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Shooting Day 9 -- Stardate: How can one try to be funny and informative when one is so damn tired.....(actual shooting day Friday. Feb. 18th 2005)

Hello again true believers ! Or the one person who is actually reading these directors logs BESIDES me.... how the heck are you guys??! Well, as you can guess myself and everyone involved this weekend is stupid tired, I mean, crrazzy tired. We're talking, really really tired....but I digress.

It was all worth it - every sleepless, hectic second, worth it just for the sheer coolness factor of what has recently transpired, thanks to the extreme hard work of a few people I like to call, um, good people...

We met up with Ninja Eric Jacobus and Ninja Andy Lueng at where else, the dojo (see them in the movie Under Cut, directed by the talented Stephen Reedy - it kicks ass). Andy and Eric would be in our scene tonight as well as Keith and Gary. It was going to be a tough scene to shoot, cause not only was it raining, (which meant that in order to make it match later, we would have to produce FAKE rain...ugh, HUGE headache) but there was going to be a lot of coverage (shots) with dialogue and character development....OH and a bad ass fight scene.

I wasn't very aware of exactly how utterly cool it would be until I saw Eric and Andy move in person, but we will get to that later....

So we all make our way in separate vehicles from the dojo to a seedy part of Oakland California. Can't have Oakland, with out the seedy....so it worked....cause we would have to match it up later for the seedi-er downtown Los Angeles...

Today on the crew there are about 14 of us, which is more than we've had at once... ever..... Val doesn't have to be Lara tonight, so she is snapping more pictures than a snapping turtle with a bad case of the munchies.....our prop guy (also actor, but in a different scene) Mike stepped up to be our first A.D. (assistant director, which some of you may be asking what exactly it is a first A.D. does, readers digest version: he or she keeps the director from going crazy and actually concentrate on directing - weird concept I know).

So we all show up (it stopped raining, thank the film gods) and Gary (who plays Rob) and Keith (who plays the leader Frank) and Eric (who plays the Rookie of the gang) all get into their first positions in the car.... I'm trying to light the scene using what street lights we have (which are two motion sensor lights and street lamps) and two flashlights for subtle fill lighting on both sides of the passenger door and the drivers side. Everyone is rehearsing the lines, with the rest of the crew across the street when a COP car drives by. The cop, seeing that there are a bunch of people on one side of the street standing around, and me with a camera shooting into the front of a truck on the other side of the street, sensed, as cops do, that something seemed out of place in the city of Oakland and began to slow down....

Crap.

Mega Crapo.

Well, nothing to do but keep filming, screw it.....

Not quite sure what to make of it, he drove off.....

Whew....close one.

So we continue to shoot the scene, EVERYBODY knocked it home, very solid performances from ALL the bad ass guys....

Finally it was time for more of the same magic, but this time, the magic would be in the badness of Eric and Andy, kicking major butt !! Each others !!!

At this time, the crew was very much alive and all of them formed a line across the street, mouths gaping at exactly how fast and how amazing Eric and Andy moved fighting each other. Imagine the baddest Ninjas of all time, now imagine them like super rad !!! Now imagine them super rad, baddest of all time, so freakin' sweet it makes YOU melt and imagine them dancing. Cause this was like watching a ballet, martial arts style... I always said I wanted Ninjas in my film. Ninjas have been a huge inside joke with us for awhile on past movies, and now, I got some.

You remember Mortal Kombat 1 where Liu Kang does that radical kick with one foot off the wall and he kicks dude in the head with the same foot he launched off the wall with....

Eric does that.....

And he hits ANDY

and it is sweet....

We shot fast, I thought I was a pretty fast filmmaker, getting good setups and what not, but these guys are mega fast, soon we all had our own dance, as they began to make it up on the spot and fight, I moved with them, lying on the ground to get shots, staying really close to the action on other shots and even climbing on top of two story metal trailer crates to get our "crane shot."

I mean these two guys were very used to doing this, it's their lives, and I felt like a melding of worlds was taking place, I had to very much let them do their own thing and try to meld my style of filmmaking to match their style of fighting...I even asked Stephen some advice and we both pondered for a while angles and what not on how to start shooting this thing....

During fighting Eric even gave me ideas on where to get the best shot for a particular kick or move they would do, or to push in on certain shots for something and I was all for it because they knew best how to make themselves look good and I was all about making them look good....

A hectic and intense two hours later we wrapped....everyone was reeling from it all, all of us on a euphoria of creative highs....We packed up the guns, and Eric and Andy changed in their trailers (Eric's Van) and we were going to go to Denny's to celebrate...when it happened.

A cop showed up. Had we been shooting any later, he would've busted us.

He started to ask me questions, which I answered, we were filming a movie for Wonder-Con (not a TOTAL lie) and no one was really fighting each other it was core graphed, and that we had permission to film here from the owner of the warehouse, ect.

"oh." replied the cop and called into the walkie talkie that he was at the scene.

BAM !

4 cop cars pulled in, including a PADDY WAGON ! (the van they haul people to jail in, since there were so many of us, I guess they needed all the cars they could get....ha ha ha !)

But the cop told them it was all cool....nothing bad was happening.....

Then, true Ninja's that they were, Eric and Andy karate posed in front of the cop cars while we snapped some pictures !!

Hahahahahahah, it's funny.

Tired, hungry, but very happy, we ended that night with food, and good times...Val and I thinking that we came up here for the whole weekend to shoot and got the whole scene done in two hours....little did we know what big surprise waited for us the NEXT night.....

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