There have been various productions that have been done that cover parkour today, as well as the history behind the sport. For example, documentaries and short films such as Jump Britain and Jump London, as well as My Playground have been released to give the public a new insight into the world of parkour. Reality series like Ultimate Parkour Challenge and Jump City: Seattle, display varieties of movements involved in freerunning, allowing the public to see parkour as an art form as well.
However, parkour has not gained the recognition it deserves as a sport. The few documentaries and short films on freerunning are less than well known, and only recently did parkour begin to be featured in reality television shows. Apart from these, unfortunately, parkour has never been given more coverage and exposure to the public eye. Still, I firmly believe that parkour can still be put in the spotlight. If properly executed, a documentary or short film can still become well known amongst the community, and give freerunning a new popularity.
Reality television series are also popular among the public, thus the possibilities of parkour garnering more interest is higher. As such, I feel it is still, and highly possible for a production featuring parkour to be recognized among the Singaporean community. Position Currently, there have been various documentaries and films on parkour. Documentaries such as Jump Britain and Jump London allow traceurs (individuals who practice parkour) to showcase their craft as they maneuver over famous landmarks in Britain.
Jump London, released in 2003, was the first documentary on parkour to be produced in the United Kingdom. (imdb. com, “Jump London (TV 2003)”) It starred the founders of parkour itself, David Belle (Edwardes 11) and Sebastien Foucan, along with others who practiced parkour with them. The documentary gained popularity, and soon enough, a sequel was on its way: Jump Britain. (imdb. com, “Jump Britain (TV 2005)”) Jump Britain involved Sebastien Foucan as well, but this time, a well-known parkour crew, Urban Freeflow, graced the production.
Part of the documentary also followed the team as they travelled to Lisses, France, the birthplace of parkour, for a ‘pilgrimage’. My Playground, a film, demonstrates how parkour, or freerunning, is changing the public’s view on urban space, and how urban space itself affects the traceurs themselves. The film stars freerunners from China, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Denmark, as they traverse across the small constricted cities they call home, bringing a whole new viewpoint on what it means to commute.
Another production involving parkour, has hit televisions screens around the world. Reality television series such as Ultimate Parkour Challenge (Witfeld et al. 10) documents ten of the best parkour athletes around the world as they challenge each other over the two seasons the mini-series has been aired. The show was filmed in California, but the themes of the parkour courses the participants compete over are far from ordinary. Every week, there will be a new course to traverse, and there have been insane challenges such as a rollercoaster track and a ferryboat.
Jump City: Seattle is another competition that showcases four of the top parkour groups in the United States, Team Tempest, Miami Freerunning, The Tribe and Team Rogue. The first ever parkour challenge held in the United States, it takes place at different landmarks in Seattle. The show was aired in the United States in mid-February 2011, and has since ended its first season in early-April 2011, with Team Tempest winning the competition. Problem/Potential Unfortunately, most documentaries and short films on parkour do not gain as much attention or fame.
Only in major action movie flicks would parkour be showcased, such as the Rush Hour film series or even the James Bond movie series. Even then, the scenes involving parkour such as the tank pursuit in GoldenEye, and the chase sequences in Casino Royale (Foucan 8) are just build-ups to the climax of the movie. Unfortunately, by the end of the movie, the parkour scenes are usually left forgotten. Showcasing parkour in a reality television series would garner plenty of interest in freerunning.
A reality show would only focus on parkour for the entire series, concentrating on the essence of the sport itself, instead of another storyline. The episodic plot of a reality television show would also result in more people following the series over the episodes. The end of every episode will leave the audience craving for more in anticipation of the next installment. Possibilities To film a documentary on parkour, it would mean interviewing a group of traceurs, whether local or from overseas, such as Team Tempest from America.
The aim of the interview is to find out what made them so interested in the parkour, as well as where they learnt their craft from. It is also important to ensure that the interviewed traceurs are willing to contribute to the documentary. After taking down the details of their parkour journey, a script should be done to create a storyline for the documentary to follow, and ensure that the documentary will remain focused on the topic at hand. After the script is created, it should be presented to a number of production houses to see if anyone is willing to fund the production.
Once a willing production company has been found, it is necessary that pre-production be started as soon as possible. Pre-production involves getting a cast and crew, finding locations to film the documentary, as well as determining the shooting schedule and budget costs for transportation, catering, booking of locations and paying the cast and crew. Once pre-production has been settled, the film shoot can proceed. When filming has ended, editors are required to make the documentary worthy to be screened across Singapore for all ages.
The finished product is then sent to advertising companies to publicize the documentary on television and other modes of advertising. After a period of publicizing, the documentary is then screened on televisions in Singapore, and even possibly, overseas. For a short film to be produced, there must be a storyline for the audience to follow. A possible storyline would be to document the story of the founder of parkour, David Belle, following the trials he faced while he pursued what he enjoyed doing, before making it big in the media industry as a stuntman and actor.
To make the story more relatable, changing the main character to a Singaporean traceur would encourage more interest in a fellow Singaporean chasing his dreams. In order to film a reality television series, willing traceurs have to be found to participate in a competition. Once willing parties have been found, it is also essential to find judges for the competition to rate the performances of the participants. When the judges have agreed to judge the competition, we can begin to pitch the idea to production companies.
Once a company has agreed to sponsor the production, pre-production can begin. Locations for the competition have to be found and booked for usage, and an emcee to host the show would be important in maintaining the focus of the program. The filming of the program itself would involve a crew to film the entire series, as well as editors to prepare the show for broadcast. These would include costs for getting the cast and crew to film, transportation, food and beverages and publicity. When the reality television series has been filmed and advertised, it can then be broadcast. Proposal
At this point, I believe that a reality television series would be the best option to generate awareness of parkour as a sport to the Singaporean public. Reality series are popular among Singaporeans, both young and old, and it easily and quickly gains interest. The excitement of the competitors performing such death-defying feats appeals to the youth, while the edge of the competition gives something for the older generation to talk about as well. A reality series would focus more on the ‘action’ of parkour itself, and in this case, literally, actions speak louder than words. Even the older eneration, who possibly cannot understand English, watching the movements of the competitors as they execute stunts in midair and make their way across the course is a language in itself. There would be no need for wordy narration to explain what is happening on-screen. Though documentaries have visuals as well, few youths would hold much interest to sit down and watch it. Adults seldom have enough time set aside to watch a two-hour long documentary, and most of the older, illiterate generation would not be able to understand the wordy monologue. As a result, it would not fully educate the Singaporean public as much as possible.
There would also be more focus on the history of parkour and it’s origins rather than the movements and actions involved in parkour, making it harder for the youth and older generation to have the patience to digest the documentary. A short film, unfortunately, would not be long enough to cover the aspects of parkour as a sport in half an hour. Parkour involves many moves and motions of the human body, and if a short introduction on parkour were to be included, there would be no available time for a proper documentation of parkour at all. Also, short films are a ‘minority’ in Singapore’s arts scene.
Few people hold interest towards short films, and would rather catch a blockbuster movie. It would be difficult to promote parkour this way, as there would be a severe lack of public viewership, considering that short films are usually shown at film festivals. The public would need to take time to come down to the festival venue as well, which results in eventual disinterest due to the inconvenience at the amount of time taken.
Edwardes, Dan. “Introduction: a Brief History of Parkour. ” Introduction. The Parkour and Freerunning Handbook. First ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. 8-11. Print. Foucan, Sebastien. “Introduction. ” Introduction. Freerunning: The Urban Landscape Is Your Playground. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses, 2008. 8-9. Print. “Jump Britain (TV 2005) – IMDb. ” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 31 July 2011. <http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0435675/>. “Jump London (TV 2003) – IMDb. ” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 31 July 2011. <http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0380472/>. Witfeld, Jan, Ilona E. Gerling, and Alexander Pach. “Foreword. ” Foreword. The Ultimate Parkour & Freerunning Book Discover Your Possibilities. Berkshire: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK), 2011. 10. Print.
Cite this Parkour Documentary Proposal
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