Going to a USC football game at the Coliseum is an exhilarating experience in its own right, but seeing a film about the culture of USC football and the act of going to the games themselves? That’s something that only a documentary could grasp, and Dalton Gaudin, a USC graduate and filmmaker, is trying to do with his first major project, “I’m a Trojan”. We at Reign of Troy sat down with the aspiring filmmaker to learn a little bit about the project, as his fundraising efforts come to an end on Sunday.
Reign of Troy: For those who don’t know, what’s “I’m a Trojan” about?
Dalton Gaudin: “I’m a Trojan” is an energizing documentary about the culture of college football at USC – from the fans’ perspective. Shot over the course of the past two years, this feature is an inside-look at the spectacle of Trojan football and the passions that drive Trojan faithful to attend games each week. The film features never-before-seen footage of Charles White and Traveler as well as epic music by The Spirit of Troy and TyEli – get ready to wave your victory signs in the air and Fight On!!
RoT: There’s plenty of us that have stories of going to games since we were kids, how did you go about finding people to interview for the film?
DG: I was extremely lucky when it came to finding my main subjects – all of them have become great friends and collaborators over the years. In terms of finding them, I started at the USC-Virginia game in 2010 and continued making contacts every game over the last two seasons. I literally walked around talking and filming people all of that first season looking for some of the most interesting and outgoing fans – people who wanted to be in my film – like Helios, for example, who I met in Heritage Hall all decked out in Trojan Armor. A few of the other fans I found through word of mouth – TyEli was referred to me by some guys who loved his hip hop music. I met Brian – an epic fan who hand cuts paper confetti for each home game – as I was walking by his tailgate. One of my cameramen met RJ and Shannon up at the Oregon State game two seasons ago and they hired me to shoot a commercial for their company. Horrible game but great luck for me – RJ and Shannon are the sweetest people ever and they just got married! I met all of these fans at SC games – tailgating with them, watching away games with them, laughing, crying, hugging, and just enjoying football in the Coliseum. And those are just a few of the people who make up the cast – I have interviews with THE USC SyCo, Drum Major Kyle Wilson, Hector Aguilar, Scott Biederman (who runs in front of Traveler), the Trojan Knights, and countless other SC football fans. The cast is huge and I am planning to add a few more characters once this fundraising goal is met – I am in talks with some ex-players right now.
RoT: Has it been hard finding team support filming in the midst of sanctions, or have you found this to be a blood is thicker than water thing?
DG: There was a bit of resistance at first when I came to the athletic department with the idea for my masters thesis, because of how tight things were supposed to be with the sanctions, but eventually they realized my true intent – to make an awesome film about USC Football Culture! So they said go ahead and do it, but you have to fund and shoot it yourself. So I did. Also, because of the sanctions, restrictions were very tight on filming the actual team – but that wasn’t my focus anyway. My focus was on those diehards that keep the team fighting on each year. I think the sanctions were actually a positive for the film because it weeded out the crazy fans – they were easier to find.
RoT: What inspired you to take the project from a documentary to a feature length film?
DG: My masters thesis was 33 minutes but I always planned on expanding the film to feature length. This is a passion project for me – I have over 100 hours of video and archival footage and interviews to use – 33 minutes does not do the subject justice. Not only do I hope this film will reinvigorate the Trojan faithful for 2012 – as we fight our way to another championship – but I plan to turn this concept into a series. I already have investors lined up for the company once this first film is finished, and 2012 should be a great year for Fourth Quarter Films.
RoT: That sounds awesome, and it really shows how dedicated you are with the project. For those interested in investing themselves, how can fans get involved?
DG: Fans can get involved by donating money on Kick Starter in exchange for cool prizes like copies of the DVD, t-shirts, posters, pins, film credits, etc. and by simply spreading the word via email, Twitter, Facebook, text, phone, carrier pigeon, what have you. I want to get this film into as many Trojan hands in any way possible ?
RoT: There you have it! Go make a pledge before Sunday’s deadline, go tell five other people and help out the Trojan family. Oh, and watch the trailer!