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Why Filmmakers Should Make the Time for Passion Projects

It was January 2018 and my good friend, Andrew Price and I were traveling to a Red Wings game. We’re both cinematographers and have our own businesses doing client work, but in our free time, we drive down to Detroit to unwind and watch some hockey.

When you’re traveling for 2 hours each way, random conversations about life or work kill time. On this particular car ride, we spoke about our goals to start passion projects – projects that we had full control over and produced for ourselves.

We bounced around a few ideas and found that we’d both been mulling on the same idea, a hockey documentary.

sony a7iii and zacuto cage from derek lamoureux

Filmmaker Derek Lamoureux with the Sony A7III and Zacuto Sony Cage.

A Bumpy First Period

I’ve been a Red Wings fan since age 3 and a season ticket holder for 2 years. Andrew has been an OHL season ticket holder for 19 seasons! We both knew this was something we were passionate enough about to invest our own time, money, and resources.

We decided to create a feature-length hockey documentary, but the exact specifics would take a while to get decided! As often happens with passion projects, other things had to take priority. We both became very busy with client work and in our own personal lives. The project came to a standstill.

Fast forward to early December 2018, Andrew and I were heading to yet another hockey game in Detroit. And again, the same topic came up; it was time.

But how do you start?
How long will it take?
When do we make the time?

We had so many questions but ultimately decided to treat our passion project as a client project. We’d bite the bullet and just set aside the time and book it in our calendars. This was really a crucial moment for us. Other filmmaker friends we’ve spoken to about this agree; if you don’t treat it like it’s a paid client project, it likely won’t get finished.

Gearing Up for the Second Period

So, now we had to get going! We dug out some markers and an 8-foot whiteboard and started planning. We spent many hours brainstorming and planning our goals, who we’d like to talk to, what the overarching story should focus on, and defining our vision.

filmmaker passion projects from derek lamoureux and Zacuto

From there, we made a generic list of questions that’d we ask all our interviewees and then an extra, customized list for each subject. For instance, if we were talking to a player, we’d ask them to share their journey thus far. If we were talking to a coach, we would ask them their top three characteristics to make it to the NHL.

The brainstorming process was well underway, but we know this would be an ever-changing vision as we got further along in the process.

Now, we just needed to get our foot in the door with someone to interview.

And, We’re on Our Way…The (First) Third Period

We wanted to start with someone local but at a high enough skill level that they would be valuable to the documentary. Luckily, I have a friend, Matt, who is friends with the first overall pick in the OHL last year, Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts. I reached out to Ryan on Instagram to explain our vision and see if he’d like to participate – he did!

Now, the fun part! I called the marketing manager, Brad, of the Barrie Colts and began to arrange our 3-hour trip up to Barrie to film a Colts game, interview Ryan, and get tons of b-roll. Brad could see how passionate we were and was excited about the project and thus very accommodating.

sony a7iii and zacuto cage from derek lamoureux

Filmmaker Derek Lamoureux in the Barrie Colts locker room with the Sony A7III and Zacuto Sony Cage.

After a weekend in Barrie, we’ll now be able to leverage our resources and connections to begin the next stage of filming. What’s next? A road trip to Alberta to film at the CHL Top Prospects game!

The Long Road to the Show

We’re still in the early stages of creating our documentary, Road to the Show. I can already tell this is going to be an ongoing learning process for me, and I’m super excited to see where it ends up. I think the biggest advice I can give to a filmmaker thinking about starting a passion project is, just go do it. Yes, you have to be prepared to put in the time and plan things out, but at the end of the day, this is about taking the leap to invest in yourself.

Happy Shooting!

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Stay in touch with Derek:

dereklamoureux.com
Instagram: @derek_lamoureux
Twitter: @dereklamoureux_

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About the Author


Derek Lamoureux is a Canadian director and cinematographer. He’s primarily working through his own agency, LC Productions, but often times finds himself freelancing all over North America. Derek has worked on national commercial campaigns with his work displayed on every medium. Derek also has a personal brand, @derek_lamoureux where he shares behind the scenes and tutorials through his Instagram and YouTube channels. Currently, Derek is the executive Producer and Director of the hockey documentary: Road to the Show.

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