Archive for April, 2010

Facing Limitations

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

We scoured high and low in Santa Fe and Albuquerque for outdoor sites where we could do some Ninja Warrior stuff for our videos. Called Parks and Rec, Visitors Bureau, etc., and there were no outdoor rings, bars, or anything that we could use. We found one small ring set and one hand-walk set of bars. Pretty unimpressive. Even the buildings here, being low-set and far apart, and of funky adobe construction, don’t offer anything. Thankfully our regular rock-climbing gym had a bunch of things for us to use (rock on Santa Fe Climbing Center), but that means we only have about 7 or 8 segments of Ninja Warrior skills to show, and most of them are in the same rock-climbing gym setting. Frustrating, we really wanted some great outdoor footage. Oh well. We’re just going to have to do the best we can and submit the videos. I plan on editing our footage this weekend to submit early next week, and then just crossing our fingers.

Workin’ on the Video

Monday, April 26th, 2010

In my quest to try to get any edge I can, I’m committed to getting my video in as early as possible.  I’m a big fan of early submission in any rolling application/review situation.  So tomorrow I hope to finish up my “action scenes” shots with my buddy Ron by traveling down to Albuquerque where there is a good outdoor fitness trail with a bunch of Ninja Warrior-esque stations like rings, bars, etc.

My video script is fairly simple.  It begins with a brief intro of myself chatting, talking about who I am and my long-time devotion to Ninja Warrior.  Then they’ll be a couple of short scenes where I say that being a father-of-three forces me to employ some unusual training methods, which will include doing pushups with a couple of kids on my back and maybe throwing them up in the air.  Pretty short though.  Then we’ll cut to the real action scenes, which will have about 6-10 different segments of me doing Ninja Warrior stuff, like climbing a rope-ladder hands-free, doing a big dyno on a climbing wall, swinging on rings, etc.  Unfortunately Santa Fe doesn’t have a lot of good stuff for me to use, but I hope what we’ll be able to put together will show my basic competence.  Then next weekend we’ll move into “post-production” for the video, where I try to figure out how to edit all the footage together!  I’ve never done it before, but I understand it is not too difficult using a platform like Windows Movie Maker.  When I finish up the video and submit it, I’ll post it here!

But You’ll Fall in the Water

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Yesterday my wife asked my 4 year old if he thought it would be cool if I competed in Ninja Warrior.  He’s watched it a bunch of times with me on TV, so is pretty familiar with it.  My wife wanted to know what he thought about maybe seeing his daddy on TV competing in Ninja Warrior.

My 4 year old sort of frowned with concern, “But you’ll fall in the water.”

Maybe somebody had shown him this video.  As most of you know, there have been 24 Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) competitions in Japan and only 3 out of 2,400 competitors have ever completed the course.  That’s not even calculating the several hundred competitors that competed in the first American Ninja Warrior last year.  With water pits being the “fall catcher” for most of the obstacles, well, you can do the deductive logic.

“Buddy,” I responded to my son, “everybody falls in the water.  It’s just a question of how far you get before you do fall in the water.”  That didn’t really satisfy my son, who still carried around a furrowed brow of concern the rest of the night for his daddy and his inevitable dip in the drink.

Strategizing for a Guaranteed Invite

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

There are a couple of ways to get into the American Ninja Warrior competition. The first way is to simply show up on the days that they are filming and stand around in line with a bunch of other hopefuls praying for your shot. Apparently this worked for some people last year, but there were plenty of people who waited around and never got their chance.

The second way to get into the American Ninja Warrior competition is to submit an application video in hopes of earning a “guaranteed invite” to secure your spot. Last year, which was the first tournament for American Ninja Warrior, most serious videos earned guaranteed spots. This tournament (American Ninja Warrior 2) is expecting a heavier load of applicants, but most people seem to think that if you submit a solid video establishing your “character” and showing some real Ninja Warrior skills that you stand a good chance to get an invite.  Psychologically, having an invite in my pocket would be huge…all that energy wasted worrying about whether I’d get to compete could go into preparation and training instead.

So what’s my strategy? Well, first off, a large part of my strategy is to get my video in early in the submission window. The submission window just opened up, and stays open until late June. From what I understand it is a “rolling review” process, meaning that they review your video when they get it in and make a decision right there…they don’t wait until they have all videos and then review them comparatively at that point. So in any rolling application/acceptance process there is always an advantage to getting in your video early. This all means that my top priority, even before really getting my “training on”, is to get my video together and submit it.  I hope to get my video in by the end of April.

The guidelines for the video are pretty simple: less than 5 minutes, establish your character, and show some Ninja Warrior chops.  The submission form clearly states that “casting decisions are highly subjective and may involve factors other than physical characteristics.”  This says to me that the “character” portion is important.  My character is clearly (1)  middle-aged father-of-three rises to the challenge, and (2) I’m much bigger than the average competitor clocking in at 6’4″ and 225 lbs while most of them weigh in the 120-160 lbs range.  Simplistic, but I think you need a simple angle for these things…I’m older and bigger than just about all the competitors, but I’ll still bring the heat.  So I’ll shoot a few shots establishing those realities, including “exercising” with my kids (them sitting on my back for pushups, etc.), and then I’ll need 5-10 scenes of me doing authentic Ninja Warrior stuff to prove that I am no joke despite my middle-agedness and size.  Over the next week I’ll be working on those scenes.

So my submission strategy?  Apply early, tell my differentiated story, and then show some real Ninja Warrior prowess.  Hope that gets it done, I want to compete and show everybody the tiny little Ninja Warrior I’m been hiding inside me!

So What Do You Think?

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

I originally had a poll here that I lost when I transferred my blog hosting program. The options and results were the following when I posed the question “So What Do You Think?” about whether I should dare to dream and try to compete in American Ninja Warrior.

Absolutely! Life is short! Go for it! (26 votes)
Maybe, only if you can avoid embarrassing yourself (3 votes)
Put down the crack pipe and slowly walk away (5 votes)