Winter Vacation - Day Eight

Up at eight this morning, because it's Big Momma's annual bruch at ten, and we had to be ready. On the premise of getting some olive oil that my mom needed, I grabbed the car and headed out for some last minute video shoot supply shopping. I got some reflectors at AutoZone, and a pair of work light stands at Home Depot for a grand total of 2000 watts of pure lighting power. I asked repeatedly if the olive oil was all that my mom needed, but I still ended up getting two, count them two, phone calls for additional items. That was fortunate, since it bought me time to get my shopping done.

Back at the house people were starting to filter in. All the family was there: John, MB, Mattichenzo, Olivia, and Sohpia; Gregg, Cindy, and Dominic; grandma and grandpa; Jeremy and Molly; Gordy, Jen, Caleb, and Aiden; Carl and Erin; and Micah, JAG, Angie, and myself, of course. Big breakfast, lots of family.

In the middle of it all, I had some inspiration for the script of the film within a film in the Chinese Movie. I headed off to type it up, and did a reading for the relatives. This is some heavily metaphorical crap, I know you guys will love it. I got to work translating it into Cantonese using my trusty Langenscheidt Chinese-English/English-Chinese dictionary. This is hard work, and I realized that I am, in reality, the subject of my own film. I'm not getting much help from Jeremy (c'mon, Jer, deny it!), and everything that is playing out is so self-referential, it's scary.

In the middle of brunch, with all four members of TMINM present, we broke for the basement for a practice session. We went through the entire AS220 setlist, and Carl really impressed me with his progress on bass. He picked up the songs with ease, even though he probbaly hasn't heard them in years, and I credit it more to his pure refined skill in playing the bass than any recolection of these songs. He was coming up with parts even better than before. Micah was rocking our socks off. Jeremy was finally amped up (Green Bullet to distortion pedal to guitar amp) and screaming his lungs out. What we need to work on now taking back down a notch, so the subtlety of the songs can show through. We got a few noise complaints, and wrapped it up earlier than we would have liked.

I haven't really talked about our practice space. It was the unfinished basement storage space. The room is maybe ten by ten, and out cleanup consisted of stacking and pushing the clutter out to the fringes, so there is actually much less usable floor space. We're basically on top of each other. In one corner is the furnace that heats the house. It's hot in there, and noisy, but we're getting by.

Around 1:00pm, I started getting antsy, anticipating the 2:00pm start time of the Random Kate video shoot. I was getting gear together, pacing, and generally hoping I wasn't forgetting something important. I pulled Micah and JAG off a game of Risk and woke Angie up from a nap and we headed for Dean College to check in and get set up.

We went to the public safety office as instructed, but they hadn't heard about what was going on. It turns out the paperwork was in their log book (they said the paperwork was incomplete, not sure how so) and they let us in the first location. I made the mistake (I'm not sure when) of referring to the personnel as "security guards." Big mistake. It turns out they are real police officers, and all that that entails, and I was real sorry to have insulted them. Fortunately, they overlooked that and continued to cooperate. On that note, I was surprised they were as cooperative as they were. They unlocked doors and headed back to the office, no questions asked, and no supervision, which would have really thrown me off.

Our first location was the Memorial Hall Trophy Room. This was to be the location of the performance shots in the video. The RK guys loaded their stuff in and we started to set up before a lot of people showed up, but the band wasn't too hot on this location. Things seemed like they were really stalling. I had been keyed up from the moment I got there, but once we got there it was another level of chaos and fulster.

While we were waiting for the classroom location in Ray Hall to be unlocked, we shot some of the narrative parts of the video, starring Jason G. (I'm not going to attempt to spell his last name). Background on the narrative. The song is about being uncool in school. The character is as uncool as they come. He's got big glasses, dorky clothes, a belt buckle, is wearing bowling alley rental shoes, and carrying a lunch packed by mom. After mom drops him off, a bully knocks his books out of his hands and steals his lunch. When he walks into school, every stops and stares and him with disgusted looks. He gets picked on be everyone. A girl pushes him down a staircase (this was painful even for me to shoot), and other bullies take off his glasses and crush them.

The band set up in the classroom, and everyone moved over there. By everyone I mean the 15-20 extras that showed up. It was a good turnout, just enough for what we needed to do. In a frenzy, we rearranged all the desk, set up the band, got everyone in place and figured out how we were going to do this now that our primary location had been scratched. We came up with different setups for each part of the song. The boombox wasn't very loud and it was tough for the band to follow along. They forgot their PA system, so the vocals couldn't be amped up. Everyone played with their amps off, except the drums of course, which were very loud. This turned out to be a strange and annoying way to tape the performance shots. Just ringing drums the whole time. However, I have the vision of the final product, and I'm sure it'll be great. We ran through the songs a bunch of times on each setup, getting wide shots and close-ups of each band member in turn.

The whole thing was very exhausting, the extras were burned out, and we still hadn't finished all of the narrative shots. We had the band play a few songs, but the lack of PA for the vocals was a problem. We promised everyone pizza if they stuck around to finish the last shots, and even sent everyone but the two band members that needed to shoot in the third location on to the restaurant to order. We got those shots and headed over... to the wrong pizza place. Back across town, we finally got a chance to chill out. I don't think I'm fully chill yet, however. Making music videos can seriously suck, for the crew and for the extras. In the end, it'll be worth it, though.

My crew, Angie, Micah, and JAG, were just amazing. They dealt with my ordered chaos, and basically did grunt work for five hours, cleaning this, setting this up, loading and unloading. They went above and beyond, and left every location spotless and the same as it was when we arrived, which is a miracle for the crowd we had and the rearranging we did. I got the album masters from Ben and Gabe. I'll have a few weeks while those are mastered to edit the video, before we send off this Enhanced CD to manufacturing.

Back at BMH, we watched Notting Hill, and I translated into Chinese for the duration of the movie. Translation is a pain, because the dictionary only helps you without words, not grammer and syntax. I'm sure our film within a film will be quite amusing to Chinese-speaking people.

As you might have noticed, script writing was the only progress made today on the Chinese Movie, which leaves only tomorrow to get everything else we need. We have Carl coming early to practice, leaving for practice with his other band, and coming back very late tomorrow night to shoot the final scenes, in the laudromat. It's do or die time.

Which brings me to my final thought. I'm going to shoot Jeremy's side of the casting call scene, and Carl's reading, but I'm going to leave it open on the other end to give an opportunity to get Brock and Gabe (and Alex, if he's game) in the film as would-be Chinese film stars, if they are willing. Guys, help me out!


Brock said...

Dude, I will so be a wanna-be Chinese star. That'd be great.

Side note: I always thought rental bowling shoes were cool. But that only proves how uncool I am. I still think they're snappy, even though I know they're probably quite nerdy.

Gabe said...

计数我! Translation (I think) - Count me in!

Brock said...

Nice. Gabe's already in character.

Joshua Provost said...

Awesome, you guys are great. It'll be a tricky scene, getting the location to match in Mass and AZ, but we'll make it work.

Jeremy said...

Don't let them confuse you. They are NOT real police officers. They basically have no power, no weapons, no authority. Yes, they probably are a step above security guards, but they are NOT police officers.

As H.I. McDunnough says in Raising Arizona: "Well, Honey, there's what's right and there's what's right and never the t'wain shall meet."