Wow. Just wow. I don't think I'll ever get used to these premieres. Surrounded by people, cameras flashing—attention that's almost unbearable… almost.
Though not quite as majestic as the Majestic Crest, the charm of the Philippines was in full swing in Manila as I made my way down the red carpet, past the Deep Gold billboards and through the crowd of old faces—a lot of cast and crew from the Philippines I had the pleasure to work with in the past few years but also several of my good friends from the Philippines. It's nice to celebrate something and share it with so many hard working and talented people… and the champagne wasn't bad either.
The turnout was amazing, filling up the hallways with people; from my co-villain in the film Thomas Watter to the beautiful and effervescent Laury Prdudent who came over all the way from the USA just to see her old cast and crew together again. We stood around and talked about all the good times we had and all the times since, until it was time to put the champagne inside and don the 3D glasses once again.
This is the most nervous time for any filmmaker, that moment just as the lights go down and the titles go up—and you realize you have over 300 people here who actually want to see your film. I mean it takes a lot to get most people to sit in a dark room these days and it's incredibly gratifying to be part of the small club of people who have experienced it.
Now the film is over it's time for our after party at Manila's premiere nightclub RepubliQ. It's time to really celebrate.
Don't forget the film is out in cinemas August 31st. Go and see it, you won't regret it!
I have to be completely honest I couldn't be more excited about the upcoming red carpet premiere of DEEP GOLD in Manila. Especially considering the Los Angeles premiere was such a rousing success. Rubbing elbows with the Hollywood Elite was quite an experience. The after-party wasn't too shabby either! I must say it's very gratifying to be heading to Manila for the viewing, especially since the film was shot entirely in the Philippines among the scenic islands of Cebu and Palawan.
I think by now you realize my deep devotion to the people and culture that make up the wonderful islands of the Philippines and indeed the whole of South East Asia. No other location could have possibly worked better. It's simply so captivating. Descriptions just don't do it justice, you have to experience it first-hand to truly appreciate the majesty of this enchanting land. Not to mention that the tropical setting was ideal considering the storyline; but don't think it didn't have its challenges.
One of the most complicated creative challenges we faced was estimating the time needed to shoot on the boats. The setup of equipment and lighting ended up being far more complex than we had previously thought. And, furthermore, the Philippines do not have a Hollywood-style film industry which meant there was no one to turn to for help. Yet, we persevered! We even got to train our extremely capable all-Filipino crew all about the nuances of shooting underwater for feature films, a lesson in film making at its best and most fun.
DEEP GOLD is a creative work that I am incredibly proud of. I think the people of the Philippines will be blown away by the special effects especially if they go and see it in 3D. The images just leap off the screen and assault your senses and at the end of the day the film itself is more of an experience completely in 3D. It will suck you in and never let you go!
All I've got to say is look out Manila— on August 31st prepare yourself for an underwater rollercoaster ride the likes you've never seen.
See you there…
I've got a great new idea for Deep Gold.
If you've been following this blog, then you know we've been working on this movie for quite a while now, and I don't have any trouble telling you, I'm proud that Bigfoot doesn't make movies like sausages. We don't have artificially ramped up production schedules. We don't speed through the process without any regard for the ingredients that go into good story-telling. We take our time and we make sure we've got it right. A lot of care and special handling goes into my movies, and I don't see any other way to do it. I won't rush.
Most movies go into these rapid-fire shooting schedules, and it's all dictated by finances. Producers get the money to make their movies from the bank–even big studios do it this way–and the bank charges high interest rates. Of course! How could it be otherwise?! The producers then are eager to pay back the loans as quickly as possible, so they push through the production process in fast-forward mode, and to my thinking that approach forces you into a position where a lot of mistakes are going to be made and you're going to end up tripping over your own feet.
Well, I'm not obligated to the banks, so I don't feel any hurry to pay somebody back.
I'm therefore not compelled by external circumstances to shoot my movie in 40 consecutive days, no matter what, come hell or high water. I can take a hundred days if I want to, and I can break up the schedule by shooting for a certain length of time and then stop shooting for a while before we start again.
This allows me to step back, take a breather, and take account of what we've already got. I can properly assess where we stand with our movie. That's the way I like to do it! I want to shoot for a while and then take a break from it. And use that pause to measure the story and make whatever corrections, adjustments and additions I think are necessary.
Well, I've come up with a terrific new idea about how to open our story. A lot of filmmakers will tell you, they look at their work a year or so after the movie's been released, and they think of all kinds of things they would've done differently if they'd had more time! They wish they'd shot it this way, or they think they should've told the story that way. Well, I'm still working on my picture, so I don't have to feel those regrets. When Deep Gold comes out, I'm going to be satisfied with it.No regrets. No surrender! Stay tuned…
What a way to ring in the New Year! We've been shooting pickups on my new movie GIRL WITH NO NUMBER.
Pickups–that's a filmmaking term. It means shooting some extra material for the movie after you wrapped shooting already.
Oh, and "wrapped" is also movie talk. It means you finished it, you're done. You can say you wrapped the day's work, or you can also have a wrap party when the entire shoot is over. (And did we ever! Great cast & crew blowout!)
Anyway, we finished principal photography on GIRL in Vietnam December 2008–and we also shot in L.A. and Miami in 2009–I loved doing those helicopter shots in Miami!
But after putting together a rough cut of the film, I decided we needed to fill out a couple of sequences and so we put together a really fascinating scene in a so-called S&M club in L.A. It was a lot of fun to shoot and truly outrageous. I think it will really add a distinct flavor to the movie.
Hot wax, black leather and red vinyl!
We enlisted a few of our administrative employees here at Bigfoot to be extras for us in the scene, and I have to say, it was a real blast to see one of my executive secretaries, among others, dressed up for a wicked evening of naughty fun at our fictional club!
We built a huge sprawling set on Sound Stage Two here at Bigfoot Studios. A crew of about 80…and maybe 40 or 50 extras, and all of them imaginatively costumed by our wardrobe department.
Our DP (director of photography) had a field day, sculpting the scene with shadows and light and a holy smoky haze.
On paper it was a fairly simple idea. In L.A., we shot our main character, Mitch–played by my good friend Jay–going into a nondescript building on Abbot Kinney.
CUT inside Stage Two on our lot in Cebu in the Philippines, where a bouncer frisks Mitch and sends him through a curtain of chains into a virtual S&M playground…a dark, cavernous space, separated into areas by black tufted partitions.
Mitch glides through shadows, past different activities in various areas. A weird stainless steel apparatus, with all kinds of clamps and leather restraints. Barbed wire. Strobe lights. A sex sling or two. (I didn't even know what that was before our production designer explained it to me!)
Mitch sees a male customer with a female captive on an X-shaped cross with hand and ankle restraints. Very satanic and medieval. She pretends to be in exquisite pain.
I'll skip over what happens at the heart of the scene, since it comes at the end of the movie, and I don't want to spoil the story for you. You'll just have to wait and see the flick! But in the meantime, you can check out a few clips on this link.Suffice it to say it was a fantastic way to wrap 2009! Out with the old and in with the new!
One of the greatest pleasures of movie-making is watching the jump from page to stage, and then of course from stage to screen.
It feels like my co-writer and I were working on this script for ages. And that means for the longest time the pictures were all in my mind. I remember I used to feel like I was running a miniature version of this movie over ands over again on the projector inside my head! But for the last 90 days or so, I've been seeing it play out in reality piece by piece.
Today we're doing a scene in the giant cargo carrier that's air-lifting the missing gold bullion from Mindanao to Manila.
We always do a lot of research on the details in my movies, so we'd seen plenty of C-5 Galaxies and C-130 Hercules in photos assembled by the art department, and we visited Mactan Air Base here in Cebu to see the AFP's massive cargo carriers first-hand.
But still, seeing the giant, life-size C-123 mock-up we built on Sound Stage Two…I really felt like it was a dream come true. This is what I was talking about, it's what makes movies exciting for me. Seeing the imaginary come to life.
Of course, it's only the forward section of the plane, including the cockpit, but it's still an impressive engineering feat constructed by our designers and set builders.
Clever positioning helps a lot too. I had them put the nose of the plane in the enormous open doorway of the sound stage so that when we place the camera at a low angle inside the cockpit, you can see the blue sky through the windows. Real blue sky–yes, the real thing, not a blue cyclorama or green screen with the sky digitally matted in.
Coupling that with having our grips gently shake the set as if in flight, all of which naturally enhances the illusion that the plane is in the air.
So then we go from the macro to the micro, so to speak. I've been seeing visions of this gigantic aircraft in my head for so long–meanwhile, also seeing visions of a much smaller hand prop, the very menacing trank gun. An air pump gun that fires tranquilizer darts. An important prop in the suspense development of the story.
The first part of the scene shows one of the Soldiers guarding the gold–he's popping a stick of gum in his mouth when suddenly he gets a dart in the chest. The other two Soldiers don't notice until he collapses.
The second Soldier gets hit by another dart and crumples.
The last Guard sees someone in a darkened corner, but it's an unrecognizable figure, raising some kind of a weird-looking gun.
We get a good look at the weapon just as it's fired. It's supposed to look like some kind of scary, science-fiction weapon. And I'm not disappointed by the property master's handiwork. It looks really authentic!
The last Guard ducks, the dart misses him, and we move quickly into a brief explosive martial-arts fight with the elusive figure. We see the whole thing in close-ups and bits and pieces, so we don't know who the mysterious Figure is.
It ends when the assailant's foot connects with the last Guard's throat, sending him sprawling.
And then we come to the part of the story we're shooting today, as the figure advances into the cockpit, where the co-pilot sits, not knowing what's happened back in the cargo hold.
An arm is thrown around his throat, and he gets a dart straight in the neck. And now there's nobody flying the plane.
Want to know what happens next? Hey, I'm not going to spoil the story for you! You gotta wait and see the flick! But in the meantime, you can check out a few clips on this link.
All for now. More later…
Well, it's turned out to be more than a week before we could schedule this once again, but today we were successful! We got the much-longed-for shot, and the sequence is completed.
We'll cut this shot together with an underwater shot we've already gotten of Amy plunging into the ocean with the bright flash of an off-camera explosion as the Seastar crashes into the rocks.
I have to say the mock-up of the forward section of the Seastar looks absolutely great. If you showed me a low-angle snapshot of the bow of the boat against the sky, I'd think it was really a picture of my yacht, the Azimuth. Very convincing work from the art department. The chrome and the white finish on the hull… They sure do know what they're doing.
So maybe it was frustrating a week and a half ago when we couldn't get the shot, but now that it's in the can, what I'll remember is the satisfaction of seeing a job well done!