Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 28 2005


Maurice, April and I met up at Dean’s at noon on Sunday for the tunnel shoot. We filmed April jumping through the air and landing on Dean’s bed a few times in 60i for some possible slo-mo shots of her falling while she was in her outfit. Then we set out for Keelung by train. It was a nice day for sitting out on an open train platform and chatting.

In Keelung we waited until the cops were finished arresting someone at the train station, then caught a taxi out to the coast. The cabbie thought we were only going as far as Ocean University, but of course we were going much farther. At first he refused to consider coming back for us later that night, but when we arrived he broke down and let us have his number, “in case you can’t find another cab.”

We met up with Paul, who had just gotten there as well, and sussed out the tunnel, a high, arched affair with a large metal pipe on one side and a ledge on the other, and mud and water in between. It looked great. I climbed up the cliff and asked an old guy holding a baby at one of the nearby houses if we could borrow some electricity. “I’ll pay you for your trouble,” I said.

“How much?” he wanted to know. He wouldn’t name a price himself.

“Ok, a few hundred NT dollars,” I said, finally.

“How much exactly?”

“Ok, 500.”

“Alright,” he said. “500 an hour it is.” Whoops. That was rather more than I’d expected, but it was that or no lights, as the neighbors weren’t home. So I told him we’d come back when we were ready to start.

Meanwhile, after April and Paul spent several minutes untangling the 50-meter extension cord I got a B&Q the other day, I went and borrowed a tall ladder for Dean to use in the scene. He tested it and the weight seemed ok as long as he wasn’t too high. Just outside the tunnel mouth, cars and truck hurdled by, only a few feet away.

Eventually I realized that Paul was missing, actually when he reappeared. It seemed he had found another tunnel, “a much nicer tunnel,” he said. We went to investigate it. It was a small pedestrian tunnel up the hill a ways. A little over six feet in height and very clean and dry.

My initial reaction was rather negative, I have to say. I wanted the dramatic background of the high, arched tunnel, but everyone else favored the little walkway tunnel. I won’t go into my rationale here and now, but for various reasons I chose the smaller one.

We set up in the new location. I returned the ladder as we wouldn’t need it any more. Dean set up his props while Maurice put on his face makeup and April got some fried rice that she would later regret getting. Paul tossed an umbrella up to cover the light at the entrance. I fiddled with the lights (including the portable fluorescents I have now thanks for advice from Xiao Shan) until I got something I liked, and we started shooting.

It took a long time. I was doing focus pulls, so I did a lot of takes to get the timing just right, or at least give myself more choices. The new location was playing havoc with my internal vision of the scene, but I managed to get through with some pretty usable stuff.

One shot required burning debris and smoke to simulate an explosion. I had bought a pack of smoke bombs down at Bitan, but the perverse nature of the wind at that location simply blew the smoke wherever we didn’t want it to go. The results were mixed at best.

It was after midnight by the time we had done. Everyone was pretty tired. The Indonesian woman who worked at the store down by the coast highway called us a cab, and after getting back to Taipei, we all went our seperate ways.

It’s kind of funny: we spend some much time in between shoots, but the shoots themselves are very intense and tiring for everyone all around. It’s just a different way of working than the typical 9-5 routine.

Our next shoot is on the 5th, out at Dean’s university. It’s several scenes, which could be interesting. I haven’t seen the locations yet, but that isn’t as big a problem for me as it used to be, or would be on another project. Lot of little things to keep in mind, as always. I’ll see if I can get the trailer down to a reasonable size so I can put it up on this site as well.

posted by Poagao at 6:42 pm  

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