Feng Shui

Date posted on August 2, 2011

Only in the Philippines.

Or maybe, also in China and other Oriental societies.

No wonder Star Cinema made an entire movie out of it.

Today, we break for the production of Sarah Geronimo and Gerald Anderson’s new movie. As of yesterday, there’s only a fourth of the sequence treatment, and five sequences fully scripted.

Last Saturday, we had a creative meeting with the head of the Creative Department to ‘fix’ the then-existing full sequence treatment. In that discussion, we ended up changing the plot and readjusting characterizations of the two lead characters.

Immediately after, we had a production meeting where we were to finalize details of the first day of shoot three days after. When we were meeting that Saturday, I was pointing out that if it truly was necessary to shoot on Tuesday (today), I’d be more than willing to adapt and roll with the punches. But I couldn’t help but point out how ludicrous it was to do so when only one of the lead actors was available, none of the supporting characters had been cast, the main set hadn’t been built, there were two friggin’ days left to prepare, AND NO SCRIPT YET!!!!

The reason for all the rush is because in our company, we can only start filming on certain days. Why? Because of Feng Shui. The Feng Shui on the first day of your production supposedly determines the success of the rest of the shoot and the box office performance. And of course, there’s no arguing with that. Never mind that the production isn’t ready, and we already have a play date on October. We can’t mess up with Feng Shui, so naturally, I’ve no choice but to concede.

I asked if it were possible to shoot without the lead actors on the first day of shoot. I thought, well, it’s still possible anyway. Since I already started helping out with the writing of the film so we can run things along and speed up the preparation, I was confident that I will be keeping the first three sequences that I’ve co-written with the original writer.

But no, we never shoot the first day without the lead characters, they said.

Alright then.

Their solution was to have the scriptwriter submit whatever she can finish by Sunday evening. The creative team will meet the following day and agree on what sequences can be shot for Tuesday.

When we met yesterday, Monday, everyone was happy with the first few sequences and agreed that we can shoot one particular sequence that had the lead actress in it and three main supporting characters. These support characters could be confidently cast within the day since  I have already pr-eapproved the short list and go-sees had been scheduled already. Although the biggest support character in the film who was also needed in that identified sequence for the first day of shoot had not been cast, we already devised a contingency so that filming can still proceed.

Go-see went well and we were able to cast two support characters.

And then I get told that the lead actress had a cut-off time of 4 in the afternoon. We were scheduled to grind in the evening as all the scenes were night effects. And by the way… early yesterday, I was told that the DP had resigned.

That first day of shoot has come. Today, we break the production of my first full length, 35mm film.

Thankfully, all those problems were resolved.

After scrambling to decide on what sequence to shoot, they went with my original idea of shooting the first sequence that had a cameo appearance of a recognizable young actress, but didn’t have any of the two leads. Thankfully, cameo actress I liked was green-lighted by the Managing Director, and she was also available for today’s shoot.

They found a DP to substitute for the originally commissioned DP. Someone I haven’t worked with but with whom I was quite familiar.

Locations were locked last night. It even turned out that our cameo actress owned the town house that we were shooting at – as luck would have it. Permission was granted instantaneously.

Just now, I received photos of the car to be used for tonight’s sequences. I had some comments and production manager will work on it, but otherwise, we already have a good back up.

So, all is set. This is it! I guess Feng Shui really works 🙂

PS – Running late. Off to attend to the look test of the male lead in a few. Lunch, shower and clothes in 30 minutes!