Let’s face it, we all love musicals.  Even if you deny the fact that you hate the happy prancing lala musical, your feet will still go with the beat. Just like Singing In The Rain or hell……even Marry Poppin and  my all time favorite Willy Wonka! Dont forget the Umpa Lumpas!

As a Cinematographer I love beautiful composed shots and art direction, most likely every musical will have one or two good shots and an amazing set built for dancing.  But what if great cinematography films were put in as a musical?  How awesome would that be!! I begin to wonder…… “what if Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution was a musical?” I would have love to see a group of Chinese & Shanghainese folks dancing around the beautiful streets of Shanghai!  Although I’m pretty sure I’d be distracted by the 3 part explicit sex scene of Tony Leung and Tang Wei in the film.  HELLOOOOOOOOOOO

Here’s my vision of when each musical number (Broadway Style) should enter appropriately in each scene……..***SPOILER ALERT****

1.) Tang Wei is about to seduce Tony Leung for the very first time before the sex

2.) Leehom Wang invites Tang Wei to join the Patriotic Club and they do their little patriot dance feeling proud and almighty.

3.) When Leehom is about to shove a bullet up Tony’s arse, but eventually ended up being captured. (Leehom throws in an opera style song)

4.) THE SEX SCENES!! Com on….we all have seen tits, tots, jugs, pee-wee, wangs, and free-willy or something explicit at least once in our life time, so we know what to expect when two people take each others clothes off. In order to not make these scenes feel like its NOT all about the sex, (although Ang Lee claimed that making these scenes are “important” and “beautiful”) why not throw in a musical? Dance naked! Ain’t that something new we have yet to see? But I guess Ang Lee have anticipated that a Lust Caution Musical will not be well received in every Gentleman’s club because the men in there will tell you the dance is not sexy enough and the strippers will complain she’s doing it wrong.

But hey I guess only Bollywood can pull off musicals so awesome with so many choreograph dance numbers without looking ridiculous……..right?

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Introducing Project W’s new line of work!!!

That’s right folks we are picking up on wedding videography and event captures, so if you, or your friends and family members are getting married.  Please let us know so we can help you film a memorable video that will be shared for many generations to come.

Production:
I was honored when the bride Lindsay, who’s also my co-worker, asked me if I can help her and Rocky film their wedding since I do films.  The team consisted of 3 camera operators including myself and these are the following equipments we used:

Cameras: Canon t3i, t2i and XH-A1s
Lenses: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8.   Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM.  Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX.
Stabilizers: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Mount.   DSRL Steadicam.  Konava Slider Rail.

Gearing Up for the wedding

Cam Op Ocean & Diana all geared up and ready to work =)

The wedding was fun and exciting at Allied Arts Guild located at Menlo Park.  Beautiful scenery and it was just the perfect day to shoot. The whole wedding was surrounded by lots of green which did fit the bride’s vision of her wedding, because she loves plants and green.  So I’m glad I was able to film the wedding and make it memorable for them.

Here’s the video:

Yo! Ni Hao! Osh! Que Paso! Wazzzup!

First off I apologize for being MIA for God knows how long. It was a busy semester at SFSU and I finally graduated w/ a cinema BA degree! Woohoo! It feels GRRRRREAT to finally get that degree and school over with. I know… I know… Y’all would say imma miss college life when I hit 30 and working non-stop in the “real world”, but as a filmmaker it is exactly why I’m glad I won’t miss school and here’s why:

1.) While the cinema department has been good to me, they are just poor when it comes to offering hands on production courses.

2.) I learn more being on a set as a PA than to listen to a lecture talking about film history.

3.) Schwarzenegger is forcing all Cal State Universities  with his big shades and Terminator pose because he wants to increase school tuition again by 15-30% in the next 2 years.  What’s the point in staying in school when I can learn everything on set.

Arnold Comes To SFSU With His Gun Telling Us To Pay Our Tuition

BIG SUMMER PLANS!

As much as I would love to party it up as a single college graduate, there’s really no time for that.  Ever since I graduated I’ve been working 5 days a week, 3 days at my office job and 2 days at the internship with Baycat, I am officially in the working world.

So whats the next step?  I will be doing what I do best which is doing a lot of DP and cinematography work as well as making money through videography and capture events.
What’s the future plan? Well in 3 years I plan to move to LA hoping to get a real job as a cinematographer and  if I’m lucky I’ll get to work with Justin Lin as my mentor!!! If not then I’m going to grad school for my MFA degree.

Justin Lin Attemps Suicide?

Director Justin Lin using cleanser to wash his mouth.....>.<

Project W Production (PWP) is continuing to grow and things are looking good.  I have collaborated with many other productions and I hope that Bay Area Filmmakers will all come together as a family to make one great film that represents Bay Area stories!

Here are a list of the productions I’ve worked with and will be working with in the future! Check out their sites and give us your support!
http://emptykingdom.com
http://www.rayhom.com
www.revelcade.com
www.fourtimesfilms.com
http://basovichfilms.com/

http://bdesigning.net/

Last news of the day….
Filmmakers from PIXAR are coming to my internship studio to review the short film (Miles Away) that we shot 2 months ago and I DPed that film!!!! HOLY WOODY!  I’m so stoked to meet filmmakers from Pixar and have them critique my work.  Even if the review is bad, at least I’m being taught a lesson here and it will definitely make me a stronger filmmaker.  If the review is good/amazing or GODLY, then DAMN I might even get invited to join the team as a Pixar filmmaker.  Even Woody himself will be in awe when he sees the film! LOL~ Cross my fingers and hope for a good review.

"God Willis I love your film!!!!"

So last night I got a chance to watch Parade (2009), a Japanese Indie film based on an award-winning 2002 novel by Shuichi Yoshida, directed by Isao Yukisada, starring Tatsuya Fujiwara (Naoki), Karina (Miki), Shihori Kanjiya (Kotomi), Kento Hayashi (Satoru), and Keisuke Koide (Ryosuke).  The film caught my ultimate curiosity because Fujiwara is part of the cast.  You may remember him from his memorable & popular lead as Light Yagami from Death Note (2006) the live action film, as well as Battle Royale (2000) and Kaiji The Ultimate Gambler (2009).  After sitting 2 hours straight watching this film while sipping on some delicious hot chocolate mix with condense milk, I came to a conclusion about this film in four words…. I DON’T GET IT! Parade 2010

Basically the story is about four Japanese youths (mostly in their mid 20s) who share a two bedroom apartment in a corner of Tokyo.  The film is broken down into four parts where it focuses on the lives of each individual characters, the four roommates: Ryosuke a male student with no evidence of any drive, Kotomi an out-of-work aspiring actress who longs for a celebrity boyfriend, Miki a heavy-drinking female illustrator, Naoki a health freak who works for a film distribution company and Satoru a male prostitute  with a spectator attitude towards life who randomly moved in.    While there’s an assault case happening in their neighborhood, Naoki and Kotomi suspects it could be Satoru the new guy who just started living with them. (That’s right…a MALE prostitute, you would think that because there are many AVs in Japan as well as female prostitutes doesn’t mean male prostitutes don’t exist.)

Meet the Cast

Meet the Cast of Parade

The pacing of this film is very slow as it digs into each character’s life whether it’s a love, family, life or psychological issue.  Note, if you don’t pay attention specifically to their dialogues you will NOT get the ending AT ALL.  I swear I had to skim through the film the second time to understand it….kind of.  The story is pretty scattered, it didn’t focus on every character in depth as I anticipated to be, and it certainly didn’t focus on a specific genre.  The director surely left out a lot of details up in the air.  For example, the film was leading towards romance but then it wasn’t, then it was leading towards comedy, but it got too serious, then it became a slight thriller, but it was kinda dissolved near the end.  I’m not going to give much spoilers away, but here’s what I don’t understand….why would Ryosuke cry and randomly reminisce about his dead father after having the greatest sex of his life with this beautiful girl? AND why the hell did Satoru sneak into someone’s house JUST to masturbate?? I don’t get it!!!!!!  By the end of the film I just completely went, WTF???? Seriously even as a filmmaker I just didn’t get the ending at all and while I like the cast and light humor the director puts in this film, the story didn’t tie in so well.  So yes the story development was kinda bad.  However, while the story itself was confusing and didn’t deliver very well, I like the choice of casting, playful humor in each character, and camera movement was overall CLEVER.  I think it’s becoming a playful trend in camera movement where a scene looks like a flashback, but as the camera pans it turns back into the present time without a cut or transition.  I notice the TVB drama Twilight Investigation 囧探查過界, the director and camera operator loves to use that technique in every episode, which is very creative, clever and fun.

TVB’s Twilight Investigation

My WTF LookMy WTF Look

Overall, I would give this film 3.5 stars out of 5.  It’s a really nice indie film to watch on a Tuesday night while sipping on some hot coco.  This film was screened at the 2010 (60th) Berlin International Film Festival and won the Fipresci Prize (I have no idea what kind of prize that is but I assume it’s GOOD).  Also, the last WTF thing I thought about this film was the trailer itself, which is totally misleading!  Well then again….DUH because that’s the whole point of a trailer, it’s suppose to grab your attention and curiosity and make you want to watch it! DAMN YOU EDITOR!! You did a good job! 😛 Check out the trailer below, maybe you should give this film a try and then you tell me if you get the ending and the overall story or not.

It’s been a busy month for me due to school projects, videography, celebrating Giant’s World Series win and trying to stay up to watch at least one episode a night of the new TVB Chinese Drama, No Regrets, AKA 巾幗梟雄之義海豪情 (which BTW is very addicting).  TVB Drama

This week I started thinking, how many filmmakers out there can really make a good living by making films or videography?  With the recession going on, competitions are tough in LA and the Bay Area is also catching up.  Maybe moving to Central America is a better choice for less competition?  There are the disadvantage and advantage staying in California for film and videography, while competition is tough in the film industry down in LA, videography and television broadcasting are also tough in the Bay Area.

Being the Bay Area lover that I am, I love to do both videography and film. In terms of videography, especially for weddings, I don’t look for the big cash.  Ok I lied, I do look for the cash, but the biggest pay off for me doing videography is being appreciated for what I’ve done for my clients by making their videos look good, which is stupid of me for thinking JUST that because I am a hungry and poor student filmmaker who needs more money in order to buy more equipments, so why shouldn’t money be first priority?  I guess that’s how I roll….  THIS is where my weakness and disadvantage kicks in because I haven’t done a whole lot of videography until just this recent year and I tend to do videos for my friends and clients  for a really low amount or for “free” just so that I can have THAT experience. Cuz in the future I can start charging $2,000+ as I gain more experience, but for now I am playing cheap Chinese guy where I’m charging clients for only $50 to $300 per event or get fed a scrumcious meal because at this economic time no one is willing to pay that much unless they are big corporate companies.  So how long does it take til I can actually charge $15,000 per wedding like these guys??

Stillmotion:         http://www.vimeo.com/12676236

Despite not being able to earn as much, I like to get paid in order to pay my crews for their hard work.  Even if they volunteer, it’s only good manner that you use that money to feed them at least.  REMEMBER, a happy crew = good films.

My awesome crew in our Interpretation's Choice Made

While I love doing videography and film while not having to worry about budget too much, being a student SUCKS because my time isn’t too flexible when I have class 4 days + part time job out of the week.  Also, being a poor student filmmaker that I am, if I don’t get reimburse for materials from the videography jobs I do, I’ll just lose more and more money.  Tapes sure are getting expensive these days >.<“

But I understand how a lot of student filmmakers feel.  “If I don’t take this job, there may not be another chance”.  While that statement is true on some level, I just feel that it’s only right to get school out of hair so when you graduate you will have all the time to focus on a film or video and that’s when all the networking comes together.  Of all the videography jobs I’ve done so far, I am not even close in paying off my camera or even have money to buy new equipments.  Sooner or later you will see me out on the street with a sign that says, “Hungry Filmmaker, Will Film For Food”.  JUST LIKE THIS GUY! —>

But I wouldn’t mind filming just for food, it’s basically what I’m currently doing now, I volunteer to help out a film shoot and I get fed, which is always a good thing.  Sooner or later I’ll be able to earn that $15,000 per video, just as long as I get out of SFSU in Spring woohoo!!  And if Justin Lin would ever want me to help him work on a Fast & the Furious project, as long as I get roomed comfortably and fed, I don’t mind working on the set for free.  Then again I’m sure someone like Justin are the type of guys who would at least compensate or pay a little just to keep crew members happy.  (Fast Five is DONE and launching in April 2011!!!) GO JUSTIN!

Final Cut Pro: $700
Shotgun mic: $250
Glidecam Stabilizer: $2,400
Canon 5D MK II: $3,000
My desire to make a good film: More expensive than you can imagine.
My kindness and generosity to help you out: priceless

Last week was a “fun” or QUITE the EXPERIENCE I’ve ever had in my life and I hope I don’t have to go through the same experience….EVER…….AGAIN!

For those who’s been catching up on my facebook rant status… I’ve recently signed up for the Campus MovieFest (CMF) at SFSU which is one of the largest campus film festival in the nation.  Being the hard working director that I am, I decided to sign up and take the challenge.  I have one week to work on the film so I had to get to work ASAP.  My first step was finding a crew who could help me out with all the technical production stuff WHILE I direct.  As a bonus, in order to save time I pulled out an idea from my “film idea” word doc.  So I called up some crews, cast and extras to help me shoot for 1 day.  Technically I had 2 days to make a short film (damn I wish I joined the 48 hour film festival).  With only 1 day to shoot, I had to push everyone to their limits and get it done ASAP before the sun sets.  Like any movie directors you may meet or have met, if the production is not going so smooth you may wanna take a few steps back before the director goes hulk on you.

While worrying about other technical support during production I had very little time to work and direct the cast, hence as my initial planning was to focus ONLY on directing….things didn’t flow the way I wanted to.  ANYWAYS…basically I shot in 1 day and edited the next day which resulted in sleeping only 3 hours, waking up and continue editing some more until submission.  But wait….just when I thought the battle was over after submitting my film, OH CRAP…I forgot about MIDTERM!!! I had a screenwriting portfolio, a Film Black List take home midterm and a Cinematography HD project to edit.  Life is great when you get through a struggle and then MORE conflicts comes ramming up your @ss doesn’t it?

The result at the CMF Finale was….. I didn’t make it to top 16 (BOOO!), and I’m sure we all know what went wrong, but I believe my story is there, just not enough time to make it look even better. But I am happy for my friend Cory Wong who made a really great comedy short and was nominated for Best Comedy that night, which you can check out here:

Life sux, I lost in a competition competing against 99 contestants, but after a Falcon Punch through some dry walls and a phone call from a parent saying they want a copy of my short film (which made my day. Thank you Mrs. Wong).  Now it’s time to rise again, be strong and start ANEW!!!!  Go Project W Production FTW!!!  Now…Time to catch up on some sleep cuz I am restless!!

Here’s my CMF submission, Enjoy!!

So recently I’ve been reading the new issue of Hyphen Magazine and I just love these writers!  They have so much to share and it goes beyond more than just mere delight of a daily read or entertainment.  As I keep reading these articles of regarding Asian American music, film, events, history, emerging artist, aspiring filmmakers and culture, I’ve learned so much more on the people they highlight, Asian cultures and the stories of these hidden yet successful Asians/Asian Americans.  Yup that’s right…HIDDEN or lesser known.  Often times you don’t hear much about successful Asian Americans in the U.S.  Maybe famous Asian Americans in the entertainment media industry like Justin Lin, Grace Park, WongFu Production, but nowhere else would you hear news like awesome Ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro, Hard working filmmaker James Z. Feng, or the history of Laos and their current situation.  Visit their site for the magazine preview and if you love their articles, I encourage everyone to subscribe to them because their articles ROCK! http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/magazine/current

Jake jamming like there’s no tomorrow [Photo by Aaron Yoshino]

Though some still have trouble pronouncing his last name and the instrument he plays, Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row) is recognized as one of the world’s most exciting and innovative ukulele (oo-koo-LAY-lay) players and composers. From a modest beginning performing at a local Honolulu café, Jake has gone on to play renowned and popular venues and festivals across the world. This past summer Jake added Sweden, Finland, France, Spain, and Brazil to the list of countries he’s performed in. Occasional tours with Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band have broadened Jake’s experience, regularly exposing his virtuosity and charming stage presence to crowds of up to 50,000. Speaking of large audiences, Jake has also performed on national television shows such as NBC’s The Late Show with Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, and Last Call With Carson Daly, as well been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and World Café, Public Radio International’s The World, Sirius/XM’s The Bob Edwards Show, and others.  Energy, imagination, and innovation have been Jake’s keys to success. He plans to continue recording, performing, collaborating, and staying happy. “I love what I do. I’m forever thankful for music.”

Check out and subscribe to Jake’s Youtube Channel @ http://www.youtube.com/jakeshimabukuro
Official site: http://www.jakeshimabukuro.com


Shin-B Kim

Writer Mitchell Kuga from Hyphen wrote an article on a Q&A session with Korean American MC Rapper, Shin-B Kim, and one of the most encouraging words from her about giving advice for other Asian American female rappers breaking into the industry was, “You have to learn to ignore the negativity and surround yourself with good people who will uplift you and give you constructive criticism. Don’t downplay yourself just because you’re an Asian female. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to have confidence that you’re just as good as any male, possibly better.” – Shin-B Kim.

Shin-B Kim Raised in the heart of Koreatown Los Angeles, she grew up as a tomboy playing basketball and eventually, rhyming in mini cyphers with her close male friends. She is a female hip hop MC from LA. She’s performed all throughout the States and toured Korea. She was featured as the main headliner for a widely syndicated radio program in Korea called MBC Music Camp Radio, hosted by the legendary Bae Chul Soo. She has performed with an array of Korean celebrities from hip hop duo, Bae Chi Gi to pop singers, Chae Yeon and Clon. She is featured on Korea’s elite hip hop site, Hiphopplaya.com.
Be sure to visit Shin-B’s Official Site
http://www.shin-b.com/

OH! Lastly, I’ve also learned that Fried Rice doesn’t necessarily mean rice is included. LOL~

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