The Motorcycle Project

// About a month ago I released my film Roy Holtman – Motorcycle Builder. It was the first film of its kind that I’ve done, but certainly not the last. Let me elaborate.

I’ve been making short videos for a few years now, and although I feel that I’m growing as both a filmmaker and entrepreneur, for the last five to six months I felt like I needed a new challenge. I felt like I could create so much better stuff than the videos I was making at the time… I still feel that way actually – I’m hard to please and set the bar very high for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I liked my work and my clients do too, but on a personal level I was missing something. A certain depth, something to identify with, a personality, a story.

Around the same time, one night I was talking with my buddy Roy about his love for modifying motorbikes, how he started out welding frames together in his living room and how he saw each bike more as a person than as a machine. In that moment I realised his passion would make for a great story. So I decided to make a short film about him, to shoot a passion project: something where Roy’s passion for motorbikes and my passion for filmmaking would come together.

This was the perfect opportunity for me to experiment and learn a lot about storytelling and creating a type of film I hadn’t created before. With no clients involved and no deadline I could do whatever I wanted, push myself, experiment with different techniques and learn new things.

And boy, have I learned a lot. Here’s a few realisations I had when making this short film:

  1. Sound is everything – which I knew already, but it became obvious once again when doing the interviews and recording the engine sounds. Without good sound design a film is worthless.
  2. Preparation, too, is everything – I pretty much went in blind on this project, I only knew the outlines of the story and how long I wanted the film to be. Now, this was also the plan, to experiment and see where it was going to bring me, but it wasn’t always the easiest way. And because we shot in an area I know very well location scouting wasn’t necessary and neither was a planning because I worked on this whenever I had time between client work. Normally I do both, and I think in this case it would also have been better to work more efficient.We were however very lucky with the weather and traffic, which saved a lot of time.
  3. You can’t control everything – I won’t go into too much details, but some things definitely didn’t go to plan. Things we had no control over, but they still messed with my head quite a bit. This is useless as it doesn’t change anything except your own mood. There will always be things you can’t control – work around most, learn to live with the rest.
  4. Take your time – some stuff we had to re-shoot three times because when editing, I just wasn’t happy with the stuff I had. I once read the quote “When you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” and this is definitely true when you’re making a film. Taking it slow to get it right the first time will save lots of time and many frustrations.
  5. I bloody love making short films like this. I really do. Getting an idea in my head after first talking to Roy, seeing it take shape after the first interview and then getting all the pieces to fit together in the edition process was just amazing.

Like I said, this was the first film of it’s kind that I’ve created, but definitely not the last. To me, talking with people about their passion, the one thing they love the most on this earth, and then making a film about it is a great privilege. I can’t wait to start working on the next one…