Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 20 2007


Clay Soldiers is going to be shown at the Nanhai Movies festival this Sunday afternoon at about 3 or 4pm. I went over there a couple of days ago to give them the DVD and check out the place. By coincidence, it’s just across the street from the place where we filmed Josh’s Burmese prison scenes. The complex was apparently an old Japanese-era house with a huge yard, no doubt some official’s residence. The interior is full of various art projects, and the films will be shown on the second floor.

The organizers asked me if I would attend and possibly take questions, if there are any. I’m interested in getting to know the local art/film scene better, so I’m looking forward to this thing. I’m not, however, looking forward to speaking about the project, as I never really know what to say. Talking about film, or music, or any non-verbal medium, always feels somehow inappropriate. I find most online movie/film discussions range from the banal to the outrageously stupid, both inevitably boiling down to “This movie rocks if you don’t like it ur dum”-type drivel. I’d much rather just make films and let them speak for themselves.

That’s assuming that this crowd, if there is indeed some kind of crowd, will actually ask any questions, and if they do, they aren’t just the usual “WelcomehowdoyoulikeTaiwandoyouhaveTaiwangirlfriend” kind of thing.

Anyway, speaking of actually making films, the rough edit is coming along, albeit slowly. I’m hoping to have it done by the time Dean makes it back here so we can arrange ADR. Some scenes I’d expected to be difficult have been easier than I thought, while some I’d thought would be a piece of cake have turned out to be real jobs. Many times I’ve had to face the decision whether or not to include an emotionally strong take that contains a continuity error or some other problem. With mostly one-camera shooting, the actors are often doing different things, making different gestures, standing in different positions, etc., through dialogue and in action takes that make cutting a real challenge. This, of course, is one of the reasons (along with synch problems) why Rodriguez went around taking closeups of set details when he was shooting El Mariachi. I’ll do what I can with what I have, and if I can’t get away with that, I’ll go shoot some patch shots.

As I told Dean in an online chat, it feels kind of like I’m watching the movie for the first time, just very, very slowly. Seeing performances in the proper context is a thrill, and one of the main reasons I didn’t cut each scene after we shot it. It’s like a row of dominoes that have to fall just so, emotionally speaking, so I wanted to cut and view the film in one emotional line before I start tweaking.

The tweaking will have to wait for now, though, no matter how much I’d like to do it. I have to get the rough cut ready to pass on to Darrell for sound and Dean for special effects.

I haven’t really seen much of cast or crew recently, due to editing. Clay Soldiers has been broadcast on nationwide TV four times over the past few months, and yet IMDB can’t seem to get moving on my submission. Perhaps when they say “Nationwide broadcast” they really just mean “US broadcast”. Or perhaps with the advent of digital technology they’re just swamped with submissions and got behind. I have no idea.

But enough talk for now. Come along on Sunday afternoon if you like. The Nanhai Yilang site is located at #3, Lane 19, Chongqing South Road, Section 2. It’s just a couple of blocks from the CKS Hall MRT station.

posted by Poagao at 2:54 am  

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