Camera Con

14 Jan

Two days ago marked the end of our shoot, and also stands out in my mind as one of the most ridiculous, hysterical days of filmmaking I have ever lived through.

We needed to get a few shots inside the Mitaka train station as well as on the train, but we had no permits. Without permits, we were told we’d be shut down within a matter of minutes. The Japanese metro officers inside the stations are on constant lookout for large groups of caucasians with giant cameras and no documents.

My job was to distract these vultures while Trevor, Zack, and Joey set up the camera and pulled off the shots. Imagine the Ocean’s 11 Crew shooting a film instead of robbing casinos. We had a blueprint plan the we formulated beforehand, and we had to be quick and secretive.

I rushed into the station first, obviously wearing my tuxedo and sunglasses, and approached the observation/help desk that happened to be yards from our camera setup. I stepped up to the Japanese officer on duty, feeling a hundred percent like James Bond, except this is a James Bond who is nervous, lanky, and can only speak English. I immediately blocked his view of the camera position by leaning so far across the counter that my feet left the ground. It was a rather flirtatious position, and I think he thought the same because he almost tripped over his feet to avoid my maneuver. At this point, I hadn’t said a word to the guy, but had already established with my body language that I was interested in a mild friendship at the very least. My first question was how to get to Mount Fuji. He didn’t understand a word of the question, though, so I asked again. Still no response, so I asked again. Still no response, so I started making the universal shape for a mountain with my hands while saying “Fuji, Fuji, Fuji” over and over again. Finally he got the idea, so he pulled out a map and showed me how to get there. I didn’t understand a word of it.

Ten minutes later, I glanced over my shoulder and realized they weren’t done shooting, and I didn’t know how to distract him any longer, but one of the few phrases I know in Japanese is how to ask someone’s name. “O namae wa,” I said. He stared blankly at me for at least a good, awkward five seconds, then he told me his name. Then I told him mine. We shook hands and I was gone. I’m pretty certain he didn’t sleep that night. Call me a creep, but at least we got the shots.



2 Responses to “Camera Con”

  1. Rhonda Kessinger January 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    I love it! I am so glad you all finished and I am so excited to see the film.

  2. Junko Malandra March 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    I love your episode! I am so glad that your practice in the Japanese class was paid off : )

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