Friday, May 28, 2010
Early in the research stage we discovered Jeff Mahl, the great grandson of the American driver/mechanic George Schuster. We met with him several times in Florida and Buffalo. In the end, we used the unpublished memoirs of Schuster in the film as it felt more authentic than the Schuster/Mahony book.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It was during the winter of 2000 that Ray and myself started chatting about the race after a commercial shoot. I had heard of the Greatest Auto Race but knew very little about the details. Ray had been a fan since he was 12 years old when he read George Schuster's brief memoir. I liked the idea and decided to do some research. Afterall, if we were going to do a film we would need to have it completed for the 100th anniversary ... and we would need the research to tell the story.
And it started. The internet was able to tell me the story, but mostly from the Schuster point of view. We did find Scarfoglio's and Koeppen's memoirs which we purchased. We did find a relative, Jeff Mahl, of George Schuster. We started piecing it together. Yes, there was a story here but we would need massive amounts of Photos (which we did not know if they still existed), any motion picture footage (which we heard had been shot as news reel footage), interviews with historians ... oh, and picture cars for the actors to drive "around the world in." By the end of 2000 we had decided to make this film ... or at least follow it as far as we could. As the research process began, producers started looking for funding/broadcasters ... and doing up the budget.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Greatest Auto Race on Earth took place in 1908. Today, it's hard to even imagine what these men went through as they travelled from New York, across the USA, across Japan, Mother Russia, Germany, and on to Paris. The film The Greatest Auto Race on Earth is a documentary we produced to advance the story and tell this fantastic adventure story to a new audience. www.thegreatestautorace.com
We're going to try to let you know how the film was made. One of the interesting details is in the construction of the Thomas Flyer and German Protos replica cars. Yes, we built exact full scale running replicas of the cars. If you look at the photo closely, you'll notice that the brakes are not period but modern GM disc brakes. This was, of course, for safety. The challenge was to mount hand-made (by Dale Anderson at Anderprop) wooden artillery wheels to the discs. This was ingenously designed out of foam core, then a CAD drawing, and then made out of steel using a computer assisted cutting system. So, we have a safe car ... but they are not period and some of the brass era enthusiasts would see that; as a result, through careful editing, Computer Graphics by Rat Creek, and colour correction the disc brakes never appear in the film. The cover of the DVD case had the discs Photoshopped to appear as old school riveted drums.
But, why don't we go back to the very beginning ... January 2000.