Making a Film in a Pandemic
Updated: May 13, 2020
I stopped all work on the film to make masks but my heart wasn't in it. With the world going to hell in a hand basket and growing more surreal by the moment, the film was a wonderful escape from reality.
It was relatively easy to move pre-production online with Zoom. But I really miss just sitting down with the crew for a beer. It builds crew camaraderie which translates into a more cohesive and comfortable set. I held my first Zoom crew meeting on April 7th. Many of the crew had never met.
Shannon Umetani, First Assistant Director/Line Producer, is an experienced freelance producer who graduated from the University of Denver in Communications. She's worked for Warren Miller Entertainment, Discovery Channel, and Next Generation Pictures. She's currently producing projects and being a full-time mother/educator/and adjudicator for three children at home during the pandemic. That is the definition of a real superwoman. Fuji Dreskin, Second Unit Director, Storyboard Artist and illustrator is a multi-talented ball of fire. She's also a music video director, rap artist and animal rights advocate. Howard Fujimoto, Casting Director, has a degree in Theater Arts from USC. In addition to his acting work, he was the finance manager for "Children of the Camps," a documentary about the psychological effects of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Fabian Sabastien, Unit Production Manager, founded City Roots TV in Denver which is an urban news, style and entertainment production company. Fabian has more positive energy than an entire basketball team. Phoenix Chu, the Director of Photography, is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Denver with a BFA in Film and Television. His work is first class and a director's dream. In 2018 he won the Movie Magic Producer Award and Cinefest's Best Cinematography award in 2019. He's now a producer with Liquid Luck Productions. Tim Davids, Action Director, graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a BFA in Film Production and has worked for nearly a decade as a freelance commercial director, editor, writer and DP. We both agree "John Wick" and "Kill Bill" revolutionized action films. Twanna LaTrice Hill, our Social Media Coordinator, is a writer, actress, and social activist. She is now on a fellowship at Lighthouse Writers working on a memoir. Andrea Dreskin, website designer and photographer, donated her time to produce this incredible web site. Her graphic skills and high standards are evident throughout. Any poor taste or judgement errors are entirely my own. You can see crew pictures on the content pages for "Dirty Rotten Tofu" here on the website. I am so fortunate to have these incredible people on board. I feel like Chris Pratt as Star Lord, ready to rumble with his "Guardians of the Galaxy" crew.
Our goal remains to shoot in late August but we're dependent on the state of the Pandemic. First and foremost, I refuse to put any life in jeopardy over a film. Every film is a fight against impossible odds and evil trolls wait to ambush filmmakers at every turn. Ron Howard says (paraphrase), "At some point, every film you make finds a way to break your heart." My mantra these days: "Never give up, never surrender." ("Galaxy Quest").