bed... that probably had some kind of effect!  


FF: If you could shoot in any location in the world, where would it be?

Probably some of the more desolate areas of France, there's so many abandoned residential complexes and beautiful art deco buildings.  That's the stuff I dream of shooting.


FF: We've seen some epic work of yours shot in a real 1960's style. What is it about this period that draws you in?

Everything.  The fashion, the culture, the music the way of life.  To me it's just a special part of history that will never be the same again.  Creating films in that decade is the closest I can come to time travelling. 


FF: If you had to pick just one thing to shoot for the rest of eternity, which would it be: Surfing, skating or motorbikes?

If you'd asked me this 10 years ago it would have been skateboarding, but now probably motorbikes. In reality though it's really all about the story and the world that fits into. I'm usually either all in or not feeling something at all.  And if I'm all in, I have to make it and get it out into the world, it's like a jittery energy or something. 


FF: Favourite person to collaborate with?

 I have always worked with my friend Josh Flavell as cinematographer.  He's a great person to collaborate with and always gives amazing creative input in the work we've done. 


FF: Tell us about your low-fi beginnings in editing. 

I first figured out I could edit by hooking up two VCR's together and meticulously pressing pause and play and record in order to make something.  I took two 'sick' days off school when I was a kid so I could make my first skate video.   


FF: Which director would you want to turn up to the next Freshflix screening of your work (then buy you dinner afterwards)?

Spike Jonze.  


FF: Do you prefer shooting film or digital?

Nothing compares to film and I actually like the older more scratchy stuff like 16mm reversal, but it really depends what the project is and calls for.  I think the RED MX sensor has a beautiful look to it right out of the gate.  The way it flares has a bit of an old school 70's vibe to it, the first Riding Bitch was shot on it with minimal colour grading. 


FF: What project can we look out for in the future from you?

Currently in the works are two short films, 'Hold Please' and 'Hans Will Never Be A Spaceman'.   


FF: What question do you wish we would have asked you in this interview?

Which of these questions have you stared blankly at the longest? 


...And how would you answer that?

This one.  

There you have it, Man on Man: Riding Bitch with Alex Vivian. For more on the work of the brilliant Alex Vivian, head over to his website here.