August 20, 2011

Weather, weather! It’s all about the weather!
Thanks to Feng Shui Master YU’s help, we’ve had little to no troule on set so far but from today, we have to shoot the massive school festival scenes and I want it to be sunny. Master YU!! I’m counting on you.

Shooting a nice pastoral scene… I feel like I’m on the set of “The Naked General”. Oh and hey, since shooting started, I’ve lost a little weight.

Jellyfish Eyes Webmaster Mai Miyazaki (KK).
Her work often involves barging onto the set to confirm fine adjustments. Everyday brings a new state of high alert.

On the left is Kazuki Kinjyo (AKA Yochi) and on the right is Daisuke Miura (AKA Dai-chan). They work hard on every shot. Right up until the cameras roll.

Hair and makeup assistant Chika Tanabe. She often runs between base and the set, ensuring that each cast member’s face remains in its best condition.

There have veen several incidents of falling asleep while driving lately so I asked Master YU to come again from Taiwan. He prayed for us for a full three days. Production manager Saito-san takes his time to restore balance.

August 19, 2011

When I was young, I used to imagine that movies were a magical world of their own. I collected Star Log and Cineflix and bought all the books on special effects shows, all the while comparing Japanese and American technique. At that time, I always thought Japan had an edge (not that I’m a pro).

This was right around the time that Michael Jackson released his Thriller video and before CG. Rick Baker and Robin Botin were the stars of special effects makeup and everyone had a copy of Tom Savini’s Grand Illusion. I especially liked John Dykstra who would paint his actors’ faces to create wounds, included lots of gimmicky special props, and used remote controlled models to create the speed and feel of traveling through space, as each frame of film was like a frame in a manga.

Then came George Lucas and ILM and long after them Stan Winston and WETA…. Now everything is CG and it’s Japan who has fallen way behind. So much so, that it seems there’s barely room to move at all.

However, if Japan were to search for shot ideas where we hold our heads up in the world and say “This is something that noone has ever seen!,” I’m sure that we would be well received. There must be a road out of this situation. Just as Guillermo Del Toro had to shoot Pan’s Labyrinth in Italy, the world is waiting for images that we can only find in Japan! Those are what we should be searching for! And I’m sure they’re out there. There must be a hint for us to find!!!

In the art world, I learned how to find my own road.

And that’s why, before beginning this film, I made up my mind that I would not think too much about special effects. It would only make me upset. And it didn’t really matter to what we are doing. Now, however, I find myself knee deep in what I was trying to avoid.

I’m back in the world of my childhood.

I need to find some good ideas!!!

Sound assistant Manabu Kato. “Please wait for the plane to pass!”

Shinya Kikuchi (in the left of the photo) designing novelty goods on set. And then Watanabe. “Make your schedule chart first thing in the morning!” ( It’s a rule for all who have spent time at Kaikai Kiki!)

photo Taka Koike

Photographer Koichiro Matsui.
For this project, all photographers are freelance! Mr. Matsui also took photos of my show at Versailles. He speaks fluent French.

August 18, 2011

Today is the last day of shooting at the location near where Chisato Moritaka’s music video was shot. There were still a lot of shots to take and the mood was one of maximum focus. “Action! Cut! Action! Cut!” . Nishimura-san’s voice was booming across the set in a regular rhythm while I busied myself obsessively making adjustments to the props. In the process, I ended up causing delays in the otherwise frantic pace and won the crew’s consternation. Sorry everybody.

Second Assistant Director Shiho Kosaka, who also has a credit on the Jellyfish Eyes script. She’s a hard taskmaster on set! (in typical Nishimura fashion)

In addition to our usual box lunches, today we also had Somen.

From left: Third Assistant Director Masayoshi Kishida (aka Kishi) and set decoration staff “Oden-chan”.

On Japanese movie sets, the crew take on the name of the Director. Therefore, for our film, we are known as the “Murakami Unit”. The staff even made a commemorative sign.

Lighting director Jun Kodama and Daisuke “Dai-chan” Miura. Kodama-san is a newly wed, ceremony held in May.

Action choreography! ……actually, it’s just staff horsing around.