Sunday, January 31, 2010

Queenstown -woot woot!

It is already starting to get difficult to keep track of days, hours, minutes, locations etc!

This morning I jumped out of bed to look at the sky... sadly, nothing had changed from yesterday, but no water was going to stop my casting meeting so off I went to meet Stu and Suzanne (my casting directors) at a little place called "Jaffa".

I had been told that Stu knew what I looked like, so I took a seat, ordered a chamomile tea and proceeded to wait.

About 15 minutes passed and there was still no sign of Stu and Suzanne.... until I looked at the table next to me and these two people had pics of my movie on their screen. Naturally it all fell into place then and we had a great discussion about what I could and could not get in NZ.

The character of James has already been cast with this amazing actor named Luke Hawker.

The funny story behind Luke is that he is actually a very old friend of mine! We went to school together when I was 13 but I have not seen him for about 15 years (eek!). It would be great to have him as my main character as I know that he is a brilliant actor and will also be extremely supportive of me!

Granny looks like she may be cast (fingers crossed), but Nanna and Sean are proving to be as difficult as their damn characters! Nanna calls for an elderly lady who is extremely thin and tall. I can get elderly lady, but the thin and tall part is not easy to come by. Therefore if we are still coming up empty handed in the next few days, I am going to have to simply take what there is to offer and go with a medium build Nanna. Sean we are getting warmer on and I am not so worried about...

Anyhow, after the meeting I was supposed to go on a walk and learn some Tamaki Hikoi stories etc. Sadly due to the rain (aka my nemesis), it was cancelled. Good news? This allowed me a full two hours extra time to sit and research some of the actors that were suggested to me in the morning meeting.

After that, it was a short plane ride to Queenstown. I saw the most BREATH TAKING vistas from the plane - truly unbelievable.

At the airport I was met by my production manager Garry who answered a lot of my questions and put me at ease! We hit it off from the start so I am really glad that he is on my team.

I then checked into the REES hotel which is situated right on the edge of a lake - talk about being spoiled... this place is AMAZING. I have a gorgeous view from my room and private patio (yes I just wrote PRIVATE PATIO??!!) and the production office is just a few floors up from me!

Speaking of which, Garry took me around to meet some of the people in the production office, however it was short and sweet as I was whisked away whilst being told that in order to keep the playing field level, I was not allowed to get questions answered, meet, discuss my film etc until tomorrow when my alloted time officially starts. IT IS SO HARD BEING SO CLOSE AND NOT BEING ALLOWED TO ASK QUESTIONS - AGHHHHHH!

Therefore, I am now in my room working. I want to tighten the script up and get that damn shot list in order before tomorrow so that I can go in and give everyone fresh copies of everything to work off.

Did I mention that I am SOOOOOOOO thrilled?! I still can't believe that this is all happening!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Auckland or bust!

Phew! I finally landed in good old Auckland!

No small feat given that it all started with a very muddled start at LAX where I have since learned that Qantas has 4 different terminals from which they depart from (*#&%^)! That followed by the fact that I had 7 pounds too many in my suitcase and then had to decanter some luaggage into what I describe as a rice patty bag (sigh).

Anyhow, it feels great to finally have my feet on the ground! I was greeted by a friendly driver at the airport who told me that the rainy weather was "a bloody pain in the ass"! I concurr! That being said, if it has to rain the next few days in order to deliver sunshine on my shoot days - so be it!

The hotel that I am staying at is in the middle of town and called "The Heritage" - it is apparently where Tyra Banks stayed when she was last here (see - its the really interesting, historically significant facts of Auckland that I have retained)!

Anyhow, after a quick shower (and a quick peek into what was in the cool Your Big Break Bag)...

I totted on down to the lobby where I was met by Torusm NZ rep Monica and her husband. We took a quick stroll down to the water where we had reservations at a cute little restaurant called MECCA. It had a great view of the bay. Unfortunately, due to the torrentual downpoor, we had to move back inside the restaurant, but the yummy food more than made up for the not so great weather!

In fact, they had Pavlova on the dessert menu! Seeing as it is featured in my movie, I thought that it was apt for me to order it and order it I did!

It was scumdidilyuptious!!

After lunch we were supposed to take a ride on the America's Cup Yacht. Although the boat still went out, we decided to take a rain check (ha ha ha - I am so funny)! Being on a boat in the rain did not sound like a grand idea, so instead, Monica and her husband took me to the local supermarket so that I could get some face wash. Note to fellow people traveling to NZ - DO NOT FORGET YOUR FACE WASH! I purchased a travel sized bottle of Cetaphil (what one purchases at RiteAid or Target for no more than $3) and it was $12.50 (agh!).

From there, Monica and her husband dropped me back at the hotel where I wrote a few e mails (before discovering that the internet was $36 - WHAT?) and decided to take a stroll down the main drag (Queens st) to get over my sticker price shock! Sadly, due to the rain and the hoards of tourists, I did not make it long before heading back.

Tonight I am going to get my shot list in order and prepare for what I am sure is going to be an INSANE week head of me! Oh and I will wash my face with my new "crem de la mer" (aka Cetaphil) in hopes that I stop growing my pimple farm - sigh!


PS this blog post just cost me $47 (aghhh) - if it is the same deal in Queenstown (which is where I fly to tomorrow - if they let my luggage even get on the plane!) I shall simply start communicating via smoke signals and telepathy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ambush Attack!

Well if one ever gets attacked or ambushed you better hope that it is from the amazing duo known as Alia and Sabrina!

I was festering in my own filth this afternoon (aka un bathed and between packing, working, dog nurturing, cleaning etc) when there was a knock at the door. Ryan thought that it was a delivery so totted on over (shirtless) and was surprised when he found none other than my PR agent Alia and my Dog Whisperer extraordinaire Sabrina!

Being the most thoughtful people I know, they came to bestow wisdom and calming breathing practices on me along with Lucky Charms lip balm and some really cute paper clips - hurrah! I am so lucky to have these two gals in my life - THANKS FOR MAKING MY DAY GIRLS!!

Anyhow, I have but hours before I leave my cocoon and embark on my journey... It is now starting to all feel very real (or should I say "reel" - mwaa haa haa) and I think that I may pack my meditation CD's that I thought I could do without!

Wee Pig Depression

I don't know who is more depressed about leaving each other - Little Pig or myself?!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Take Two...

Today has been a day of reworking. I awoke to an e mail from NZ that voiced some concern over a few things that I had put in my script along with other bits and pieces. Some of them I knew may be headed in my direction, others not so much...

The first thing was the opening sequence where the bird flies in and onto the street sign. I knew that it could be tricky to get an animal wrangler/ trainer to get a Kea bird to perform this etc and given the limited amount of time we have to shoot, I finally came to my senses and cut the scene. It has now been replaced with a tracking shot from the ground, up a pole and to the top of the street sign. Along the way it will pause on a "Lost Dog" sign, some sharpie writing, a kiwi crossing sign etc all that will have parts of the text replaced to be the actors names etc so it will also act as the opening title sequence.

Another concern is that Queenstown's architecture is quite modern and therefore finding two older Victorian homes is proving to be challenging. The location scout said that we may have to go out a little to find what I am looking for - this is fine as there will be no company moves that day so if we have to travel to get what I want then so be it!

Anyhow, completely off topic but I just wanted to share the love that I have for this PLIOT pen that I use...

THEY ARE AMAZING - just thought that I would let you know so that you dont reach the age of 90 only to realize that your life could have been so much better had someone told you about the delicious PILOT 0.4 pen!

Ok, ok... I am getting a little nutty now! Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this is what I have consumed today...

and "yes" - that IS a donut on the end (not a whole wheat bagel!). Perhaps this is also the reason why the security guard at the tennis club's parting words to me were "don't eat hamburgers - they make you fat"!

Sweet, sweet music!

Its funny how things work out sometimes...

I listen to music while I work and I was just thinking today that I need some new additions (there is only so much repetition my Karaoke loving Asian half can take)...

Probably five minutes after I had this passing thought, an e mail came through from my sister with a KILLER "Aya's Big Break" mix! Not only is it the best gift EVER, but it is also extremely thoughtful as I know how busy my sister is at the moment - HUGE SHOUT OUT GIRL!

Should you wish to rock out to what I am at the moment, this is the play list...

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Around the Bend
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising
Le Corps Mince de Francoise - Something Golden
Delphic - This Momentary
Jay-Z Ft. Alicia Keys - Empire State Of Mind
Amber Riley - Hate On Me
Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Inspiration Information
Animal Collective - My Girls
Matthew Morrison - Gold Digger
Lea Michele & Cory Monteith - Don't Stop Believin' (amaZING!)
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Bad Fever
Lykke Li - Little Bit

Ok, back to my shotlists (just revised the script a little after receiving notes and concerns from NZ) - this also means a new start and end to the movie, new story board changes etc... will update you on all of that later today!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Storyboards are done!

Yup thats right folks - despite some computer crashes (agh!) the storyboards are finally done (hurrah)! It feels great to have them to go through/ look at but it is only the beginning.

Oh - and just as an FYI... apparently its not such a great idea to open all 55 photoshop files at once... Your computer will hate you and go on strike!

For the remainder of the evening I will start to paste the corresponding part of the script under the storyboard, as well as a shot list and notes for that particular scene. Although this will be very time consuming, I think that it is imperative as it will allow me to have the EXACT movie that I am making in my head and on page. That being said, I also know that there are going to be many, many changes from this day to the next!

PS Although I seem to be wearing white in every video I have taken so far - I swear to you all that I have bathed, moved and changed my clothes on a daily basis!!


Who knew that I was part Native American, part Tranny! At least that is what I discovered when looking at some of the photos that Clio took of me this morning! I should preface this by saying it was NO refection on Clio's photography skills as she is one AMAZING photographer, but more about... well lets be honest - MY FACE!

I guess I have never really paid attention to it as I am behind the camera... Thank god Clio is a good friend and made me feel comfortable. She was also extremely patient and if it was not for her, I would not even have this final pic as she was the one that made me get by the yellow wall to take another round! 

I love that I look so serious (he he)!

After my photo shoot, I went and ran some errands...

One stop I made was to L'occitane for some more almond moisturizer (I am obsessed). I chatted with the store clerk (why? Well because I chat to everyone and everything) and she was SO excited for me to go to NZ Friday that she showered me with lots of samples (so sweet - or should I say "sweet as"!). This, and my lack of sleep almost made me burst into tears as I was overwhelmed by the fact that I am surrounded by such wonderful, supportive, generous, creative, kind and caring people.

When I entered the competition there was a HUGE outpouring of support from people I worked with, friends, family, neighbors, local stores etc and then when it was announced that I was a finalist - the phone did not stop ringing with offers to help me with whatever it was that I may need. 

Everyone is helping me make my dream come true and I am SO incredibly lucky - these are just a few people who have offered to help me out...

PR - Alia Quart Khan
MANAGER - Mardie Hughes Anderson
DOG SITTING - Callie Hersheway, Justin Root, OP, Sabrina Quart Khan, Todd (Dogsport LLC)
DRAWING - Hana Tanimura
EDITING - Taisuke Tanimura
MUSIC - Marissa DeVito
AFRICA REP - Clara Van Praag
EUROP REP - Allison Tanimura
SOUTH EAST ASIA REP - Yorio Tanimura
AUSTRALIAN REP - Rhonwin Mitchell
RED ADVISOR - Carlo Pratto
TRIPOD SUPPLIER - Helen Kim & Viet Nguyn
POSITIVE THINKING GURU'S - Sarah Monson & Jesse Rosenblatt
WEST COAST REP - Lucy Irvine
PATIENCE & RIDE TO AIRPORT - Ryan Pool & Little Pig

There are many more names of people who have been SUPER STARS - wanted to give a HUGE shout out to each and every person that took the time to vote, bombarded your friends with threats to vote for me, who posted my entry on Facebook, who called, who e mailed, who sent good vibes...

As my people say - DOMO ARIGATO (well not my Native American people, nor my Aussies for that matter - but you know.... the other "my people"!!).

I will give you a proper update on the actual work on the movie I have been doing today. I got SO much done - almost finished with the story boards and onto my shot list - eeek! I have a feeling that there will be a lot of tweaking of the script in coming days to fit it all into the two allotted shoot days...

Oh and before I forget - did you know that MOBY has a library of sample music that he allows independent and student film makers to use for free? Shame that none of it works for my movie - but its a good resource to know

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My big mess...

This is what my works space currently looks like! I have commandeered the dining room table (with the exception of a corner for Ryan’s guitar he is making), and have started to churn out a Directors Brief, a Location Brief, a Costume Brief and a Casting Brief - all of which is due at the end of today (agh!).

Last night I worked into the wee hours and then passed out before I could post this...

Not sure that I am going to be in bed at decent hour tonight because what I had scheduled for work today had to be pushed to do the briefs that the competition asked for! In amongst all the madness though I did have a good chuckle as Joe sent me this photo of myself having a meltdown in the UK whilst filming INCEPTION...

He captioned it "you can always let it out" which is so true! From what I remember, I was on 2 conference calls with the US (one with the phone company, the other with a credit card company) and was on a 3 way skype call with France regarding a house... all at the same time (whyyy??!!).

Tomorrow I am off to Clio's house to get my headshot done. I think the Gods are smiling upon me at the moment because when I heard that I was a finalist they asked that I e-mail a headshot. Guess what? I don't have one! Therefore I just chopped myself out a family pic and zapped that on over only to realize that all the other finalists have professional ones (eek!). Luck has it that they have not put my profile up on line yet which means there may be a chance to swap out my triple chin pic...

for something a little more flattering... Fingers crossed!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Big Break - Whoo hooo

Time to revive the good old blog. Why you ask? Well, after returning from Europe I could hardy argue that I was having an "adventure" and therefore thought no reason to continue blogging (I mean who really wants to hear about me getting up, getting dressed, going to work zzzzzzz). However, now I have a GREAT reason to breathe some life back into this joint...

Thanks to everyones support and votes... I AM A FINALIST IN THE "YOUR BIG BREAK" ( competition (woooo hoooo)! From over 1300 entries, I was chosen (by the people mind you) to hop on over to NZ to shoot my short movie! I am beside myself and my hands have not stopped shaking since I heard the news...

Anyhow, many of you have asked that I keep you in the loop as to what is going on, so this shall be the place that I do it! Hopefully I will have the time to keep the entries regular (I have a feeling that the next 3 weeks will be filled with NO sleep, so I apologize for bad spelling, grammar etc - nothing out of the ordinary for me really??!!)...

Also, it should be noted that I do not leave Los Angeles until Friday, so from now until then, my posts will probably be just of me having panic and anxiety attacks (then again, not sure that the posts will be that different once I get over there!)... hope you get some entertainment/ amusement out of my adventure!!

Last but not least - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all your votes, notes, support, words of encouragement etc, when I say that I could not have done it without you... I really mean it as I was chosen on votes! As my people say "Domo Arigato"!