Salutations Nerds! It’s been a while since we’ve all been super busy but we are so happy to be back. For our latest Nerds ‘R Us, we had the opportunity to chat with filmmaker and motocross nerd, Eline Mets, about her upcoming series “Diaries of Badass Chicks” and her love for all things sci-fi. Enjoy!
NC: Hi Eline, welcome! Why don’t we start with a brief introduction and share a little about yourself.
EM: I was born behind the Iron Curtain in Soviet-occupied Estonia. When I was little, my country regained independence and has now emerged as a start-up capital of the world. Fun fact: Estonians invented Skype. I had always had a dream of being an actor, but these kind of dreams are not realistic where I come from. So I graduated the University of Tartu in Estonia in English Language and Literature, minoring in Economics. I worked as a bus driver in Denmark and as a cold-caller for a business handbook dealer, among many other professions. Then I got into television and ended up being a story editor and a director, plus having another full-time job as a foreign news editor in prime time national news in Estonia.
I hadn’t forgotten my dream and tried to pursue acting every opportunity I got. I lived briefly in Los Angeles and a year in London. Didn’t particularly like living in London, though, but it was there I realized I needed to move to Vancouver. So I moved to Canada in 2013 for a year. But during my first weeks here I realized that this is where I am supposed to be. Now I am lucky to call myself Estonian Canadian. I am upholding the Estonian culture, but also representing Canadian values. By being here, I can finally be myself and truly follow my dreams of being a filmmaker, actor and a motocross rider. I have always felt out of place, but now I know I have to carve out my own niche and I’m supposed to feel out of place, since I am the first of my kind.
NC: How did you discover your passion for motocross and film making?
It’s actually a funny story! My husband has always loved motorbikes and had been trying to persuade me to let him get a bike for years. None of our friends owned one and I had only been on the back of a motorbike a couple of times, so I was like “No”. I was absolutely adamant that we will NEVER ever get a bike, since these things are death machines, you know. I even said to him, “Only over my dead body”.
Fast forward a couple of years and I was working as a foreign news editor and segment producer in prime time news in Estonia. One of the segments in the show that I was in charge of was “Most watched YouTube videos of the day”. And there it was, on January 3, 2012 I saw a video that changed my life. It was a well shot and edited motocross video, where the riders were just jumping and having fun on the bike. The moment I saw it, I was sold, I knew I had to try this out.
You can imagine my husband’s surprise when I came home that night and declared, “We’re getting a dirt bike!”. Two weeks later, I rented a dirt bike at a motocross park, where I had to learn everything from scratch- I did not even know where the clutch was! A couple of weeks after that, I got my own bike – a 125cc KTM. Half a year later I participated in my first race, where I came last, but I did not care. I was hooked. And now I am taking it a step further doing freestyle motocross. I was actually the first woman in Canada (and I believe the first Estonian) to jump onto an airbag with my dirt bike.
Eline’s Airbag Jump
I have always wanted to be an actor. It was also the reason I got into television, because I thought it would somehow get me closer to my goal. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Television news and factual television is a totally different world from acting for film. Plus, there is not much of a market in Estonia. Most film actors there are actually theatre actors moonlighting for a very little pay. But I moved up the ranks pretty quickly in TV, becoming a foreign news editor and also directing my own television show. It did not satisfy me, though, since the pace was different and I was telling everybody else’s stories.
So, I quit my jobs and lived in LA for a bit and did some volunteer film projects and I lived in London for a year. Living in London led me to study at Moscow Art Theatre, where I completed a summer acting program. I was going for the acting thing full on. Even when I moved to Vancouver, I was adamant of being only an actor and I was waiting around for auditions. But that is not how the world works nowadays. I had hidden away all my skills I learnt as a director for some reason. Although I had been mulling around ideas for several feature films and short films, I thought “I have time, I’ll get to it in the future once I’ve made it as an actor and have more clout to rally people together to make these films”. Well, there is no time! And once I realized that, the words just began to appear on paper.
Eline in Action
This year alone, I have written two features and two short films. And I already see those in my head, the shots, the soundtrack. I’ve always been this way, but I just repressed it because I wanted to label myself solely as an actor. But I am so much more than that! Only now am I allowing myself to start growing into my full potential.
NC: Aside from the above, what are you most nerdy about?
Sci-fi! Seriously, this was one of the reasons I moved to Vancouver. I grew up watching Stargate SG1 and Knight Rider. And then Twilight happened. I know it’s so far removed from motocross, but Twilight was actually my escape when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. And when Tron: Legacy came out, I was determined to be in Tron 3. But when I got to Vancouver, Disney cancelled that! I still hope Tron 3 is going to be picked up and I can be in it. I also like to read old sci-fi and fantasy books. When I was a kid, my favourite book was “The Day of The Triffids” by John Wyndham.
And science! I even took astrophysics courses at the university. Little too much math, for my taste, though. My uncle is a nanophysics professor and a renowned scientist in Russia, so I think there is a bit of his influence there. Although his specialty is nanotechnology, I love everything that deals with outer space. Which brings us back to sci-fi!
Oh and I absolutely love Harry Potter? I have all the books and I’ve seen each film at least 10 times… Better make it 20 times if not more.
4. How did “Diaries of Badass Chicks” come to be?
I raced a local race series here in Vancouver in 2014, which was my first year riding in Canada. I was making short documentary videos of myself going to races and talking into the camera once the race was done. So I was planning to publish these and make a web series, but I did not know how it would look like. Since I was just a beginner rider, I was a little bit ashamed of my slow pace on the track (although I ended up winning the series) and it just never went anywhere. I did make my own version of Dream Ride in 2015, but immigration issues and a couple of injuries took up most of that year and so the web series just existed in my dreams.
The Badass Chicks
In April 2017, a producer friend of mine called me out on it. She said that she has heard about me wanting to make a web series for the past three years and now is the time to get off my butt and start writing. A couple of hours later two episodes were written! It had suddenly hit me – I do not have to think up anything. I am just going to write about my life, my stories and things that I have gone through as a woman in this masculine world. The stories were flowing out of my pen! And now we are competing at Storyhive. I have already received so much response to our photos and videos, reinforcing my belief that this is absolutely what I have to do.
Eline’s Dream Ride
NC: How would you describe the series?
EM: It is based on my life and as life itself, so it has its funny moments and sad moments. There are stories that will for sure anger some people, since these are about the discrimination against women in this sport. I was hesitant about writing these stories down at first, but I have realized that I need to start a discussion on it. I need to be the one to speak for women and break the mould and bring it to light. But there are also really uplifting stories of team spirit and helping each other, so there is everything. It is not a comedy, though.
The series is scripted and we have actors, but most of the people involved in this series already own or ride some type of a motorcycle. I also plan to involve as many actual motocross riders as possible, since I believe this sport is so underrated and underrepresented.
NC: How many episodes do you hope there will be?
EM: I have written seven episodes! We have not finalized the exact number episodes yet, but most likely it will be either six or seven.
NC: Why do you think this story is an important one to tell?
Because, there is nothing currently like this out there. There are documentaries on pro riders, who are sponsored and even those are mostly men. There are also some really cool girls documenting their own journeys in the moto world, but there is nothing scripted out there. The stories that need to be told, actually never get told. No one is talking about women who have to go to work the next day and ride dirt bikes just for themselves, just for fun. These women are paying for the parts and race fees out of their own pocket and just love the sport on their own account. When people see me and my husband riding, most people think and just assume that my husband got me into motocross. It was the other way around! A woman taking the initiative on pursuing motocross is still so unthinkable for today’s society and that is what I want to change.
NC: What do you hope people will take away from the series?
EM: I want to inspire women to go out and try motocross. I started in my mid-twenties, so I want to break the myth that says you have to get in when you are young. Age does not matter, your gender does not matter! I also would like for clothes and gear manufacturers to notice us and to make things that fit women. People who have never ridden before will catch a glimpse into the world of motocross through the eyes of women and to see how hard, but also how much fun it is.
NC: Do you see the potential for more, or perhaps possibly expanding the series to other subjects since the title “Diaries of Badass Chicks” is pretty broad?
EM: Great catch! I already have a second season planned and it’s a different angle of badass women.
NC: What do folks need to do to get the project moving forward?
Vote for us on Storyhive 🙂 We have been accepted as contestants in the Storyhive Web Series edition, where 15 projects from BC and 15 projects from Alberta will be awarded $10,000CAD each to get the pilot of their web series funded. There is also a second round of voting in February 2018, where two pilots will get funding to make the whole series.
The voting opens at 12pm PST on Monday September 18th and lasts until Friday September 22nd. You can vote everyday (up to 5 projects per day).
NC: Thank you for your time and best of luck with the contest!
EM: Thank you!!
‘Til next time,