One of our proudest trivial facts is that we’ve managed to shoot everything so far in about a 500m radius of my home, which is the ultimate in lazy film making but very convenient. As it happens my home was in Sanlitun the “downtown” of the expats and probably the only place in Beijing that you could call a melting pot of cultures. We didn’t really set out to shoot a Sanlitun movie, but since the film deals a lot with the expat experience in Beijing, the Sanlitun area does make sense as a location, even though it came through sheer laziness. We’ve quickly caught on to this fact and are now setting ourselves up to be what Woody Allen was for Manhattan or what Francis Ford Coppola was for the Mafia (sort of). But since I’ve moved homes to the Tuanjie Hu area I’ve also moved the production. We’re now expanding and making a Tuanjie Hu movie, if I keep moving house we might even end with a Beijing movie. Being in Tuanjie Hu doesn’t really affect the 500m radius rule so much as it really only adds about 200m to it … Tuanjie Hu is right next door to Sanlitun. So, it’s still a Sanlitun movie so too speak. Our toughest shooting day was obviously the morning we went to Tiananmen Square, far out of our comfort zone and a full 12 minutes by subway, but we make sacrifices for arts sake. We have planned to shoot on The Great Wall … I’m hoping I can just make it coincide with the next time I get some visitors from abroad, because that’s a full 45 minutes drive from where we’re trying to shoot this film.
We will be having a series of mini screenings of the first 20 minutes of GEE at various locations in Beijing these coming weeks. The first screening was yesterday and I can safely say that it was a success with people enjoying what they saw and being enthusiastic about GEE. The two leads attended along with me the director. The next screening is scheduled for Sunday 26. of February and more cast and crew will be present at that screening.
Information on GEE
Taken down the three mini teasers we had before and replaced them with one “official” extended trailer for our movie GEE (formerly Gary).
Check it out here: www.filmdouglas.com/gary
Today I’m suppose to shoot with a “name” actress, an actress that is apparently suppose to make it big very soon once her TV show premieres in a months time, directed by one of the big shots of Chinese TV and she’s in the second lead. Through various friends who know friends and dealings with her agent I convinced her to act in GEE for free, until we find financing. I’ve dealt with agents before, although we don’t have them in Iceland, but I have used some small time American actors in the past. So, the actress was very into the movie and then she wasn’t, then she was and then she wasn’t … agents. Anyway, now she’s on her way to shoot my movie. BUT none of the other crew have confirmed that they’re coming to this day’s shoot. I thought the least I could do towards the actress was to make our film seem semi-pro by having hair and makeup, maybe a cameraman and some lights, the lead actor would be good also. My illusion of looking pro is fading fast and I might end up just holding my small consumer Sony camera up to the actress and kind of ask her to improvise. I don’t really need any of the crew here, I could shoot this all myself but all my build up speeches and self belief sessions with my crew were suppose to make sure they’d be here at these kind of moments. Now I’m afraid they’re abandoning me on what is suppose to be the last couple of days of the shoot. I promised them all riches after these two day’s, well not riches but a bit more recognition. People learn fast, especially movie crews … they’ve had nothing so far (except the unique opportunity to learn from a master auteur like myself) I better get the spare change out and buy some McDonald’s for them today, otherwise I might lose them for good.
photo by Jonathan (flickr)