Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wintertime in Kashgar

I'm too tired to spend much time writing about what I've been doing, but here are some pictures that Dagan took of the alleys we dressed last week for a day of shooting. (This is not real snow.)
It's fun working on the set and following the team around. It's like being in a making-of like you'd see on a DVD.
I'll hopefully get back with more pictures and more to tell later. I think basically you will all have to wait until the movie comes out and I can watch it with you and ruin it with my commentary.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How I came to have a cooler job than the last one

I've been looking at a few odd jobs on the classifieds on That's Beijing, and I had a phone interview with some guy from an online clothing store for a position for "Procurement Specialist" which I think must be a scam, because he didn't call me back after I explained my confusion about how there's actually nothing for sale on his website. I also met with Carl Crook, who is in fact a really interesting guy, but didn't have any particular ideas about jobs for me. And I had a little translation deal which I lost when I was undercut by a poor Chinese person. This all turned out for the best, though, after I met with some friends I made through the hiring I had done for J&J.

Like I mentioned before, everybody in this circle of film people knows each other, and these friends had happened to hear that they were short a translator on The Kite Runner, and suggested that I give this girl Sherrie a call, who was working on the movie and I had called in to interview for J&J earlier. So I called her, and she gave me the number of the production coordinator, who actually called me before I had the chance to get home and dial her number. She gave me a brief phone interview, explained that they needed a translator for the special effects prop people, thought I was an overseas Chinese from my accent, and had me in the next afternoon. I met the Chinese SFX propmaster, who is a pretty chill Beijing dude. He brought me into his workshop where his crew was standing around making fake pomegranates, and I chatted with them for a while. I went back to the production office, and the lady gave me told me I was hired and I should come back the next day at 9 am to meet the foreign SFX supervisor, to whom I am to report directly.

The past two days I've been following him around trying to prepare everything we need to get on the truck to Kashgar by Wednesday. We need snow, smoke, bullets, rocks, blood from public stonings, glass, blood from sodomy, wind, all fake, and everything that goes along with it, including people and equipment. I have to understand how every special effect we do works, and what everything is made of, because I have to communicate this all between the two languages.

The office seems to be full of professional, capable, and friendly people, who are understanding and patient with me. We have a private catering service, and fruit and drinks sitting around for the pickings all day. Right now we have a driver to take us around Beijing, and I guess after the 10th it's off to Kashgar to shoot!

Also of note is that despite the fact that the office is way the hell on the other side of the city, there happens to be an air conditioned express bus which runs directly between there and my house.

To sum up, it's pretty much absurd how well everything just happened to work out, and I'm trying to be wary of getting too giddy about it until I figure out what's the catch.