Friday, July 06, 2007

My July 4th

What a day to celebrate the Independence Day by waking up at 4:50 in the morning? Despite the fact that I went to bed at 1:30AM - I didn't feel all that tired.

My call time was 7:30AM.

But since I live out in East New York (outside of Manhattan) - it takes me 45 - 90 minutes to travel to the city. Since it was a Holiday, all trains are on Holiday schedule, I had no choice but to take the 5:55AM train.

Anyway, after I arrived in the City, I decided to walk to the set. Since I had plently of time to spend before my call time. (So I went to have some Soy Green Tea Latte at Starbucks, and then went to Walgreens to get a Single-use camera)

At 7:00AM. I arrived at the location.
I saw people setting up and unloading equipements in front of Umi Restaurant. I see some familiar face - of those whom I saw when I audition for the film, and those I saw when I went to the fitting session.

I was greeted by our Assistant DP, and 2nd ADP. From the corner of my eye, I saw a tall man sitting outside of the restaurant, eating some stuff. He just sat there, watching the people setting up tables and cameras and lights. Just when I was about to head to the craft table (where the production provide food for the crew), I was introduced to the that tall guy. He turned out to be the Director, Yukihiko Tsutsumi. I could sense that he's a very artistic person.

(Mr. Tsutsumi turned out not as 'serious' as I expected him to be. He's definately very professional when it comes to directing. He doesn't waste anytime - so all of our shots are quick, fast, and right to the point.)

His hair is longer now. (and yes. Still blonde)

Anyway, so while waiting for the crew to setup the restaurant, I saw by the staircase waiting. I saw people walking back and forth, some background came to get some coffee... Then the 2nd AD called me up and told me that I should get dressed up in my wardrobe. He then lead me to a trailer truck parked 1 block east of the restaurant.

"Nice Bus" - I thought. Inside, there was lady who handed me the wardrobe. The "Sushi Chef" outfit.
I undressed quickly, and put my stuff on the side. The hair/makeup artist then did some of her works on my hair and head-band.

After that, I just sat on the 'sofa' and wait for 2nd AD to call me when it's time to shoot. While waiting, I dug out my cell phone and took the following picture:

(Sorry about the quality of the photo. I'm still using one of the discontinued 2003 Camera Phones)

For those of you who are familiar with filming, you know that there will be a lot of 'waiting' during the process. I waited and waited. Asked if I could use the bathroom. I flushed the toilet, came out.
Then I saw this skinny Asian guy sitting on the other side of the 'sofa,' putting on his shoes. He was wearing a very nice fitted Camouflage T-shirt. I saw down, without looking at him, I continued to text-message my sister. Then he was called by the hair/makeup artist to go to the back of the bus.
At the same time that he was getting hair blown by the hair/makeup artist, I was called onto the set.

My first impress when I entered "UMI" was that, everything was transformed. The sushi counter was fixed with a lot of Non-traditional stuff. (Sorry, I can't release too much information, but I thought everything was really cute & delicious)
There was another NY actor in the restaurant, and he plays my customer. We chatted briefly, until a man came to me and introduced himself as "Food Coordinator & Specialist." he showed me some simple moves on how to make Sushi. (Ahem. I don't cook. And I've never made Sushi before) Can you imagine rice got all over my hands while I try to roll them into a ball? The worst part was, I was using and re-using the same salmon for my pratice. At the end of the day, that piece of 'pratice' salmon fell into 5 tiny pieces... the color got a bit darker. And, my hands smelled like fish. I was joking with the other actor if he wants a piece of my special 'warm' salmon sushi on dry sticky rice.

For about 30 minutes, I have been chatting with the other actor while fondling the salmon in my hand with a bunch of stick rice.

Yeah. It was fun and disgusting at the same time.

Then, around 8:50AM, they started to shoot interior. That's when the Asian guy in Camo shirt came into the restaurant.

"Tsukasa. Tsukasa." The assistant DP addressed him while giving the other Actor and I briefing of our scene.

That's when I realized that "Tsukasa" is the famous and super popular Domoto Koichi.

(His hair on the set, is about the same length. But more messy)
(Note: Thank you Sophie, for correcting my mistake on posting the wrong picture)

It was silly how I couldn't recongize him when I saw him in the dressing room. (But again, I'm not familiar with Kinki Kids. On the other hand, I worship Namie Amuro and Tomomi Kahala!! TOMOCHAN I LOVE YOU!!)

ANYWAY, back to "Sushi Prince" --- Tasukasa is darker than I thought. (Thank you Nana, for explain why he had such a darker complextion). Most of the time, he stood there being very quiet (and shy?). Just observing the situation. Myself, on the other hand, couldn't stop fondling the salmon. My biggest challenge that morning, was to make Sushi while LOOKING like a Sushi Chef. I have to project the confidence and the correct techniques on screen.

The entire time, I had my attention focused on the Assistant DP, since he's the only person among the crew who has been doing the translations. From director's direction, lines, to how we need to be placed in front of the camera. So, I didn't really get to look at Mr. Kochan other than the time when I say my lines to him.

(For those of you who wondered, did mr. Kochan eat in Umi Restaurant? The answer is... Nope. But those of you who are planning to visit New York, it doesn't hurt to stop by Umi Restaurant, knowing that Mr. Kochan had touched and turned the door knob to enter the restaurant, and stood in the restaurnt for 2+ hours)

Since I was looking down on the cutting board the entire scene, I didn't get to see watch Mr. Kochan's performance. But based on the reaction of the production crew, they were basically laughing their a$$ off. Kochan must have done a really good job.

Over all, my impression of him, is that he's kinda quiet, professional, and definately a sincere person to the production crew. No divo attitude at all.

Since I was in my wardrobe, I didn't have my camera or my cell phone with me. I couldn't take any pictures during the shoot...


Our scene was very short, very quick - it's probably going to be less than 5 minutes in the movie. So, if you're going to see the movie next year, don't blink! Or else, you'd miss me!!

  • Sushi Ouji! The TV series is scheduled to air in the end of July 2007. (Thank you Nana, for correcting my typo!)

  • Sushi Ouji! The Movie, is scheduled for release during Japan's Golden Week in 2008.

  • Other NY actors that you will spot at the beginning of the film (other than me) are: Cherish Duke and Richard Priloeau. I'm jealous, because they get to have REAL conversation with Mr. Kochan in the movie. I think they filmed their scene on Tuesday July 3rd. The day before my shoot.

    Okay, that's it for now. Have a good one, everyone. I'll leave you guys with a nice Music Video by Namie Amuro.

    I post some pictures that I shot on the set next time.


    Sophie said...

    LOL.Wayne, now I see that you do NOT know Koichi. I am sorry but the image you post in the blog is not Koichi. That is someone else...(But if you just try to show the hair style, just ignore my words above...)

    And you like Namie and Tomomi? wow~ I like them too. But for Tomo chan, something bad happened to her recently. She was fired by her company... Hope she will be fine...

    Elysia said...

    Hi Wayne,

    I found your blog link from Natsumi. This is Elysia from Singapore. I'm a Koichi fan.

    Thank you so much for the report of your filming. It's so precious for us to know these little details about the filming atmosphere, the staff and the rest of the cast. I'm really grateful you share with us.

    I'm crossing my fingers that this movie will be distributed internationally so that I can catch it in my local theatres too! ^_^

    Take care! I'll drop by again if you don't mind~~

    Veronique said...

    Hi Wayne. Thanks so much for the report~~I am right now picturing Kochan in his camo T-shirt putting on his shoes :)

    I am also curious about the first picture you posted, the one with Zazou production filming on July 5th. Which neighborhood is it? Pls tell us about the location if you have any information, so that I can add one more stop in my NYC tour other than Umi Sushi :)

    Thanks a lot!!

    A Wonderfulcow's Diary said...

    Hello Sophia,

    You're very welcome. I heard about Tomochan... From a professional point of view, she sort of brought it onto herself by cancelling her booking randomlly and not responding back to the agency. Oh well...


    Sure, come back and visit anytime. If you're interested in Non-Kochan stuff.

    Hello Veronique,

    It was posted at Long Island City, at the graffiti mecca. Also known as "Five Points."

    If you're planning to visit the Five Points, make sure you do that during the day. It's not the safest neighborhood.


    Natsumi said...

    kthanks for the great report again!

    haha, your sushi chef training sounds very funny! so i guess after the intensive training you can make good sushi now? ;)

    Making a film is such a tough job. even though i have never been to a real set I can sense that.

    I used to be a big fan of Amuro too! good old days of being an Amura. lol~ I like her recent album "Play".

    btw, if you are interested in Japanese Drama, the diretor of Sushi Prince, did a TV Series called "Trick", starring Nakama Yukie. It's a comedy/suspence and it's one of my top favorites. :)

    Veronique said...

    Thanks again, Wayne. I will definitely visit Five Points next time I go to NYC. It looks like a fun place!

    -mEiYi- said...

    oh my~ really thanks for posting up ^^

    Its so good that you can see koichi in real life~
    I am from Singapore, Nice news from your blog ^^

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Wayne~

    So its in Long Island City... Sound so familiar... Mmmm... Where have I heard that before...
    Anyway~ I just can't find anything else~ -_- May be my brain just conquered by flu virus now ...-_-


    kazzchan said...

    i'm sure will set my eyes on you in Sushi Prince \(^_^)/
    I'll dedicated my eyes to see you. You're so nice for writing these things while you are so tired. Thank you so much Wayne.

    I come here from Nana's blog ^-^
    I wish u'll have great success in your career ahead!

    A Wonderfulcow's Diary said...

    Natsumi: Thank you for the recommandation. I will check it out when I have the chance.

    Meiyi: I did get to 'see' him, but not necessary interact with him off the screen. I guess it's because majority of the crew are Japanese, a lot of them had no clue what we were talking about...

    Kazzchan: Haha, thank you!!! I'll enjoy my 2 seconds of fame.

    Anonymous said...

    great to read your blog about your experience on the set of Sushi Prince. I believe the other american actor's name is Richard "Prioleau" not Priloeau. Can't wait to see the film, hopefully it will get released in the US.