By Laura P. Valtorta
The filming of the boxing documentary is indescribable. It’s living one of my dreams. I can’t sleep very well because I’m always planning the next step.
Aside from SCWW workshops, creative writing is solipsistic. I write by myself, counting on an unseen audience to catch my messages. But does the audience even exist?
With filming, I’m using questions and answers, faces, clothing, hairstyles, sound, lighting, action, and background to communicate ideas. I must collaborate with the director and production crew. Also the boxers.
Collaboration in art is something completely new to me. I look at the production crew and think that I’m depending on them, but I also have to convince them. This project, for me, is brilliant and important, but what will the other producers think? What about Milo (not his real name)?
Milo sat in on the first production meeting. I could tell he was skeptical. Whereas Cliff, the director, and I talked up the project, Milo sat at the table silently for thirty minutes, taking notes, with a frown on his face.
“He’s thinking like a producer,” Cliff told me later. “All he hears is that we start shooting on Tuesday.”
Among us, Milo was the only one who had boxing experience.
The filming started out smoothly. We interviewed boxers and their families at the gym. The background was noisy, but that’s what Cliff wanted. I felt excited about it. I could tell Milo was still skeptical. The sound would need some heavy engineering.
“Our emphasis might be on the next big boxer that comes out of here,” Cliff said.
“Our emphasis should be on Mr. Stanick,” I said. “He’s the heart of this gym.”
On the second day of shooting, Mr. Stanick’s interview came third, after a young boxer and a promoter. The boxer was good looking but young. The promoter was nervous. Both made some useful statements and revealed a good bit about the boxing industry.
Finally, Mr. Stanick sat in the chair. I had a million questions for him, but I managed to pick the important ones. Mr. Stanick described his own 50-year history as a boxer/ trainer/ manager/ gym owner, his passion for the sport, and his devastation when one of his boxers got hurt. The crew listened and posed additional questions.
At the end, Cliff said, “Mr. Stanick, we’ll be taping several more sessions with you.”
Milo had a smile on his face. He said, “Now THAT was a good interview.”