Its 3:30 am in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) a rare time when the city is asleep, the freeways are mostly vacated, and street lights cast an amber glow. Suddenly, the iconic roar of a 1970’s Porsche flat-six echoes through the 2nd Street tunnel as it speeds by, lights up the tunnel, and leaves behind its distinctive red glow; “the money shot!” I yelled to Drew Gardella, my cinematographer.
As a rising senior and film production major at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, working with recognized brands and renowned artists is a dream of many for my age. Several of us have unlocked the code and have broken through. It was Dilan Mistry, my producer who called me one day and excitedly confirmed he had made contact with Magnus Walker and he was interested in looking at our video proposal. Coincidentally, at the same time we met Magnus, he had recently acquired a red 1974 Porsche 935 slant-nose — for the second time, but now 27 years later. The ‘74 slant-nose paid deep homage to Magnus’ early roots when he first moved to Los Angeles; this was the full-circle story we decided to tell.
It all begins with the planning. Late Saturday night, Dilan (producer), Drew (cinematographer), and I drove up to LA to scout out potential locations to film in DTLA. Eventually we settled on five locations, each offering its own unique essence, angle, and lighting. Gathering our selected locations, we pitched to Magnus and he gave us the green light.
Its 8pm, the night of the shoot. At a mysterious warehouse, a large metal gate slides open and Magnus greets our team with an energy-filled grin while the vibrant red slant-nose rests in the background. I could tell Hollywood’s film culture rubbed off on Magnus as he reverently took the time to learn each of our names and position on the production team. He knew all the proper filmmaking terminology and loved being a part of the shooting process, even sitting on an apple box, watching us setup our Dana Dolly for the opening interview
After the first shot was up, it was “go time.” Within the first few takes, Magnus nailed his on-camera interview — we could sense his fast-paced and energetic presence, a fun vibe that set the tone for the shoot as we raced off into the night.
The slant-nose has quite the personality, which is why we chose to capture the video on both a RED Epic-M Dragon and a Sony a7r III. Using an industrial-sized fog machine and wetting down Magnus’ driveway, we were able to highlight the car’s most captivating features, especially the bold wing. While shooting the rear of the car, Magnus suggested we set up our camera rig on his rooftop, as no one had ever filmed from there before. A unique bird’s eye angle perfectly showcased the wing of the car which was just how I had envisioned leading up to the shoot.
My favorite shot from the driveway scene is where Magnus emerges from a smoke-filled background, enters his car, and turns on the engine as the headlights reflect across the driveway and a raspy roar reverberates throughout the complex. The smoke-filled entrance was key in order to set the tone of a “lone wolf” vibe, set in a dark, moody, and desolate-feeling urban setting.
We finished the driveway shots around midnight and from then until 5:00 am, we raced throughout the streets of DTLA. There were no breaks for this shoot, every second counted as we hit each of our planned five locations. Communicating via walk-talkie, I directed Magnus as we captured a variety of shots from city landscapes and over-head drive by’s to intense close-ups and follow cams. Drew, my cinematographer was crucial throughout the “run-and-gun” shoot, since every scene moved quickly and we had to think even quicker. Another key player throughout the process was Noah Kovalick, my sound designer and mixer, he was meticulous in capturing the cleanest audio possible, a major element in the video.
As we concluded the night by arriving back at Magnus’ loft, I was still in awe of the night, but especially about working with the “Outlaw” himself. Magnus has a captivating online persona and it shines through even more so in person. His creative and “go get it” personality left the team and me inspired and his genuine positive energy created an environment that prevailed no matter how late it was in the night. Magnus and his story, British born and recently earning US citizenship, will entertain and inspire many and his distinctive ‘74 slant-nose will energize and bring a smile to all auto enthusiasts. As Magnus speeds off into the night, he leaves us all patiently waiting for the next chapter of his and his slant-noses’ journey.