Riding Through Life - Tommy Zula

by Jesse Klein January 27, 2017

Riding Through Life from Ryan Sanderson on Vimeo.

What are you passionate about? For Ryan Sanderson and Chris Myhren it’s creating films that people remember long after the credits roll. For Tommy Zula it’s becoming a legend in the world of BMX riding. When film and sports collide it’s something beautiful that words cannot describe. This project was no exception.

Shooting for over 35 hours in 2 days, the team challenged every notion of normality they had previous associated with their craft. Ryan and Chris wanted to explore the world of mini-documentaries and through a mutual friend they met Tommy. The initial conversation happened At 9pm on a Sunday as Tommy was driving back from a BMX competition in New York. His ETA was 3am. Ryan and Chris asked if he could shoot at 6am. “Dood totally!” Tommy said, and then pre-production started. Ryan and Chris worked through the night crafting what would become the narrative arc of Tommy’s story they had just heard on the phone. With the entire team running on less than 3 hours of sleep, shooting began in the morning.

For the next two days the team shot all throughout the streets, trails, and tracks of Ohio. Frequently everyone would gathered around the monitor of Ryan’s RED camera in disbelief of the incredible footage of Tommy they had just captured. Shooting in 6K resolution at 100 frames per second slow motion captures the world in a perspective not many humans have a chance to experience. With every reviewed clip came more drive and inspiration to surpass the last shot. However, despite the incredible capabilities possible with their equipment, Ryan and Chris didn’t want to create a stereotypical “trick” video that has become ubiquitous in the BMX community. Years from now people will remember stories that have shaped who they are as people and the goal with this piece was to create and inspire generations to come.

With more than 2.5 terabytes of RED footage, Ryan and Chris decided to only choose shots that moved the story forward. Shots that uncovered who Tommy was and is today. It just so happened that Tommy’s grandparents played a huge part in his childhood and teenage years and documented a large portion of his passion for BMX. That home video footage became an integral part in the story and surmounted much of the footage the guys had filmed with Tommy. There’s just nothing quite like home videos and no real way to re-create them. Combining both present and past footage of Tommy, along with his aspirations for the future allowed the team to craft a compelling film that stayed honest and true to Tommy’s character. With so much passion and collaboration infused into this project, the team can’t wait for what the future holds and their next venture together.


How much is enough? What sacrifices, risks, and adventures will you take to achieve the goals that define who you are? Find your passion and never compromise.



Jesse Klein
Jesse Klein