Sunday, April 30, 2006

shake your coconuts

Poolside shoot - and even though the weather now in the afternoon is cooler, it was hot as hell at the site this morning. The beautiful cool water beckoned to those of us who thought it would be nice to be out in the sun. The reality is, the heat got the best of us, and before we had started shoot, we were sweating like the metaphoricals.

Here's how you make a tiny kid's pool and a small sunbathing area look like a place in Miami or Mauritius - a crane shot.

First, you lay down track, which are those smooth metal rods you see on the floor. Then you lift a dolly on to it - the big heavy thing with wheels on it. This allows you to smoothly roll up and down the track.

Now, why would you do that? Well, it would only be for fun unless you were mounting your Arriflex on the dolly. The Arriflex is kind of the standard in film cameras, though not the only one.

With the camera mounted, you can then track up and down the tracks to create a smooth left-to-right sensation in your visual image.

But we have up-and-down too! and that is why before we mount the camera on the dolly, we put a crane on it, the long thing, sometimes referred to as the jib arm or jib. Don't know why.

And as you can see, there is space for the camera guy to sit. His name is Helmi and he is the Director of Photography.

As you probably realise, because it's supposed to look like somewhere like Miami or Mauritius, we need extras in bikinis. You might think our crew are having a field day surrounded by such leggy beauties. But trust me, they are all courteous, professional guys who simply have an eye for healthy youth and beautiful lines (and I couldn't agree more with them).

Sorry to say, I didn't get a picture of Stephen, whose flashback scene this is (where we find out how Dick Johnson's life was back when he was with his wife). But pics will come in shortly.

I omitted to mention yesterday that we had the prodigious talents of Rashid Salleh and Douglas Lim on set, who spent most of their free time trying to beat a computer at a football match. No, it wasn't playstation, it was a computer game where they guessed the performance of their players, bet on scores and on and on, then sat back and watched the possible scenario play out. I mean, how un-macho a game can that be? Still, they were mostly excited whenever they came close to beating their microchip.

More to come...

Ass Prod

Before it all goes horribly wrong...

...make sure you have nice people like the guys at the Parkroyal to take care of you. Yes, that was the location of our shoot today, up on the sixth floor where the Parkroyal Grill opens out to a gorgeous verandah overlooking the city and surrounded by high-rises.

During the shoot a sudden gust of wind lifted a piece of camera equipment and took it over the edge. It landed miraculously on the fabulous feature awning/entry roof at the front of the hotel. Unfortunately it being made of glass, it cracked.

Let me assure you all that every precaution was taken with safety, it's just that we didn't foresee that winds could actually lift the equipment up and over the edge!

But with the kind and courteous staff on hand at the Parkroyal, the matter was soon settled, and we are very grateful to Ravin the Duty Manager and his staff.

So, those of you who guessed Sungei Wang, oh, so close. The other clue was about the garden bit - park, garden - you get the picture.

Today we had Khir Rahman begin his first day of shoot along with Stephen. Khir's character is Amran, who plays the Malaysian equivalent to Stephen's Dick Johnson (does that sound weird?)

Funny fact: Both Khir and Stephen starred as the lead male singers in large-scale musical productions in the first few months of 2006. Who'd've thunk they'd be each other's foils in this movie? (Brilliant casting if you ask me)

More tomorrow on the movie's goings-on.

Ass Prod

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Show us your Johnson

Time to introduce another character, Dick Johnson.

Stephen Hughes, who will be playing the role of Dick, just flew in this evening from the UK and is starting tomorrow in a restaurant scene, which also includes cameos by Douglas Lim and Rashid Salleh.

Of course, we all remember Stephen from Puteri Gunung Ledang, and welcome him back to Malaysia for what we think will be THE best film made for local distribution!

Guess the location time!

Where the river flows through
Not of water, nor of wine
Gold and silver, not for you
Nor for me for all of time

That is where we shoot today
A place where strangers come to stay
It's not a garden, though you might say
The name suggests that that's the way

Where will we shoot today?

Answer tomorrow.

Before we go, the answer to the last guess the location was "loo". We were shooting a scene in the toilet at one of the public toilets in the Mall.

Ass Prod

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Quote of the Day!

This quote is from the first day of shoot at the coli shop. Our First Assistant Director, O, was calling for the next shot, describing what shot they were taking.

"Nenen in slow-motion."


Ass Prod

behind the scenes at the bra shop

These were taken at the bra shop 3 days ago, where curious onlookers would stop to watch Edwin Sumun play a bra shop owner in dire straits.

The Director Afdlin Shauki, Second Assistant Director Shima and Actor Adlin Aman Ramlie debate the finer points of relaxing in front of a tv monitor in a public place. Behind the Director is Asraff, our Art Director.

Not only is he bald and beautiful, he can be copper-coiffed, glitter-stylo and peer like a turtle at you from behind those seductive glasses... By the way, he will be in Vision Works' next run of Actorlympics in the first week of June 2006.

Here, Edwin prepares for a take, with the Director of Photography Helmi in the chair behind the camera. Surrounding him are the essential, well-oiled team called the tech crew.

Once a can of film is exposed, it needs to be taken out of the camera and loaded into a can in complete darkness. If the film gets exposed to any light at all, the image on the film would be double-exposed. If we were to develop it, it would probably look like a flash or go very pale from the extra light. So this is our Film Loader, seen here loading film in a light-proof bag. If you have ever seen "Loader" in the credit titles, and wondered what it meant, now you know.

SO if you see a guy putting his hands into a bag and fiddling for about 2 minutes while he unrolls the film from one reel to another, then puts it safely into a can before sealing it tight to make sure no light creeps in through holes... he ain't fiddling, he's got hot property in his hands.

Some of our crew, Make Up and Wardrobe girls Shada and Aida on the left and our Third Assistant Director Shifa on the Right. The job can't be done without any of these crucial personnel!

And what good is a Production Assistant who isn't having fun? Smiles all round make a better day! And with a smile like Faiz's nothing can go wrong.

Thanks to the great shop owner and staff for letting us use their premises and being so patient. If you like what you see in the shop, head on down to the Mall to check it all out.

from bumps to dumps

Guess where they are today?

(Note: you've already been given a big hint. Also Note that the answer is not the actual KL location where they are shooting, but the location within the story)

Los dan Faun cari rezeki
Terjumpa tuan kedai coli
Tuan kedai masa tu tertekan
Rasanya perut macam digoncang

Los dan Faun dipaksa kerja
Dipaksa puji si Datin Tetek
Tuan kedai terkejut pabila
Dompet hilang, kosongnya poket

Tuan coli merayu, mengaung,
Mananya dompet yang aku rindu?
Tiba-tiba Faun mengfinding
The dompet was there on the floor in the ___

Where are Los and Faun today?

Ass Prod

Four Days at the Coli Shop

Today will be Day 3 at the Coli Shop, situated in the heart of KL, where Los and Faun come upon an interesting character and discover their purpose in life!!

We had a guest performer, Edwin Sumun, on set, and he rocked! He plays the coli shop owner with a pressing plumbing problem, if you know what I mean...

So far, the only hiccup in our production was on Sunday when it rained in Sungai Penchala in the morning. They decided to skip the morning shoot and go to the afternoon shoot in town near Dewan Bahasa, at an apartment for which our Production Manager had secured permission. Problem was, the guy who gave the permission omitted to say he had no authority whatsoever.

So when the crew arrived there, they couldn't go in, then some manager came round and said we couldn't shoot, even though we had written permission.

I tell you, if I were the PM, I would have cried and crawled into a hole. Or maybe want to attack somebody. Anyway, that whole day was a write-off and now, we are owing a day's shoot. The decision has been made to ganti with our break day, but still, everyone was on set for at least a half day - not much of a break, is it?

Other than that little setback, we are on track with our other daily shoots.

Day before yesterday we watched the rushes from Malacca and the first few days of KL - and they were brilliant!! I already spotted a few bloopers which would be great to have for a future making of programme.

Kudos to the crew, cast and directro's team for their fantastic effort and attitudes.

Next blog - photos.

Ass Prod

Thursday, April 20, 2006

To Market, To Market

A lovely photo of our main protagonists. Have a good look at those studly dudes!

Although the daylight is almost gone now, I thought a little hint about the whereabouts of the crew and cast would be a bit of a teaser.

Los and Faun come into town
The first time in the city
Los and Faun look around and frown
Their destination gritty

People, livestock, ice creams, havoc
Seems like a market, which comes as a shock
When they realise the name of the place they have docked
Is of that and of people, and all in one block

Where are they shooting?

PS. Yesterday's answer was the Vision Works office. Creato is our nickname for the little voodoo man on our logo. Please let meknow if the hints are way too cryptic?

Ass Prod

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Today Begins the Mud Junction Shoot

A little clue on where they will be today...

There once was a man called Creato
Who was thin but his genius fatso
He became a logo
Now he sits on the door
And scares little kids as they go

Probably a little too cryptic, but enough to keep you guessing, huh?

Ass Prod

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cutting Our Teeth in Celluloid

This is a little production diary about our venture into film producing. Director Afdlin Shauki is helming the project, a film called "Los Dan Faun" and this will be Vision Works' first foray into producing our own film.

I am Ass Prod, the rather beguiling shorthand for Assistant Producer. Basically, since Afdlin is the Producer for the movie, I assist him as best I can. As you can see, there are other contributors, including Dir, short for Director, but as they will be hands-on with production for the next 4 or 5 weeks, their contributions will depend on how well (or badly) everything is going.

A little about the film:

Los (Carlos Rodrigo, played by Hans Isaac) and Faun (Mohd Faun, played by Adlin Aman Ramlie) are two childhood friends who come to KL in search of a living. Los, never lost for words, is smooth, business-minded and always ready to seize the opportunity. Faun, an observant savaunt, just can't seem to find the social graces required to get by in life, though his genius more than makes up for his lack of social skills.

Los suddenly realises that Faun has incredible powers of obervation and is blessed with an uncanny ability to find misplaced object. Always seeing the potential in everything, Los creates a business around Faun's powers and together they become the talk of the town, finding lost items for the distracted.

One day they get a call from filthy rich and recently widowed Jasmine (played by Erra Fazira), who is desperate to locate the whereabouts of her dead husband's extremely valuable and now extremely lost watch, which he was wearing the day he died, but was not on his person when found dead.

Los and Faun go visit Jasmin, where Faun loses all his capabilities as he sets eyes on the beautiful widow. At the same time, the insurance agent from Sotheby's where the watch was bought, has come to Malaysia to investigate the claim. Miami-vice inspired Dick Johnson (played by Stepehn Rahman-Hughes of Hang Tuah fame) is accompanied by his very quiet and observant Malaysian counterpart Amran (as of now, I am uncertain who has been cast, but will update you asap).

As the boys attempt to find answers with the debilitating lack of Faun's abilities, more and more things are not as they seem.

So that's a little aboout the story, what about the production itself?

Well, we began our first day of shoot yesterday in Malacca, which went pretty well except for bad weather which forced the postponement of two scenes to be shot this morning instead. Word from our assistant production manager is that today's shoot is on time and on track.

So if you're in Malacca you might stumble across the production crew!

Ass Prod