My favorite part of explaining this project to people is when I am asked "This guy is really scary-looking. How do you know him?"
"Kindergarten." I'd respond.
It never gets old. Eric Kronstadt is one of my childhood friends that I've known since I was five years old. He's also a Mixed Martial Arts fighter who trains almost every day, practicing Muay Thai boxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu, and conditioning exercises.
The last time I was home I asked if he'd be interested in helping me with a fun project that involved filming him riding his Harley-Davidson Fat Bob and one of his training sessions. I was excited about the new season of Sons of Anarchy and I wanted to make a tribute to some of my influences.
He was a good sport and true to his disciplined lifestyle as a martial artist, he was unfazed by my warning that he'd have to wake up early and our window for decent lighting for the motorcycle shots would be from 7:00am to 7:45am.
At 5:00am I left my house to pick up my friend Stephen who had just arrived by Megabus to Washington D.C. from North Carolina. He was visiting that weekend and I had recruited him to be my driver for for the shoot. We made it to Baltimore at 7:00am and met Eric who'd just arrived on his motorcycle. I really had no idea if I would be able to get any decent footage as I had never done this before so we improvised based on a loose game plan.
Stephen was going to drive the RAV4 and I'd sit in the back and wave my hand to direct Eric on when to pass us or when to maintain speed and cruise. We drove up I-83 North which has a gritty industrial feel and mostly straight road.
It was a bit scary at first but eventually we got the hang of how to synchronize our movements and came out with some pretty decent shots for hanging out a window handheld. I may try holding the Glidecam out the window next time.
A few days later, I visited one of the martial arts schools that Eric trains at and filmed him practicing with his coaches. During a break I was able to direct him doing some different things I thought would look cool on film. He looked especially scary and threatening during the "walkout" which Eric was quite amused by when he saw the footage because he doesn't see himself that way. It is interesting to note that he has Viking tattoos and is actually of Norwegian descent.
I wanted to capture the different emotions in a warrior's and really any person's life. The anger, the sadness, the torment, the calm.
This was inspired by Vikings, Sons of Anarchy, Snatch, Warrior, and fighters in the UFC.
There is a demon that haunts each and every one of us
No matter how far you run, eventually the demon always catches up
Your only hope is to stay strong and believe in the purity of your heart
So that when you do meet the demon you can stand your ground and fight
Believe me, the demon never gives up
Even when you think the demon is gone it will still claw its way back to find you
Because the demon is you