The Documentarian of Bike Polo: An Interview With Mr. Do
Who are you, and what is Mr. Do Video?
My actual name is not Mr. Do. It is Dustin Bouma; Mr. Do has been my handle ever since I first joined the LOBP, in 2008. I began making polo videos in my spare time in 2009. I’d usually put my polo name at the end of the video, and by the time I felt like I needed a proper logo, the name Mr. Do Video had stuck.
How did Mr. Do Video come about? Why did you start it?
My video-making began after I came home from my first tournament, in Madison, WI. I had some great footage from an old Sony Handicam that I owned. I was blown away by the skill of some players, and by the potential that I saw in the sport. I immediately searched the internet for bike polo videos, thinking it had to be full of crashes, goals and sweet passes. I was surprised I didn’t find much, so I decided to make myself a video that I could watch before pickup games, to get myself pumped up to play. I had already been teaching myself to use editing software in order to make better quality home movies of my family/friends. I had all the equipment, so I began making something more exciting; polo videos. At first, it was just for me and my friends to enjoy.
What were some of the early challenges you faced?
From poor internet connectivity to sheltering gear from the rain, I’ve faced quite a few challenges, not just early on, but continually. And I should say ‘we’, as there have been a number of us who have put forth the effort and time to produce the livestreams, which are improving with each tournament we attend. John Gordon of Minneapolis has been instrumental in making some of our bigger events, like North Americans, include multiple cameras. Zach Woodward airs every livestreamed bike polo tournament, on his website, bikepolo.tv. Steve ‘Machine’ Wilson and Andrew ‘Dr. Chan’ McRae, loan us their talents at larger events, providing play-by-play commentary of the action. Jenn Gallup operates and continuously monitors the feed on a laptop; all of these folks are invaluable to the livestream. As a polo community, we make these livestreams happen as a group; and the biggest challenge, often, is getting people to dedicate so many hours into making them great. It takes a lot of work, and I am thankful for each and every volunteer.
Who watches Mr. Do Livestreams and videos?
The biggest polo fan is Vanessa Willey; she watches every livestream from beginning to end and is one of our biggest supporters. Otherwise, it’s mostly polo players and their friends or family; folks who can’t be at an event, but want to see people they know playing the sport they love. Many players like to watch themselves and/or opponents, in order to talk strategy and tactics and improve their own game-play. Mrdovideo.com provides an organized way to watch the games from bike polo tournaments that we’ve filmed. Games are categorized by tournament, and are also searchable by team name, or even player name.
How do you think you’ve impacted bike polo? Do you think what you do benefits people outside of the sport or inside of it?
I’ve only just recently thought about the impact of Mr. Do on the sport of hardcourt. There is definitely a benefit to archiving bike polo games; not only does it preserve some history of the sport, it enables players to level the playing field through film study. Players from around the world can watch games featuring the best players and teams in all of bike polo. Teams and players watch and review past games of themselves and their opponents to help develop strategy, plays, and improve their skills, which I believe improves the sport and makes it even more exciting to watch.
I also hope that outsiders see my videos and are drawn to hardcourt bike polo, because it really is an amazing sport to play and to watch.
Where do you see Mr.Do Video in a few years? Where would you like to expand?
I would love to be able to step away from the camera and into more of a production role, where I can take more direct control of the entire livestream. Filming polo is difficult, and after nearly 5 years of it, I have a high standard. If we can maintain that standard, while I move into a head producer role, I think that we can create professional-style broadcasts; ones that feature solid and consistent coverage of the entire tournament, while remaining family-friendly and exciting to the general public. I would also like to employ an elevated center court camera, as well as feature other pro sports-like coverage.
How do you pay for all of this? What support are you getting?
When we began traveling to tournaments strictly for the sake of livestreaming and not to compete in them, we decided we needed help to cover some of our costs. From travel to equipment to internet fees, the cost of producing a livestream is quite large and we are, after all, doing this as a hobby. We held a moderately successful internet fundraiser and we received some support from several polo companies, as well as dozens of donations from polo players, clubs, friends, and family members. Companies like Fixcraft, DZR Shoes, Modifide, and Northern Standard have chipped in; the polo community has done a lot to help make it possible for us to pay the costs of producing tournament livestreams. Ultimately, the donations serve to cover just part of the cost; along with travel and equipment, the hours and hours of dedicated work by the Stream Team are what really make it happen.
Do you find yourself becoming really great at understanding bike polo since you’re basically watching it all the time?
Ha! Not as much as you’d think!
When I am filming bike polo, I am concentrating on framing the shot; I can barely see the ball in the viewfinder. It’s not until later, when I am editing, that I can watch and really enjoy the game, and know what happened beyond the scores. But by that time, I have a mountain of footage that I need to go through. So I stop enjoying the games and get back to work!
But seriously, I am awesome at polo.
How can people find you online/watch your videos/find out about upcoming livestreams?
You can find bike polo games and highlights at mrdovideo.com, and you can find us on Facebook and Twitter. We will make announcements there, regarding upcoming livestreams. But rest assured, the 2014 North American Championships will be the best bike polo livestream, ever.
Matthew Kabik is the editor of www.lancasterpolo.com and a bike polo player. He is also an editor of an actual paying gig, but it's boring to hear about. Matthew lives in Lancaster, PA and his first bike was a restored 1968 Schwinn Typhoon. If that doesn't give you an idea of what kind of guy he is, nothing will.