Fools by Martin Walker

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Craziness and Magic, Pt. II

The Retirement Home Throwdown, Day 2:  On Sunday we arrive at the retirement in Woodland Hills.  Lisa and I tried to arrive earlier than the call time of 8am to set up first, but once we got there, the rest of the crew quickly arrived.   Takayo Fischer, who plays Grandma, also arrived early.  She brought a wig in order to make herself look older.  Emily and Shireen arrived shortly thereafter.  

Lucy called and said that she knew someone who has the adaptor that can read the P2 cards, but this woman lives in Marina del Rey.  So after she dropped off the walkies, she drove all the way back to Marina del Rey to pick up the adaptor.  Day 2 and we were in the same stressful and entirely desperate position of figuring out how to download our footage.  Luckily, we had a number of extra P2 cards.  

So we set up production central in one of the rooms in the retirement home, next to the reception area, where we plan to shoot later on.  Shortly thereafter, the residents start to drop by and asked about the shoot and when they could stop by to be the extras.  I find out that at least 12 women had signed up to be extras.  Yay!  I tried to recruit one of the women for a speaking role and she immediately agreed.  Double yay!  I asked Lisa to help her rehearse the lines, because at this point I needed to leave to shoot the first scene of the day:  the confrontation between Jenny, Ma and Grandma.  

The scene among Ma, Grandma and Jenny is a very special scene for me.  To me, it represents three generations of Asian American women, each with their own personalities and histories, and their relationships to one another.   It is hard to describe the magic that happened in that room that day for me, so I won't even try (especially because my brain is completely fried).  All I can say is that to have Takayo, Emily and Shireen in the same scene together was just awesome, and humbling.  What talent!

During a break, Suzi, the most wonderful make-up artist EVER, tells me that downstairs, the elderly women residents who wanted to be extras in this film started fighting over the speaking roles.   Yes, a throwdown at the retirement center!   So the two women who stopped by earlier in the day decided to drop out, because they both got mad at one another.  The one who didn't get the speaking role accused the other of trying to steal the part.  Real life behind the scenes drama!

I check in with Lucy re: P2 cards.  The adaptor that she picked up in Marina del Rey didn't work!!!!  Arggggggg.... So Lucy and Lisa start calling people again, to see who had a laptop we could borrow and/or extra P2 cards.  Finally, the situation became dire.  We were running out of cards and nowhere to download.  Lisa was about to drive to Samy's to pick up 4 additional 8G cards at $50/card.  Yikes!!!   Brian, our DP, came downstairs and looked at the P2 store again (or original solution to the issue).   To our surprise and joy, Brian figured out a way to make it work on the laptop!!!!   WHEW!!!!!  P2 problem solved!

Coming up next... Retirement Home Sex Scene with be continued...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Craziness and Magic

So we wrapped production on Love 10 to 1 yesterday.   What a ride.   I had two days left to shoot in my story--two of the more challenging days because I had a surprise birthday party scene (i.e., need extras again) and scenes to be shot at a retirement home (i.e., need extras again, but this time, elderly extras).   So we start with Saturday.

Oops, let's back up for a second.  The night before (Friday eve), I realized (at 11pm) that my new MacBook Pro doesn't have the slot that would fit the P2 cards.  Which means that we had no way of downloading the footage recorded on the P2.  I frantically called Lucy, but she didn't pick up.  I sent an email to 2 other friends who either had an older Mac or was a tech genius and could possibly help me.   Said friend with older Mac (which had the slot for P2 card) couldn't part with her Mac laptop for the weekend, but said she would come later in Sat. afternoon to help.  Tech genius suggested I look for the adaptor to fit the P2 cards.  

Day of production: Saturday.  We arrive and set up.  Lucy is now calling around to see if she knew anyone with the adaptor and/or older Mac laptop.  Meanwhile, she was also tasked with set dressing.  Lisa, my wonderfully supportive friend and roommate, was the other set dresser, along with craft services, legal coordinator (get all the releases together), and designated house-watcher.   We had use of a house for this one day, and we were going to dress 4 rooms, including a surprise birthday party scene.  

Somewhere along the way, the two resident dogs of said house (Haku and Kuma--I love you!!!) wandered off and ran outside, since we had left the gates opened to load stuff.    Owner of said house inquired about the whereabouts of said dogs, at which point, we all FREAKED.   He ran outside and saw Kuma crossing the street, that being Crescent Heights Boulevard, a very busy street.  Amazingly, having crossed the street not once but TWICE, Kuma was safe.  OMGx100! 

Despite the chaos, we got some really great shots.  Emily Kuroda was so fantastic as Ma that we were ahead of schedule since very few takes were needed.   Shireen was awesome as usual.  We were moving along.

Then the "extras" started to arrive (i.e., my awesome brother, 2 brother in laws, one cousin, and friends) as well as Art, Cazzy, Ashley and Jesse (they play Jenny's friends).  So, we decided to shoot the extras first.  There were lots of moments of people yelling "SURPRISE!"  Even today, "SURPRISE!" is still ringing in my head.  I never want to hear that word ever again.

So back to P2.   Aside: we had rented the P2 store for the day but the software didn't load.  The instruction manual said that the software doesn't work with the new Intel-based based Macs.  WTF???!!!  Fortunately, friend with laptop arrived and helped us download footage for the day.  Unfortunately, she could not help us for Sunday.  So, we were back to the question of how can we download our footage?
All in all, we got some great shots, and there were enough extras to not make the scene look retarded.  

SUNDAY:  The retirement home be continued...


Sunday, August 24, 2008

LOVE 10 To 1 - IT"S A WRAP

Today we wrapped our FEATURE!

This journey has taken us all over the city of Los Angeles and beyond, here's a list all the places we've filmed;

Cerritos Swim Center
Downtown Los Angeles
Thai Town
Sherman Oaks
Woodland Hills

This crazy journey was led by three female writer/directors/producers (Christine, Lucy & Laura). We couldn't have done it without the help of our four Cinematographers (Leah Anova, Erik Forsell, Matt Boyd & Brian Sorbo) a kick ass crew that rotated positions but for the most part was consistent through out the shoot (Casey Slade, Brian Sorbo, Frederick Chaignant, Lynn Langmead, Jeffrey Waldron and Matt Boyd), our kick ass sound people (Carrie and Ray (1st round), Ian and Jarred (Love Song), the most amazing make up artist Susan Thompson, my costume designer Natasha & Jannae who did wardrobe, the best roommate Lisa J. who did anything and everything (Christine's roommate), my co-producer on Love Song, Meagan and a wonderful cast of 40+ people. There were others who helped during the first round back in October/November; Jenna, Dominick, Isaiah, Paul, Sandra, I know I'm forgetting people and I'm sorry for the omission but I've gotten no sleep. Also those who helped these last two days; Tad and Layne (sound), Kevin, Julien, Jamar and Craig.

Thank you to our friends and families for their help and support and to all of those who kindly donated services, locations, equipment, gear, music etc. Oh, yes and those who kindly gave us $$$$$$.

A HUGE THANK YOU to East West Players, Projetct:Involve, Film Independent, The Filmmakers Alliance & Movies By Women.

I'm too tired to write more.



Sunday, August 17, 2008

Check out this amazing site - it's like myspace for crew. The guys who run it are very on top of it and sent me a personalized email once I joined. Yes, personalized, not a mass email that they send everybody.

They have amazing resources and it's a great way to network with other filmmakers.

Here's a link to my profile:

Lucy's crewplay profile


Love 10 to 1 website is back up

Here's the message I got from our web master;

Alentus servers went down yesterday. Same happened to all my websites.
You can get updates at

All the website on the Alentus network got back up just few mins back
(10.30 am Sunday).

Hope you're all having a great summer.



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Seeing Things Through

When Christine, Laura and I started this process, no matter how far it seemed, we always acted with the intention of making this film and seeing it through. Yes, we’ve gone through growing pains; there were times when we wanted to forget the whole thing (because everything costs so much $$$$) and there were a few times when we would have loved to duke it out (again $$$$). We were under a lot of pressure because; we put up all our money into this venture, we had a HUGE cast and crew (especially the November shoot) to take care of and most important, we needed to DELIVER. This was our dream and we were one of the few who are privileged enough to pursue it and see it come to fruition. We made a FEATURE FILM!

A friend of mine thinks we spent too much $$$ on the film. He's working on a script and he plans to get our production value and quality with his $900 camera and a 3-4 person crew. I didn’t want to argue with him but I have to say that I was a little insulted. My production value was aided by the equipment we used (HVX 200 with Zeiss lenses, can’t remember if they were super speed or ultra prime) but the majority of it came from the cast and crew’s talent and experience. They made my story come alive and it was their hard work and dedication that gave me the production value I got. My friend is going to shoot his film himself and he’s going to direct it too. I’m not saying it’s not doable because it is. However, if you are going to tackle a film on your own, you need to write it with minimal locations and few actors. A strong team behind you is also key. He’s going to use the film White Red Panic as his model

I saw a little bit of this film and it looks good. However, Love 10 to 1 is a romantic comedy and we have a lot of characters and a lot of locations. Romantic comedies look a certain way, our model for making this film was not a film we saw online. We wanted to make Love Actually meets Sex and the City on an ultra low budget. This was our dream and because we got such a late start at it we felt we had to do this right. If Love 10 to 1 was a horror movie and we would have used The Blair Witch Project as our model then it would be a different story.

People look at Robert Rodriguez and how he got into the industry and think they can do it that way too but he’s the exception, not the norm. Like everyone else who makes a film, I would like to make this a career, I would like to be hired to direct and hopefully this film can open the doors to those possibilities. I started preproduction in my head for my next two films. When my edit is done I’ll focus on pre-pro for the next two.

I have one day of establishing shots and Christine has her scenes with Ma, Grandma & Jenny to shoot. I’m very excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work on that. I need to backtrack, if you read the previous blog that Christine posted – What an exciting addition to our wonderful cast! Emily Kuroda as Ma and Takayo Fischer as Grandma, way to go Christine - please blog about this:-)

I am so proud of the work we’ve done and that from the beginning we set high standards for our film. I don’t know where our film will take us but I’m looking forward to the journey.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Doing It

About a year ago, Lucy, Laura and I decided to proceed with production on Love 10 to 1.  We didn't have all the financing in place, but we operated on the belief that "if you build it, they will come".  Actually, this is one of the lessons that I've learned working with business peeps: act as if.  Last year, before we went into production on this film, I was working with a client on a billion dollar acquisition.  Mind you, they didn't have the billion dollars--not yet anyway.  But the top dogs at the company, well, they acted as if they already had the billion dollars.  And to the bankers who were potentially going to fund the acquisition, they acted as if the target company was already theirs for the taking.  Balls.    

Of course, it's not always that simple.  But there's something to be said about just doing it.  You may never have enough money to make your film.  Just do it, or at least, move as much towards your goal as you can.  And somehow, the pieces will fall into place.  It won't be perfect.  Far from it.  But at the end of the day, you would have done it.  Or at least, you would be a few steps closer towards your goal than if you waited until everything was perfect.   

I met another filmmaker about a month ago who told me that he made a bunch of short films with very little money so that he could give himself the permission to fail.  Because that's usually when you learn the most.  

Anyway, I'm heading into production again in several weeks.  I'm finally finishing up my piece with a few scenes that I didn't shoot the last time around because I didn't have a "Ma" or a "Grandma".   Fortunately, I was able to get a couple of AMAZING Asian American actresses who agreed to play these roles: Emily Kuroda (Gilmore Girls, among others) and Takayo Fischer (Pirates of the Carribean, The Pursuit of Happyness, etc.).   Takayo, Emily and Shireen acting together. Wow! 

I'm looking forward to having a completed film.  It's been a very long journey with a very unclear destination.  Here's to leaping without a safety net.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Onahoua Rodriguez on Weeds

She plays Maria "the MerMex" (what Keavin Nealon's Doug renames her - a Mexican Mermaid), she calls him Senor Flippy Flop. While yet again playing the immigrant role, at least this one does it with a sense of humor.

Stay tuned for Love Song where Onahoua does not play the sterotypical role offered to Latinos. Her character is just a girl from Venice Beach who sings in a band and is in love with her roommate.

Congrats to Ona and the cast and crew of Lydia for their big win at the Henry Awards:
Outstanding Ensemble Performance
Denver Center Theatre Company, “Lydia”

Outstanding New Play
“Lydia”, Octavio Solis, Denver Center Theatre Company

Outstanding Production of a Play
Denver Center Theatre Company, “Lydia”

Onahoua will resume the role of Ceci when the play goes to The Yale Rep Theater in New Haven, CT (February 6 - February 8, 2009). If you are on the East Coast check it out.

Here's a link to the Yale site:

About The Three Shorts

Christine Le wrote and directed the 1st story Love 10 to 1.
The first story explores the life of a 29-year-old virgin, Jenny, who desperately wants to lose her virginity before her 30th birthday. As she encounters one loser after another on dates, Jenny pines after her boss, Dustin. While at her grandmother’s retirement home, Jenny learns a powerful lesson from her grandmother about sex and the meaning of life.

Christine Le (right) directs Shireen Nomura Mui (Jenny) & Justin Klosky (Jim).

Lucy Rodriguez wrote and directed Love Song.
The second story revolves around Shane, the lead singer of the L.A. rock band, Dirty Virgin. Shane has her pick of admirers but it’s her roommate Dustin she wants to be with. Shane confesses her feelings on Jackie and Jared’s show but when Dustin meets Cali, Shane’s shot at love starts to dwindle. With Dirty Virgin about to embark on a world tour, will Dustin realize that he’s the object of Shane’s affections? Will they risk their friendship to give this Love Song a chance?

Lucy Rodriguez & David Villar (Dustin)

Laura Somers wrote and directed Diving Lessons.
The final story picks up where Love 10 to 1 left off, but from the perspective of Jim, the guitarist of Dirty Virgin. Jim sees Jenny at a swimming pool, trying desperately to overcome her fear of diving. In fact, he finds out that she’s making a list of everything that she’s afraid of and trying to overcome them, one by one. He is instantly smitten and tries to convince her that he’s not just a rock star who ‘loves ‘em and leaves ‘em’. Can a rock star find love with a virgin?

Shireen Nomura-Mui, Laura Somers & Justin Klosky

Leah Anova is the Director of Photography for Love 10 to 1 & Diving Lessons.

Additional Cinematography on Diving Lessons by Erik Forsell

Matthew Boyd is the Director of Photography for Love Song.