In early August, we heard about a challenge Stillmotion was doing. Matt and I read over the details and quickly accepted. We are aways looking for something outside of “everyday work” to challenge us to be better filmmakers and storytellers. Stillmotion’s Big Shorts Challenge was just what we needed to push us to think differently and creatively.
Before we continue on our experience being part of this challenge, you HAVE to watch our submission. There will be a few spoilers below the video.
Finding a Story
Matt and I had already been brainstorming ideas that fit the “Home” theme when I got a message from my friend Ellie. Ellie was telling me about her friend Noah Galloway, a veteran and double amputee. The conversation included things like “he’s amazing” and “you have to meet him”. She told us all about the races and challenges he’s competed in along with his goal to climb the seven summits.
We began talking about getting him a quote to produce a video for his website. But on the inside, I was doing a little happy dance. I just knew Noah’s story was the story we were suppose to tell for the Big Shorts Challenge. Everything just felt like this was the way it was suppose to happen. I immediately ran to tell Matt about him. We did a little stalking research on Noah and knew immediately Ellie was right, we had to meet him!
We met up with him and Ellie and everything fell into place. We clicked with Noah and he was excited about our ideas for the video. With the challenge deadline only a couple of weeks away, we had pretty much one day we could shoot. It fell between Noah’s meeting in Virginia with Team Xtreme and his participation in the Spartan Race.
Our vision for the film was to have the viewer connect with Noah as an athlete who trains hard and later reveal his injuries. We did not want this film to show Noah as a double amputee who is an athlete, but an athlete who happens to be a double amputee.
On shoot day, we met Noah at 5:30am where he trains at Combat Fitness Training Facility. We knew the most challenging part of the day’s shoot would be shooting Noah in a way you could not tell he was a double amputee. Our pre-production paid off, because every shot was exactly the way we had envisioned it. Noah was awesome as he went through the repetitions over and over for our shots.
We headed to a local state park to capture the running shots and ending shot. As we were getting ready to run and Noah was putting on his running shoe, I just watched. I was interested to see how he was going to tie his shoe with one hand. And he did it effortlessly. I was pretty impressed. Think about that as you’re watching that shot. Matt captured some awesome running Steadicam shots with Noah in the park. Again, we were challenged to show him running without revealing the left side of his body.
The final location of the day was Moss Rock Preserve to rock climb. Noah has been training there to climb Carstensz Pyramid (one of the seven summits) in November. When he summits, he will be the first amputee to ever climb that mountain. Watching Noah rock climb was definitely one of the most inspring moments of the day.
As Stillmotion announced the winners and they announced Noah by Hampton Road Studios won the second place in the Pro category, we were beyond excited. However, when they announced we won Best Cinematography, we were blown away. That award means so much to us, especially coming from Stillmotion. We are still excited and humbled to have been recognized out of a group of amazing films that were submitted.
We are blessed to have met Noah and to be able to tell his inspiring story. He is such an incredible athlete and person! We feel we were able to capture that and tell his compelling story. Thank you Noah for everything!!
Now go learn more about Noah Galloway and support him on his journey!