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Paintball Movie...

MetaControl

New Member
Jul 9, 2020
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Liverpool
I am a storyteller by profession, and my mind naturally drifts into that direction, just can't help it..; hence this train of thought:

In the years I have not painted strangers and friends on some slippery field, this beloved pastime seems to have been relegated to the background. Back in the days it just seemed to be taking off. The tournaments got more professional, some even got televised, Push, the paintball docu was making its circles, the tech got much better and prices dropped... It all seemed to be going much more mainstream, but then it didn't. The airsoft scene had a massive growth though, and I am wondering... and no, I am not interested in a debate why that is so, it just surprised me that it appears so much more popular than paintball; I was just surprised that paintball had not advanced as much culturally. I am also a bit sad; and maybe I am partially to blame - not me personally, but people like me, the Gen-Xers that fell in love with this game, but then left it on the sidelines to tend to other, more "adult" parts of life.
It is not as if there aren't a bunch of good people out there, showcasing this colorful activity, but it still feels somewhat underrepresented. And this thought led me to... what if I made a movie, a paintball movie?

A kind of sports drama, a bit edgy, a bit grunch, a bit of Trainspotting, meets Ballers, meets Push. And I would like to do it with absolute minimal budget, no frills, no glitter, but muddy, sweaty and dirty; hillbilly glamor, with frantic, but authentic gameplay. And only with actual Painballers... so a mostly or even an entire amateurs cast.
And I would like to do with with very little scripting - there will be one, but it's more scene outlines, so it can be shot in a much more natural state - i have done unscripted stuff successfully before, and I feel like this needs a level of grittiness and authenticity that you just cannot fake.


I already have a few ideas for plots, but they are currently a bit too cliche, with the usual "underdog team", with that one starplayer who gets recruited by the antagonist, testing the friendship of the team etc... A bit too basic. But great stories have started at worse places and as my mind churns the idea, it will evolve and change (suggestions are of course welcome, but they are then given freely, and no rights are retained ;) - unless you wanna write the script with me).

It always bothers me to see paintball as a lasertag-like game, and when it is shown in TV shows and movies, it's usually very inauthentic. And of course the fcking masks! In this movie, they stay on! If the mandalorian can do it with a helmet on for the whole season, then a paintball movie can show the sport as it should be.

And I think this could be done for virtually nothing. Some of the bigger paintball companies could help sponsor it - there will be gear and i would prefer to see a variety and actual real logos represented if possible - after all, the movie would be one big ad for the game as a whole... Otherwise, if the players, the clubs, the teams, the fields, just a fraction of them, would collaborate on this, we could make a nice thing that would promote what we love, to a world that is mostly oblivious to what it is we are really doing. There are many people in this sport that know how to handle a camera, many very familiar with decent game footage, which could spice up the movie, the games can be mostly just real games, while some key scenes can be choreographed. The scenes that do not take place on game fields, can be tailored to what is available, but because it would probably still be some kind of underdog story, the locations don't have to be posh at all.

This movie could also play a little different, make it about a girl getting in to the game..? Because this game could use more female players, and that would be something that could put it ahead of airsoft. But to make it more attractive to women, maybe the story should be about a woman putting on the mask. I also think that it would be best to show that once you have that mask on, and you are on that field, nobody cares what or who you are, just your team color matters...

As I write this, I have this idea of this girl, a young woman, student, working a **** job, trying to get through, taking care of a younger brother, and a mother with diabetes and other health issues. Her older brother died in action (military, afghanistan) - maybe migrant/ethnic background, giving his life for the country. She is angry, frustrated, faces all sorts of problems on a daily basis, and has no outlet for any of that anger. One day, her mother makes her clear of some stuff and she finds her dead brother's old paintball equipment from when he played as a teen. Somehow she ends up on a field, with this old markler, an expired tank and a bunch of old gear. The guy running the place lets her play, although it's one of those rental places and he admits that the sport is not popular enough and that there is not enough money in proper paintball. He makes an exception for her though, because he remembers her brother back from the days, and she falls for it. Not only does she feel free and confident for the first time, she is actually playing surprisingly aggressive and well. when the field owner sees her play, he sees something and sends her to a local team... That team sucks, but they play paintball and she signs up. At first they are reprehensive to let her join, and again, it's the name of her brother that gets her in. And as she gets into the game, she start to learn more about her deceased brother, about his love for the game. The story would lead her to a tournament, even a championship maybe...? But this would be the basic premise of the movie so far.

I am a big fan of collaboration and the aim her is really to tell a story that would showcase paintball as what it is and can be, to promote and further the game, but also tell a relatable story, one that engages with current and persistent topics, but is not afraid to go to the dark side of the soul when it needs to.

What do you think? Would you like to see a paintball movie? Would you like to be involved in making one?
 

Tony Harrison

What is your beef with the Mac?
Mar 13, 2007
6,475
1,843
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Like your enthusiasm, like the idea and would like to be involved in some way. But I'm not photogenic, so my keeping a mask on would probably be best for everyone.

I have a massive collection of movies (sci-fi, comedy, etc.) and have bought and/or watched pretty much every paintball video produced.

Paintball "movies" have been done before, and they sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

The first hurdle is money. There just isn't as much sloshing around in the industry as there was, say, 10 years ago. So don't count on $50K from GI and another $50K from Eclipse, although Eclipse have financed many "documentary" style videos over the years - which are of the highest quality and up there with some of the classics of the genre.

So, Eclipse may me the most receptive to your idea. They may not, but it's worth a shot. If they can't provide finance, they may well point you in the direction of other creatives who can offer assistance.

@Missy-Q is far more qualified than me to give you a no-nonsense answer on the probability of funds being made available from a paintball company to finance a movie.

Which brings us to the plot. Your outline reminds me of "Alita: Battle Angel" a little, with a couple of other movies thrown into the mix.

My view is that an audience may be more receptive to a "documentary" approach, following in the footsteps of Sunday Drivers, Push, etc. But that's just my opinion.

If I was attempting to make a paintball movie/documentary, I would watch as many Eclipse/Derder/MWAG/HK videos as possible on YouTube, as the producers of these are at the top of their game. The soundtrack is paramount - it can transform a movie, so pick your music with care. Again, listen to the soundtracks of the videos listed above.

There are quite a few low-budget paintball videos on YouTube as well, I'll link you to a couple of my favourites.

I would also read through some classic paintball magazines like p8nt, PGI & Facefull to get inspiration and read about the "golden age" of paintball.

Once I had done that, I would make the movie "guerilla style". I'd film it on a phone, just because I like the idea. Modern phones can provide high quality images anyway, and I'm not paying a camera crew to do what I could do myself.

As for the content - your idea of following a female player on her journey is a good one, or even female playerS.

I can think of a couple of very good female players who would fit the bill. One came from playing walkons to playing for the Team GB squad in a very short time, the others are just starting out on their paintball journey.

You could follow, say, 2 or 3 players on their journey - follow them around for a few months, then put something together featuring their backstory, interviews, footage of them playing, a happy ending (winning something), then maybe set things up for a sequel. Like we needed 9 Star Wars movies.

But all of this is coming from an amateur.

People like Llucia - https://www.facebook.com/lluciawoodphotography/

And Leah - https://www.facebook.com/LGmediaLG/

- are the professional photographers in the trenches at events week in, week out. They will be able to give you more info than me, and more importantly, they're women.

Or, you could film the story of two foul-mouthed players who deal drugs on the side, hang around outside a video rental store when they're not playing, and happen to know a bunch of famous people who could make cameo appearances in the movie. Pretty sure that hasn't been done before.

Good luck.
 
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Tony Harrison

What is your beef with the Mac?
Mar 13, 2007
6,475
1,843
238
This is the Miami Rage short by DQ films. Game footage then some talking. They play against Damage in the video.

Rage were a big name back then, and Damage were just starting out.

Jerry, who is featured in the video, is now in a wheelchair. Very sad.

 
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Tony Harrison

What is your beef with the Mac?
Mar 13, 2007
6,475
1,843
238
Derder's "Roadkill". This video used the track "Come And Get Your Love" 10 years before it was used in Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

ant290

BOOOOM!
May 15, 2007
492
94
48
Southampton
Derder's "Soldiers of Misfortune". Classic.

This film shaped paintball for me and @NSKlad , it doesn't have "that speech" from sunday drivers. but it has so much more to offer in terms of a group of players taking their passion to another location and experiencing some other real life memories together... for me paintball is and always will be about the journey.

winning on the day is a fantastic feeling... but it feels somewhat hollow if you don't do it with "your" squad.. if there was no grind and you just picked up a spot. If a journey through paintball is what you want to document, then perhaps focus more on the aim to reach a certain level or to make it onto a specific team, as achievement is possibly more important than winning the season with the team you just made it onto and played one point in the morning with.