Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

300ZX Z32 TWIN TURBO SWAP 5 SPEED SWAP VG30DETT

Recently my friend Libby – AKA The Hobby Hoarder – asked me if there was a song I often turn to for motivation while working on projects. She was compiling a list for her blog, and wanted input from the people who had helped her along her hobby journey last year (I taught Libby the basics of welding back in November).

It was an interesting question; something I had never really thought about before, but definitely something I did. Each new project tends to bring with it its own group of songs I find myself playing over and over again (usually tied to the music I’m into at the time of said project). I mulled the question over, and settled on “Nightcall” by Kavinsky (featuring Love Foxxx). Then came the hard part, she also asked me to explain why…

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FCP 7 Final Cut Pro JSWORKS Film Editor Documentary Timeline

Baby steps… that’s what I have to keep telling myself. I tend to get too wrapped up in the minutia of it all. I spend endless amounts of time thinking about potential shoots, sponsors, funding options, and the overall direction of the film. I run through every possible scenario, explore every detail, ad nauseum. It’s enough to make me feel overwhelmed by this project much of the time.

A fellow editor once told me, you never get anywhere editing a film unless you start small and work with what you’ve got (instead of what you wish you had), and I follow that advice to this day when working on clients projects. But truth be told, I have a hard time following that advice with my own project.

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300ZX, Z32, JSWORKS, TRACK BUILD, ROAD RACING, SSR TYPE C

As always, it’s been tough to find the time to update the blog. I really left you with quite a cliffhanger in my last post, so I thought I’d drop this quick teaser shot of the new Z (!) and update where the project stands.

The good news is my stitches are out and I’m healed enough to be back to work professionally (and personally with the build). I’m still not 100% – but every day my arm heals a bit more and I’m almost back to business as usual. The few weeks of mandatory rest were a welcome break from the [self imposed] insanity, and really allowed me to put a lot into perspective. I’d like to say thank you to all the people who reached out to me through the blog and various forums after my Escalation of Commitment post, your words of encouragement and advice were much appreciated.

I decided fairly quickly that I would continue with the project in some form or another, but initially planned to take the winter off – pay down some debt – and wait till spring to decide where to go from there. With all the down time (and boredom that ensued), I inevitably started scanning various online publications for Z’s, and quickly became discouraged (again) with what was out there.

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A week from yesterday I was sitting in an emergency room, bleeding through my homemade bandage of paper towels and an old ace bandage. My right arm sliced open by a car almost comically enacting revenge on me like a jilted lover (or the mythical “Christine” from the Stephen King novel).

While I waited for the ER staff to admit and eventually stitch me up, I had plenty of time, what felt like an eternity honestly, to ponder – how did I get here?

The Z build has become a lot like a bad relationship. The type of relationship that in your heart of hearts, you knew was doomed from the start. The brief highs never seem to outweigh the long periods of exhausting lows. But still, you keep trying. You keep thinking, I can fix it; I can SAVE it! You invest all your free time, energy, and money – and there are brief periods where it looks like you’re going to make it work – but it never seems to pan out. Always ending up right back where you started.

Eventually you hit rock bottom and do what you knew you should have done from the start… end it. The Z knew her time was up: I had reached my rock bottom. But sometimes just as jilted lovers do, she had to have the last word. 15 stitches later, I heard her loud and clear.

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Ztuner Engine Build and Jsworks Documentary Shoot

It’s nearly midnight on Saturday as Harry and I work to get the newly assembled VG30DETT loaded up and into my rental trailer – battling exhaustion and swarms of Florida mosquitoes… It’s been two straight days/nights of filming & engine building. Tomorrow I set off for the final 1200 miles (of my 2400 mile journey) back home.

Harry’s been a real trooper. I don’t think he quite knew what he was in for when I asked to film all of this for the documentary. Constantly stopping to recompose a shot, move lights, or just answer one of my many interview questions; took what was normally a few hour assembly job, and turned it into a two-day affair. The long hours and lack of sleep have made us both a bit loopy, but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

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You Disappoint Me

It’s been quite a while since my last build update. And to my diehard Z fans out there, I must apologize; you’ve been a patient bunch. Building a track car is hard work. Any car guy worth his wrenches can tell you it’s a huge time and financial investment; making a documentary alongside the build has made it even more challenging.

Between film gigs (hey, I’ve got to pay the bills somehow), investing in some much needed production equipment, and filming for the documentary – progress on the Z has basically been at a standstill. There literally haven’t been enough hours in the day (or money in the bank for that matter) to keep this build going at all times. So unfortunately, the Z took a backseat while I focused on other aspects of the project.

If you remember from the “Throwing Good Money After Bad (where do we go from here)?” post, the build was at a crossroads. Should I scrap the whole project? Rebuild the motor and press on? Find a running Z and move forward? These were just a few of the ideas repeated ad nauseam in my head.

This was a big decision, and the whole direction of the project lay in the balance. Until now… You know where we’ve been; find out where we’re headed! Let’s get down to business.

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Harry Sandhu Ztuner

This week I’d like to introduce Harry Sandhu from the shop Ztuner. Harry is not only a sponsor of the build, but someone who can truly relate to the ideas behind the film – as he’s coincidentally an amputee himself. What are the odds that the car I’m building, and one of its premier tuners/mechanics, is also missing a hand like me? Crazy right?!?

I found Harry through my sponsor Ashspec. Ash asked if I had heard of the shop Ztuner – mentioning that its owner Harry had been “building cars & slingin’ motors” for years, all without the aid of a left hand. Needless to say, I immediately reached out to him.

Harry was excited about the project and got behind not only the build, but also the film itself (agreeing to be a participant in the film)! And since coming aboard, he’s really helped steer my build in the right direction – his wealth of knowledge never ceases to amaze me. (More on Harry’s role with the build in a future update.)

Ztuner is based out of Sarasota, Florida. With me in the Northeast, we’ve only spoken through phone calls and e-mails up to this point. So when Harry called and told me he was flying up to NY for a dyno tuning session put on by the NYZC (New York Z Club) – I knew I had to meet the man in person and film it for the documentary!

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