Posted by: fiddlehead | August 31, 2007

Filming in Thailand “Tsunami” The Aftermath.

Filming in Thailand “Tsunami” The Aftermath.

Fiddlehead filming in KathmanduI am a bit of a video hobbyist. One of the things that makes life difficult for a video hobbyist in Thailand is that the government has blocked youtube here and I can’t really show any of my work.
However, I can talk about some fascinating things that happened to me in the past year in the video world!

Last year, Tony called me one day to ask if I wanted to be in a movie.

The title was going to be:

“Tsunami. The Aftermath”

So, I had to go to Phuket town to the Merlin hotel to sign up for possible extras being called up for the filming. When I did this, I found out that the movie was to be co produced by a British company called “Kudos” and “HBO” in America. Most of the main actors would be British but that they would need many extras. The lead actor would be Tim Roth from England. He was in the movie “Pulp Fiction”.Tim Roth in action on the set

So, a few weeks later, I got called up for the first time and joined up with Tony and we went to a local bar where a bus picked us up and drove us about 1 hour to Talang where they were filming a night scene at the hospital there.

Immediately, I could see that this was going to be a big production. There were about 100 of us extras there and lots and lots of trucks with big time equipment.

Now, I have made 2 small production videos (that I sell on my website: www.theunderwearguys.com ) and did it all with a small consumer model Canon handheld camera and no external mikes or anything. I didn’t have the money or even the knowledge to figure out what was the next step. (although I did get a few complaints that sometimes people couldn’t hear what we were saying in my videos)

So, now I was watching the “big time” in action. First of all, they filmed at night for a scene that was going to be in the daytime. So, they just put this huge screen outside the windows and shot a gigantic spotlight into it. And just like that, it seemed daytime.

They took about 3 hours to shoot one scene that ended up being 10 seconds in the final movie.

Next time was about a week later, we filmed at a Wat in Talang. A Wat is a Buddhist temple and this time we shot 3 scenes over a 12 hour period. Once again I was impressed with the equipment and the time they spent getting ready.Cameraman and crew

They spent a lot of time on lighting and props. In one of the scenes this day, I was to walk past 2 of the main actors who were arguing in the street next to about 100 (fake) dead bodies laying in the sun with people spraying something on them.

This ended up being the only scene in the final movie where you could see my face and really tell it was me. I walked past them just as he was saying to her: “it was a 15 fuckin high foot wave” and he screamed it out. So, I was supposed to look at them when he said this and sure enough, even though they shot the scene from about 4 different angles, I was looking right at them when the camera goes to her face and there I am looking right into it.

We ended up shooting 7 days total and one day really sticks out as we went near the beach up at Bang Tao and there were about 200 of us who were really made up to look bad (cuts and blood and bandages and limping, etc) as we were walking up a steep hill, dirt road away from the beach.

It was a tough day as it was hot and we had to shoot this scene about 8 times. It ended up being fun as I was joking with this Thai guy who the week before was a tv cameraman and this day, he was a cop. So, because his back was to the camera, I would try to make him laugh as I went by. We had a lot of fun like that either between scenes or when we knew the camera was not on us.

Amazingly in the final movie, they only showed about 30 of the 200 some people in the scene. A lot sure gets cut in the editing room.

One more scene is really memorable as we often brought a guitar along to help spend the boring time between scenes or when we were not in a particular scene and had to wait.
So the assistant producers came up to me one day and asked if I would play the guitar in a scene with a bunch of people sitting around singing.
So, we did and I had to carry the guitar past Tim Roth who was talking in a tent, and then walk up, sit down with the “friends” and proceed to play a song but they didn’t want us to be loud, just lip sing. Unfortunately, this part never made it to the final but it was fun just the same.The Extras with makeup.

I got to see the film when it was shown in America about 6 months later and my friend recorded it for me on HBO and I brought it back to Thailand with me. We had a party for all of the extras that live here in Rawai.

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