Japanese Karate Film Production
10-21-00 - Street side karate scene

Today we shot what was happening outside the coffees hop window while John lost interest with Tammy, the expensive computer date. (See August 5, 2000 - Tammy Twotone & Deirdre the money woman.) While Tammy was droning on inside the coffee shop, John watches a skuffle unfold out on the sidewalk accross the street. We see Tony, (an Aiki Ju-jutsu expert) dump an assailant on his ass.

My biggest concern will be getting these two sequences to appear that they are happening concurrently. We shot Deirdre Williams inside the coffee shop back in August, we are now filming what's supposed to be out in the street in October. I needed something that wasn't on a busy street but looked like it could be a real street. I found this parking lot outside an elementary school which had a sidewalk next to their building with enough room across the location to shoot the scene in telephoto. (I wanted it to appear as if John was watching this way in the distance.) In the original footage with Deirdre, you can't see much of the background behind her because she was blocking most of it (intentional) and it was completely over exposed (because of the summer sunlight outside the coffee shop).

I shot the sequence at a normal aperture setting, but I'm hoping that once I transfer it, I can give it an over-exposed look in After Effects. The other thing I'm hoping will "sell" the shot will be interior sound that will over ride the exterior sound. (Which you normally wouldn't hear at that distance anyways. I'm hoping the sequence will play something like the shot in Stanley Kubricks 2001, where after Hal attacks Dr. Frank Pool with the pod, you see the action, but you only hear what's inside the spaceship.)

Tony, the Aiki Ju-jutsu expert, was played by Tony Annesi, a real-life honest to God karate expert. I've been taking lessons from him on and off for about 12 years. During this time, I've been videotaping and editing almost all of his seminars. I managed to get a lifetime membership at his school by doing these, so even though I haven't attained the rank of black belt, (which I should've long ago) I figure I've still got a couple of more decades before Tony croaks of old age to get my act together. Tony's school is called Bushido-Kai in Framingham, MA. I can't even start to describe the wisdom that is taught at his school.

The thug that attacked Tony was Tom De Lucia, a black belt student at Tony's school of many years. The irony here is that Tom is the nicest guy in real life, and here we made him be the heavy (and he also knew how to take a fall). The rest of the people who filled out our street scene were students from Tony's Saturday class.

I wanted to present a karate sequence which didn't fit the normal mold of a 'regular' movie karate moment, where the good guy does a flashy technique, clobbers the guy, revels in the moment then leaves. I wanted to show that if you indeed smacked a person in self-defense, you would have to deal with the consequences of his injury, not just do a Rocky Balboa howl and zoom off. Especially in the scenario in which we portray Tony getting into an argument with a motorist, the motorist loses control and Tony has to defend himself. Tony couldn't just drive away, he would still need to get this person drivers license, etc.

The crew

Eric & camera LS

The pooch

Tony & Tom


10-22-00 - Shelly & Earl (the transmission mechanics)

Today we filmed the end result of Geoff's all the 'perfect women for John in America' list. We needed a car repair shop to film this sequence and I'm grateful that Steve Peluso offered me his. I met Steve when I was working at Dedham cable, doing local origination shit with John Horrigan. He had a program that he did on car repair, and he always was into the foolishness that our gang came up with. I called the guy up 9 years later and said, "remember me?" I asked him if I could film at his place, his reply was, "can I be in it?" Done. Steve is the guy who takes the repair list from the cute girl behind the counter.

OK, you've probably been wondering.."gee, if Eric has been playing the big shot director in all this, which woman in the cast did Eric have the hots for?" Here's the fact: I slept with Shelly the mechanic.

The whole joke of this scene is that Geoff's perfect match ends up being the most undesirable woman for John. (Geoff's list for John had an error.) I immediately thought of "Granny" in the Beverly Hillbillies Show. I needed someone who could do a perfect southern accent and wanted to look hideous on screen. My girlfriend, Therese Chase pointed out that she had "genuine Rednecks in her family, her pappys uncle lived out in the sticks, raised coon-hounds and ate road kill for supper." The irony here is in real life, she's an extremely well read librarian who got a scholarship to Wellesly College.

The scene required a menacing guy to play Earl, Shelly's brother. Therse had a brother, Matt Branton, who I thought could fit the part, so he took the role with much enthusiasm. Matt had way too much fun filming his part, almost as if there was some secret desire to "live" his role for a few says more. It seems once you start with that dumb, southern hick voice, you can't stop. (Sorta like Phil and his bad Chinese accent.) I liked that fact that they WERE brother and sister, and they would actually look related.

We also needed a cute girl to be in the office when John and Geoff arrive. Therese had a daughter, Sinead Casey, who wanted to be in the movie too. Initially I was going to use her as a "bar slut" in the nightclub scene, but thought it would be cool to have the entire transmission shop a real-life family business. When I initially told Sinead that I would use her in the movie, this was back in March sometime. Since then, she had become pregnant with her fiance Dan Medeiros. As she got larger as the shooting day came nearer, I figured I'd might as well work that into the story. In her scene, we filmed Sinead in profile talking to Steve Peluso, so that hopefully her pregnancy will read on film. I haven't gotten the footage back, so I guess we'll see if that will be obvious. (I filmed John and Geoff reacting to her tummy and one without.)

The only technical wrinkle I can think of for this day was when we were filming inside the garage. I was shooting with 100 asa film stock. (the original stuff that I got with my camera) By the time we started filming inside the garage, we lost a lot of our light coming through the garage doors. I had full blue on some Arri 1K's, but I couldn't get enough light to read on the meter. (You lose two stops when you use an 85B filter to correct for outdoor light.) I pulled the full blue off the lights and the 85b filter off the lens. I'm hoping that when the transfer house corrects for the color of the light, the background won't be completely blue. (Not to mention that the garage was normally lit by Sodium lights, which we left on just to give us something extra.) Normally one would rent some HMI lights to use as fill. (HMI lights match 5600k, or outdoor light.) Eh...so we got funny colored backgrounds..so shoot me.


Matt, Therese & John

Way over THERE!

John & Geoff

Matt as Earl

LS out back

Shelly & Earl

Sinead inside

Therese as Shelly


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