Life is funny. I take that back, life is what you make it. I think Forrest Gumps momma said it best, you know the line…. “Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are gonna get”. December of 2010, I set off across the country to chase a dream, knowing my family was right behind me I knew I had to make it happen. Leaving the comfort of a great job, family and friends in California I headed east and into an unknown. I knew I had to take the bull by the horns and make it happen. I knew to start in this industry of entertainment I had to make the move.
I have always been a dreamer. I have always wanted greatness. Funny thing is, I don’t exactly know what that is. I can sit and dream all day. I did it as a kid, wanting to be a professional motocross star. Growing up I was never the best at it, but I tried hard. I can be honest looking back, I didn’t prepare as I should have. Didn’t train as hard as I should have. I though about that the whole 27 hour drive from So Cal to Louisiana, chasing a new dream. I thought about preparation, dedication and commitment. I wear lots of physical scars from not being those three. I was good racing, but I learned what I did wrong and how I could have been great. In my head I made a promise to myself, my family and this dream that I was going to be prepared, dedicated and commit 100%. I was all in. Boy was I scared shitless. I had great friends encouraging me, a family behind me and the will to do it though.
The dream upon moving to Louisiana was to establish myself as a well rounded stuntman. Make a living doing what I hated doing while racing but was SO good at. Crashing, Falling, Catching on fire (yes I did that in a race, in a stadium, Phoenix 2001) and all the usual stuff a “well rounded” stuntman does. I hit the ground running (no pun intended) and maybe by luck I instantly met good people that recognized my skill. Who am I kidding! I think they liked my personality but I will call it skill. Anyways, I got a good start and made it on some great shows. I learned a lot right away. The funny thing was, I was trying to downplay the “motorcycle specialist” on my resume. I did’t want to get pigeonholed into one ability. I actually wanted to fall, crash and fight. Fight? Me? hahahahahah. Anyways, it did’t take long for me to realize I needed to embrace what I was good at, what I had done since I was 5. Riding two wheels.
The idea for Covert Camera Bikes came to me in the Philippines back in 2012 while on the set of Bourne Legacy. Chris O’Hara (namedrop) brought me over to be the backup double for Jeremy Renner. Anyways, while on set I had an idea that an electric motorcycle would make a great camera bike. I instantly started doing my research at the hotel at nights. Upon returning home I promptly bought an electric bike. I had a napkin drawing of how I wanted to make it. I thought I had a good idea. Upon some encouragement from lifelong friend Cory Bender, I sought out Jeff Pahlegyi. Now we all have those people that pop into our lives that seem to have just been put there for a reason, Jeff is one of them. To make a long story short, he took one look at my bike, my napkin drawing and asked if I would mind if he “took as hot at designing something”. To sum it up in just a couple of words, Jeff is now a partner in this business. He was sent to me to help make this company work.
Now, when the E-bike bike was first made, I had ZERO knowledge of what it actually took to work or who I talked to to get it hired. I am not being modest, I had no idea. I knew if a camera was put on it, I could ride it. Matter of fact, the bike sat in my garage for a good 4 months. A constant eyesore and a reminder of how much money I had spent on it every time I saw it. That all changed in the summer of 2014. A football movie here in New Orleans was going to be filmed on artificial turf fields and they needed an electric vehicle with a small footprint to film the action scenes. Thankfully a friend of mine in town knew I had the bike and after a few phone calls I had my first show and tell with the bike. The show and tell went great and we then scheduled an actual test with the bike and players. I was nervous about the test, again… aside from riding, I didn’t know what I was doing. I remember taking the field for the first shot and setting it up. I was completely uneasy about how it would work out. But as soon as they called cut on the very first shot, I heard our video village erupt with cheers, I knew we had something. From that point forward everything changed for me and if this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up.
In the 4 years we have been operational, Covert Camera Bikes has now transformed into Covert Camera Vehicles. We have vehicles in three locations: California, Louisiana and Georgia. Plus we are fully outfitted to ship the bike to any country or location via crate. We have worked in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Canada and the US. We have 8 vehicles in the rotation and are just about to unveil our new E-bike. The E-bike V2. We have taken all the knowledge we have gained and applied it to our new bike. It is going to be great. We are also proud to announce that the “Toaster” the BMW i3 electric car is ready to rock! It is on the site now for you to check out.
In a short amount of time I have prepared, dedicated and committed to this project 110%. I have fallen in love with creating shots and being behind the camera. I am learning every day at what a camera sees and how to achieve shots with our vehicles. I maintain that promise I made 7 years ago on that drive across the country as I lay my head down at night planning on conquering the future.
Thank you for reading my ramble. Please subscribe to our newsletter on the homepage for updates and featured news from Covert. The future is certainly bright here at Covert and we hope to see you on set soon.