Sunday, January 31, 2010

40 hour editing marathon for EXHALATION

I was supposed to put together a rough cut of my latest short film EXHALATION by today.

I took almost a 2-week break from its editing to wait for Maiko the Producer to finish her Masters thesis, Torigoe the Sound Guy to the sound mixing (he had 3 productions lined up before him, EXHALATION, unfortunately, was number 3), and for Woan Foong the Composer to send me the music pieces (we last worked together in my last completed and still-unreleased short THE WHITE FLOWER). To kill time, I ended up helping to put together Kong's film, which is now called LADYBIRD'S TEARS.

But once Kong's film was out of the way, and Maiko was done with her thesis, and Woan Foong had sent me her avant-garde music pieces, things were set into motion again in order to hit today's deadline.

On the 28th, I went to Tokyo University of Arts at Yokohama to do some additional voice recording for actor Hiroyuki Takashima. It was actually my first time in Yokohama, I was surprised by the Western-styled architecture. I snapped photos like a tourist.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maiko the producer receives Waseda University's cultural award

Yesterday, as I walked out of my place, the sky was very blue.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The busy labs in Waseda University's GITS building

GITS = Global Information Telecommunications School.

The final thesis presentation for Masters students is drawing near. Everyone's been busy in their labs.

Last night I went to check out Sakai Lab (lab of WHITE FLOWER assistant producer Liu Jin and Lia the Artist).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black and white photos do seem more dramatic...

This is a quote from one of my heroes, Andrei Tarkovsky, on colour cinema.

When we watch something going on we don't notice colour. A black-and-white film immediately creates the impression that your attention is concentrated on what is most important. On the screen colour imposes itself on you, whereas in real life that only happens at odd moments, so it's not right for the audience to be constantly aware of colour. Isolated details can be in colour if that is what corresponds to the state of the character on the screen. In real life the line that separates unawareness of colour from the moment when you start to notice it is quite imperceptible. Our unbroken, evenly paced flow of attention will suddenly be concentrated on some specific detail. A similar effect is achieved in a film when coloured shots are inserted into black-and-white.

Colour film as a concept uses the aesthetic principles of painting, or colour photography. As soon as you have a coloured picture in the frame it becomes a moving painting. It's all too beautiful, and unlike life. What you see in cinema is a coloured, painted plane, a composition on a plane. In a black-and-white film there is no feeling of something extraneous going on, the audience can watch the film without being distracted from the action by colour. From the moment it was born, cinema has been developing not according to its vocation, but according to purely commercial ideas. That started when they began making endless film versions of classics.

Unexpectedly ended up at the GREEN DAY concert in Saitama!

Green Day concert tickets

Yesterday, while I was having lunch with a friend at Acacia restaurant, Shinjuku, she told me she had two free tickets to the Green Day concert in the evening at Saitama and whether I wanted to go.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Erna reviews KINGYO

The woman (Rukino Fujisaki) whispers something to the man (Takao Kawaguchi)

I was just saying in my previous post that it's not everyday someone would bother to write a review of your short film.

I need to rephrase that.

It's not everyday that you have TWO people writing about two different short films of yours.

Here's an excerpt from Erna's KINGYO review.

An ex-colleague of mine was rather disdainful about Edmund, saying that he thought far too highly of himself.

He obviously didn’t get Edmund at all. He’s a funny soul, who is often misunderstood. If only they could see past the hilarious fascetiousness on his blog and see the sensitive soul with a gift and love for narrative.

Emil Kloeden reviews FLEETING IMAGES

[Fleeting Images] Varanasi

I was a little surprised when I was contacted by Emil Kloeden yesterday via Twitter for permission to use one of my FLEETING IMAGES screenshots for his review.

It's not everyday that someone would bother to write a review of your short film. Thanks, man. Here's an excerpt:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Visiting the ancient city of Kamakura

My friend, Kelly (she's from Taiwan), had been preparing to do a very small-scaled short film, and had enlisted Kong's help to shoot it.

She had wanted to shoot her place in a traditional Japanese house, and so her friend Anna, offered to let Kelly use her great-grandmother's house in Kamakura.

Yesterday, Kong and Kelly decided to go to Kamakura to look at Anna's house.

I decided to tag along because I've never been to Kamakura before.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reworking someone else's film

I completed the rough cut of EXHALATION last Saturday. The next step is to wait for Torigoe the Sound Guy to do the sound mixing for me, which means another trip to Toho Studios (that's where I did my post-production for KINGYO, I actually spent a night there, and even ran into Takuya Kimura). But because Maiko the Producer had been busy writing her Masters' thesis (deadline 21st of Jan), she hasn't had time to book the studio and schedule the date for the rest of the post-production work.

Left without anything to do, I was once again, stricken with post-creativity depression, or boredom, or whatever you people can think of. (it should be obvious to most long-time readers by now that I'm a bipolar workaholic)

But then on Tuesday, my friend Kong, who also had to do his Masters thesis, made an off-hand remark about getting someone else to do the re-editing for his 'experimental' film, STARDUST MEMORIES, because he had been busy, and after his thesis he probably had to work on editing his latest film, THE DEAD FOREIGNER (loosely translation, original title is Shinda gaijin) which was shot a few days before my EXHALATION, and was also produced by Maiko, shot by KINGYO cinematographer Josha and starring KINGYO actress Luchino.

Not everyone likes editing, but I do. So hearing his off-hand remark, a huge light bulb flashed above my oversized (figurative and literal) head.

"Okay! I will edit it!" I said. Anything just to give myself something to busy myself with.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Young Women in Kimono at Meiji Shrine during Seijin No Hi (Coming Of Age Day)

Today's (actually, since it's 1am while I'm writing this, it's actually yesterday) a public holiday in Japan. It's Seijin No Hi (Coming-of-Age Day). On this day, ceremonies are held at local city offices for young adults who reach the age of 20. Women go out in furisode (a style of kimono with long sleeves draped down, which is necessary, since it's winter), men occasionally go out in traditional clothes, but nowadays they usually wear suits.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

China Mobile Film Fest 2009 recap

Okay, I was thinking of writing my thoughts on AVATAR, which I saw and really enjoyed yesterday, but better to give a quick recap of the entire China Mobile Film Festival before I forget about it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ana Hachiman-gu Shrine in Waseda

I've spent a rather quiet and adventure-free New Year that was a direct contrast of the one I had last year (videos here and here).

But the New Year is a 3-day celebration in Japan, and what I like most are the shrines and temples that are set up with stalls selling food and goods during the period. And then the many people hanging around. Some would have their fortunes told, some would buy good luck charms, some were there for the food, I was traveling alone in Kobe when I ventured around in a temple, seeing the crowd made me feel a little less lonely.

Yesterday was the last day of the celebration, I slightly regret not heading off to one of the bigger shrines in Tokyo like Senso-ji or Meijijingu to snap some photos. However, I needed the rest after I finished the last 2 months of 2009 in such an exhausting manner, and also because I wanted to prepare myself for the post-production of my new film. So instead of going too far, I went to the Ana Hachiman-gu 穴八幡宮 Shrine near my place.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Celebrating a real Japanese New Year (and then running into HK actor Roger Kwok)

New Year's Eve. After finishing the EXHALATION shoot the night before, I spent the entire night transferring the footage into a computer, and then doing backup on two different external hard disks.

When everything was done. It was 5. Maiko the Producer, me and Kurihara the Production Manager (he was also the web designer for the KINGYO website) hung out at Denny's before they were able to return the rented van at 7am. I finally slept at 8:30am.

Woke up 4 hours later.

Maiko's mom had invited me over to their place to celebrate New Year with them, so at 5pm in the evening, I returned to the place that was my shooting location for the past few days (EXHALATION was shot in Maiko's hometown).

We reached at around 7pm. Just in time for the KOHAKU UTA GASSEN (RED WHITE SONG BATTLE) to start on NHK.