Monday, March 21, 2011
It’s A Wrap!
The next great home training program is in the can, as they say in Hollywood even though it’s more like “on the hard drive” these days. So I’ll be shutting down my P90X mc2 preview while the editors do their magic turning a bunch of sweaty workouts into a TV show. Even without our usual advanced rehearsal time that a test group provides I can say, with some certainty, that we got the shots we need. It’s going to be a sequel worthy of the original.
It wasn’t without its challenges, which is true of almost any shoot. Most coaches, trainers, and exercise scientists have no idea about what’s behind making good TV—nor do they care. But as we raise the bar of our target audience, now to include more discerning groups such as athletes and scientists, it becomes trickier to keep it all in balance because our programs are successful, primarily, because they are good entertainment; brining me to my first anecdote of the day.
Up at P3 one day Marcus and I are yappin’ about how to create and evolution to P90X when Utah Jazz big man Al Jefferson says, “You guys going to make a video?” We look at each other, simultaneously thinking about what that would look like, and both break out laughing. I answer something along the lines of “no one would want to watch that,” leading to my second anecdote.
Tony is affectionately called The Fitness Clown. Yeah, he’s a super fit dude who knows how to train but what really sets him apart is his personality and his ability to convey it on camera. During the shoot my two staff trainers on set were making notes about techniques and flaws, in both the cast and Tony, to help us edit and know when we absolutely have to re-shoot something. This is more tech advice than we’ve ever used—on 90x it was just me—and vital for us to deliver a solid program. But it also created a serious air on the set and very early on Mason—the director—had to step in and tell Tony to stop trying to be technical and focus on what he does best, entertainment. And the more Tony became Tony the smoother the workouts went and the better TV they made.
So back to P3 and anecdote #2: we’re up there working with Tony on some PAP training and he tells one of the trainers how much he envies his knowledge of exercise physiology. The trainer replies that he envies Tony’s ability in front of the camera, to which Tony lights up, changing from student to teacher.
“Every time I workout I pretend there’s a camera on me,” he begins before going into many of the subtleties of acting. Marcus and I again exchange a look because, for us, it’s absolutely the opposite of what we’re doing when we’re exercising, which is evaluating how everything works the body and how it may be useful if incorporated into a training program. But as I’m sitting in front of the A camera with a stack of cue cards and a note pad, watching Tony work, I think of this over and over. And each time I hold up a card I see his lessons from that day play out in front of me as he seamlessly works the tip into his repertoire as if he were about to say it anyway—a professional on the top of his game. And maybe he was going to say it. And we’ll never know. And that’s the magic of Hollywood.
Coming fall 2011: P90x: The Sequel...
x next previews from t-b: we won't have any muscle bound charlatans trumpeting the x as you're are going to need to perform; we're still pushing iron but your form will force you to earn it; chicago’s (the band not the city) jason scheff promises some great TV by not only demonstrating hotel room modifications but attempting to out clown the fitness clown; the professional -- tony nails his nemesis moves when the camera rolls, every time.