Rooftop

2005-08-14 - 12:06 | Uncategorized |

The day before we were going to shoot the rest of the rooftop chase, a strong tropical storm was battering the island with stronger winds than we’d seen during the past two typhoons. Trees were blown down downstairs, even. So I put everyone on standby for Saturday, since that was the only day Sandy would be off work, and hoped the weather would cooperate.

I woke up at 6am Saturday morning to the sound of heavy wind and rain. I thought surely I’d have to call the shoot off, but I told everyone I’d call them around 8.

At 8, I opened the blinds in my living room to see a dry, calm morning. Were we in a lull? I checked the cwb satellite and saw that Taiwan was still inside the storm’s sphere of influence. But it looked so peaceful outside! I didn’t want to have to call everyone out and then wait around for the rain to stop, but I also didn’t want to waste an opportunity to shoot the rest of the scene before we begin work on Josh’s scenes.

I decided to risk it, and told everyone to meet up at Gongguan MRT at 11, which we did. The weather was overcast, but it held, and there was even a cool breeze. We trudged back to Treasure Hill to a rooftop I’d picked out on a previous visit, and we began filming a standoff between Maurice and Sandy. Maurice, pictured above, looked particularly menacing with his gun. During a shot where Sandy was to run to the edge of the building and shoot down, he surprised a group of photographers and models on a shoot. I then climbed down into the gap between two buildings and filmed them jumping from one to the other.

Dean, who had had a late night on Friday, showed up with some fake blood I’d forgotten the last time, as well as sandwiches, which were quite welcome at that point. We all grabbed some food and munched down while watching the models lean against moldy walls for the photographers.

After lunch we went down to where I’d planned to shoot the opposing view of earlier footage, only to find the area we were hoping to film in was now a freshly planted garden. So I had to find an alternative location, which turned out to involve a lot of walking gingerly across wobbly plastic rooftop coverings, hoping they wouldn’t collapse. After we got set up and the old guy in his underwear moved out of shot, we started filming again, except when Sandy got a phone call. Paul and Darrell strung audio mic wire across the roof so we could get sound, as I was pretty far away, perched on the rather alarmingly unstable roof of the adjacent building, where I could get some nice depth of field.

After that scene was done, we concentrated on getting chase shots of Maurice and Sandy in a cat-and-mouse chase some of the more interesting alleys and abandoned buildings at Treasure Hill. One time we wanted to film them running past two old guys in their underwear who were sitting out in front of their house chatting, but they didn’t want to be filmed. I suppose they’ve all had their fair share and more of publicity over the years, and not all of it good. I was chasing Maurice with the camera when he nearly frightened an old lady half to death as she was walking up the hill the other way.

At one point I was setting up a chase shot when my NT$125,000 camera fell off the tripod and plummeted towards the ground, lens first. I reached out and plucked it from the air by the handle as everyone watched, shocked at what was transpiring. Maurice later said it looked as if I simply refused to let the camera fall, out of sheer will rather than any kind of skill. Perhaps it was like that time in junior high school when I caught a spinning stick thrown at my face. In any case, I’m glad I don’t have to replace the camera.

Darrell noted that some of us were looking a bit sunburned, most notably Sandy, who had shaved his head nearly bald, even though there was no sun. Apparently the sun is pretty fierce even through cloud cover. But now storm clouds were heading our way. The light was failing, so I stepped up the pace, ordering everyone around like a drill sergeant and probably pissing people off, but I really wanted to get everything done. When things get like this on the set, say I’ve got the scene in my head the way I want it and get irritated by distractions and delays, I become El Director. I’m not a very nice person to begin with. You really wouldn’t like me when I’m irritated, Mr. McGee.

In the end, we got just about everything, including a new and improved death scene for Azuma, even though I went and forgot to bring a couple of key props, and the fake blood didn’t quite work. Sandy was as red as a clam, and everyone was pretty much exhausted, though we all admitted that this weekend was easier than the last, in that there was much fewer awful smells involved. Sandy and I caught a cab back to Bitan for band rehearsal, and we all headed our separate ways.

Next up is going to be, literally, a walk in the park. I just need to match the footage Dean obtained in Washington, DC, with a local park. And we need to find out if Dolly’s available. A crane would be nice too. Well, I can always hope.


Comments

Comment from Sandy
Time: 2005-08-15 - 04:55

I have blisters on my fecking scalp.

Comment from TC
Time: 2005-08-15 - 05:01

Sorry about that. I had no idea we were getting so much sun through the clouds.

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