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Inakamichi: Visions - Official Movie Website

Production Journal, Page 3














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9 September 2005-
Yesterday, I went over to Suncoast and reserved my copy of "Unleashed" (widescreen unrated, of course)- can't wait for October 11th. If you can handle "Fight Club", do rent the film once it comes out on DVD- it's the best film so far this year.
What I found strange is, discussing this film with some people yesterday, I found it really hard to convince them to see it.
"You're NOT going to convince me that a Jet Li movie has a PLOT!"
What I noticed a couple minutes later is, this was the same problem I had with recommending "Punch-Drunk Love" to people- both these films have a really hard audience to find. "Punch-Drunk Love" because traditional Sandler fans probably don't want to see him take a turn to serious acting (while, true, it's no SNL flick and isn't mainly comedy, it is, in actuality, one of the most upbeat films ever made) and the flipside of the coin, the kind of audience that considers themselves more "intelligent", doesn't want to give Sandler a chance. Same with "Unleashed".
"Unleashed" probably did invite plenty of Jet Li's fans, and they probably weren't disappointed by the fight sequences- there were quite a few (all of them were VERY intense- makes "Fight Club" look like a PG movie)- but it's a drama, not an action film (the trailers and the film's American title are way decieiving- I prefer the international title, "Danny the Dog" (which is what it was titled when I saw it in Japan)). Well, not a mindless testosterone-laced action flick like Li's previous English-speaking films were. On the other hand, the rest of the people don't want to give any of Li's American films a chance.
Anyways...
I bought a 12-pack of VHS tapes. I think now, I have enough tapes to produce Claude's video cabinet as I envision it. Aniket doesn't know if he can make shooting tomorrow. This'll really blow if he doesn't. I'd like Jessica to be there since there's a brief shot I want with her inside the clubhouse, but if I can't, fine- I can do that shot at a different location at a different time, it's not specific to that location.
I REALLY hope both Aniket and Richie can make it tomorrow at 2-4:30PM- I'd like to get ALL the clubhouse scenes finished tomorrow (and I decided I will film the portion of Scenes 20-23 that takes place there- in fact, I'll just reinstate those scenes. What's so complicated about them is the post-production work involved, but I think I figured out how to pull it off). Maybe I won't be able to get this film done by the end of the month, but I want as much done as possible, as soon as possible.

17 September 2005-
I biked miles and miles to Aniket's house today- tire popped halfway through, had to walk my bike, cussing the way there. (I don't think I've used so many profanities in such a long time! ...to think just six months ago, I talked like that EVERY DAY)
Fortunately, his dad was nice enough to drive me back, with the bike.
We filmed one scene today (after discussing musical scores), I think the last vital scene that takes place inside his house (unless I write some in with him and Jessica)- just need to reshoot the close-ups of the VCR now (those were poorly lit).
Now, we have the clubhouse scenes and the mini-movies left to film... as well as Scene 44. Hopefully I can finish this film before October ends. (I would prefer before October, but I know that's not going to happen)

1 October 2005-
FINALLY finished photography at Aniket's house! Now we can move on and FINISH this film!!!
There definitely will be continuity errors within the film, but I take the Zach Braff approach to it- performance over continuity. I tried to prevent plenty of them, but there's only so much I can do.
While it's true plenty of the shots are done at the hour of 3PM, which makes it virtually unconvincing as night, I'm planning on taking advantage of some of the digital post-production tools I have (as much as I don't want to deal with digital manipulations, in this case, I'll have to)- plenty of tinting involved, and, since I've already tested out this process for "Dudes: part duce" and "another walk in the park", re-frame and re-center shots (http://deadmooseinc.tripod.com/id4.html [BROKEN LINK] left is what they looked like before reframing, and right is what they'll look like on DVD). Probably the real reason I shoot for 1.66:1.
I have a revised script, including a complete and total rewrite of Scene 44, including a drastic location change (and the only thing remaining of Scene 43 is its scene number), though it still otherwise remains the same (in content, anyway). It's less "Manhattan", more "Sideways" (though this time, the reference wasn't intentional), and as well, I added a small little character detail for Donna (Jessica Warner).
I've given up on the idea of creating more scenes between Terrence and Donna, as whatever I wrote did nothing to advance the plot, and more importantly, added nothing to the character development. This script should be just about final, though that might be subject to small revisions.
Perhaps I'll write a movie involving Donna. I already do have planned that nearly all my films since "another walk in the park" have some sort of connection to each other (eventually, I just might land a connection between this and "Customer"). Similar to what Kevin Smith did with his first five films ("Clerks", "Mallrats", "Chasing Amy", "Dogma" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"- six, counting the upcoming "The Passion of the Clerks"), except I plan to expand my universe to way more than five (or six).
What I will say is- this is a movie about Terrence. I might even write a film about Claude (which would probably deal with his video business).
But all that is in the future. My concern right now is getting the current slate of projects finished. Whatever spare time I do have with films, I'll probably be animating "Ambulance", a short film stick figure ensemble piece, which, while I can't guarantee it'll be as funny, it'll certainly be more graphic (and would definitely earn an R rating)- it will be a supplement on the upcoming DVD release, bundled with "another walk in the park".

6 October 2005-
We should be shooting the first of Terrence's three mini-movies on Monday. Hopefully, it all goes smoothly. I got three swords (the ones used in all the "Fight Movie" films broke and were subsequently thrown out; a shame), which is one more than we need on Monday, but the second mini-movie requires five swords (yes, all in the same shot), so I need to get two more.
In other news, by Kristi's request, I removed her full name from the "another walk in the park" page, as well as removing the film (since her full name is present in the credits)- right now, I don't know whether to release it with new titles, or re-dub the entire film (both our dialogues) and THEN re-release it online. If you would like to see the film, my AIM is BokoROLF792, and I can send you the full file until I get the film re-posted.

10 October 2005-
Well, the first of the three mini-movies was shot today in its entirety. I was on standby, though I had to interrupt at least three times to repeat certain instructions (some of which still weren't followed by the end of filming)- Aniket and Richie were, time to time, mistakenly referred to as Aniket and Richie, as opposed to their on-camera names of Terrence and Claude. Due to a certain cast member throwing profanities, as well as racial and sexual humor, I have an idea of what footage I definitely CAN'T use amongst the 38 minutes of production footage I taped.
Definitely a new experience for me, in terms of editing, and definitely the most experimental thing I've done as of yet. Of all the footage shot, probably less than two minutes of it will end up in the finished product (a 1:19 shooting ratio). Less like filmmaking than it is videography (our first REAL making-of documentary... within a movie!). I need to get an external hard drive- my method of uploading footage (playing the tape until I get to the right take, THEN upload) is going to wear down the tape (and wear down irreplacable footage), so I'll need to upload all the production footage onto my computer (40 minutes of MiniDV footage = 8GB), not just the clips. (I got that hint once I got 10 minutes into the tape)
I also uploaded all the footage for the mini-movie we shot (because I actually had this filmed), and edited a workprint version of it (the final product is going to be edited on VHS, so pretty much, every aspect of these mini-movies is analog except for the camera used for filming (I considered grabbing someone's Hi8 camera, but I decided that was pushing it too far)). For the editing room scenes, I'm going to need to arrange what footage plays on the TV screen in the background.
I'm pretty sure the next one we shoot, our actors are going to get the hang of this movie-within-a-movie business... and maybe me, too. My camerawork is crap when I'm taping documentary-like stuff.

19 October 2005-
I read up a couple weeks ago that the king of bizzare films (well, one of 'em, anyway), David Lynch, is done with film and has gone to digital.
Not the same path George Lucas and Robert Rodriguez are going, though. David hasn't gone to HD.
Nope.
David's shootin' on MiniDV. You heard me. MiniDV- the same crap WE'RE shootin' on! Having experience for shooting MiniDV video for his website, he fell in love with the convenience and post-production possibilites of it.
Want to see a sample of what it would look like, blown up to big-screen projection size?

closeup-dvres.jpg

Okay, so that's a mere fraction of the blow-up size you'd get, but that little clipping looks crappy enough when enlarged, don't it?
And yes, I HAVE seen DV blown up to the big screen. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was mostly taken from video footage (well, besides the interviews the film's crew shot in HD), and "Open Water" was entirely shot in DVCAM- looks interesting enough for a little bit, but the picture is just far too soft and blurry at points.
David Lynch has said that he recognises it looks terrible- but he kind of likes it, reminding him of back "when the grain structure on film wasn't so tight".
That, and this guy is absolutely picky about image quality on his DVDs (he spent 18 months supervising colour correction for the "Wild at Heart" DVD, and the "Eraserhead" DVD was delayed for three years because he wanted a frame-by-frame restoration to remove print damage; now, if I actually made feature-length films in 35mm for general release, you'd bet I'd be just as picky)- the look on his upcoming film, "Inland Empire", will definitely be the look he wants.
Now, me, I still want to go ahead and shoot in film sometime in the near future, just to see what it's like (that, and as Lynch admits as well, film looks great- nothing can beat film).
Relating to this film...
 
Clubhouse scenes will FINALLY be shot this Saturday! Now, if everything goes according to plan, ALL of those Clubhouse scenes will be finished.
Here's a snap from the shooting of the mini-movie (this shot of which might or might not be in the finished film):

inakamichi-05.jpg

23 October 2005-
Well, yesterday's filming session was most productive, with the shooting for all the clubhouse scenes finished- all completed within a 3-hour filming session. A total of 18 minutes of footage was shot, and with editing down, I think this amounts to 6 minutes' worth of scenes.
A little bit of bad news- Aniket's parents want the film finished VERY soon. If not finished soon enough, he'll have to drop out. Now, I'm already dedicating all my free time that I have on weekends to finishing this film- but I can only work as fast as the availability of my other cast members.
I already have planned to get all of Jessica's scenes shot in the same filming session, and I think we'll need a whole day to shoot the second mini-movie (which will require 7 people, not counting me and my documentary-like camera), as well as the last day being spent on shooting the editing room scenes.
No, there are not any scenes I can shoot around Aniket- every scene requires him to be in it. No, I'm not going to reshoot with a different actor- I'm not putting the rest of my cast through that.
No, I am not releasing this unfinished.
No, I am not compromising anything.
It's going to be finished. Not "finished or bust"- finished. No questions, no debate, this WILL be finished, all the scenes completed. And they WILL be completed immediately.
We've been shooting this since August- "Mutants" was one unfinished project. One too many. I don't plan to have that number increase to "two", because it won't be. It will be finished, that is all.
I really hope I've made myself clear.
So far, editing Scenes 1-11 (Scene 9 has a little flashback in it that's yet to be filmed, and Scene 2's montage I haven't finished putting in all the necessary clips), it runs 6:03, so this film probably will be around 20 minutes. Being this film will have no credits at all, beginning or end, it should be the longest film from not just me, but comparing amongst Aniket's films as well... until "The Inner Circle" gets filmed (a 2-part epic, each part being around 40 minutes, according to him).
I might send over a workprint of the opening montage to Aniket, just so he can compose the musical score for that (there are four instances in the film I'll have a musical score playing), as well as a workprint of the ending.

26 October 2005-
Pretty much, I'm going through the same phase as Aniket was going through in "Leviathan". The phase where you've shot a majority of the scenes for your big fat epic, and you think it's going to suck.
Okay, I'm not at that much of an extreme about my film (I still think it'll be a decent film), but I definitely do see flaws now that the scenes that have been shot are all put together (while as before I watched them individually, and I thought things were fine).
1. The cinematography of the film. While I took every opprotunity to make sure the shots were framed and composed properly, I had far too many camera angles for scenes that were really simplistic.
As well, I had far too many static shots. "The Birth of a Nation" was credited (though wasn't the first) for pulling cinema out of its once stage-like qualities (plenty of films beforehand were based off popular plays), and making it three-dimensional, with assorted camera angles and movements.
Watching all these static shots in succession, I definitely want my next film to have a lot more camera movement.
2. The dialogue. I should have gotten it when I read the script, but it wasn't until I watched my current workprint of the film- betwen three scenes, there will be a line that's repeated. In my editing of the film, I'll see what excessive dialogue I can cut out, but most of it I can't.
3. The "movie-within-a-movie" concept. People go to the movies to be entertained. Well, at least, that's how it used to be. To escape their regular lives and pains. This is a film whose main character watches movies to escape his pains (which are (purposely) never revealed in this film). I don't think part of this "escapism" element was to watch other people watch movies- or to watch other people make movies and talk about movies.
I still want people to see this film, though, because I do want plenty of pointers on where I can improve. Which is a reason why I'm going to submit it to studentfilms.com when it's finished.
That, and I made this film for people to see it- if I didn't, I wouldn't have created this website... and I probably wouldn't have made it in the first place.
I'm going to see what improvements I can do upon the script for the remaining scenes to be shot, as well as see if I can't work in better camera angles (I'll definitely use less of them), and for my next big project, whatever that may be, I'll definitely have a more dynamic camera and a better script.

27 October 2005-
I just finished watching "All That Jazz", a film by Bob Fosse which is just as much a personal story to his career as this film is to mine. (whatever much of a "career" you can call it) That film is loosely based off of his experiences and struggles with "Chicago" (hence the title), and is one of the most bizzare films I've ever seen. It pretty much consists of 5-minute segments sewn together, plenty of which distract from the main movie and want you to focus on the choreography (Fosse, after all, is known for his choreography for the stage).
During the first 30 minutes, which seemed to run forever, I couldn't help but make comparisons between Fosse's and my film. One of these five-minute segments is a film being screened to his fictional counterpart, Joe Gideon, which, literally, runs five minutes. Just him, staring at the screen, and what's on the screen playing in front of him. It did fortify point #3 I made yesterday- people go to the movies to escape from their lives, not to watch other people watching movies.
The rest picked up, but not too much. Plenty of scenes still distracted from the main plot itself, but they were more entertaining this time around (though some were far too disturbing for my tastes- yes, when I say something is far too disturbing in a movie, that only means there's a graphic medical procedure scene. Very graphic.). I could relate to the scenes where Gideon is in the hospital (from the beginning we know he has health problems and has gone through a near-death experience), as I myself was rushed to the hospital a few months ago. Those three hours I was in there were long enough- it would SUCK to be this guy!
Thank you, Mr. Fosse, you've given me a new reason to live- because if I don't, I'll be like Mr. Gideon, rotting away in the hospital and unable to work on his big production. Those of you who know me know that my work is more valuable to me than my life is, but my life is important if I want to finish my work (and perhaps some extra time to do touch-ups).
However, this profound life-changing experience, I assure you, will not affect my personal opinion of the film. And that personal opinion is- far too bizzare for most tastes, drags on at points, and 120 minutes (well, 1 hour, 59 minutes and 59 seconds) is just pushing it. **1/2 out of four.
Its strangeness only has "The Happiness of the Katakuris" to rival- though that film is far more accessible to audiences.
Jessica Warner can't do the part of Donna- not anytime soon, anyway, and I can't wait that long. I think we have a replacement for her, and if we do, we'll shoot all her scenes on Saturday (provided everything goes according to plan). On Sunday, we'll probably shoot the second mini-movie (so provided everything goes according to plan, shooting on mini-movie #3 will be finished before mini-movie #2; but what can you say, shooting out-of-sequence produces some interesting things).
As well, I am already thinking on my next big project-
I think I'll go ahead with what I planned as the "third" installment of this escapism "trilogy", and yes, it has another Japanese title. The Japanese title stays, the English one is a working title. "Mozoukani", English title for now being "Reality". While what "Inakamichi" literally translated to English doesn't directly relate to the film (if one looks at it in context (watching my favorite film will help), it does have meaning, though), the literal translation of "Mozoukani" is a recurring theme in the film's dialogue (and once again, I'm not revealing it for you).
What "Mozoukani" is about- Philip Gates is bored with his life. Terribly bored. So, he gives himself the daily narcotic of internet role-playing- of situations just like his regular, boring life... with bizzare twists and my trademark sick humor added.
I hope this is enough to assure you that "Mozoukani" is not another straight-off drama like "Visions" is going to be. In fact, it's going to be a rather long-term project, and here's why-
The role-play sequences (which I hope to take up the majority of the film) are going to be done in claymation. I always had this as my intent, and when I told Richie the idea, he said he wanted to do stop motion- as does Alex Lin. What I'll do is prepare a full storyboard and come up with EXACTLY what the finished product is going to be like. Then, film all the live action and record all the voices (prescore voices first, animate later, so if one of our actors dies by some balloon exploding in their face, we won't have to worry about it).
The claymation will either be photographed in 8mm (provided I come across shutter/release cables), 16mm (provided I come across a camera!), or with my dad's digital SLR camera- probably the latter, but I want the image quality on those scenes to be top-notch.
But that's all looking towards the future- right now, I want to finish this film completely, get everything done and over with. Post-production might take a little bit, with the musical score and the ADR for the movies Terrence watches, but I want this done in time to, as well, submit to the San Francisco International Film Festival. (if I can get that, I can get an official iMDb listing, which would be absolutely wonderful)
















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