Interview by Jon Hartley (http://www.brobomb.com)
Photos courtesy of Traveling Circus
It’s hard to get the Traveling Circus crew together for an interview. The second season of their webisode series has nearly tripled in popularity from the first, but it’s not that they’re divas quite yet. Shane McFalls, this season’s new filmer, editor, and mouthpiece offers a quick apology, “Sorry man, we were at the skatepark all day and I left my phone at home.” Once coordinated, we all sit down in front of our computers, but Andy can’t find a quiet room in his apartment, and bathrooms don’t provide great acoustics on Skype, so Will and Shane are forced to go it alone. The final episode of season 2 is due in about a week; there’s still some editing to be done and music rights to be obtained, but it’s more or less a finished product. Expectations have been high ever since news hit the internet that Max Hill would be making one of his first appearances of the year on skis. The guys seem pretty confident, but I don’t know that Will would sound any different if he were worried.
Shane: So where should we start?
At what point did you become involved in the Traveling Circus?
Shane: In the beginning we all bought plane tickets to stay at Windells for free, we just had to film something. That turned into the first episode of what would be The Traveling Circus. It didn’t come out until months after we filmed it. I finished it and then we didn’t do anything with it for a long time.
Did you take a finished product to Jason Levinthal?
Will: Jay had always wanted to make some sort of reality skiing show. After all the big reality shows starting come out on MTV, he was always saying – how can we do an entertaining skiing one? TC was basically the combination of our ideas. We just decided to film our friends in edits like we always had been, but make it a tiny bit more structured.
Garrett about to make a big decision.
Did he push for eliminations? Will anyone ever be voted off of Traveling Circus?
Will: I’m not going to rule that out, but I don’t think so.
Shane: Compton would have been eliminated. That’s kind of what happens in Episode Four. He just couldn’t hang with it after a while on the road.
Ian narrowly avoiding disaster.
Shane, now that you’re the full-time TC filmer. How has the series changed now that you’re on board?
Shane: Kids complain that this season is too serious and we seem too pro but I just don’t get it. I couldn’t think of anything further from the truth. It’s like, “Are you watching the other things on the internet?” Some of the edits that I watch that people talk in are so funny because people cheese it so hard to be serious and epic.
Learning to LARP in Montreal, Quebec.
Will we ever get a deep Will Wesson monologue?
Will: No. Ian almost had a speech though. He flipped out in the Midwest and ditched us because he wanted to get to Utah and he was scared that it was going to be too cold in the Midwest. He gave this whole sob story about why he had to go, but we deleted it accidentally. That was Ian's first real taste of how little planning actually goes into our trips and I think any normal person would have done the same.
Ian shooting his first gun in Ohio.
Was it a conscious decision to change it up this season?
Will: I think the main things we wanted to improve were the skiing, filming/editing, and tell more of a story. Every friend you meet in skiing has something interesting or funny about them and we wanted to share a little background info to help people get to know the personalities of our friends. Basically, develop people’s character so you know where they’re coming from rather than throwing them into an edit as just another skier. We tried to do this a little bit in the first season, but with Shane filming and editing full-time, it made things a lot easier.
Erik Olson graphing coordinates...
...and keeping hydrated on the road!
What’s going to be different next year?
Shane: We had a pow-wow last week and everyone was still stoked on it, and we’re stoked on doing it again. But we want to change things again – maybe get an RV or a van. Maybe go out of North America, anything’s possible I guess. We’re definitely going to go to the east coast some more.
Will: Also, one of the ideas we definitely want to do is some sort of gathering of all our friends and kids we know. I don’t know where, but we want to do some sort of Superpark. We definitely wouldn’t have any huge epic jumps with advertisements or anything. Just something with all the crazy features we've always dreamed of and never had the chance to build because we didn’t have the people or the cat to build them.
The master-bedroom on the Circus' first cross country run of the season.
Will’s car art.
Shane mentioned you want to do more urban. Do you have a specific vision for the kinds of stuff you want to get?
Will: It doesn’t necessarily have to be urban. Just something where you don’t see a ski lift in the background and you don’t see a jump that has already been in a different video. Something weird in a backyard, on stairs, or in front of something cool. Backcountry stuff, too. Not serious, going-to-die type backcountry stuff, just fun things. And not frustrating, have to try this 800 times, kind of urban.
Will and Andy scope out some first desert decents.
A few others have followed the Traveling Circus lead; do you think the travel-based theme will ever get worn out?
Shane: Everyone does it in their own way. I don’t think it will ever get played out because traveling is just cool. I think that’s everyone’s ultimate dream when they’re sitting in high school, or college, or at their desk job. They’re just like, “Damn, I wish I was just going places with my friends.” So watching that is pretty interesting. Isn’t that the dream? Just to get a van and go skiing with your friends.
Garrett, Andy, and Will repacking somewhere in America.
Any chance we’ll get a full-length Traveling Circus video?
Shane: Well Line made DVD’s of all the episodes last year, and those were free at shops and we will probably do that again. It is working in episode format right now so that is how we will keep doing it.
One way straight to Mammoth
What can we look forward to in Season 2’s grand finale?
Shane: We decided to get everyone together who was in the episodes for one big end of season trip. We just wanted to go warm spring park riding in California, and maybe go to the beach. We just wanted a completely not-serious trip. Earlier in the year we wanted to film with Max Hill, but he got hurt filming with Voleurz. There was about a month of me leaving Max emails and voicemails on every social media outlet trying to get hold of him. But he’s just so…well so himself. He just likes being Max Hill and being really hard to get a hold of. I didn’t know him that well, and Will and Andy kind of knew him so I think he was a little hesitant at first. But it ended up working really well and it was super fun.
The Episode Six crew at Fossil Falls, California.
He’s a big part of this episode?
Shane: He would be MVP of the episode for sure. I was a little bit hesitant about filming with Max and Cole, just because we didn’t know them that well. Sticking a camera in someone’s face at 5am can really go both ways. But the relationship happened pretty quickly, so I felt comfortable doing that within the first day. That’s when we get the best footage.
The last supper of Episode Six.
You guys hit it off pretty quickly?
Shane: Yeah, I think Max and Cole got used to Andy’s antics within the first day. They fit the mold pretty well, and I’m sure we’ll have them in some episodes next season. Also, Max had only skied for about a week or so before this trip so he was just super pumped to be skiing.
Traveling Circus' Grass-Skiing Holy Bible.
Equipment briefing in Virgnia.
Finish it off with a funny story.
Shane: When we were in Virginia doing that grass skiing stuff (Episode Two) Will slept in his car and I brought a tent. Obviously, two people can’t sleep in a Volkswagen Golf, and I have a really small two person tent. Andy hadn’t showered the entire time we were in Virginia. It was hot, we had been grass skiing all day, and then at night we had gone to the dryslope. Everyone was wet and sweaty and when Andy got in the tent with me he smelled so f-----g bad. Then he sprayed Axe everywhere to try to cover it up which just made it worse. It was the most awful thing I have ever smelled.
photo: Dan Brown (http://www.kapitolphotography.com)
Will, Andy, and Shane would like to thank everyone for watching, everyone at Line, Full Tilt, Ski The East and Orage for their support, all our parents, everyone who gave us a ride, a meal, or a place to sleep, all the resorts who helped us out along the way, Garrett, Ian, and Erik for killing it all season, and The Red Knight for keeping it real!
Traveling Circus Season Finale Teaser...full episode drops tonight at 7pm EST on lineskis.com!