Week 40: The Boxer

(Watch in HD)

[Thanks, once again, to Mr. C. Bay Milin for shooting all of the gym and park footage.  Thanks to my tripod for shooting the rooftop interview.  Thanks to the lovely and talented Mr. Greg Keller for doing the voiceover for the interviewer.]

Holy crap, WEEK FORTY!  Only ten more to go!  I’m not sure if you’d call it the home stretch, but I’m on the last lap, I think.

John Faison is named after my friend Eric Faison who made it to my birthday party despite being mute from having had throat surgery earlier that day.  If that’s not a fighter, I don’t know what is.

This was an episode I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  The concept the sparked my interest was, “A boxer preparing for a fight he can’t win.”  There was something sad and poetic about that that I liked.  The reason I postponed shooting it so long was training.  I had to get back into practice with the speedbag, and I had to be in shape enough to get a bunch of heavybag footage.  There were a couple things out of my real life that I used for this episode.  When I was in 5th grade or so, my (step) Grandpa Jim really did get me a speedbag, and I really did love it.  I loved it so much I got one at my mom’s and my dad’s houses, and eventually got a heavybag, too.  They were my main form of exercise until I moved to New York when I was nineteen.  I used to be really fast and consistent.

Speedbag is one of those things you never forget how to do, but you get slower.  Heavybag, too.  I have more power than I did when I was a kid, but I’m not as fast, especially not after several “rounds”…  maybe I can work back up to that, though.  I haven’t used a speedbag regularly since I was 19.  I managed to get to the gym three times to prepare for this episode the week before we shot, but before that it had been well over a year since I’d even touched one.  I felt properly beat-up by the end of the shoot, but I think I’d like to keep up the bag work, as it was just incredible exercise.  Oh, and I really do count in eights.

We had to shoot this guerrilla-style.  We used my tiny camera to get all of the footage inside the gym.  We knew if we asked permission they’d say no, so we just went for it and tried to be discreet.  While shooting like that adds an element of excitement… I’m over it.  As an actor, wondering whether or not we’re going to get caught is just a distraction I could do without.

Also, I learned some important (but painful) lessons about audio this week.  Specifically about audio-matching.  I’ll go into the details if anyone asks in the comments, but for now, suffice to say, it sucked.  But knowledge is good, even if (or perhaps especially when) acquired through adversity.

Anything else?  Nah.  I’ve got a cold, and I need some sleep.  Got questions?  Leave them in the comments.  I’m pretty good about responding.  Should have another one for you next week.  Keep checking back.


9.22.10  4.09am

~ by 50in50 on September 22, 2010.

8 Responses to “Week 40: The Boxer”

  1. Brent, this is really beautiful. You captured poetic and sad wonderfully. Part of me kept waiting for you to tip it over the line into comedy, and that made it all the more poignant and sad. Nice work.

  2. I forgot to mention Bay’s camera work. Really wonderful!!

  3. Do tell. Audio matching in terms of the shooting on the roof? I did notice that the interviewer sounded like he was recorded in an interior space.

    That said – that airplane at the end is f-ing nice. It’s normally something that as an audio recordist – I hold up production for – but in this case, the actual sound of it does a lot for the film I think (in addition to the story/cinematography/etc). It’s kind of like an omen to this characters impending doom – just a little touch. it’s nice. It is a nice way to finish the film.

    • Had lots of audio problems, I’m afraid, all of which were my fault. You caught the one about the interviewer. I was alone on the roof when I shot the interview, and I went to my (other) friend Greg’s place to record the audio. I was going to use his back yard, but I worried that they the outdoor sounds would be doubled, so I thought I could get away with it if I turned down the gain and recorded in his living room. No such luck. Lots of echo. I tried using a bunch of filters to make it sound more outdoorsy, but nothing to squelch that tell-tale indoor echo. Lesson learned.

      The other this was a total rookie mistake and a result of wearing too many hats at the same time. Midway through the rooftop shoot I switched audio input from my lavalier mic to the camera’s onboard mic to capture something else, then forgot to switch it back to my lav. Recorded the whole second half of the interview with terrible sound, and by the time I realized it I only had 15 minutes left on my battery and the light was changing super fast. I re-did one to two takes of all the bits in the second half before my battery died. Thought I was sunk for sure, but those bits ended up all being usable. Dumb mistake, again, lesson learned.

      I’m glad you liked the airplane bit. If I had let the clip play a second longer you would have heard me say, “Fucking airplane!” But then, once I heard it in editing, I really liked it. I was going to end with the sound of a bell (at a fight), but I thought this was way better.

  4. LOVE the bandaid shot!!!

    • Thankya. I kept tearing up that one knuckle for some reason when I was practicing for this one, and then reopened the cut during shooting. Was glad we got the shot.

  5. authentic sadness – on aging and maybe being surpassed – before the newer older wiser you is envisioned

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