About this project
This is our original film for the Kickstarter that has helped us raise over £13,000 https://vimeo.com/channels/journeyproductions/80460824
The music on the Kickstarter film was composed and played by Alan Henry.
This is a love story, a story about a man and a bike, but no ordinary man and no ordinary bike!
The story features ambition, survival, determination, dedication, design, genius, craft, and passion. It’s the story of a man’s determination to rehabilitate and redefine himself, proving that he wasn’t just the “washing machine man”
It covers two years in the life of twice world record holder and twice world champion, cycling icon Graeme Obree. It begins in his kitchen in Saltcoats, Ayrshire and ends in the mountains above Salt Lake City, Utah. We are with Graeme every inch of the way from his unconventional design methodology – no cad systems for Graeme – a sheet of wallpaper works better. To his building method – “cold steel forming” giving it a big hit with a hammer, “but it’s knowing where to hit it”
This is the very first taster video we made https://vimeo.com/41906787
We are with him when he eventually tests the mechanics on the seafront at Saltcoats. https://vimeo.com/45034602
We suffer with him as he misses his first deadline, to get to the International Human Powered Vehicle Associations meeting in September 2012 at Battle Mountain, Nevada. We are with him when the aerodynamic shell so lovingly and painstakingly built doesn’t fit and has to be ditched and again when the second shell proves to fit too well and is a cause of claustrophobia and has to be ripped apart and rebuilt only weeks before the second deadline of September 2013. We are with him in the hospital just 3 months before the big day when the surgeons have to gouge a huge abscess out of his leg, will he be fit enough. We are with him as he trains in his own inimitable way through Ayrshire’s country lanes and up Tenerife’s Mount Tiede and in his living room. And we are with him when he finally makes the start line at Battle Mountain in a machine he’s never ridden before.
This emotional roller coaster of a film is ultimately a life affirming statement about the power of the human spirit and what we can achieve if we give it a go. It is an observational documentary, shot in high definition. There are gritty elements but it is also a visual treat. It travels from the tight confines of a Saltcoats kitchen to the massive spaces of North America’s Great Basin in Nevada.
The Man and his story
A little about our central character.
We join Graeme in his mid forties in the autumn of 2011, and he lives in the Ayrshire coastal town of Saltcoats. He comes up with the idea to design and build a machine that he can mount a challenge for the world human powered speed record . He’s going to build it in his kitchen,. This is a small kitchen, no Hollywood glitz and sumptuous space in this kitchen, this is the post industrial west coast of Scotland
You might well say, “He’s crazy no one can do that” And in some ways you would be right, as he’s battled manic depression and bipolar disorder and been sectioned 7 times. Over the years he’s been fed countless cocktails of medication to keep him in check. They didn’t always work. He attempted suicide, not once but twice, miraculously fate dealt the winning hand and he was brought back from near death with a priest reading the last rites.
He is the father of two grown sons and was married to their mother, until his struggle to define his sexuality saw him declare he was homosexual. All that happened over the last dozen or so years.
And here’s why he’s not so crazy. In the late 80’s and early 90’s this guy made a name for himself riding bikes very quickly. First of all the bikes were fairly standard, but slowly he began to alter and customise his bikes and as they got quicker he realised he was on to something, until eventually he came up with revolutionary designs, building complete bikes himself.
On one of these subsequently christened ‘Old Faithful’ he broke Francesco Mosers iconic world hour record on 17th July 1993 in Hamar, Norway, he would later be world champion twice and regain his world hour record, many believe that his last world record is still the legitimate drug free world record.
His designs and riding positions were so revolutionary, the sports governing body started to outlaw them. Each time they brought in a new rule he would come up with a new design based on the rule, then they would change the rule again usually with an arbitrary interpretation of their own rule book. Paranoia could be forgiven, even for the strongest minds in such circumstances, but our man was a little fragile to start with, so it was no surprise that they eventually broke him and he hit rock bottom. He found himself a twice world record holder and twice world champion; virtually destitute, he was a homeless couch surfer. And then something happened, he needed to make something and this is where our film begins.
The Film and me
As you can see I’ve been around a bit. I’m a 40+ years veteran of this business but lucky to still be as passionate about it as when I started, if not more so. I’ve spent most of my recent working life making factual programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and the History network – you can catch a glimpse of some of them on my personal Vimeo page http://www.vimeo.com/davidstreet
I have always had a desire to make different films and to challenge myself. As my contemporaries retired, moved on to golf and sailing or started writing, I knew the only thing I wanted to do was to make films about subjects that I was interested in. As an award winning Director and Producer I spent several years working on TV and Cinema commercials in Europe and North America. As a journalist and storyteller I’ve been gifted with an insatiable curiosity, a desire to find out about things and know what people don’t want me to know. I even won a Sony (a radio Oscar) for one series. I just could not stop doing what I loved so much, so I have invested in the best camera and sound equipment I could afford, the best computers and editing systems available to me. So far everything I have done has been self funded – with the support of my wife - to this stage. The Outsider: The Graeme Obree Story is one of three I have filmed. When I started it was only going to be 10 months work and not very complicated. As I got to know Graeme and he opened up to me, giving me more and better access, I sensed it could be bigger than initially anticipated. Then he hit problems, he had to change the drive chain, deadlines were missed, but still he kept going and I realised I would have to stay with it and complete the documenting of his epic adventure. So far it has taken two years, to complete all the filming and I had intended to edit the film myself. However as it has taken so long I do now need to bring in an editor. I would love you to join with me and be part of making this a brilliant and wonderful film about a genius of a man and his desire to be accepted.
What We Need.
We are trying to raise £20,000 this will cover the cost of a craft editor, and the editing suite he will use. The sound mix. The completion of the final big screen version, colour corrected with titles and graphics as well as the master for the streams, downloads and DVD’s.
How can we thank you
You have seen the rewards on the panel to the right but above that, you will be part of a truly magnificent journey, that will last many lifetimes in the minds of the people who see it and pass it on and hand it down. The knowledge that in the days of automation and computation it is still possible to create and build something with our own hands to think literally - outside the box! And for the two people who take the Executive Producer credits, they will have the joy of picking up the awards that we hope the film will receive and putting them on their display shelf.
We are grateful for the music on this last film it is "Sunny Sunday Train Ride" by Redvers West Boyle and can be found on SoundCloud.
Risks and challenges
With observational documentary the main risk is that you wont get the story. That the main character will pull out before the end of filming. That the event does not happen or the weather causes massive delays or you cannot get that last piece of access to make it all work.
We come to you with all those problems solved, even the delay of a year. All the filming has been done. It is in the can (or on the 12 terabytes of hard drive) we just need to put it all together and decide what not to show, to bring the 200 hours down to a wonderful 90 minute feature film. We have already got options on two brilliant editors, who with your participation will make this into the most amazing film. There really are no risks left and the challenge is just going to be the normal creative one, of making the very best we can of the material we have gathered. We will keep you informed of our progress with regular backer updates and should there be delays in the process for what ever reason we will keep talking with you. I do hope you can join us on the last leg of this very special journey.
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