It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! A modern take on cult documentary Pumping Iron, JUJU’s exclusive-access feature documentary RAW MUSCLE exposes the (very) firm underbelly of male bodybuilding. Schwarzenegger, eat your heart out…

At the time of filming, as luck would have it, JUJU’s studio overlooked a hardcore mecca-of-muscle and we couldn’t help but notice the bodybuilding behemoths below. And an idea was born – we were inspired to make a film about all the muscle and the madness of this little understood passion.

With privileged access, brilliant on-screen characters emerge, and RAW MUSCLE was born…


Ultimately, we wanted to show the personalities behind the physiques and bring to the world a lifestyle so often misunderstood. We arranged a six week filming period with the gym, and sent in a female camerawoman (lucky her!) to get the lowdown. With exclusive access to the gym goers, we developed an unobtrusive filming style that got close enough to the muscle-bound men to bring out their personalities and stories for the film.

As standing lights were unfeasible, our handy gaffer recommended an inspired compromise. We changed all the overhead strip lights to a uniform 56k tungsten output, as well as creating ‘fringes’ of matt black aluminium wrap to bounce the light more effectively. We used a combination of cameras for different purposes, the Canon 5D (with sound boom and external mic) and our own Panasonic HVX 201 (with onboard mic).

We created the distinctive score with our talented composer, and also arranged performance rights for the additional track used. This was then played over a dynamic edit that brought together both the extreme nature of the bodybuilding world counterpointed by the more heartwarming elements to their stories.


The film has entered into film festivals and off the back of a successful trailer JUJU are currently in talks with a terrestrial TV channel to develop other commissions.

The trailer for RAW MUSCLE has been a huge success on the gym’s website, as well as garnering over 12 000 ‘likes’ on their facebook as a direct result.


https://www.facebook.com/muscleworksgymuk (cover photo is a film still)

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