Thursday, May 23, 2013
Created by writer / designer Yoshiki Takahashi, it is pretty much everything I could have hoped for. Hats off to Yoshiki for another amazing contribution to the "New Neighbor" production.
I'm also pleased to announce too that the film will have its premiere screening tomorrow night (Friday 24 May) at "Japan Filmfest Hamburg" in Hamburg, Germany.
Here's a link to the film's entry...in German of course.
Until next entry...
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
I'll update the blog again once the film is up and ready for eyeball consumption!
Monday, April 22, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
|Click me to go to the New Neighbor facebook page.|
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Well, I've totally let my blogging life go to pot, which when you get down to it isn't any great crime against humanity. For one thing, I make most of my income writing so it's hard to justify getting away from writing by doing more of it. Besides, what purpose does a vanity blog serve? Does anyone read this thing? Hello out there!
(OK...Now that I've gotten my blog disclaimer out of the way, it's down to business!!)
If you want to know more about the film, here's a story I did on it for the Fangoria website:
Fangoria article on THE COMPLEX
In any case, despite the subject matter, I feel it to be the best "behind the scenes" I've done to date. I've been trying to develop a style where I don't rely on fluffy actor / staff comments, and let the material speak for itself. I use my experience on the set as my guide when editing, where I try to reconstruct the set feeling so that viewers can get emotional insight rather than, as with many "behind the scenes", some PR piece designed to impress viewers with the awesomeness of the filmmakers and the production. The photo here is of me and my friend Saya Kobayashi, one of the film's leads, at the wrap party in mid-October. Saya's an original and is insanely funny in my "Behind the Scenes" of LUST OF THE DEAD 2. I might shoot a film with her this year...
The ABCs film is now available via on-demand somewhere on the web. I'm told my "behind the scenes" films will be on the upcoming DVD / Blu-ray release. The photo here is one I took on the set of Yudai Yamaguchi's entry: J IS FOR JIDAI-GEKI.
Now here's something different from me: I had a 1/2 dozen lines in a WOWOW movie. WOWOW is a Japanese cable channel, sort of like HBO in the US. I was contacted by Mei Hanawa, the woman who did art direction on my new film, asking if I could play a foreigner talking about dying languages, or something like that. "Just send me my lines and give me an idea of what you want me to do and I'll figure it out on set," I said to her.
Shooting was up in Gunma in a town called Kiryu, one of the most boring places I've been to in Japan. I finished shooting at 3pm on the first day and the only thing I could find to do in town was sit in a Denny's restaurant and watch old people slurp spaghetti as if they were chowing down on steaming ramen. Shooting was a lot of fun, and somehow I managed to make it through my Japanese lines without flubbing them. The most fun was that I got to share a few lines with actress Naomi Nishida. I had met Naomi on the set of GODZILLA 2000 in 1999 and took her over to Stage 9 at Toho to show her the special effects set and to take photos with her next to the Godzilla suit. So...13 years later and we're acting together. I like when life does stuff like this.
Well, this isn't the 1/2 of it, but I think this is enough to go on in one blog entry.
Monday, December 10, 2012
As an offering to the Blog Gods, I give you two frame caps from the '86 film "Howard the Duck". My upcoming article in Eiga Hiho is a love letter to this very misunderstood and under appreciated film.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
|Godzilla fending off copyright offenders.|
|Studio 1 first day of GMK shooting.|
|Studio 2, smoke filled, kaiju battle filled.|
|FYI: What a movie should look like.|
Unfortunately for the film, I was forbidden from translating the songs appearing in the movie. I suppose the director and band think I'm some dweeb translator, or something, incapable of understanding rock and roll. Now, what is there is, to put it nicely, mediocre crap. Loaded with inappropriate phrasal verbs, the lyrics are clunky and their (limited) meaning difficult to comprehend. But what do I know? I played in bands in New york City for over a decade, have written a ton of songs and poetry, have written hundreds of magazine articles, and have subtitled a dozen feature films and countless short films. Etc etc etc. Well, every gig has its share of irksome lameness. With this job done, I'm working on a much bigger film for an A-list director. More on this in a future entry.
|My awesome friend Ayano.|
|Ayano creeping about in her PJs.|
|Aya, some guy in a 25 year old tee, Asami.|
Friday, June 8, 2012
|Actresses, actresses, actresses...|
On hand for the shooting was director Sion Sono, who co-wrote the story with Alex. While I've met Sono before, this was the first time to be on-set with him and to get a taste for his directing style. Sono has an interesting, if somewhat crass, way of getting the cast motivated. I learned a lot watching Sono and was happy to add another director's film set under my belt.
Although holding a boom mike in the air for hours and hours, trying to get it as close to an actor's mouth while not getting in frame, is a pain in the rear, I enjoyed the day and doing the soundman role. All in all, a good experience and I'm looking forward to the final product.
|Tak and Sono wait for the action to begin.|
Now, the slowest films I've ever worked on were Godzilla ones. But I'm talking about the FX stage, not the live-action set. On those you get two, maybe three shots in per day. This is because of things like the all-consuming art direction (everything is built up, even the landscape), the Godzilla suit (which has an entire staff taking care of it), the explosions, the lights, etc etc. It would take hours and hours just to make a single shot happen. Yet it didn't feel slow at all because things were always moving along at a good pace. My feeling is that on a low budget film with only a few cast and crew members in a single room you should get in a minimum of 4 shots an hour, and even then that's slow.
I only did one day on her film, and from what I hear, I went on what was probably the hardest, least organized day. Just my luck... But here too, I'm looking forward to the final result.
After the screening we went out for dinner and drinks at a nearby Chinese restaurant where we engaged in the Japanese "mission accomplished" hand clap and then set in on "speech time". It seems just about everyone had to get up and say something. Personally, I find it unnecessary, but it's how people do things here. Once the speeches were over, Iguchi stood up, thanked everyone for coming and then called the evening at an end. One staffer yelled out, "Hey! We still have 40mins left on the clock." "Oh," exclaimed Iguchi. "That gives us time for more speeches!" Oddly, I was the only one who laughed at this.
|With Rina at the DS wrap party.|
Looking forward to working with Iguchi and crew again.
|To those about to rock...|
|Talk to the hand...|
The shoot took hours as Yoshiki and cameraman Ito and his staff set out to recreate the lighting in the original scene. During the session I noted that it probably took Romero and his crew no time at all to light, or no more time than usual. But trying to recreate the original lighting was a whole 'nother thing.
|AD Murakamai, myself, Kaneko|
The birthday party was a lot of fun, if a bit on the low-key side. The usual Kaneko regulars, family members, and some new faces to spark things up were there. All in all, a good time. Kaneko's been a good friend for almost 15 years now. I've learned a lot about filmmaking from him. I'm looking forward to working with him again and again.
And of course, my run of articles in Eiga Hiho continues with a piece on the 1986 film, "Maximum Overdrive". In the story I tell about why I think it's an amazing and totally outrageous bit of 80s exploitation and I talk about meeting King during the editing of the film back in 1985.
I leave you with a shot of director Kaneko pouring over my article.
Until next time...
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
|All Hail the Great and Powerful Skeleton!|
No wait! I found the back scan of the mini-poster of the mini-poster!
And finally, here's the DEAD SUSHI trailer:
I guess I should mention that my second article was on the film C.H.U.D. For this story I touched upon New York under then mayor Ed Koch and the homeless condition that led to the story of C.H.U.D.
First, although you would think otaku, who are basically social misfits into fantasy stuff of one kind or another, would be more receptive to the thought of people from other lands (I'm talking about foreigners) in reality they have to be one of the most closed minded lot I've met. The fierce pride felt for their precious fantasy anime worlds, dewy-eyed ink drawn female characters, and gargantuan breasted high school girl model kits makes no sense. Given the nature of their interest, treating non-Japanese like the minority family who has just moved into the homogenous neighborhood seems to go against the nature of the imaginative driven world they use for escape. It would be like going to an event celebrating the multi-race universe of Star Trek one day and then the next going to a Klan meeting.