Professional Mountain Unicyclist – TV Commercial Work

Unicycling

I’ve been unicycling for a long time, and I recently heard about a casting call for a mountain unicyclist. I’ve done paid jobs as a circus artist, but they are mainly for doing cyr wheel with some unicycling on the side lines in-between cyr routines. Many years ago I also did one mountain uni job for a professional photographer; he paid me in beer as thanks. So, an official casting call for a mountain unicyclist was pretty intriguing to me. I applied for it; sort of lack-luster as I didn’t send in a headshot and just forwarded them a link to my Arizona Trail videos. They liked those, and thought I might be a good candidate, so I went through the interview process and got the gig.

The filming was scheduled for one particular day, but I was set to come down two days prior in order to do some “costume” fitting. I am in Santa Cruz, and drove my Tesla Model S down, which didn’t cost me anything in electricity since I’m grandfathered in for free supercharging.

I was pretty excited, but also nervous. COVID-19 is a serious virus, and doing some type of filming could expose me to a lot of people. COVID turned out to not be an issue; the site required everyone to get a COVID test 1-2 days before the event. There were compliancy people on site to help insure everyone’s safety, and handed out small kits with a mask, wipes and sanitizer. Everyone wore a mask, except me when filming, and when I wasn’t filming I had a gator I could quickly pull up.

I was also unsure of the actual terrain I was riding, and if I would be able to do the shots they were hoping to do. The filming was done on a private 100 acre site just to the west of Los Angeles, California. The terrain wasn’t too steep or rocky, but some parts of it were a bit difficult due to the looseness of the dirt. The area is frequented by ATVs, and they tend to dig up the dirt a bit and make it loose. It was also tricky to do some of the requested shots. The director wanted a shot of me skidding out and riding away…but this is rather difficult to do on a unicycle. It isn’t impossible, but I also had to skid right in front of a moving vehicle that contained some expensive camera equipment that I didn’t want to crash into. The timing was difficult, and we didn’t quite get that exact shot. We also experimented with a small ramp, but that also didn’t work out…as I tend to stall a bit during drops and it didn’t look natural enough.

Overall, it was an awesome experience! I’m really happy I had the opportunity do the filming.

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