Bikers like to champion the saying “it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey”. While that platitude aptly describes life on the road, it applies to more than just a motorcycle trip. For families in the world of amateur motocross, it means late-night preparations, long-distance travel, and weekends packed with races. To highlight the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of amateur motocross racers, META Productions and Meraki Digital Cinema (MDC) partnered to produce a short film called Grit.
With Grit, META set out to communicate the “feeling leading up to a race; the anxiety, the stress”. The video opens in a setting where most motorcycle dreams start out—a garage. Light leaks through the small cutouts in the garage door, revealing the silhouette of a dirt bike. Next, we see the young face of our protagonist smash cut against a flash of a motocross racer blazing past a row of spectators. Ten seconds into the video, we know our main character, we know the stakes, and soon, we’ll know the obstacles.
We’re transported back to the garage, where our hero begins maintenance on his race bike. The boy tackles the mundane tasks of soaking an air filter in oil before we see him tackle a berm on the racecourse. Pain precedes pleasure as our lead character addresses the bike’s needs in the gloom of the garage before he can achieve his goals on the sunny circuit.
With non-linear editing that could rival a Tarantino flick, the videomakers juxtapose the reality of race-day preparation with race-day glory, which sends us toward a unifying conclusion. Once our hero fits his helmet and goggles, the pace of the video quickens. As we approach the beginning of the race, the tempo of the music increases. The number of cuts escalates.
The boy retrieves a triangle stand. He leans on his bike at the race gates. He drains the oil from his engine. He makes his way to the starting line. Finally, the garage door lifts and brings the two storylines together.
Just like motorcycle maintenance, the glitch effects at the beginning of the video recede as our hero finishes refining his machine and takes his place at the gate. With the focus of the video on everything leading up to the race, our finish line is the starting line. The protagonist looks to his left, looks to his right before looking at the obstacles ahead.
Engines rev, music builds, and they’re off!
Fade to black.
Though the video’s runtime is short, the story sprawls over various locations and timeframes, capturing the consuming nature of amateur motocross. Grit clearly emphasizes the preparation process by featuring less than 5 seconds of actual race footage and shows us that races are won in the garage, not just the racecourse.