Have you ever been able to say you’ve stood backwards and thrown a book into its designated spot on the bookshelf? How about landing a playing card on a dart tip? No? We’ll leave that to trick shot artist Michael Shields.
Mikes skills are so good in fact, he’s been able to accumulate 4.2 million fans on TikTok since the pandemic; pushing his creativity to the max and accomplishing shots that to many would be seemingly impossible. DIVE was lucky enough to speak to him about his talent, how he discovered it and asked the question we’ve been dying to know: HOW LONG DO THESE VIDEOS TAKE?!
A ‘trick shot artist’ is quite a hard thing to define- how would you describe your skill?
I’ve never really thought about the definition… I guess in a simplistic form: it’s getting an object from point A to point B in the most creative way possible?
How did you discover your talent?
My wife and I used to do trick shots with each other all the time. We helped the youth group at our church doing trick shots to help celebrate graduation and things like that too. I’ve always been good at obscure things like ping pong, disc golf or any sorts of hand eye coordination type sports. I’ve been maybe doing it about 15 years now, my TikTok following has just been built up in the last year since lockdown. I’m a financial advisor during the day- so this gives me an outlet to be creative!
What makes a good trick shot artist?
I think a mixture of athleticism, creativity, and patience. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with new things that no one has ever seen before, no one will watch your stuff if you’re constantly recreating stuff that’s already been done. I do my own editing too which I really enjoy and that too needs a lot of patience. The shot itself takes hours and then the editing takes another hour, so an entire video takes a crazy amount of time when you think it’s only going on a 30 second TikTok! I think being able to tell a story too is key, you need to build suspense. There are a tonne of people who don’t celebrate actually getting the shot either, after hours of me trying to get to this point, I don’t want to be playing it cool after actually getting the shot.
Are there any shots you’ve attempted that you’ve never been able to nail?
There’s probably five or six that I've failed completely, but I might come back to them eventually! After 10 hours of trying, I kind of need a break to try something different.
What’s the longest amount of time you’ve taken to get a shot?
I'm about 15 hours in on one shot that I still haven't made. Typically, once I get into the 10 hours + mark, I end up weighing up whether it’s worth pursuing. The longest I’ve taken without breaks is 7 hours in a row, it can drive you a bit crazy. I’m stubborn enough that I’ll just keep going, but then sometimes it’s 4am by the time I finally get somewhere and then need to get up for work in the morning!
Do you keep the camera running that whole time? That’s a lot of editing!
I tend to start and stop but keep it rolling if it feels like I’m getting closer to getting the shot. There’s been only one time where I’ve missed a shot on camera where the storage was full, and I didn’t realise. I did eventually get the shot again, but it took another hour to recreate which was very frustrating.
Do trick shot artists ever get banned from arcades for being ‘too good?!’
Fortunately no..I haven’t ever been banned!
What is the hardest trick you’ve ever tried?
I once put a coke bottle on its side and tried to throw a marker into the hole from across the room.
How do you come up with inspiration for shots?
I take about 50% of my inspiration from other people and then the rest is my own interpretation. I’m in a group of 6 other trick shot guys and we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other, sending each other videos and supporting each other. We all help each other out but it gets competitive! If you ask most of my friends, they’d say Mike is super competitive and wins everything so I’ve kinda given up on trying to beat him!
Have you ever hit a shot on the first attempt?
Nope. I’m still waiting for that to happen, which I think is proof I’m not lucky but just good at persevering.
Michael’s insta and TikTok can be found on: thatll.work