Research Journal – The Train (Andi) The original idea behind making a boxing film came from watch Micheal Mann’s Ali as a young boy. This film captivated me not only the visuals but the soundtrack too. The landscapes plus the boxing choreography blew me away. My starting point in this project was to re-‐watch the film and grab screen shots of shots that really jumped out at me/shots I would like to take influence from. As I re-‐watched the film, I realised it was the opening scene which grabbed me most. Below are some screen grabs…
The first thing I did to get the ball rolling was a informal casting/location scout. I struggled initially to find guys or girls who would be willing to help me paint a portrait of a boxer. The out of nowhere I get who was a few years above me in school replied to an email and agreed to let me make a short documentary on him. In our first meeting I didn’t take any camera or audio equipment, I wanted to break the ice before throwing a camera in his face. Little did I know, he began to open up to me almost immediately, telling me his story. I made as many notes as I could, and returned the following week. Between our meetings I continued to look up other examples of boxing films, researching techniques and various equipment I would need to use to best capture my subject. One of my favourite scenes in Ali is one where the audience follows Ali on a run at night. The composition with the night city in the background with Ali to one side was amazing. See some stills below.
I looked into ways I couldcreate a similar shot. I knew I would need a vehicle but I wasn’t sure how I would keep the camera steady. By chance I was reading the film issue of Port magazine, and came across an article about the making of 2010’s Monsters, a budget sci-‐fi film. In that, they used quilts underneath the camera equipment to absorb the shock from the moving car. This worked perfectly for me.
Painting a Picture Along with the visuals I had to think about what story I wanted to tell about my subject. Having already heard his full story I needed to decided which parts I like and wanted to use to create a story for my film with. Below are the different points he mentioned… He didn’t begin boxing til 24 It was a childhood dream He grew up playing football He grew up in a very small town Has a twin brother Began to get bored with life From that, I stripped them down into the essentials of what he was saying… Why When Playing football Small town thinking Being a twin Where nex Small town britain
I really liked the idea of exploring small town britian. Looking at other films who have looked at small town britian. People like.. Ken Loach Shane Meadows. Both the above directors, shot the majority of there films in small towns around Britain, which added a huge amount of style to their films, I plan to attempt to use the backdrop of Andi’s small town to add flavour to my short doc. Other documentaries Looking through my saved items on my computer, I came across various other short documentaries which have focused on sports. Below are some screen shots from a few… Films… Dark Side of the Lens by Mickey Smith Some Other Way by Elliot Rausch This is My Court by A Twin Thing As I Am by Alan Spearman Noe Kuremoto: Muay Thai Kick Boxer by Tubby Brother
Issues during the shoot During the shoot, I realised that Andi sweat would dry up mid take causing issues which continuity. I asked around some friends, and one girl who is a make-‐up artist recommended that I use Gylcerine mixed with water as artificial sweat. This worked perfectly. It looked the exact same as sweat but didn’t dry up, meaning I didn’t have to rush to capture sweat dripping from his face. The quilt underneath the tripod whilst driving working perfect. It took y a few takes to get used to it, but once I did, it gave me a really great cushion. I had a few issues recapturing the audio of the great story Andi shared with me when we first met. As he recited what he had already told me, he often missed out key details and didn’t get enough information as opposed to our first meeting before I had any equipment present. I also would have liked to of captured his tiwn brother, but his brother was reluctant to get involved. This was the same case as his family, they were not overly keen on being on camera which cause me some issue.