Hello again great wide web, during my time in Shanghai, I had the great pleasure to meet and watch Troy’s Team. They presented a series of films both in Shanghai Film market and internationally in events in the past few years.
Troy Standford is the main leader, and growing the team, which has been connecting and developing exciting projects with various individuals and actors/actresses within Beijing and Shanghai China. Troy also developed workshops and seminars to share Troy’s Team’s unique take on action performance for film acting.
From the man’s mouth, Troy, for those who do not know a little about your background, please share with us your training and background from the start:
Tim, it’s a great pleasure to speak with you. I’m an Australian British citizen born of Africa. I have studied a variety of martial arts from traditionalists and modern military specialists. I am a trained bone doctor, strength specialist and active release therapist. The basis of my martial art is and will always be Chinese gong fu.
I train athletes from standard competitors to consulting Olympians, this I do out of love as a young man I began to thoroughly research anything that could enhance my own martial art. Eventually practicing athletes began to seek my guidance in helping them develop physically. My love has always been in the direction of story telling and performance, naturally since before middle high school.
I naturally began to show a keen interest. It is my love and blend for the film industry and martial art that led to me creating Troys Team, an action team consisting of highly talented martial artists and coordinators. Troys Team also has it’s own production unit.
Q. Please tell us about Troy’s Team! for those who do not know:
Sure! Troy’s team is a Beijing based foreign action team that specialize in action performance, as well as producing film content on an internationally competitive platform. Initially I began from the ground up with no body, just myself my wife and my Canon 7D (DSLR) teaching others martial art for film performance for free. Now we run consistent, successful workshops every week in Beijing with a fully stocked camera department.
I found the nicest purest martial art spirits in the foreign acting community willing to give everything to succeed in this industry and I bound us together in a way in which traditional martial arts do, I treat my production department the same. Our team grows above and below the line based upon work ethic and the belief we have in each other.
They are now well known and respected in the china community for delivering professional performances and supporting productions they are associated with by any means necessary to deliver a high quality product no matter the cost.
We have aerial photography specialists and are partners with DJI Studios. We have colleagues that worked on one of the latest star wars films as a compositor for vfx. Not to mention we have a production department in Mexico as well as Australia, often our commercial work will come through Australian channels.
We are not only just action directors and performers. I manage the Troys Team production unit with full capability from executive production, pre production right through to post production.
We train as a stunt team 5 times a week together (mandatory for the team) and my action guys are expected to train a further day by themselves on their own.Our main goal is to raise the standard and engineer martial art storytelling through film and media on an international platform.
Q. What made you get started in developing indie films in the China?
The sheer love and passion for the martial art. Two years ago we produced a short film on a family holiday which I turned into a short martail art film that was played at a small local film festival in Beijing .
We were talent spotted by an investment company. They set up a meeting immediately and by Monday morning we were in their office talking about large investment money.
The natural progression towards achieving our goal to deliver epic films to an international audience had to start somewhere, for us the only sensible method was to do the hard yards and create independent projects.
We have so many independent projects we do just simply for the love of it. One of my team (Myra) and I love Mortal Kombat, for sheer fun we will select two characters and make a short film based on them as an example. We never stop making content simply because we are hungry and just love it.
Q. During your projects, what are the main motivators for developing a project to completion, sometimes will take a lot of energy and time to develop a nicely filmed and mastered work of art, How do you keep the passion through it all?
…………This is a most intriguing question!
It is the same with my athletes or creative work, if you fail to deliver ONCE you will allow that trend to continue. In the martial art failure is not an option, it’s simple.
When investmentis involved it’s easy. When it’s a passion project it’s not so simple. I have put together the toughest, the mightiest, the most ethical hard working honorable guys above and below the line.
It takes a lot of work however my team take a lot of that slack on their shoulders, If the producer/director is the gun to a production his team are his ammunition.
How do I keep the passion through it all?
I have such a deep and invested goal to achieve what I have always dreamed of achieving, a goal that has lasted since I was 4 years old and matured to a clean target since I was 18. I never spent one moment not chasing what I loved, film and martial art are two things I could never give up. As my team develops and grows, I wake up on some tough mornings that are hard to get up for what ever reason.
On those days I remember my master that died when I was young, I think of my team that I manage now and love with all my heart – How could I not remain full of passion. With Mentors like Richard Trombly from China Indie Film helping me to gauge the market and reavaluate my decision process towards the china specific film environment, how can I not continue to work hard for him and all those around me. I am blessed with an undying will to develop and grow.
Q. You host weekly workshops and Seminars can you tell the readers a little about them?
The classes are a by product of my love the martial art. I want to spread the way of the fist aggressively as It helped me so much to grow and develop. I love martial arts and why wouldn’t anyone want to share what they truly love. I enjoy assisting and helping those develop skills necessary to partake in international film projects, local projects and commercial work. We teach stunt work, choreography work, how to coordinate, we instruct ethics on set, we invite production personnel to sessions that are film focused. We instruct on how to compose frames as a DP or why they are chosen for what reason and what style. Our weekly workshops are physical for the most part and help performers and productions develop skills and prepare talent for their individual projects.
Q. What are your team aspirations for the future, do you want to make a feature length film?
I action directed a feature length film for ‘One Hundred Year Productions’ a Chinese based studio last year. The film is slated for cinema release and is now in post production. One of my team was the director’s assistant and many of my action team had main roles.
One of my dp’s were on camera and we helped control expense and managed quality control from beginning to end. Although not our film, we have largely reached this goal for China.
Our long term goal is to create stories for international audiences. I myself personally am invested in performance and love to act, yet story telling and direction comes naturally to me, therefore my team and I pick the projects which coincide with the ‘dream’ – To deliver legendary martial art stories that can help others to capture the power of the martial art and it’s way of life for themselves. For me, I would like to make film, gain a fan base and immediately begin to write my own martial art manuals as my beloved books gave me the light I needed when I was lost as a young man. When we are dead and gone how long your story lasts depends upon the worth you gave back to the world when you were alive. Giving… is everything.
Q. What is your take on the China Indie Film Market right now, considering your view point is from Beijing and myself from Shanghai? We share different views and would like to share with the readers your take on the China Film industry from your side?
What a fantastic question! The Marvel of China never ceases to amaze and impress me. How boring life would be if it were so predictable. Regarding the ‘INDIE’ market.
The way I see it is, those that consider themselves apart of the market here have endless opportunity. What Richard Trombly has built as a platform is endlessly valuable, we are connected with industry leaders and powerful filmmakers. Not to mention the advice freely shared is inspirational to say the least. The resources are endless with possibility, all you need is an open and understanding mind to make quick and intelligent use of that which is already there. You can stay Indie and determined to create what you love or it serves as a guaranteed platform to progress to large film development and investment which is exactly what we did. As for Beijing I’ve said my peace.
For Shanghai, all I know is this, when I went there for “The China Indie – Shanghai Short Film Festival” we were welcomed like family, this I have never experienced in Beijing and we shall never forget our “Shanghai family” that we are honoured to be considered a part of.
Q. From my industry, which is animation, I have a more personal question, What is your favorite animation movie?
Too easy brother, for me it’s “Kung Fu Panda 3”. May seem silly to anyone reading, but this film even brings me to tears at certain moments. Someone somewhere that wrote this story wrote some of my deepest and most inner dreams down into a cleverly designed and beautiful adventure about some cute and funny animals doing kung fu haha.
But their goal is ours, to express ‘legendary martial art stories’ on film.
For more information and see more cool stuff, and videos go to www.troysteamaction.com