April 24th, 2013

Mill NY's Mikey Rossiter just graded EPIX's Original Documentary 'Amar'e Stoudemire: In The Moment', charting NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire's early life through to his recent injuries and ambition to win the championship.

I asked Mikey about how he got involved in the project, his approach and how it differed from commercials.

Amar'e grew up in a small town in Florida with an estimated population of only twelve thousand people, now he plays basketball for one of the biggest names in the NBA, the New York Knicks. He plays the power forward position and this sums up his drive in life too: his parents divorced when he was two, his father died when he was 12, his mother spent 29.5 years in and out of jail and he had to attend six different high schools (and changed high school basketball team that many times too).

How did you first get involved in the project?

We were contacted directly by Chris Tuss, the editor of the piece. We have a mutual friend that I've done a few great jobs for who recommended me for long form work. Chris had spent the past year immersed in Amar'e's life and, with the project finally coming to a close, he wanted to bring the piece together with a final grade.

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What were the highs and lows of the process?

Honestly, there were no lows. Even with the tight deadline we had a complete blast working on this project. Chris, the editor and Dave Adams, the director of photography, were still excited even after working on it for so long and their enthusiasm proved infectious. From a grading point of view I had a lot of fun with the more surreal sections of the piece. I was pretty much given total creative freedom to do whatever I wanted in these sections and I'd like to think that we ended up in an interesting place, particularly in the childhood flashbacks.

A documentary-based-on-true-events must require a sensitive and unique touch, how does it differ from the projects you normally work on?

It definitely requires a more subtle touch than the music videos and commercials I'm used to. It's much more about unifying the piece than giving it a defining look. I found that when I pushed the picture too far it was detracting from the storytelling. The last thing you want in a documentary is for the look to be too clean or too set up; it just removes the realism from the piece completely. But there were sections which warranted a heavier feel than others, so it was all about finding the right balance between the different scenes that wouldn't feel jarring.

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Did grading the work change the way you think about professional basketball?

It definitely made me understand and respect the sheer amount of effort and hard work that goes into being a professional athlete. The grueling training regimes, constantly having to maintain a strict diet ,and being under an incredible amount of pressure to perform certainly opened my eyes to the hard work that goes into being a professional basketball player.

What inspires you?

Seeing talented people do what they love.

The full documentary can be seen only on EPIX. Take a look at the trailer below and see the results of Mikey doing what he loves.

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