Follow The Journey
LIFEKNOCKS TRANSCENDS, TRANSFORMS and INSPIRES
The writer of Lifeknocks Cynthia DiClaudio now Blau shares her story of how the sport of boxing encouraged her to get back up again after being knocked down by the loss of her sister Darlene Croce who died at age 35 from (SLE) Lupus.
A Story Steeped in Sound
The Lifeknocks story began in a boxing gym where Cynthia who will later be referred to as the documentarian found Boxing as a way to reduce stress and anger felt after her great loss. The storyline begins in South Philadelphia at Augie's boxing gym where she met fighters trainers, and champions who shared their stories both in and out of the ring. Boxers shared how they too had been knocked down in life and what motivated them to get back up. The Wiz a Boxing trainer and Legendary fighter took Cynthia under his wing, encouraged her to put gloves on and get in the ring. Sparing with boxers taught her discipline, through training and encouragement. The SPIRIT of camaraderie in a sport where bouts of getting knocked down is not key rather it's how we GET BACK UP after taking our hits in the ring via in our lives. Championship fighters showed her, bout after bout how amazingly their athletic ability gave them the strength and confidence to get up after getting knocked down. Rise and triumphantly get back in the ring, like life we overcome obstacles and get back up again. The boxers also reminded Cynthia of the art of dance and how viewing a fighter's footwork is similar to choreography in dancing.
It was one night after a long day of workouts in the ring she went home and wrote lyrics to a song. Cynthia wanted to pay homage to her sister who was a champion in her own life learning how to overcome her challenges in life and how she got back up again and again. Cynthia wrote lyrics to a song paying tribute to both Darlene and the sport of boxing.
EVOLUTION OF SPIRIT:
A VISION OF
What began as an outlet to reduce anger after Darlene's death became a catharsis for a 'New Life' filled with creativity hence the Lifeknocks song was created which led Cynthia, with her band of musicians, dancers, boxers, artists and filmmakers to document the journey.
Cynthia and her film crew felt compelled to follow the path of Lifeknocks for our Mantra is: if one has an idea and if it's for the good of the community, the universe conspires to assist you, and that was the beginning of a never ending adventure of the Lifeknocks story.
From the moment of conception the Lifeknocks song was created in May 2003. Once out in the universe the song and its message took a life all of its own UNSTOPPABLE and CREATIVE.
The theater community at the then Prince Music Theater now Film Society encouraged Cynthia to put the song in video format and thus the Lifeknocks Music Video was put into motion. Trailblazing, dance moves through authentic boxing hip hop choreography was created. What was once an idea entered into a New Phase of the project which took a Life all it's own.
The Mastering Vision of the Lifeknocks song:
Special Thanks to the Master of SOUND. The Sound Doctor extraordinaire CRAIG WHITE ...Also special thanks to The recipient of the first Ahmet Ertegun Memorial Award, named after the founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ertegun, is the legendary Leon Huff songwriter/ producer.
The Lifeknocks song with its lyrics needed to be put on recording studio tracks and mastered. Prior to the music video filming. Fortunately Cynthia was blessed to know songwriter and piano man the legendary, Leon Huff who was inducted into the Hall of Fame with his cowriter Kenny Gamble, the same year Madonna was inducted in 2016.
Leon Huff from Gamble and Huff International records was a friend and mentor to Cynthia. She was invited to record and work with the Master of ALL Sound Engineers, the legendary Sound Doctor, Producer Craig White. He and Cynthia had an instant creative connection and have remained friends for over 20 years. Craig continues to record and produce artists from all genres of music.
Craig put down the tracks to the music and lyrics in the same studio room where the Jackson 5 created their first two studio albums and so many other Great Hall of Fame Legends too. Working in the studio for hours with the band and Craig at the sound board was an electrifying experience of a lifetime.
The Journey Continued after the recording studio and soundtracks were scored, then the song was Mastered and we were ready to orchestrate the music video. After weeks of auditioning dancers, actors, drill teams, cheerleaders, boxers on set and hip hop artists we were ready to' Make it Happen'.
Divine Intervention Made It Happen :
Cynthia met and to this day believes it was Divine Intervention when she was introduced at the theater to a performing artist who had his own company of dancers. Hip Hop artist Clyde Evan's was enthusiastic to work on what now became the Lifeknocks project. Together Cynthia and Clyde collaborated and created authentic dance moves incorporating boxing and dance as one, a trailblazing experience to have boxers from Augies Gym, Joe Hand Boxing Gym, and the Front Street Gym along with boxers from the Bernard Hopkins camp donating their time to work together with dancers to film the Lifeknocks music video. Oh in case we forgot to mention Bernard Hopkins was training for the middleweight championship of the word back in 2004. He met Cynthia at an event at the Prince theater she handed him the Lifeknocks song now mastered and after he won the championship fight he and his trainer Fisher told Cynthia he would work out daily to that song which gave him inspiration.
In 2004 Bernard Hopkins won and Philadelphia had a parade and the Lifeknocks dancers who now became a company were invited at city hall to dance for him celebrating his victory as champion of the World...
To say Lifeknocks took a life of its own was an understatement. We then knew we were destined to follow its journey of true to life stories of tragedy to triumph much like what happened to its creator of the project...
Darlene and her powerful aura surrounded us day in and day out through interviewing those seen on film who had been knocked down in the ring of life and what inspired those individuals to GET BACK UP ONCE MORE.
As the saying goes if you build it they will come and so came the community endeavors of artists, dancers, boxers, filmmakers, drill teams, cheerleaders, and volunteers all banning together to form the Lifeknocks Music Video.
Following weekly auditions from artists all over the states those performers were selected, many who had their own Lifeknocks stories. The Lifeknocks team knew we now how no choice but to continue documenting the journey:
THE ZEST FOR LIFEKNOCKS continues Enter Lafayette Film Studio Owner Mike Brand:
Cynthia had heard about Mike Brand and his creative way of filming .She wrote to him telling about Darlene, her life and passing and that she had this idea of documenting an idea. From a song to music video and would he be interested He too was enthralled by the Lifeknocks message of RESILIENCY and offered to be part of the team .
The great Director of Photography Mike Brand came on board and with his film technicians, grips, cranes and film equipment we shot the Lifeknocks music video at Love Park. What better place than in Center City Philadelphia then depicting the Love of two sisters who worked there grew up there and now the Love of a project honoring one of them.
Cynthia contacted the artist from California of the Love Park sculpture and was granted permission to utilize the piece in the video.
We now had our team of artists filmmakers, volunteers, actors, musicians, make up artist who donated their time pro-bono, hair salons, restaurants, 200 theater volunteers, location scouts to hold all our equipment and performers, costume designers from local theaters and The Ritz in New Jersey creating handmade t-shirts and getting then a logo created for Lifeknocks so everyone wore on set. Passionate innovative artists banning as one creatively driven through Darlene's life and legacy...LIFEKNOCKS WAS UNSTOPPABLE.
Were also part of the music video. Cynthia again write about her and her sisters story to Ringside boxing. She wanted authentic gear for the filming and over $10,000 of equipment from boxing gloves you see in the video to boxing trunks for the dancers and robes for the actors. What a gift of Giving to this project.
Additionally because the filming of just the music video took over 15 hours and we were filming all over Philadelphia for seven days that required the entire people involved in the production to be fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner as we filmed into the wee hours of the night at some locations. LOVE PARK was the main shoot but there were boxing gym photoshoots and filming and the oldest courtroom in America City Hall was another location. Cynthia had to receive permission from the administrator judge to have access to filming at that location
In addition the finale of the filming happened on the Prince Music theater's mainstage where an evening of song and dance honored Darlene's life....so again full dinners, cases of water, snacks was required for all the crew, casts, dancers and volunteers..
The Amish from the reading terminal in Philadelphia donated cakes, cookies, and pretzels. The famous South Philly Geno's and Pat's steaks donated as well and it was McDonald's who provided breakfasts daily. Manhattan Bagels and other local area restaurants donated food juices breakfasts and water was supplied by Gene Schneider the Prince Music theater building manager supplied cases daily.
The Lifeknocks NEW WAVE of Filming began: