Two Worlds by Chris Weigl

When was the last time you saw an original film atop the weekend box office? An original film is a film that is not a sequel or a reboot or part of a franchise. Hollywood has become like bloatware for your PC. No matter how many cleaners you have or anti-whatever-ware they’re putting out now you just can’t escape the sequels, the remakes and the franchises.

We seem content to let the newest Mission Impossible sit atop the box office. We seem content with a Hollywood machine that delivers reboot after reboot so that we can sit in anticipation of sequel after sequel. This is not the world we deserve to live in.

We believe that there are two worlds out there. There’s the world as it is with junk movies, operating systems that spy on you and short lived campaigns for social change. Then there’s the world as it could be; a world where you pay for the content you deserve and get the service that benefits you the consumer not the company that can make as much money off of you as possible.

In short, you can support the junk food providers of the world; your comic book movies, your sequels, and your franchises or you can bet on companies that are working hard to create the kind of content they want to see in the world.

We built our company on the idea that someone should be out there creating the kind of content that we wanted to see. Since no one else seemed interested in doing it the responsibility has fallen onto us and production companies like us to create the kind of change we want to see in Hollywood from the outside.

We can complain about the lack of minority and women hiring practices at major studios or we can create opportunities outside of that realm. Which one do you think will bring about change sooner? Day in and day out we’re seeing great new original projects get funded through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe. That’s why we decided that those were the kinds of sites for us.

They were backing the content and the content makers that we wanted to see in the world, so we decided that the crowdfunding world was a place where we could start to make the changes we wanted to see. That’s why we launched our GoFundMe campaign. We’re making a film about an outstanding community of people who defy the conventional norms and get together to play a sport few people have ever heard of. They are a community that has welcomed us with open arms and they are the kind of people we are proud to stand arm in arm with in working for better things in the world.  You can learn more about our campaign here -

We are creating the first full feature-length documentary on the sport of flyball. What is flyball? We get asked that question on a daily basis. That’s why we’re calling our film: This is Flyball. Want to know what flyball is? Easy, watch our film. We take you into the world of flyball and into the world of three teams as they compete to win the Super Bowl of Flyball: the CanAm Classic. We’re riding shotgun in a car guided by humble team captains like Margaret, Flippi, and Carl. You wouldn’t know it by watching them, but one of those people is a New York Times bestselling author. This is the world of flyball. It’s a group of people just like you and me who get together on the weekends to have fun with their friends. The only difference is that for their fun events on the weekends they not only get to bring their dogs along, but their dogs get to be the star of the show.

We live in a commodity world. That’s the main problem right there. Hollywood views you as a commodity that can be bought and sold. The tech industry views you as a commodity and even some crowdsourcing campaigns probably view you as a commodity as well. We don’t run a commodity based company. Our GoFundMe campaign is an opportunity for you to partner with us in creating the first feature-length documentary on flyball. You’re not an investor, you’re a partner. We want to know what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. It’s not that we don’t know what we’re doing it’s that we’d rather have the viewpoints of everyone in the room than assume we know better than you on what you want to see.

Maybe you don’t want to watch a documentary at all. Maybe you don’t like flyball heck, maybe you don’t even like dogs. That’s fine I guess though it must suck to be living without a soul (kidding.) My point is that we are a company not a product.

We have a worldview that is altogether different than the viewpoint of those in Hollywood and the tech world. We have an entire fleet of projects we’re excited to be working on and none of them are sequels or remakes. We’re dedicated to quality original programming and we believe that if we can partner with people who share a similar dedication we will be able to change the kind of content that the majority of people are watching out there. With your help and partnership we know we can build this into more than a company and more than a movement. We want this to be our legacy.

How to Shoot a Flyball Event - A Primer on Specialized Documentary Filmmaking by Chris Weigl

Shooting a documentary is no easy task.  It takes lots of time in the field and lots of planning to execute your camera strategy effectively.  One of the challenges that we've faced is figuring out how to get the best angles, where to set up to get the shots we want to get without interfering with what's going on, and perhaps the most difficult task of all: how to think like the subject in what you're filming.

We've been working on This is Flyball for almost ten months now and it has been so much fun to be around the flyball community.  The one thing that has always stood out to us in flyball above all else is just how warm, friendly and gracious everyone is.  Dave Strauss is no exception.  Dave has been involved in flyball for eight years and has mastered the art of shooting a flyball tournament.  We are very excited to share with you a guest blog post by Dave Strauss, who will explain in detail and with video examples how to best shoot a flyball tournament below.

How to Shoot a Flyball Event

By: Dave Strauss

For any particular race I usually have to decide whether I'm going to take stills or video.  For videos I try to choose a race that's going to provide interesting instances of my "standard shots" (more about that later), which usually means a race that involves one of the faster teams in the tournament.  For certain types of shots I'll want teams or at least dogs that are evenly matched, and of course the faster the better.

There are certain types of shots that work well even with slow teams and/or dogs - for example some fairly slow dogs have really nice box turns that are fun to watch as long as it's edited properly.

I also try to take a few "novelty" or filler shots to be used for transitions in the video - for example the intro or the postscript - but those are fairly ad hoc.  I just need to remember to do them.

This all works because Flyball is very repetitive.  The dogs (and people) are trained to do the same thing over and over again with as much precision and repeatability as possible.  Then, each race consists of at least 3 heats so I can do three different shots during the race and be pretty sure that I didn't miss much of anything.  And finally, a tournament is usually a bunch of round robin competitions, so each team will race all of the other teams in its division several times over the course of a weekend.  If I miss a shot during one race I'll usually have a chance to get it later on in the tournament.

It also works because I'm not trying to tell a story.  I'm not trying to show how close a particular race was, or how well a particular team or dog did in the tournament.  That would be a very different thing and I'd probably have to change the way I did things to make that work.

If you have several cameras and photographers available you'll probably be able to set up several shots during one race and get everything covered all at once. 


2014 -
2013 -

The basic shots I use most are:

 1. Box turn (single dog)

    Box turn shots make great filler, because they look really
    impressive and because there's that visceral *chunk* when
    the dog hits the box.  Plus you *know* that the shot is
    going to be there.

    I do the single box turn shot as close as possible to the box,
    which is either at the end of the backstop or next to the box
    judge, depending on how the ring is set up.  Sometimes I'll be set
    up in the middle triangle of the backstops but not usually - it's
    too distracting to the dogs.  I might set up a tripod in that area
    instead if I'm filming my team.  If I'm next to the box loader
    I'll be sitting down with the camera fairly low; if I'm at the end
    of the backstop I might steady the camera on the backstop.  In any
    case I try to keep the backstop itself and any ring fencing out of
    the shot.  With the GoPro I've been known to set it up with the
    little tripod just inside the ring next to the backstop - it's
    small enough that the dogs don't seem to notice.

    The most interesting box turn shot is when the dog turns towards
    the camera, so if you're set up in the left lane you'll get dogs
    who turn left and if you're set up in the right lane you'll get
    dogs who turn right.  During a tournament I'll often do one lane
    for one heat and then switch to the other lane for the next heat.

       2014 @ 0:45
       2014 @ 1:31 (in tight)
       2014 @ 2:14 (from behind the box)  Camera is steadied
                           on the top of the backstop
       2014 @ 2:18 box turn approach and turn, tripod mounted camera

 2. Box turn (two dogs)

    To get two dogs in the shot I need to be farther away from the
    box - either on the start line side of the line judge or maybe
    even between the third and fourth jumps.  It depends on the camera.
    For this shot I'm looking for a situation where the two dogs
    hit the box pretty much at the same time.  This happens most often
    with the start dogs but also with evenly-matched teams.

    2014 @ 0:41
    2014 @ 1:29  this is a really nice one
    2014 @ 2:47  double box turn during one of the championship rounds.
                          Note how crowded it is.
    2013 @ 2:32

3.  Passes

    Passes are harder to get because the pass has to be close or it
    won't look very special.  I want to be close to the lane but if
    the pass is more than about 5 feet I'll get just the one dog in
    the shot.  Also passes are **fast** - it's hard to get enough to
    fill an entire shot, so to make sure I get more I usually set up
    away from the start line facing the start line.  I either shoot it
    very low or about chest high.  With the low shots the dog coming
    from behind the shot seems to just explode by the scene.  An
    alternative is to looking right across the start line from behind
    the line judge; these usually need to be done from above in order
    to get the line judge out of the shot.  Lining up the shot can
    be tricky because of the placement of the line judge.

    The simultaneous pass is one of the hardest shots to get but it's
    one of the most exciting to see.

    2013 @ 2:13
    2013 @ 3:15
    2014 @ 1:01
    2014 @ 1:17  This is an example of a wide pass with slow dogs, showing
                        how far from the start line you have to be to get the
    2014 @ 1:43  Almost simultaneous
    2014 @ 2:10
    2014 @ 2:31  low - through the picket fence

4.  Start dogs

    This is actually a variation on the pass, so the setup is similar.
    The difference with the start dogs is that usually they'll arrive
    at the start line at almost the same time, so it's very exciting
    to see.

    2014 @ 2:00

5.  Starting

    In this shot I focus on a dog about to be released and hold the
    shot until the dog runs out of the frame.  I usually do these shots
    in the left lane because the other dogs will be lined up to that
    dog's right, leaving an unobstructed view; however these shots can
    sometimes be done in the right lane depending on how the team lines

    2014 @ 1:47
    2014 @ 1:56  in the right lane
    2014 @ 2:02  this is actually a double start shot and its
                          interesting because the handlers follow the dogs
                          out of the frame.
    2014 @ 2:29  in the right lane - this was possible because on this
                          team the start dog lines up ahead of the other dogs.
    2014 @ 2:50
    2014 @ 3:16  this was shot with the Canon 7D with a 17-55mm lens, while
                         I was sitting under the scoring table.  It shows how hard
                         it is to get one of this shots in the right lane.

6.  Starting with pan

    This is similar to the starting shot but I pan to follow the dog.
    I don't do many of these because it's hard for me to do a smooth
    pan and my camera tends to lose focus during the pan because of
    low light. 

    2014 @ 1:57
    2014 @ 3:12

7.  Tug Swing

    This is where the dogs get their reward - they get to swing!
    It's also a very tough shot to get.  It's in the runback area,
    and the runback area is very busy during a heat.  You can have
    a shot all lined up and then another handler runs between you
    and the handler.  Or the handler and the dog just run out of your

    2013 @ 1:30
    2014 @ 1:20

8.  Everything else

    Looking up the lanes, looking down the lanes, novelty shots
    (milestones, unusual and/or cute dogs, kids and babies,
    unusual behaviors, non-racing shots).

You can see more of Dave's photography at:

You can see more of Dave's video work here:

Thanks so much Dave for sharing your wisdom!  We hope everyone finds this as rich and resourceful as we did.