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

Casting for a major role...

With the making of a lot of films, by the time pre-production rolls around, most of the major parts should already be cast... studios have their own artists as with a lot of other smaller production companies... But then again, things don't always work out, and one of our leads had to leave for another job, so we were left with a couple of weeks to recast...

Desperate times are usually when you make mistakes, so we took our time, looked at our options and went ahead with meeting a few actors for the part... at the production office, the doors are frosted glass and opening them to meet someone for the first time is very nerve wrecking... you have seen them in print or video, now meeting them, will either exceed your expectations or not meet them at all... this one particular actor came in, they have read the script the night before and they showed up dressed completely wrong... the sad part is, they had the right look, the right voice, just presented themselves in the wrong way... needless to say, the audition really suffered... Even if I have an instinct about that person playing the role, I will have a tougher battle to convince everyone else who met with the actor that day, tho I know they will respect my decision if I decide to ask them to come back, but I will become the risk bearer in this case... it's easy for a producer to recommend someone, because it is just a suggestion, but it's hard for me as the director to take a chance on a hunch when it is the investors that I have to be responsible for in the end... which is why we end up going with a safe choice just to be on the safe side... which is a very sad thing... because for all I know, I will have to rely on my hunches for the entire shoot... the moment I start questioning that, may be the start of a long road ahead...

Meet the Editor

We haven't started shooting yet, and when I was told at the start of the week that the editor was coming in to meet with me, I was surprised, why so soon? the PM told me, when you meet him, you will know... and I asked once more after much pleading if I can direct the editor on how to cut... then the PM said, just meet with him and you will know the answer...

So I did... today I came to the office prepared, with notes on my "tempo" "structure", "feel"... and then the editor came in and shattered everything I thought I knew about my movie... he didn't do it with any ambiguous terms like I planned to do... he did it with details... cut this line, add this line, move this scene up 12 scenes, take this shot and shoot 3 different takes to use as flashbacks... get a shot of his fists... I have a way to use that shot... don't stop at the father beating his kid, let him beat the mother as well, show the kid watching it... then get a shot of the mother watching the kid watching her being beat by the father... do it all in POVs....

In our 30 minute meeting, he went through the whole script giving me his notes and shots he would like to have in the edit room... I went over the notes I took yesterday and I couldn't find one line of suggestion that I strongly disagreed with... what I mean is that most of his suggestions actually really helps present the movie more clearly and efficiently... while other notes like the father beating scene, needed more coverage rather than less... it was at this point I realized why my producer couldn't let me have director's cut on the film... it made perfect sense... my brain just doesn't function the way a professional editor does... at least not at such high capacities... He was direct, straight to the point, and did not hold back anything... I woke up today happy to have met him, cos I know I have a much better movie having done so...

Heads of department meeting...

Tomorrow is the first ever heads of department meeting... with myself, the 2 ADs and continuity, art department, project manager, DOP, costume designer, editor, composer, SFX supervisor... it's 2:49 and I don't think I will be able to sleep tonight, tomorrow will be the first time everyone will be present at the same time, and I know that all they have in their minds are questions about the film, how I want to shoot a certain scene and if I know when I want to do it... I know for a fact that I will have clear answers to some of these questions, while others I will defer to my AD, and the rest, I will end up scratching my head, staring off into space, pretend to look for an answer and wait for the asker of the question to give me some of his or her suggestions... and if they don't give me their suggestions, my AD will probably say something like... let the director think about it and he will get back to you...

In a way, I want to have all the answers for my crew, but at the same time I know I don't, and what I should be doing is ask for their thoughts, cos after all, everyone at the office tomorrow have made more films than I ever will in my life time and it's that experience that I need to take advantage of, rather than their ability to take my orders...

over 10 years ago 0 likes  1 comments  0 shares
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
interesting... i wouldn't think that dressing is so important for an audition! i figure that's something that you can fix when you are actually shooting.
over 10 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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