Archive for May, 2012

by Richard Trombly

I have been working hard on my short film www.indiegogo.com/analysis

I have been perfecting the script and shot list and developing the funding while assembling the creative team and acting talents. and things are coming together wonderfully. But this project is still in need of your support. Please go to our site on indiegogo and learn how you can get involved.

While the cash donated on this site may seem really small, we are moving ahead with the project. The great story is that we have actually received tremendous support! Many people have offered to volunteer their time and equipment so we will be able to make the production on far less than projected. One of the high costs in the original budget is CGI visual effects. Several people have stepped forward to offer their services in that area. Here are a few more examples:

Actor and film maker Harry Du Young http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0949602/ learned of the project and the help I provided to Joe Fiorello in shooting a short film in Beijing and he offered to come in from L.A. and take part as actor and crew member. (Harry and Joe were on the winning Hong Kong team of the 2010 48 Hour Film contest.)

Feral Cat films also signed on to offer their amazing talents and stabilized camera trucks. They normally are shooting fast cars for high end advertisements and super Hollywood-style action but they are coming on board to provide a scene on the streets of Shanghai that will add some great production value to this film Check out their awesome work at http://www.feralcatfilms.com/reel.html

One of our financial supporters is George Christopher Tronsrue http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3540596/ who got his first feature film starring role in a horror film I produced in 2010 in Shanghai.

One thing you learn in the film business is that you succeed only with the support of a network of great friends and associates. These are just a few of the great stories of support. I hope you will join us in making this film possible.


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By Richard Trombly

In Chinese, Meiwenti means “no problem” and it is an attitude that is essential for dealing with the hassles and problems inherent in independent film making in China. My friend and fellow film maker, Joe Fiorello, recently had an experience that put that to the test and proved what a flexible film maker and all-around good sport he is. It also demonstrated the strength of character necessary to persevere under the difficulties of film making.

An organizer in Beijing had announced in March that Beijing would have a local edition of the global 48 Hour film contest ttp://www.48hourfilm.com/ . Since Hong Kong had made no announcement for a contest by that time, Fiorello decided to join in the Beijing one.  He contacted me and I hooked him up with a team of good folks who planned to enter the contest. In the true spirit of indie film making, Fiorello committed and booked a flight immediately. Meiwenti!

Unfortunately, there was a problem. The Beijing 48 Hour contest suffered delays and needed to be rescheduled, but Joe already had his tickets. Luckily, Shanghai’s Meiwenti Film Contest is running its 10th installment – This time on the theme “Femme Fatale”.  http://www.sexandmodernwomen.com/contest/ Unfortunately, the rest of Joe’s prospective team (and his housing arrangements) were not  on board with the change of plans, so he had to make a new team to make use of his trip to Beijing and find new arrangements for housing.

Joe Fiorello embraces the leading actress Hava Woo.

Meiwenti! I always have space for a fellow film maker in my flat, so I was more than happy for the opportunity to have a talent like Fiorello stay at my place and he offered to let me be a part of his team.  Jude Jiang and Fiorello wrote the script based on an original story idea from Jiang, a script analyst with an international film producer. The result was a clever and delightfully simple little script.

In another blow, the intended cinematographer called the day of shooting and said  he could not make it because the plumbing in his building burst and damaged his apartment. So I was moved up from grip to cinematographer with Joe as Director and lead actor. Hava Woo, a lovely actress and organizing staff member from the state run Beijing International Film Festival played the lead female role.

Actress Hava Woo (L.) strikes an impressive pose with Joe Fiorello.

Luckily this short  required only two actors and no especially tricky shots nor and difficult locations. When you are making a film on almost no budget and low on other resources, the cardinal rule is: Work with what you have got. You  take inventory of what is available, limit yourself from adding elements that are not available and tailor the production to make the best use of what you have.

To make the shooting simple and quick, we mostly limited ourselves to my “pro-sumer level” HD camera – a Sony NEX-vg-10, its selection of prime lenses, a battery operated 120 LED variable color temperature lamp, and the onboard microphone.

It was delightful working with these 3 folk. Jiang stayed behind the scenes handling the lighting and props and wardrobe and just about every other detail. We wrapped the shoot late at night with barely enough time for Fiorello to pack and get to the airport for his early morning return flight and for the two young women to return to their respective homes and take a brief nap before facing the Monday morning grind in their offices.

I was pleasantly surprised by the spirit and cooperativeness of our team in the grueling task of cranking out a whole short film in just one day but I think the results will be well worth the effort. We are eager to edit the film and submit it to the Shanghai-based film contest.



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There is nothing quite like the openness of so many of the Chinese people I have met. People are always willing and eager to invite you into their homes and share their hearths no matter how meager and they will always assure that you have eaten the best they have to offer. This was a meal with a migrant worker who works as a maid and general assistant in a suite of professional offices in Shanghai for a startup firm, many of whom are foreign professionals. I had the joy to meet and get to know this lovely woman who is working in Shanghai to support her husband and child in their home village far from this metropolis. She saves every penny to send home – yet she spared no expense to make me the best meal she could including delicacies she brought from home saving for a special occasion.

Cooking in Jin Nong Tang- Directed by Richard Trombly

Nong tang is the Chinese word for the narrow winding alleyways in the traditional neighborhoods of Shanghai. They are a style unique to Shanghai but are rapidly disappearing to make way for sky-scraping high rises. Jin Nong Tang is near the west bank of the Huangpu River upon which Shanghai and is not far outside of the city center so the area has become valuable and was slated to be demolished on 22 March 2012. So the invite to have dinner with Xiao Liu, a resident of Jin Nong Tang on March 21 was not to be refused…

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by Richard Trombly

I have been in Shanghai preparing for the upcoming production of my short film Analysis http://www.indiegogo.com/Analysis this past week. This involved making some strong progress in developing my script, helping my lead actress define her character, scouting locations and meeting with some of the production talents like cinematographer Jeffrey Chu to begin defining the visual look of the film..

But one of the highlights of this week’s news in Shanghai and one of the high points of my trip to Shanghai was watching the play “What the Butler Saw” performed by a community theater troupe composed primarily of talents that I have had the pleasure of working with in the past. This is a play that certainly left all of the critics talking and making rave reviews. One of the leading parts of this delightful farce was played by Paul Collins, who will be featured in my upcoming production of Analysis. Collins provided a strong performance

We also have the heart warming news that a wonderful supporter who was a kind and beautiful enough person to join in the production team of Analysis is supporting the production for USD$1,000. It means so very much to us to have the good wishes and support of so many people in this production.

And Analysis has truly achieved a mark of success in being featured in upcoming articles in 2 different national -distribution papers in China – The Global Times and the Shanghai Daily newspapers. Analysis was also the topic on a special edition of Ken Graves’ Web-based Earth Smart – Space Smart talk radio showhttp://beta.cinchcast.com/spacesmartearthsmarts…

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By Richard Trombly

I am in Shanghai right now working on location scouting and other preliminary issues of film preparation on my upcoming short film production. Please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/Analysis to learn more abut it and to get involved. It is important to get the team together and make the preparations as a solid foundation for the production. While a painter needs only brush, paint  and canvas to lay down their masterpieces, a film maker relies on a team of folk and the volume of work is tremendous.

I have arranged location scouting and am planning a fundraiser to get some support from my friends in Shanghai developed over 8 years of living in the city and supporting the arts.

I was also able to meet with the lead actress Sofie Fella and her parents for a weekend brunch and table read of the revised script. Sofie’s comprehension and insight into the character were just delightful and she gives me great inspiration for this production.

Sofie Fella and her lovely mother pose for a photo 

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In any place, the arts community is limited – even in a place the size of China. So whenever you help out a fellow artist, it seems you are helping out alot of your own friends and in the end yourself. So let me help out my friends at TBC productions and the great actors involved in performing all the things the Butler did see — and surely a whole lots more that he didn’t !!!!! 😉

Please see the attached poster for our upcoming show – Joe Orton’s “What The Butler Saw”.

Please come down for a hilarious night of fun, farce and cross-dressing frolics.

Please RSVP to tbcshanghai@gmail.com – be quick as seats are limited!

Entry by Donation. (suggested 80-100 RMB)

See you there!

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by Richard Trombly

I like to say that of the top 20 cardinal rules of writing, #1,7,13 and 20 are “You will rewrite.”

It is one thing that writers hate to hear. Why? Because writing is such a personal process and reflects upon a writer’s self image. When we have to rewrite something, it feels like we are being rejected personally.

It is a fragile thing, because in writing, we are delving deep into our soul and our psyche and exposing it to the world. And then it is subject to critique and we can feel despair as our work is challenged and rejected.

That in some ways relates to the main character of ANALYSIS. Tina is strong in some ways and is a genius, but she has trouble facing her peers because of the criticism and rejection she faces. She withdraws from society. And many writers never let people see their drafts and then are so fragile when their works of perfectly inspired genius are rejected.

And many short amateur film projects are someone’s “baby.” They are paying for their project out of their own project so they make the script they wrote. It may have flaws or weak spots, but they are writer, director and producer – maybe even lead actor. Who is to question them? But ANALYSIS is being produced by industry professionals and since our budget goes far beyond the $7,000 we are seeking to gain on Indiegogo, we demand for the script – and everything else to be as professional as possible.

I have been digging deeply into the story in this final rewrite of my short film ANALYSIS  (learn more at http://www.indiegogo.com/analysis  ) and though it is not easy to let go of lines and scenes that I liked (because they were personal things in my own life perhaps) I have had to devise scenes and lines that are even better.

But with each rewrite, it becomes better. Reviewers of a script add their own insights and that can make a script stronger. The writer just needs to keep a strong vision of their purpose and what we can the “spine” of the story and its characters. We must keep a clear understanding of the heart of the story or it will be lost as readers pull it one way or another. But if that vision is clear, those readers can help the writer to remove layers of personal vanity and make their points and characters more clear.

I have been in the painful process of rewriting this story in its final version and the task is daunting, but the results are powerful. I hope you will continue to follow this odyssey as we take this special project ever forward.

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