As the 2009 spring semester starts at a quickened pace, I want to take the time to reflect upon the work that I contributed to the film ‘Bicycle’, which was filmed in Tokyo, Japan in January of 2009.
To begin, I want to remind myself, and possibly others, of the original vision that we had for the film ‘Bicycle’. Not at the time when we picked the script, but when we realized the relevance of the script to Japanese culture. Everyone on the team began to look at the script/movie from a completely different, un-hollywoodized perspective and we saw even greater promise in the project. So perhaps my first piece of encouragement is simply, remember the audience. I want to challenge you to remember the differences in culture that you experienced on your trip to Japan. It is very easy to view this Japanese movie with American eyes, and forget the overall vision, and the overall audience. While working on this movie remember to step out from your perspective and view the project from the perspective of the Japanese culture.
Similar to the overall relevance, is the overall need. The Japanese culture needs this film, they need hope, and they need joy. For a second take a step out of a filmmaker’s shoes and take a step into the shoes of a missionary. Production quality aside, can this film still make a powerful impact on Japanese society? Definitely. Can this film seed hearts, open doors, and bring souls to the joy, forgiveness, and salvation that rest in Christ, Jesus? More than likely.
With these simple questions answered, remember to look at the overall scope of this film. Are you doing this for your glory, or the glory of your Father? I sure hope we are answering the latter. From day one this has been God’s project, not ours. God has allowed this film to happen, and provided when we didn’t think we could go further. We should feel blessed to be used by Him and expand His eternal kingdom. We can’t forget this!
Lastly, I want to recall the trip itself. It was an amazing blessing to travel to a beautiful location like Japan. Even more so, we had an awesome time. One of the highlights of the trip was definitely the showing of the teaser at the wrap party. Do you remember the excitement and the emotions that were stirred up in those three minutes? A sense of accomplishment, pride, and joy radiated from me (as I am sure it did from everybody). It was so fulfilling to watch a piece of the movie that we had worked so hard on, it was worth every long night, every bad moment, and every problem that we encountered during travel and production. Remember these things, but more importantly remember the Japanese people and what this film could mean for them.
We are blessed. Those are the only words that come to mind when I think about this film. We have been chosen to be a part in God’s plan to spread His word to the Japanese people, what an honor! We are not only blessed to be a blessing, but to have experienced the things we did, with the people we went with. This trip and film will be with me forever; it will be one of those memories that I never forget. It is amazing to see how far everyone has come from the very first day of class in August, to now. We have selected a script, revised, planned, scheduled, traveled, shot, experienced, and have begun post. Wow. It is really incredible if you think about it. Any movie that is completed is a miracle, and to think that we shot this film internationally is truly an achievement. Everything was against us; even something as easy as getting food, transportation etc. is incredibly difficult because of the language and cultural barriers. Despite our challenges, we rose above, came through, and delivered a film that is proving to be pretty powerful. It is my prayer that God will use this miracle of miracles to further His kingdom and spread the knowledge of Christ to the ends of the earth.
We have to remember that this is God’s film, not our own. In keeping with this mindset it is important that ALL members of our team remain humble, because no one person can take credit for the creation of this film. God had a plan, God made it happen, God provided, and to God ALONE be the glory and the praise. We have had the opportunity to be a part of something amazing, I really hope no one takes it for granted, but rather feels privileged to be God’s hands in the construction of this miracle of miracles.
~Soli Deo Gloria~
In Christ,
Christian

Well, its been several days since the 13 of us came back from the future…  (Oh, for those of you who are not tracking on this one, Japan is actually a day ahead of the United States. So when flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo, you’re actually flying into the future.  Pretty sweet, huh? Now the Japan team can truthfully claim to have lived 2 weeks of our lives in the future.)   Anyway, after a few days of processing I have come to realize that I learned several very important things from my trip to the future… or Japan, which ever way you’d rather look at it.

First off, I learned that a dedicated crew can really make just about anything happen- they can even accomplish a 38 scene script within a schedule that is, in all truthfulness, a day and a half too short.  On top of that, over half of the crew had never done their particular jobs for any film before this one.  Simply finishing a film with a crew that had such seemingly minimal experience would be tremendous enough, but to come out with the amazing product that we have is truly a testament to everyones hard work but mostly God’s answer to prayer.  Thanks guys for your tireless commitment even on all the days that didn’t work out as we’d planned.

Second, great actors are magic.  The pleasure of getting to work with Yui-san for an afternoon and Yugo-san for an entire week was truly unbelievable.  I’m not sure that any of us really understood the script that we were trying to make as well as Yugo did. I can’t count the number of times that I watched him do a scene and I thought, “Oh, thats what this is suppose to look like. That makes so much of this script make sense. I really like this thing now.”  Very few student projects ever get the chance to work with actors that have such amazing talent and subtlety in their performances.  What an amazing honor we have just had.

Lastly, a cross cultural experience just makes everything cooler.  As this was my first time out of the country, there was no shortage of things that amazed me.  Every meal was an adventure. Every trip to a new location held some exciting new experience.  I feel so enlightened about humanity as a whole, having simply walked amongst a people that do not share my worldview or most of my presuppositions on life.

This has truly been a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see the final outcome.

Congratulations again guys. You all did great. I am very proud to have been a part of this shoot.

Harmonium out.

Here we are, Korea’s Incheon Int’l Airport and we have yet to make our journey back in time to arrive 6 hours before we leave.  If that makes complete sense, bravo.  This have been an incredible experience, in so many ways, the goods and the minimal bads.  Right now, we’re sitting in front of our gate, with more macs and film equipment surrounding us than other personal belongings.  But, right now they just called us to the gate so, OFF TO CALIFORNIA! 🙂 I think we’re all pretty glad to be going home, especially after such a fulfilling experience, one that can never be duplicated.

We’re off!!!

~Stephanie

Well we have landed in Korea and are about to board Asiana flight 204 to LA. For anyone that doesn’t know by now we will be landing in LA at 1:40PM.

I’m kinda board so I’m going to list off all of the raw food that we have consumed over the past two weeks. Here it goes.

1. Tuna
2. Salmon
3. Eel
4. Horse
5. Sea Urchant
6. Salmon Eggs
7. Squid
8. Octopus
9. Yellow Tale
10. Pig Intestines (cooked)
11. Eggs
12. Shrimp
13. Prawns

Also we lost Chee for acouple hours and he came back claiming he had eaten human flesh, when we pressed him further about the experience he admitted he was chatting it up with GF-Dizzle Leese.

Holy schnikees! Dudes it has been a crazy last couple of days on this trip…let’s see here…on Wednesday we hit up this museum…pretty sweet it was about this Japanese filmmaker guy…he’s kind of a big deal so I’m told… Most importantly they had one of those spinny strobey things like at California adventure with the pixar characters! And me and the sky man probs had the best tour of the museum cause we make each other laugh so much! Dinner Wednesday: delightful strip steak! Guys I’m telling you best meal of all time…and by all time I mean the last two weeks… Nite capped with crazy awesome comic book parafenalia shop…Steen nearly had a coniption of joy and glee! Thursday held fantastic things in store for me and the boys… While the more wealthy and Disney bent travellers hit up the Dizzle…we hit up the country side and ended up in a little town called Sawai… We hiked around this river and hit up a shrine temple thingy…super awesome…with some assistance from Peter me and CY got our kanji on big time in order to navigate the six different trains we had to jump on… Oh and Schmagge and Steen both had pig intestines unknowingly for lunch… We got these two old ladies who were the cooks at this little restaurant to come out and try to tell us what they were eating…after making different animal noises cause they didn’t speak a lick of English…CY traced his intestines and they were all like yes that is what we served you! So nasty…I nearly had to yammi right there on the spot…the cooks thought it was the funniest thing…

Today was good pretty much did zero…I ordered myself a pair of kicks that won’t leak…Dean (mountain rice paddy field) lead me and the Steen to this pretty dope bakery that I plan to make my last meal in the country tomorrow morning…

Japan it’s been real…maybe I’ll return someday…hey everybody…keep your stick on the ice

-Chee out

Liner notes to my faithful reader Ryan G….I love u man can’t wait to see you! We’ll go out and share a few laughs…

This will probably be my last post written in Japan . . . better be good, pressure’s on! 

These past two days have been really relaxing and fun–with little bits of excitement tossed in too! On Tuesday we did much, much walking and shopping and seeing, etc etc. Chee already wrote about it, but there was a guy on the train who got mad at Dan for taking a picture and followed us all through the train station. Dean totally got in his face and stared that dude down! Intense.  There was also some police interaction. But what’s a trip to another country without some excitement like that, I mean really?  

Yesterday we went to the Ghibli museum and saw a pidgeon get run over. Not in that order. And not to say that the pidgeon being squished was more exciting than the Ghibli. The museum was very cool, with lots of animation and stuff. Anyway. We had a supremely delicious cast/crew wrap dinner last night at Fujimama’s. Expensive, gourmet, and really ridiculously good. Followed by the inevitable crepes, of course!

Today half the group is going to Tokyo Disney Sea, and the other half is going to some Hot Springs up in the mountains. Not a fan of Disney, and also not hugely into getting naked at some Hot Springs, Peter and I are going to the Imperial Palace! I do actually plan to use my camera today–amazing! 

Tomorrow is our last day! Craziness! This has been an incredible experience. That’s really all I can say. 

– Sara

a gorgeous day on the beach

a gorgeous day on the beach

From the perspective of producer in Japan, some comments:

1. The group of fifteen from Biola arrived in Tokyo on Jan 5, 2009 and we started shooting the next day. For seven days our mobile crew moved to a number of locations in or near Tokyo, finishing on the afternoon of Jan 12.

It was an extremely intense, busy time with a number of huge challenges, but we did it! One of the “crazy” aspects of the film was shooting out the back of a van with the hatch open (I was the driver) in the busy and/or narrow streets of Harajuku. The steadycam crew in back (Daniel and Christian) made it work and the results are most impressive. It was also quit crazy shooting in Josh’s small apartment for many hours with twenty crew and cast, and all thier macs, crammed in.

2. Besides the crew of fifteen from Biola, we had eight crew members from Japan. We had about 12 cast members, including several high school students we engaged for a short but important scene in a tunnel in Shibuya. So, we had over forty people directly involved in the shoot. Plus, at least ten more people helped out with driving, food, bookkeeping and other areas.

3. Everyone involved, from Biola and from Japan, did a very good job — no exceptions. The attitudes, dedication, and professionalism of this group has been most impressive. It has been a tremendous experience, an honor and a privilege, to work with such wonderful people. We all worked hard, very hard, and at times it was tough, but I think we would all agree that it was worth the effort.

4. I have had the feeling all along that we were part of a special project that would result in a good film. Then, I saw the trailer that Jadon put together for our wrap party on Monday evening…. now I think this film is going be outstanding. I am looking forward to seeing it (we think the premiere will be in September, in LA).

5. Thanks Dean, and all of your crew for coming to Tokyo to work with us! You and your crew have all been wonderful to work with; I deeply appreciate the opportunity to know you and your crew and to work on this project together.

6. Kyle (Biola crew) has done a superb job of taking photos, here are links to the albums he created on facebook:

For more information read the awesome posts on this blog, I also posted about “Bicycle” here: “Bicycle” – A Film by Biola University & Studio Re:

Paul Nethercott, Japan Producer

Ladies and gentlemen that is a wrap! We did it, and I never doubted us for a second, Old Betsy came through… Our last shot was a close up of our lead actor and we all crowded around the moniter to watch our labors and joys come to a close… I had the honor and priveledge of hosting our wrap party…which was a blast to be a part of and very satisfying for each of us on the crew to see some of our work on the screen… So day one of adventureland found me schmagge, sky man and the steener on the streets all over again we ate some food…America strikes again folks..me and schmagge partook of of some delicious subway for lunch…while others experimented and failed…dinner was a delightful pair of burgs that I chased with not one but two frostys from the wendys…one of the choc variety and another of the vanilla variety…but after 8 or so hours of walking around the crew accomplished two things we ate twice and we got to see the Dean mistro throw down at the train station… He single handedly defended his team from some psycho who attempted to take Daniel the Maniel McNut down for snapping a few pics in a public area…luckily dean had a C-stand that he could have easily laid the dude down if need be…but Dean avoided the c-stand decking… Good looking out Dean!

I wonder what tomorrow holds…perhaps schmagge and me will get caught up in a drug ring and mistakenly bring hundreds of dealers to justice…only time will tell…

Hey everybody… Keep your stick on the ice

-Chee out

Liner Notes…Chuck word on the street is you’ve been checking up on this bad boy…u r the man..hope all is well in the snatch tell grandma I said hi

Chills down the spine, that was my reaction to our mini-trailer.  I’d seen parts of the footage prior to the shoot, but getting a little glimpse in a more linear form on the night of the wrap party was a real treat.  I cannot wait to see the finished product… but I’ll have to wait… for a while… hah.

That being said, I’m really, really, really looking forward to the Studio Ghibli Museum tomorrow.

-Casey

1. The people

2. Heated toilet seats

 

-Daniel