Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shooting Be Done!

That was... Ummm... intense...

Just got done with the first phase of shooting of my new short film, "It's All Good." I don't even know where to begin in trying to relate the monumental task it was to reach this point, the day after the shoot. So many things to decide upon, so many things to consider, so many challenges to work out, so many variables to balance out. There were moments when I thought it would be better just to give up, join a company, and give my life over to "the man." But, in the end, I believe it was worth it. Making films is what I'm about. So, as the title of my film reads: It's All Good!

I'm going to skip the gory details about the days leading up to the shoot. I will mention that I had a near crisis that put the film in the dreaded 'cancel mode' for about 18 agonizing hours. But, friends are what make life tolerable, and it was my good buddy Takeshi Yagi, producer and director of various Ultraman TV shows and films, that pulled the film back into Green Light mode. Yagi was the god during shooting too, keeping everything on schedule and moving ahead at a near lightning pace.

Shooting began in the wee hours of May 6th over in the city of Tokorozawa in a house designed for film shoots. A two-day shoot, time was limited, and everyone had to bust their rears in order to get the coverage needed. But pros being what they are, the shoot went off without a hitch. We had time to get a lot of amazing mini-crane shots and interesting movements between the actors and the camera.

As a director, my main concern during shooting is the well being of the cast, both their physical safety as well as their mental attitude. Working with actors is one of my greatest joys. Stephanie, my female lead, is a hard worker with one of the most positive, life-embracing attitudes I've ever encountered. Every moment with her was enjoyable and stimulating. The same with male lead Shogen, who, I believe, is well on the road to becoming a major actor in Japan. The three of us – actors & director – hung out in the parking lot last night after completing shooting. The air was full of nothing but mutual admiration and heartfelt feelings. This is the kind of thing I live for. It is my hope to be able to work with both of these fine people again.

But shooting is only one phase in the filmmaking process. Now comes the editing, scoring, effects work, sound design and a slew of other steps I'll spare you, the readers of my blog, from.

It's interesting, my progress into the world of filmmaking, first as a set reporter (which I still do, and lover) and then as a filmmaker. I still have so much to learn and I can see room for personal improvement. But I believe, as my fourth film, that this will be my most polished to date. Of course some of the things I wanted to achieve, I was unable to. But it's like Yagi said, "no one is able to reach their vision 100%. Don't lament this point." You do your best with the talent, resources, and time at hand. One can't ask for more than this. I certainly can't.

For now, I am eternally indebted to my director of photography Shu G Momose, my lighting director Hiroshi Ota, Yagi, Lindee, JR, soundman Furuya, make up artist Tomomi Higuchi, creature maker / operator Yoshihiro Nishimura and the 30 or 40 others that have worked to get the film through this important step.

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