Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 18 2016

Ranger Poagao

My friend Azuma recently got revenge on me for casting him as a policeman in The Kiss of Lady X (not to mention a thug in Clay Soldiers) by asking me to play a park ranger in a commercial he’s involved in making. Fair’s fair, I agreed, and found myself checking into a backpacker hostel over the Wellcome supermarket at Guting last night, as we were heading out at 5 a.m. the next morning.

I slept poorly, not just due to the unfamiliar roar of traffic 12 stories below, but also because I kept waking up thinking I should be waking up soon, and was it time yet? Better check the time…no, but it would be time to wake up soon so I shouldn’t sleep too soundly, etc. Then I woke up and it was 5:20; no morning call had come. Rain was now beating at the window, so I figured the shoot had been cancelled. Still, I called Azuma, who confirmed. “Get some rest, you can still go to work today,” he said. So I fell at last into a deep sleep.

…and was woken up 20 minutes later when he called again. “The director’s decided to go for it,” he said. So I packed up and went downstairs for a quick McDonald’s breakfast and a drive through the muddy basin up into the clouds of the mountainous Yangmingshan area. There we waited along with the other cast and crew in our cars in the parking lot for the rain to ease up. Then we waited in a tourist center for the rain to ease up. Eventually it did, and I put on my park ranger uniform, complete with patches, a badge, and a semi-automatic Glock pistol replica. An actual Taiwanese park ranger arrived at the station soon after we did, which made me feel a bit silly in my fake uniform, but the others seemed to think  it was pretty accurate. The other actors were doing their scenes first, so I figured I’d take advantage of the uniform to make some silly Vines while I had it. I was already embarrassed as it was, so I figured a little more wouldn’t hurt.

Then it was time to shoot. The director and most of the actors were also bilingual, which gave the on-set banter another interesting dimension. I don’t envy the editor who has to reconcile all the different lighting conditions, however, as the weather was flickering between weak sun and near-complete darkness.

Still, we managed to get a lot done before the rain began again in earnest. The crew was working more or less as we’d done on our films, and I realized that I kind of miss film-making; it was fun and interesting, more purposeful than my usual wanderings with cameras. Maybe I’ll do a little something sometime.

posted by Poagao at 3:46 pm  

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