Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My First Movie: Part 1

Ok, I am going to try to accurately describe the events of last Saturday on the set of Kanikosen in Ashikaga. Now comes my usual dilemma. Do I start at the beginning or in the thick of it?

This project was nothing close to what I had imagined. I thought that because the story is rather serious that this was going to be a serious period piece. I thought that as an "extra" that I would be doing some little busywork in a corner a mile away from the camera just to give some atmosphere. I was wrong. So, sooo wrong. There was nothing extra about what I and the other 19 or so white guys did. We were virtually the whole freaking shoot. About the time I saw the dancing clowns I realized that I had signed up for something that I didn't fully understand.

The day began when we arrived at the set around 2:30, as per our instructions. I was pretty excited by this point, as I could tell by all the equipment and staff running around that this was a real endeavor. We were corralled into a heated blue tent that would serve as the break room/holding cell for the extras for the rest of the day. Soon we were greeted by Katsutoshi Hirabayashi, the Assistant Director that we had met with a couple of weeks prior. He gave us a little tour of the set, which had three distinct areas.

Before we had seen anything, we walked by a little break area where the two stars were hanging out.

Ryuhei Matsuda(wikipedia, imdb), I, and Hirofumi Arai(imdb). Both of these guys are apparently well known(thanks Don for the name). They are decked in their crab boat worker clothes.

Of the three little sets, the one that struck me the most was the crew's quarters. It was the squalid little area on the crab boat where the workers slept. The "cots" were just large metal pipes stacked on top on one another, and the ceiling was covered in pipes as well. It was so metallic and harsh that it reminded me a bit of a place you might find on a ship in The Matrix.

The tube bunk beds.

Katsutoshi told us that everything in the room had been made by them, and that many of the pipes above were actually made out of paper painted to look like metal. I was impressed.

The next area we saw had the same tone as before: metal, cold, and unforgiving. This was the factory part of the ship where the caught crab were processed and canned.

On the way in we spotted this little command center, just out of view of the set.

This hand powered conveyor belt looked like it would be an unfortunate tool to have to operate.

Last is the place where we would spend all of our time on camera: the Russian ship. Or just a little bit of the deck, rather.

I would soon become very intimately acquainted with this area.

More on this very soon. I want to show everything before I leave for Hong Kong, in THREE days!


  1. Hi John,

    Great write-up. FYI, Matsuda's co-star is Arai Hirofumi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1078422/).

  2. Thanks a ton! Not knowing that was bothering me. I already changed it.