Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blog move

I guess it's a bit cliche to move my blog just a week after I start it. But still, there it is. From now on, go to http://mexploitation.blogmexicano.com/ to get your mexploitation fix.

Dates set

I got mail yesterday that the dates for shooting have been set. We start on November 21st, and wrap on December 4th. That's 14 days of shooting, which is insane. I'm doubtful we'll make it, but we'll see. I'll work 4 of those 14 days, it seems. This slight delay means I might have a chance to go to the gym for a week or two before we start too. I could use that.

Also, I sent off my contact lens specifications to the producer. I get a fondue fork stuck in my eye late in the second act, and I'll need an effect lens for the rest of my scenes. Damn brat, I'm starting to feel better about farting him in the face.

On the writing side, I'm reading screenwriting books. I've read a few before, and I don't feel like I'm getting too much new advice, but I figure it's useful anyway. In summary, Syd Field is a bombastic bastard who doesn't know how to write books (he's probably better at screenplays). I barely got through Screenplay, it was so badly written. Robert McKee is a lot more eloquent, and his stuff makes quite a bit of sense. I'm halfway through Story now, and I'm enjoying it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Comando Zorras

I mentioned Comando Zorras briefly yesterday, and I think it perhaps deserves more explanation. It was Miguel Bonilla's first movie as a director. His inexperience was showing, but he did a decent job, considering. The script was a bigger problem, written by a communications student who had learned the basics of screenwriting in a course at her school. It was not particularly good or coherent in any way, and a lot of it was changed as we were shooting anyway.

Part of what was supposed to be the movie's attractions was the casting of Paola Durante as one of the bad guys. Paola Durante was a TV hostess, or rather, window dressing, in popular comedian Paco Stanley's show. When Stanley was murdered in a drive-by shooting, she became a suspect, and spent almost two years in jail before being cleared of all charges. She's a household name in Mexico, and her infamy was seen to be good for the movie.

The story of CZ revolves around a school teacher whose student is kidnapped by Colombian Satanist drug dealers to be used as a sacrifice. Urged to find the girl by the girl's wheelchair-bound father, she receives a tip from a mysterious old man on the street, and following the tip, she ends up at a strip club. She takes a job there, gets to know the strippers, and since she's actually secretly a CIA-trained assassin, she trains the strippers in martial arts, so that they can help her recover the kidnapped girl. The Colombians are regular customers at the strip club, and so she and the other strippers end up at the drug dealers' house at the night of the sacrifice. The owner of the strip club and his bodyguard, played by Leo and me, follow them there, everyone fights everyone, the main Colombian Satanist drug dealer disappears in a cloud of smoke (literally) by use of black magic, and the girl is saved. When the teacher/CIA assassin returns the girl to the father, he is so happy he magically rises from his wheelchair and can walk again.

I can assure you that it's at least as bad as it sounds.

Shooting it was quite fun, though, the people were nice (some of them were already friends of mine, and I made several more on set), and it was a learning experience, both in what to do and what not to do. Also, filming fight scenes is a blast. Many of the smaller bad guy roles were filled by people who were martial arts teachers and the like, and they did some crazy stuff. It was especially satisfying to get to win the fights against them, of course.

For some reason, the movie took forever to edit, and I was not overly happy with the final cut, although it was probably not horrible given the material they had to work with. Also, it's unclear to me if it was released as planned or not. Last I heard it had been distributed, and was also something of a success, although I don't know if they were talking about pre-orders, or actual sales/rentals.

I think that the new movie's going to be a hell of a lot better, though. It's much better planned, the script is solid, and in general I have a better feeling about it.

I've been trying to dig up photos from the production of Comando Zorras, but I haven't been able to find any yet. There should be both movie stills and behind the scenes photos somewhere, though, so I'll keep looking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Preparations

We had a small cast meeting on Monday to get the script and talk about the movie. Leo, Øyvind, and I were there, as well as Alex, our director/screenwriter, and Paola, Leo's wife, who happens to be the producer of the movie.

The last movie we did was Comando Zorras (Slut Commando), of course, about a group of strippers who become deadly commandos and rescue a kidnapped little girl from becoming a human sacrifice at the hands of Colombian Satanist drug dealers. For some reason it's not up on IMDB, I don't quite know why. It was spectacularly bad, but that's never stopped IMDB before.

Alex was assistant director on Comando Zorras, and did a heroic job, as far as I could tell. None of that movie's badness was his fault, it had mostly to do with the script, and an inexperienced director. Anyway, from Alex' drooling over the casting photos for CZ, I'd already surmised that he was a bit of a pervert. This was roundly and thoroughly confirmed when he handed over the script to the new movie, and started explaining in great detail about the parts he especially liked. Suffice to say, Leo gets to insert foreign objects into some girl's vagina, I fart on some poor kid's face, and Øyvind, well, Alex has some weird fixation on Øyvind's nose (which is, admittedly, quite abundant).

Reading the script, however, it turns out he definitely knows what he's doing. Apart from the genre conventions, slightly infantile humor, and tons of tits, ass, and sexual innuendo that can be expected from Mexican direct to video exploitation films, it's structurally quite solid, it flows along nicely, and he has some good ideas, not to mention strong visual sense.

If this doesn't turn out at least a quite acceptable direct to video production, at least it won't be Alex' fault. I'm worried that they somehow seem to think it's doable to shoot a 1:10 (or so) movie in 14 days, but that's not really my problem, apart from the getting up early in the mornings and working until late.

It seems Alex got wind of my writing too, so he asked me for feedback and suggestions on the script. I don't have major problems with it, but I might try to get out of the farting scene. Who knows.

Shooting starts in the first half of November.

New Blog

I've set up this new blog to try to document my adventures in Mexican direct-to-video movies productions. It's sort of parallel to my old personal blog, which I don't update much any more.

I think I'll probably update this one more, since I have something more specific to write about.