Mike Boyd, a photographer and YouTuber, describes himself as a dabbler in many things. A few months ago he decided to dabble in skateboarding, and challenged himself to go from no skating skills whatsoever to doing a kick-flip. It took him nearly six hours, and he documented the whole process in a video. It was hugely popular.
A lot of YouTube tutorials are posted by experts, and their skills are so advanced that absolute beginners get overwhelmed trying to copy them. Boyd had hit upon an untapped demand for another type of instructional video: one where the instructor himself is a beginner and his failures aren’t edited out to make the journey seem easier.
And that actually makes learning how to kick-flip seem possible and realistic to a total non-skater. You can watch Boyd go to the store, buy a cheap pink No Fear board, and fall off it for hours. You can celebrate with him when he finally reaches his goal (because watching a man struggle with a skateboard for six hours is an achievement, too).
This format resonated so strongly with viewers on YouTube and Reddit that they asked Boyd to record himself learning other new skills from scratch, and the most popular request was “learn how to unicycle.”
He did, in two and a half hours. The video went up on Wednesday.
A movie-length video of a man repeatedly falling off a unicycle doesn’t sound like it should be compelling viewing, but you’d be surprised. And in a year when people waited in line to watch Shia LaBeouf watch his own movies, what do you have to lose?