Official Artist
Daniel Chan
Director , Producer , Screenwriter
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"Smile For Me" Production Diary Week 2

Entering the second week of pre-production for my movie, the crew and I are getting friendlier, the ice has been broken, these past few days they have been giving me advice on how to be a selfish director...

Locations in your Script...

Whenever there is a scene that says Exterior, Busy Intersection, Night, the first thing the project manager will ask, why busy intersection? the way I answered was... "it doesn't have to be, I can do just as well a scene in a more rural area..." then the first AD would say, if you want it in a busy intersection, we will do it there..." to which I replied, "I can rewrite the scene so we can save some money...

After the first week of me compromising with the budget in mind, I felt really good, because I felt like I was able to solve money problems in a creative way... but to the crew, I am not being a selfish director... a real director... as my PM said, needs to be mean, the way it goes should be, "Interior, bank Vault, Day..." to which the PM would ask, does it have to be in a bank vault?" and a selfish director would say, "yes, and please open up a deposit box in there so you can go in to take me some photos... and get me the floor plans..."

To those assisting a director's vision, there shouldn't be any problems that's impossible to solve, and by me telling them exactly what I want, they will take this on as a challenge to make it work for me, this is the way that a director should act to show respect to his crew...

Production Designer...

sometimes when you and your production designer are both looking at the floor plan of a location, you both start to see different things, the PD will start off with what looks good and what makes sense... and it's my job as the director to say, may be this part doesn't have to make sense, because it reflects the way the character thinks... then we seem to always end up in a place where we are both happy... to the point where the location will look as good as it can, while functioning as an extension of the character in that space...


sometimes when you meet someone for the first time, you get an impression of what they would be like... and when they start to talk, the impression you had is shattered... the way a person talks tells a lot about that person, actors in auditions who asks a lot of questions are usually nervous and are trying to mask it by showing interest in the film rather than just their part... some actors would show up, learn their lines in the seat that they wait in and walk in and does the scene then thanks you and leaves... they leave you wanting to see more of them and those who end up staying behind, asking whether there are any big name actors in their scenes usually end up being forgotten very quickly... I am really looking forward to meeting the costume designer and the editor this week... for a couple of reasons... one, I am the kind of director that believes in the person playing the role, not the other way around, no offense to the "method actors" out there, but when I try to get into a character while I write, I tend to start with the way they are dressed... do they have a necklace, does it have meaning to them... so costumes to me is 50% of the job, the other 50% is saying the lines as a person who would dress they way they do... that to me is acting...

... as for meeting the editor... I had campaigned long and hard with the producers to let me cut the first cut... the first cut is fun, because you are discovering new things you hadn't thought of in the writing process... and the first cut is also the hardest, because any director would agree that no one can look at a 90 minute script and end up with a 90 minute movie... most first cuts are 3 hours because you don't want to leave anything out... and thats also the reason why the producers would not let me make the first cut... because I would end up with a 3 hour cut... so meeting an editor will be a new experience for me, I have cut everything I shot so far in my short career and it's been okay for me, but the edits have been just as good as I can direct... but I realize out there that there are editors who are better at cutting than I am a director if that makes sense... that's why letting someone make the first cut is a logical choice for the producers....


over 9 years ago 0 likes  4 comments  0 shares
Koolcampus 25 logo kteam medium
DANIEL, It's YOUR time, THIS time. Keep up the good work!
over 9 years ago
Johnnylu f9 johnnylu
Coming to hk in September for a day trip/visa run. Let's grab lunch before I get my ass back on da plane
over 9 years ago
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
love these blogs! very interesting stuff....
over 9 years ago
Kenjilui 15 blog profile
i totally agree with you about editing, for all of the films I made, the first cut was always (at least) 1/3 longer than the final cut... haha..
over 9 years ago


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Languages Spoken
english, cantonese, mandarin
Location (City, Country)
Hong Kong
Member Since
September 21, 2007

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