Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alone in Tin Shui Wai (a film koan)

Day 17, Film 17

I'm not sure what people are making of this series of short films, but I'm having a blast. This is the first time I've shot so much stuff with no crew and no other actors. I didn't even know one could make films like this.

Not that this is the m.o. I want to follow from now on or anything--I'm simply making do with what I have for the time being. I'm available as a camera operator and an actor, and I haven't found actors in HK, hence these solo films. But I'm a little surprised that this can even be done, though I have to say that it's not easy. Working alone with a camera definitely has its hazards.

ALONE IN TIN SHUI WAI, the 17th short film in this series, reminds me of YOU CAN'T LEARN TO PLOW BY READING bOOKS, the feature film that Richard Linklater made before SLACKER. He shot it on Super-8. It is mostly of him doing mundane everyday stuff and riding the train through Texas. Very boring stuff, but he later said making that film, which he financed with an inheritance, was his film school.

This isn't my film school, but I've been reminded of little things here and there that I've forgotten over the years about how to frame shots and put shots together. Mostly, I'm enjoying this. They say that suckers do art for art's sake, and real artists do it for money.

That's a complex topic, which I don't want to get into, but I'll say this much. Obviously, I'm not making a cent from any of these short films. That sponsorship deal from Tsingtao never materialized. But, there are lots of dumber ways to waste one's time. I'm enjoying doing these films and seeing parts of Hong Kong that I wouldn't otherwise see.

Some of these short films are good. Others are not. Many people will think that these films and making them is pointless, especially since I'm not getting any money from them. This may be. But then again, what in this world, whether money is involved or not, really is that important in the big picture?

Anyway, that's way too much jabbering... Here's the film koan. It's about the perils of working alone when shooting a film. It's a little long, but stick with it. The ending is worth it.



Jim said...

I'm enjoying them all, for whatever that's worth. The last shot in "Super Handy Octopus Card" cracks me up, where the monkey gives you a sidelong glance as he's walking out of the picture. He's got great comic timing.

mao365 said...

Thanks, Jim. I'm glad someone's enjoying them besides me. And I agree w/ you about that monkey.