January 27, 2021

‘LL: How did you come up with the title, what is the significance?
BG: Well the whole point is that we are advocates of outdoor basketball. I felt like “Doin’ It In the Park,” which of course is inspired by the Blackbirds song and is the opening song of our score, sums it all up. Go outside and play ball.

‘LL: The score is pretty impressive. Can you talk about some of the artists you worked with on it?
BG: Yeah, a lot of people that don’t even play ball still love the movie – they are blown away by the score. We have nine-time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri who did original compositions for a couple of scenes. We have songs by the Roots, Jurassic 5; some really, really dope music. I bought my Deejay sensibilities to the film as the music supervisor but props to David Couliau (Kevin’s brother) who was the editor. So, he was the one that really took the songs I selected and placed them with scenes and made sure that the pacing was right and the mood was right. He did a phenomenal job.

‘LL: Why choose pick-up basketball as your topic?
BG: Well Kevin and I both felt that there were some great documentaries out there, however, there was a void. Pick-up basketball is the most common denominator of the sport – it’s the essence. President Obama plays pick-up, LeBron James plays pick-up. Four-year-olds play pick-up and 80-year-olds play pick-up. It’s an amazing movement – it has its own language, its own dress code. The gear in basketball influences hip-hop, hip-hop influences the world. There is a phenomenal culture right here in our streets, in our playgrounds and in our parks. It is right here in our face and no one has ever documented it before in New York.

‘LL: Why use the guerilla style process (you and co-director went with two cameras by bike to record) instead of working with a formal crew?
BG: We didn’t have a budget for a crew. Kevin slept on my couch for three months while we made the film. The other reason is that you can’t show up to a park with a 10-person crew and think that you are going to get people to act naturally. You can’t be a fly on the wall [that way.] Kevin had the Cannon 5D, Cannon was our equipment sponsor and because we both played ball, people gave us respect and invited us in. A lot of people recognized me on I would say 95% of the courts.

“Oh shit, Bobbito what you doing in Staten Island?” and then they would just warm up to the camera. We did a lot of our interviews on location, on the spot.

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About The Author

Navani Otero is a New York City based multi-media journalist. Her work has been published in The New York Post, Latina, XXL Magazine, In Touch Weekly, msnNOW and MTV News. The self-professed music junkie splits her free time helping out on The Heavy Hitters Radio Show on SiriusXM and mentoring aspiring teen writers. You can read her observations on life at www.navaniknows.com.

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