A month or so ago, whilst doing some research for the “cut your own trailer” SAKOOZ site, we came across a film called Two Fists One Heart. This is a contemporary story set in Perth Western Australia, about Anthony Argo – a young Italian/Australian boxer played by Daniel Amalm – being pushed to the limit by his Sicilian father and trainer, Joe (Ennio Fantastichini). Joe wants Anthony to achieve the success in the ring that he was denied as a young man. When Anthony meets Kate (played by the stunning Jessica Marais – from the television series Packed to the Rafters), he begins to see his life – and the role violence – in a different light. He loses focus on boxing and, in a confrontation with his father, learns about Joe’s painful past. Joe turns his back on his son. Anthony leaves the ring spending time with Kate in their blossoming romance. He earns his living as a nightclub bouncer . When Anthony becomes involved in a street fight at a public event Kate dumps him. Anthony reflects on who he is and all that he has recently lost. Tom (played by the amazingly talented Tim Minchin – who I had no idea actually did screen acting!), Kate’s comedian brother helps Anthony see the world and his life from a different perspective Joe is betrayed by Nico (played by Rai Fazio – who also wrote the screenplay), another boxer of Sicilian decent. Anthony, now mature enough to make his own decisions, decides to honour his father and his family and re enters the ring to fight his nemesis Nico.
Directed by Sydney-based Shawn Seet – who traditionally has mainly done television directing and editing as well as being awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen’s New Years Honours Lis for his services to Australian society and to Australian film production – this film is sure to be a hit, especially given that At the Movies gave it some a positive review. It will be very interesting to see how this film goes at the box office…
Ignoring the actual film for a minute – the thing that really caught our attention was their online presence. As well as the official movie site, they also had two other promotional sites. One of them teaches you how to throw a punch, and the other features a Cut Your Own Scene competition. It’s the latter that really got us interested.
On the site, you can download five scenes, and some sound effects and temp score and basically do what you want with it (under the condition that you link back to their site if you display it online). The footage is in “rushes” form – meaning the footage has a logo on it, isn’t colour graded and has timecode burnt into it. Although they don’t give you all the footage for each scene (and if they actually do, then they really shot VERY little coverage for each scene), and the “rushes” have been edited together to look like rushes (i.e. slates have been added in for the hell of it, random footage has been added, useful footage has been removed) – you’re still provided with some useful footage, and it’s great to play around with.
Although the competition has now closed – the general idea was that the public can cut together their own scene, and submit it for review.The best five scenes will be posted on Disney’s promotional site for the film (obviously this is a great opportunity for some exposure to high-profile people in the film industry). These five best scene cuts will be selected by Bill Russo head of Editing at the AFTRS and the creative team from the film. Interestingly, Director Shawn Seet, Editor Milena Romanin and Cinematogropher Hugh Miller are all graduates from AFTRS, Australia’s premiere Film and Television school.
If you haven’t already downloaded the rushes and had a play – I highly recommend you do! They’re great for practising your craft, and would also make a terrific training tool.
I downloaded the rushes a few months ago now, and used them to really get to grips with Avid (as I’ve done most of my cutting in Final Cut Pro in the past). Trying to cut together a real scene (as opposed to some dodgy video footage supplied with most books and tutorials), was really handy. Just getting on with the job, and learning as I went, was extremely beneficial.
For your viewing pleasure, here are some of the edits I threw together:
Scene A (Rough Cut 001)
Scene B (Rough Cut 001)
Scene C (Rough Cut 005)
Scene E (Rough Cut 001)
None of these edits are particularly amazing – although I did spend a fair bit of time on Scene C to try and get it flowing a lot nicer. The lack of coverage was a bit tricky – and really added to the challenge. I didn’t have time to really fix up the audio or grade the footage either – so you’re really seeing a first pass of an offline edit.
You can download my Avid Project for the scene here if you like. You’ll need to download all the media yourself though and re-link it. Originally I planned to log all the clips in Final Cut Pro as well – but never got around to it. If you edited the scenes in Final Cut and want to offer your project file on this site, let me know!
Overall – I think this campaign was a really good idea, and I’d love to see some statistics on how many people actually downloaded the rushes and submitted entries for the competition. Looking at YouTube search results, there doesn’t seem to be that many people that got into it which is a real shame. Although the fact that the site moved their rushes over to Amazon Web Services probably means that at least a lot of people were downloading the files. I guess at the end of the day any publicity is good publicity, and the most people that talk about the film the better.
It’s really interesting watching what other people have done. For example, I just watched this version – although it’s cut together OK, it seems a bit all over the place, and doesn’t really have a nice flow to it. Also, you don’t really get an insight into the characters at all. This version of another scene is a lot better – but it seems really fast. I also don’t really like the dissolve at the start. This version of the fight scene however works HEAPS better than mine. At the time of playing with this scene, I was too afraid to use jump cuts, and I really tried to make it flow naturally – but it never really worked. I used far too many instances of the one cutaway (the young worker looking through the window). In retrospect, I think the use of fast jump cuts and really making the action zip past would have worked a lot better. I’ve also been told you should never have characters both enter and exit a sense – you should either have one or the other. This is hard when you’re only cutting one scene, with no overall context – but I think the rule is still a good one, and may have helped me with some of the other scenes.
As we’re in the process of trying to build a similar campaign for the SAKOOZ trailer, this was a really great project to study. The fact that you could download the rushes (as opposed to editing the trailer online) is something that really interests us. However, I think by making people download large files and edit them on their own system (whether they use Mac or PC, Avid or FCP, Premiere or Vegas, Windows Movie Maker or iMovie…) as opposed to just being able to cut something together in the comfort of a web browser, means that the campaign attracts more to geeks and professionals, as opposed to just general movie goers. As a lot of geeks and professionals will probably go see the movie regardless, I’m not sure if this kind of thing will actually attract more audience numbers to the cinemas. What I’m now considering for the SAKOOZ site (and for future “cutting your own version” sites), it having the option – you can either edit online (we are currently working very closely with the team at Kaltura), or download and cut it together using your own tools.
Regardless of all this – we highly recommend you go and see the film at the movies and support Australian films! And when it comes out on DVD – buy that as well! I’m sure there’ll be some great special feature on that one…
Finally – if you edited your own version of the scenes, feel free to let us know via the comments system at the bottom of this page! We’d love to see your interpretation of the scenes!
Best Regards, Chris!