Gary (GEE) – Introducing The Creators

I’ve introduced the crew we’ve got so far in two previous posts, now I’ll make an attempt to introduce the creators behind Gary (GEE) or whatever the movie will be called.

Carlos Ottery

Co-writer and star of Gary, acts the main part, Gary himself. Carlos got his unusual sounding name for an Englishman from hippie parents who liked some obscure Spanish poet named Carlos back in the 70’s. Carlos is an English teacher by day (two day’s a week) and a stand-up comedian by night. He’s an Irish Catholic Jew from East London (with a Latino lover’s name) … which explains a lot. He originally came to Beijing 3 years ago to make it big as a businessman but ended up teaching English on weekends … sorry, that’s Gary’s story line, well, anyway … Carlos came here 3 years ago and after living on a farm in south China he moved up to Beijing and teaches English when he’s not hung over or drunk. His dream is to become a comedian and well everybody needs dreams, it’s nice to dream and have ambitions, Carlos is an ambitious man and the lead actor in Gary (GEE). He’s a big fan of Manchester United. Here’s a link to his weekly comedy nights around Beijing : www.comedyclubchina.com

Robert Douglas

Co-writer and director of Gary, a failed genius film director who insists he used to be something but now walks the streets of Beijing trying to remember if he actually was anything … and we’re not talking “I used to be somebody in Hollywood” … more like “I used to be somebody in Iceland”. After his over the top Ingmar Bergman-esque extravagant Gay masterpiece about footballers, the critics panned him, the film has consistently stayed in the bottom regions of Rotten Tomatoes, Robert wen’t into self imposed exile in China (where they ban gay films). Robert originally came to Beijing 5 years ago to meditate and drink tea, he’s now starting to understand that it doesn’t get you places and has written two scripts about China and Gary (GEE) is the first one he’s attempting to film, he’s also got ambitions to return to Iceland and make a 3D family musical about dwarfs in the hope that they accept him back. Robert is also a big fan of Manchester United. His website: www.filmdouglas.com

Christopher Loton

Co-writer and supporting actor in Gary, Christopher is from west Australia, Perth. He’s randomly accused and thought of as a rich upper class twat by other Australians he meets here in Beijing, he explains that it has to do with his accent and that all people from Perth are stigmatized this way, we don’t believe him. He works at some dubious sales company specializing in Nuclear Reactors, it’s all very hush hush we think, or it could be that we just think it’s secretive because we’re too stupid to understand when Chris tries to explain his job to us. He’s always dressed in a suit coming from some business meeting or event when he shows up for shooting, that’s impressive enough for us to think he’s a spy. Chris is a big fan of New Order. Chris doesn’t have a website, spy’s usually don’t.

Now I’ve managed to tie all three of the principals behind Gary to Manchester, although none of them are from there it’s an interesting trivial fact that will be put up on IMDB once Gary (GEE) has it’s own page.

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Film Douglas New Look

Updated the website and made it … well cooler. More info on Gary (GEE) was also added.
www.filmdouglas.com

Lost in Translation – Introducing the Crew II

We’ve shot for the past two days and there’s been some additions to our small crew which was strange enough but has only grown stranger if anything. We added two make up artists to the one we already have in a film that doesn’t use any make up, but who are we to say no to people when they want to help out? So, now we have Shadow, Ting Ting and Ming Ming … Ting Ting and Ming Ming are a boy and a girl (well as far as we can tell), they’re both heavily into make up and could happily spend 5 hours doing make up on a person, sadly we can’t really provide that happiness for them, but they do look pro and wear those designer glasses without any actual glass in them. We’re just a bit worried about what Shadow will think once she discovers that we’ve hired two people to sit around and do nothing with her.

We’ve also hired a born again Christian as a B-Unit cameraman, he’s Belarusian. First off, we don’t need a B-Unit, we don’t even know what that is. Secondly, we hired him because his translator is super hot. Thirdly, his translator moved back to Russia and left him with us and he doesn’t speak a word of either English or Chinese. I’ll give it to him though that he’s very enthusiastic, a bit too much sometimes when he manages to draw the local authorities attention on us by directing traffic around Tiananmen square, something I wasn’t really asking for.  

Most of the times we can’t get all the crew together at the same time, so it’s pot luck who turns up at any given shooting day. Monday we had three make-up artists and two actors, so I took controls of the camera and sound. Tuesday we had two cameramen and a runner turn up, so I could concentrate on make up and costume issues. Directing? Maybe when everybody turns up at the same time, it would be nice.

Highlight of the day was undoubtedly the moment our Belarusian cameraman and our Chinese cameraman decided to have a meaningful conversation about camera equipment. Our Chinese guy speaks limited English, not much at all actually and I’ve often felt like a character in a Woody Allen movie when I’ve been discussing shots with him. The Belarusian guy speaks NO English at all. So the two of them discussing lenses, sensors and light issues … let’s just say the rest of the crew went silent in disbelief before not being able to control the laughter anymore.

But I am thankful for these bunch of misfits being so helpful and making our movie a reality, they’re all doing this without any pay and we all believe that this film is something special. So far, we’ve got:

Jason on camera from China, Grisha on camera from Belarus, Shadow doing costumes and make-up from China, Ting Ting and Ming Ming doing make-up from China, Billy the line-producer/runner/best boy from USA (or an alien planet), Lin our translator, Jonathan our casting agent and of course the actors.
All we need now is a helpful investor … well or a sound guy would also be fine.

Lost in Oblivion (or Beijing) – Introducing the Crew

GaryStreet

Gary (Gee) – A feature film by Robert Douglas.

We had a longish day of shooting yesterday. I’d finally decided to hire a pro cameraman (or that’s what I told the actors), Jason is a pro wedding photographer but has never really shot any movie, he’s helped me out with music videos before and his equipment of lenses etc is impressive, he’s also come a long way since the first music video and I think he’s actually getting more impressive as a cameraman although he’s still not sure if he’s shooting a corporate video or a feature film, he keeps asking for what business this is meant to advertise.

The day didn’t start off well as I had semi-fired the main actress, or she kind of fired herself, this being my blog my version of the story is going to be one sided, let’s just say we had conflicts when it came to the schedule and … well I wasn’t paying her anything. So I do realize that keeping hold of my two male leads is something I should be thankful for, but they’re not as demanding, a couple of beers here and there or a game of Fifa on my Xbox and they’ll do the next scene.

Although my main actor is a bit of a primadonna, complaining that if he does do more than 2 days of work per week then he needs at least a week long rest after, seeing as he teaches English twice a week then me adding a shooting day on top of that completely destroys his time-schedule, so at best he can shoot 1 day a week for me, although I admit that sometimes I push him, push him to his limits, it can be scary to see an actor push his boundaries, Christian Bale losing 50kg in The Machinist, Rene “whatshername” adding 10kg in Bridget Jones and Carlos Ottery working on a Wednesday … scary indeed, so I’m constantly in awe of what actors are capable of.

My other lead actor is practically a saint compared to the demands of Mr.Ottery, Chris Loton shows up on time and is even OK about taking long lunch breaks from his regular job of selling Semi Conductors to Nuclear Plants, to act in our movie. Although if you promise him Chicken Parmesan and they deliver a bastardized version of Chicken Kiev in Bolognese then he quickly loses any motivation for his character and becomes increasingly “difficult” to deal with. I’ve learned not to offer Chicken Parmesan on the lunch menu anymore, KFC will do from now on.

Shadow, our make-up and costumes woman didn’t show up yesterday, but she rarely does. She’s showed up twice for the film so far, first for a general meeting and then for an actual shooting day where she turned up about 3 hours late, then she usually sits herself down and starts blogging on her mobile phone. We like having her around it adds a certain dimension to the crew. She says she understands our English but rarely do we understand hers.

Billy the Kid, our runner, best boy or as he likes to say; Line Producer. He’s a man with ambitions and keeps talking about a script that he’s writing, a romantic comedy about a Texas girl working for an orphanage in Chengdu who falls in love with a local tour guide, it’s an OK idea, it’s actually Chris’s idea but now Billy can’t stop talking about it and has actually written a script and believes it to be his idea, I think Chris was just sort of muttering ideas to the beer glass when Billy picked up on this … Billy also wears a radiation suit and a anti-cosmic ray bandana, this is no joke, he’s also a guy who has two compasses on him at all times and believes that reading is bad for you, so audio books is a necessary evil to get wisdom from and Catcher in the Rye was the last book he listened to. He does do the runner job very well though.

At the end of the day though, if you’re crew doesn’t offer you the potential of interesting stories or situations then maybe you don’t really have a real film crew. We’re looking to add to our crew, the more the merrier.

Pizza, Beer and Rice / GEE

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Beer Trailer for Gary (Gee) – Gary get’s schooled in how to drink beer in China.

Pizza Trailer for Gary (Gee) – Ethnic nan bread or just plain pizza?

Rice Trailer for Gary (Gee) – Using chopsticks to eat rice isn’t for everyone.

 

More information on the project here: www.filmdouglas.com/Gary

Oh well…

Chinainternet

This is what my website looks like in China, www.filmdouglas.com

That’s suppose to be my show-reel embedded from vimeo, but as vimeo is blocked it comes up like this. The 8 social (information) sites I offer to readers can not be accessed, not even imdb, they all result in a “webpage not available” message. The only link on my front page that Chinese users can click on is the little Chinese flag which takes them to a youku player of my show-reel and a link to weibo, youku is a copy of youtube and weibo is a copy of twitter. I don’t think any of these sites are blocked for sensitive issues, I think they’re just competition that is kept out so that weibo, youku can own the market. But what’s the deal with imdb? It might surprise you to know that wikipedia is not blocked in China … but imdb is. And how did I manage to post this on blogger? Well, VPN’s are relatively good business here.

Gary (Gee) begins

MovieGary

I’ve uploaded 3 teasers to vimeo.com of a feature length ultra low budget movie that I’m working on these days. The plan is to obviously get some investors and make it closer to a low budget movie (rather than ultra low). The film is shot within a 500m ratio of my home in Beijing, the Sanlitun district. A melting pot of expat embassy workers, losers and local Beijingers.

Here are the three teaser examples (2 view-able in China via youku):

www.filmdouglas.com/gary

Gary has arrived in Beijing to make it big and become a multi-millionaire, after failing to impress his Chinese investors he soon takes up English teaching and life lessons from Frank, an incompetent mentor, who vows to show him “the real China.”. Gary’s real reasons for staying in Beijing become apparent when his son and Chinese ex-wife enter the picture.   Can Gary outsmart the city of cynics and repair his relationship with his family? Or will he have to fly home in disgrace as Frank predicted all along?

Shot in a documentary style, Gary is a comedy celebrating Beijing and it’s people, both ex-pat and locals.