This was the first ever film project I produced with the super talented Joshua Wong of The Laundromatte. We'd talked about producing and directing some quality story driven content together for years. Separately I'd managed his band Noughts and Exes (arguably the most famous Indie Band in Hong Kong) for some time and worked with him on the popular musical flashmob video we did for their song Hearts
as well as lending some small support for their previous award winning music video The Start Of Us
, but now it was finally time to do something with a narrative behind it.
You may be aware that every year Doritos hosts a competition called "Crash The Superbowl" where they invite film-makers from all over the world to submit their idea for a 30 second commercial for Doritos. The winner would be featured as their actual commercial at The Superbowl - the most watched event on television - and would also receive a cash prize of US$1 million. This certainly all sounded very appealing, however the main reason we selected this competition as the first time to work together on a film-type project was because there was a finite timeline! And it was soon! This would mean that there was no way we could put off taking action again for months or even years and instead we'd be forced to come up with an idea, pull together the actors locations and props, shoot it, edit it and submit it in a total time period of about 10 days!
Right off we go...
First thing was the concept. Josh came up with a fantastic idea within no time flat (that is his specialty, along with directing, editing and composing music), I loved it so it was a go. Next we needed a crew. Enter the supremely skilled Derrick Fong:
|I AM DERRICK FONG|
He has shot everything from New York Indie Films, to Japanese TV Shows to Bollywood Blockbusters, so was clearly the man for the job!
Then we needed our actors. As it was an action piece, I contacted my good friend Harry Oram who in addition to his own very strong acting background (Transformers 4, Dragonblade alongside Jackie Chan, John Cusack & Adrian Brody) also happens to be connected to a crew of top quality action actors that he works with regularly. He quickly came on board and brought with him Temur Mamisashvili, Philippe Joly and our lead actor Tom Caserto.
|Philippe, Harry & Temur |
Lastly we just needed our heroine in distress, which was filled by the beautiful and talented Katey Daniel who has danced, sung and acted her way across two of the world's biggest continents.
The stage was all set and now I had the basic pieces in place, it was time to figure out location and shoot times. Because of everybody's busy timetables and the fast approaching deadline we had to settle for a single overnight shoot, with all of us heading straight to work the morning after. Location-wise we picked the back streets of Kwun Tong, partly for their enclosed, threatening, industrial feel and partly because no one is ever there late at night, so less chance of our production getting shot down.
With everything locked into place we headed to the location a couple of evenings later to both plan and rehearse all the complicated stunt moves. Then once we had them down, there was nothing left to do but shoot, so the next day that's exactly what we did. From 9pm we set-up and shot a series of wild action scenes in the back streets of Kwun Tong with minimal preparation and even less precautions. Our team kicked, flipped, punched and flew around, running up walls, bounding over obstacles and destroying the special props we'd prepared for them to smash to pieces. By 5am we were done. Breakfast and off to work. A tough, but incredibly rewarding night.
|The Whole Crew|
From there it went into Josh's hands for editing and for a solid week he edited like a madman, whilst his cousin worked on sound and foley. As the deadline approached we were ready and up it went.
The initial response from the public was good and we were hopeful. Sure enough when it got to the 1st round of judging we made it through. Into the 2nd round now, exciting times! We waited and watched to see what would happen next. Competition was fierce and our vote rating went up and down agains the remaining competitors. Then we received a mail... We were through to the semi-finals! We had officially become the only entry from Asia to make it through to the semi-finals and were now considered one of the top 20 submissions in the world out of thousands of entries from all over the world.
Sadly we did not make it to the final 5 and that was as far as we got. Nevertheless, we were extremely happy with the result and we even got a small cash prize, which covered the costs of producing it. We'd come out the other end a bit more experienced, we had produced our first action piece, it had done extremely well on an international level and we'd made new friends and had loads of fun doing it.
If you've read this far and didn't watch the clip, scroll back to the top to see what it was all about. Hope you enjoyed it and keep reading to see a bunch of other exciting projects we worked on after this one.