Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 01 2006


My friend Michael just opened up a fancy restaurant on Ren-ai Road near the corner of Jian-guo Road a few months ago. It’s called “Kodiko”. He’s been very busy working there at all hours. It’s a “healthy eating” place that uses low temperatures and other methods to reduce the wear and tear food apparently has on the body.

It’s also a really fancy, expensive place, so after Micheal invited me to lunch and I’d gotten a good look at it, I immediately thought of our fancy dinner scene. Originally I’d thought of doing it in a sideroom, but Dean preferred the space of the main dining room. This meant we’d have to wait until the place closed at 10pm and film all night. Dean expressed hope, as always, that we’d get it done quickly, but these things have a way of taking their time, no matter how many corners you cut.

I caught a ride with Sandman and Jojo over to the restaurant after a quick dinner at The Italian Job on Lishui Street. They were just closing, and some of the cast and crew had already arrived. Among them were Mark from Doubting to Shuo and Prince Roy, who had agreed to provide famous blogger cameos as guards (we always seem to need guards and henchmen). They were eager to sample the excitement and adventure of a real film shoot, despite my warnings of long, tiring, boring, repetitious chores all night and into the morning. Jojo and Chris also stayed. I think they just wanted to see Sandman get stabbed with a butter knife.

Setting up took a while, as we had to move all the tables to the side room and set up one long table in the middle of the main dining room. Darrell brought his camera for two-camera setups to save time, and Paul supplied lights (which we augmented with an egg crate) and microphone. I wanted a dark dining room, so we used mostly the lighting in the ceiling, with a few accents provided by our lights. Darrell also provided the computer readouts to be projected on the glass wall behind the table.

Soon, everyone was in costume, including the guards in their maroon and black, carrying plastic guns (Prince Roy was apparently dissatisfied with the sound of clicking the plastic clip into place), Dean in his tux, Maurice’s friend Bill in my Chinese jacket and inside-out aborigine hat, Sandy in his jacket and disposable shirt and bow tie (looking kind of like an evil Jimmy Olsen) and Rowan of course in monacle and tails.

So we got down to it. Filming went fairly steadily, though there were hiccups as Rowan was having trouble with his lines. Part of this was due to the long monologues I’d wanted to do in one shot without breaking it up, the alcohol, and, increasingly, the late hour. We gave him a break and set up to shoot Sandman getting stabbed while Rowan went over his lines, and then started up again. Unfortunately, Jojo and Chris were outside (smoking, no doubt;) when we did it, so they missed it. Bill did a great job; at the time it seemed a bit too over-the-top, but looking at the footage I realize he did it just right.

Dean got to do his James Bond casino shot, and our guards did an admirable job of restraining him, or at least seeming to, though Mark’s beret fell off in one shot. Rowan, when he got his lines down, was impressive in his dynamic range. The rehearsal had gone quite well and seemed to help him get a grasp of the scene, though some actors like to work “fresh”.

Everyone seemed to run out of energy at about 3am, even though we’d stocked up on canned coffee. I felt wide awake, as I was responsible for everyone being there, so I just kept going. The normal banter between takes fell off, and soon there was nothing but silence. The guards conked out on the sofas during setups, and Paul retired to the side room for a nap, while Darrell filmed and held the mic boom at the same time.

It was tough, but we got through it. By the time we were done, the sun was shining outside the heavy restaurant doors. We wrestled the tables back in place and let everyone go. I roused Michael from his position slumped over the desk in the office in back, and we all went to catch taxis to our respective homes. I got home around 7:30am, didn’t feel like going to bed just yet as the light was so nice (I rarely see the morning light), so I took a stroll around my neighborhood taking pictures before going to bed at about 9.

I don’t know what we’re doing next, I’m afraid. Sure, we could do a couple of pick-ups here and there, and we need to get another trailer out, but Dean has to take another trip to Canada, from late August to late September, and Bill is busy during just about the same time. I am still searching for an office/study as well as, of course, the zeppelin interior. We’re quite close to finishing this thing, but unfortunately we’ve saved the most difficult locations for last.

posted by Poagao at 3:30 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. Actually, I loved the sound of that magazine slapping into place. I couldn’t stop doing it all night. Hope the mikes didn’t pick it up.

    Comment by Prince Roy — August 2, 2006 @ 3:46 am

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