Friday, April 1, 2011

Week One, Week Two and a bit of Three...

I told you I'd be a shit blogger. 

I originally started to write this in week 1, now a few weeks later I'm having to add more just to bring it up to date. In my defense, I've been just a tad busy. I do regularly post little snaps and comments on twitter so should you be interested you can follow my exploits here:

You'll have to excuse my sometimes emo-ish rants about nothing of particular importance, sometimes I forget I'm a 30 year old man.

Anyway, back to the blog. The first week has been an exercise in sleep deprivation and chaos that has given me an instant reminder of what I've missed so badly since the shoot of MERANTAU. Despite having to walk around the dusty set wearing what ends up being a foul sweat filled cup of a mask every day I absolutely love being back behind the camera.

Minor discomforts aside the only thing I truly hate during the whole shooting process is "time" and the fact that it has a limit. Ten more days would be one bliss comfort. Especially for the fight scenes.

The first week of a shoot is a litmus test for cast and crew to see how we gel, naturally some shots/scenes get dropped and me and my brilliant AD team (Dondy, Plenthonk, Gita, Bendolt and Oim you guys kick ass) search frantically in our tight schedule to re-arrange or re-shoot.

While writing this all the days are a blur, day one is no different from day 8. I remember sights and sounds but not the order in which they happened. Shooting a film is a delirious experience with time hurtling you forward while you see each scene unfold on the monitor with varying degrees of success. I've had every frame of this film in my head for just under a year, now its sitting on my laptop.

I'd love to share anecdotes about shooting but I have a deep hatred of "pat yourselves on the backs" promo materials where everyone says everyone is great, best person they've ever worked with etc. Having said that I've got nothing but praise for my cast and crew who have withstood intensely long days with over 2000 slates within 15 days. To give a shout out to any individual person would make me an inconsiderate asshole to the remaining 100+ people who we have worked with so far. So you're all brilliant, you're all amazing and the best people I've ever worked with. Readers you can feel free to call me out as a fucking hypocrite for that one.

One of the overwhelming feelings I've had this time round is just how much action we're shooting, I don't necessarily mean fight scenes but manouvers, chases, any moment where its all physical rather than drama. So far in just over 15 days we've shot around 95% action 5% drama but even then the drama has been more of a lead-in to the action. Panic set in until I saw the schedule again and finally focused on how action heavy the shoot is in the first 2 months. If all goes well we will only have 2 more martial arts scenes left to shoot by April. Time for Iko and the fighters to rest, which they desperately need cos this has been a mean shoot each day with more injuries than I'm comfortable with.

I'm not going to go into details about the fight scenes as I'm not too keen on giving away plot details associated with each fight but from what we have shot I can say that our intentions with this film are becoming a lot more clear and a lot more focused. This is a major departure from what some viewed as soft choreography in MERANTAU. Gloves are definitely off for this one with all the guys performing 100% with some mean and nasty slams, stabs, punches and kicks. My mum wouldn't approve but I'll make her that rom-com I promised someday to make up for it.

We've had a few set visits this time out, we were happy to have the winners of our competition arrive and take a look around on set. They got to see first hand how boring and time consuming it is to shoot an action film. You don't get to 2000+ slates without a little repetition. We were also graced with visits from the guys at, The Mo Brothers and Joko Anwar.

Then the mighty Canadian, Mr Todd Brown came along after the Hong Kong Filmart to check up on things. I should explain a little about his involvement - Todd came on board way back when we were shooting MERANTAU. After taking a look at our initial BTS promos he took an interest and along with our sales agent Golden Network helped us pretty much get all of the international recognition that we ended up getting for our first flick. We were beyond naïve until Todd came along, we had no idea how the industry worked at an International level. So with him on board suddenly our little project that we had intended to only hit at a local level expanded significantly with Todd putting us in touch with our sales agent and handling our festival strategy.

Suffice to say, we wanted to work with him again. So we are. Todd is on board as Exec Producer through XYZ FILMS alongside partner NATE BOLOTIN. They have been a huge support to me and this project since I first proposed it so in all honesty the set visit had me just a tad nervous. There's more at stake this time round and playing the footage and rough cuts warts and all is a horrible experience. Thankfully they seem more than happy with the results so far. There will be a lot of tweaks before its close to how I envision it being in the final cut but its given us more drive and energy to see each day of work go towards something that people outside of the four walls of the studio consider special.

I'll close by shamelessly publicizing some links to Twitch where you'll find a bunch of stills taken by much more talented photographers than I with my shitty blur-cam phone.
Behind The Scenes Report

Until next time, here's my shitty snaps...

Wardrobe and Art prepping the Swat Team.

Ass Kicker of the month Yandi getting into character.

Yayan (Mad Dog) and Joe Taslim (Jaka)

Tegar Satrya (Bowo) and Iko Uwais (Rama)

Batik Day.

The All-Star in final make up check before shooting.

A POV rig - works perfectly as a rig but sadly not for the shot we planned.

Cheers for reading.


  1. looking forward to this movie!

    I like Iko:)

  2. I absolutely LOVE Merantau - in my opinion the finest martial arts movie in a very time (my review is here:

    Iko Uwais was hauntingly powerful in Merantau, and I know you'll get a great performance out of him in The Raid.

    The last fight in Merantau was extraordinary, and I'm eagerly awaiting to see what you magic up in The Raid.