How the project will be created.

Proposed team name?



Proposed Title of Film?

Thoughts on Rivendell Bicycle Works.


What is your film about?

The film is about a small bicycle shop called Rivendell Bicycle Works (RBW), which has been producing bikes from a past era, against the norms of mainstream bicycle thought and sales. They have had many challenges and continue to do so, yet they persevere and keep doing what they think makes sense. A streak of iconoclasm permeates the atmosphere at Rivendell Bicycle Works, in both serious and humorous fashion. This film will ask questions about how and why they continue to ford their own path in the world, and the sometimes puzzling nature of RBW’s character expressed in its off-beat items like pine tar soap and hatchets.


(Core Concept) What is the appeal of this documentary?

The film is there to capture the offbeat nature of RBW that provides unexpected angles which differ from other bicycle companies. There is character and some charm in the not quite normal ways that RBW operates.


(Story) What is your film’s approach and basic story outline?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe film’s style will be that of a collection of memories and thoughts, outside of real time, except for the ending, where it is brought to the present situation. Set in a warm, light tone, with melodies of folk acoustic guitar and cheery bicycle sounds. It should be clean, simple and to the point. Default font is Georgia.

Most of the film will comprise of video and stills as the visual component. Use of fancy motion graphics is to be kept to a minimum, as it doesn’t reflect the tone.

The film will be seen through the eyes of the narrator, starting by his introduction, then presenting his bicycle, which then quickly sets the stage with questions about why he purchased it.

Cut to the past where, the narrator is searching for the bicycle he’s been looking for, but unable to find.

The story then leads to the discovery of Rivendell Bicycle Works (RBW), slowly revealing shared thoughts and ideas that bring the narrator and RBW together. Also the quirkiness of the company it brought in as a sticking point for character and humor.

The retail store.

The retail store.

The bicycle is of course, purchased, but thoughts linger on the company that the narrator bought the bike from.

The film will then focus on the origins of RBW, its founder, and its reasons for continuing.

After that, the conclusion will sum up everything at this point, and then the film will end on a note of the speculative future of RBW.


(Story 2) How do you think this will all work on the ‘big screen’?

I expect that we will try to capture as much attention in the first minute as possible, and go on from there. Use of appealing images, sound, and questions should make it universally engaging, like the first page of a good book.

The narrator will keep things moving along until he hits upon a moment of change when he encounters RBW.

The story really opens up from there as we explore the different facets of RBW, and how they conflict with the norms of bicycle shops and mass marketing. After the reasoning and logic behind RBW’s decisions are settled, we move on the source of it all, Grant Petersen (the owner and founder). Things are wrapped up, and we leave it all on a speculative, but positive note on an uncertain future.


What will be obligatory points for the film?

  • The narrator of course, being Michael Tam or a fictional substitute.
  • An interview of the founder on video, Grant Petersen.
  • Media clips of RBW’s two locations, and the bicycles.
  • Media clips of the employees of RBW.
  • Miscellaneous media clips of the location of RBW (the warehouse) as it functions, as well as RBB&H (the retail store).


The camera, an Olympus OMD E-M5.

The camera, an Olympus OMD E-M5.

(Access) How does the shoot schedule look like?

The shooting times are flexible–just about any day except Sunday is viable, and both locations (warehouse and retail) are open to use. All that needs to be done is to set up an appointment with all the equipment tested and ready to minimize the impact to RBW, as they are a business, and their time is valuable.

Just about all persons working at RBW are available for a quick interview, the owner and founder, Grant Petersen too.

Lots of bikes and parts and stuff are around as well, which should make for excellent b-roll clips needed to fill space on the documentary.

Preliminary story work, narrative, script and interview questions should be set up in LMW2, within the first week or two, and the shooting should occur the week after. I expect the team to identify their strong points and help contribute based on that if possible. However, where work needs to be done, it must be done, whether people are willing or not.


 Further questions may be asked by email here.

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