Image of Monique Pichette, cancer survivor

It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken.

My company, the I.C.E. Agency, recently shot a video that will be part of a national campaign to raise awareness about stress and cancer. The subject of the video, Monique Pichette, is a two time cancer survivor who loves working out, her family and friends, and being a source of strength in the cancer community. We chose to film it at her health club where she trains. It was a fitting setting for Monique, as she battled cancer using positive vibes and fitness, working out even while on chemotherapy.

The crew and I arrived at General Fitness, Fall River around 8:15 am. We – Jason Ruel, Steve Reale, my business partner Vic Pichette, and I – had filled my Tahoe with tons of lighting equipment, cameras, etc. General Fitness is located in an old mill complex and the aged, yet powerful look of the exterior made me instantly feel that we had chosen our location right. The guys and I lugged the gear up a winding, wooden staircase to the main floor, then up another set of stairs to our spot on the 3rd floor. By 9:15, we had the gear – lighting, camera tripods, sound – set up for our initial walk through.

The setting of the video was depict a dingy, hard core gym where sweat and performance were valued more than sex and glamour. General Fitness has the feel of fitness with tons of both modern and conventional machines for a wide range of the exercise world. We set up in the far corner of the 3rd floor in front of oversize windows that provided us with more lighting than 50 tripods of lights. The boxing scene concept was a truly collaborative effort. We wanted to show Monique, rising from her seat or bench, rising to punch the living daylights out of cancer in the form of a punching bag. Rising out of her misery, standing up, pushing through the pain and anguish cancer had given her without her permission, doing what she loved with her soul mate, Bobby, encouraging her, motivating her as her training partner. Bobby is without a doubt her training partner in the gym and in life.

The punching bag was worn. It was suspended from the ceiling by a rusted chain secured to a wooden beam that was most definitely original to the building. Without special effects or CGI, this bag and its aura created the perfect prop for our video. It was heavy, unwavering when struck by normal hands. The same can be said for the fight against cancer. It takes a blow of epic proportions sometimes to beat cancer. Thus, our goal for Monique in this scene was for her to get up and with all of her 115 lbs might and strike down this bag, strike down her cancer, with the most incredible right hook the world has ever seen.

The gym was active and the intensity of the moment was palpable. Steve and Jason continued to work the scenes and make sure we had cameras and lighting in the right spots. Pacing and going over notes and scene sequences. Looking for the perfect shot, using both natural lighting and as well as the equipment we brought. Marking our actor’s spots on the gym floor, then coming up with another great idea and moving those marks. Talking, laughing, reminiscing about other shoots, talking about the enormity of what we were about to film. The mood was business like for the most part but with a nice mix of humor. And then, the actors arrived. It was showtime.

Stay tuned for more information on this video shoot as well as the launch date for Monique’s website. Her motto “It’s a Good Life, if You Don’t Weaken” will inspire you in whatever challenges life is presenting. The I.C.E. Agency is proud to be working with Monique Pichette and others that battle cancer.

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