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Some PreFilm Comments
People who like TV series’, and watch pilots, were present during the IMAX 2D showing. Also, friends referring other friends, since it’s shot on Oahu, Hawaii.
I would like to share a conversation I had with a gentleman, while we were waiting in the lobby, for the screen number to be calibrated, per our Projectionist. This gentleman’s thing is keeping up with new TV series’, so seeing an IMAX movie added to his understanding of the upcoming Inhumans series, which is to premiere on ABC on Friday, August 29, 2017.
While watching the IMAX trailers above its screen number, I introduced a tidbit from one of my Film instructors, who is working on The Orville, with Seth MacFarlane. This gentleman’s non-verbal reaction to Seth’s new TV series was genuine; his face broke out in a huge grin, while he said “Now, that’s really funny!” So, Jason and Seth, there ya go…
What it currently is
One of the trends in the Entertainment Industry is for filmmakers to float between Film and Television. After my online learning for the week of August 25th, 2017, this is not unusual by any means (“Special ‘On Stage with RB’ Webcast – Talking TV!”, Stage32.com, 9-26-2017). Feature films are projects that cast and crew work on in between TV seasons. For instance, Television production shooting might begin in early July for a Season Opener in mid-September, and the television production schedule might end in the first part of April of the following year, if there are 24 or 25 episodes being shot.
25 means that the TV pilot or Season opener (if it’s past the 1-hour mark) is included in the Season.
As a production crew member, your choice is to continue to work during the Television hiatus, which would be from the first part of April until July. At this time, the TV series’ Executive Producer(s) would ask if you’d like to return for another season, for multiple reasons:
· Talent retention in between seasons
· Knowing if the producers would need to hire additional people (or bring them in)
· Less (or more, depending) logistics for the EP team
· Ultimately, affects the production budget, or “the bottom line” for the EP team, for delivery to the TV network
How this affects Union members
In the meantime, the Union that the production person is a member of, for that TV series gives unemployment wages. Similar to other industries, unemployment wages are only a % of your hourly wage rate. This is one arrangement currently in use.
Depending on what type of contract you’ve signed with that Union, you might not get paid during the unemployment period. So, this would need to be figured into your Hiatus period. For some people, this is a break from working. For others, who like to work, or need to continue earning an income stream, this is a chance to work on a Feature Film that is being shot in your local area. For instance, Bill Johnson was working on multiple films during his hiatus from Season 7 of Hawaii-Five-0 TV series, such as March 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and the soon-to-be-released Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Freeman, Family interview, February 2017).
Sometimes, filmmakers travel to other parts of the world during their TV hiatus, as they’ve been requested to work on the Feature, or, maybe, they just want another adventure that fits in between their TV work. Remember those days of “This is what I did during my summer vacation…”
- For example, one the legendary AD’s in the business was requested by Angelina Jolie to travel to Thailand, to arrange the location filming of First They Killed My Father. Based on Loung Ung’s novel (2000, HarperCollins Publishers), Angie directs this film, and introduces Shiloh Jolie-Pitt as one of the Executive Producers. This film is available via Basic Netflix subscription, by typing in “first they killed my father” in the search box. Digital streaming services allows additional delivery of original content to worldwide audiences, who may choose to experience their media outside of a “Brick and Mortar” theatre.
- One of my other film friends (who shall remain nameless, as he was Alex O’Loughlin’s stunt double for Seasons 1-6 of Hawaii-Five-0) chose to move away for a year to Georgia, because there were half a dozen TV series’s filming, as well as 4 Features. Georgia is giving away tax credits to film in their state, as are Hawaii, Utah and New York.
- In addition to other states who offer tax incentives, there are other countries who also give tax credits to filmmakers, who shoot on location. Hungary, Budapest and India are the top three at the moment.
Audience’s PostFilm Comments
The reaction was a Mixed bag from different viewers, ranging from the value conscious Movie Viewer, to those who really appreciate a good film.
- There were other mixed reviews for Inhumans, from another audience group on Value Tuesdays. While comparing notes with Movie Fan Lori in the lobby, she said “They thought it was going to be a full-length movie. But, it [running time] wasn’t very long.” (Freeman, Weekly Movie Outing, 9-12-2017). Lori thought the film was good, as she was waiting for another friend, so they could see It.
- The audience during my viewing, was entranced with the filmmaking story, location shooting, and characterization because when the film ended, after a shorter-than-usual Feature Ending Credit Roll (done Five-0 style), all 7 audience members said “Oh, that’s it! Wow.” Because of the Marvel logo at the beginning of the film, a lot of the viewers were expecting a longer running time, which Marvel Studios likes to provide its loyal viewers with.
- A parting comment from one of the Aunties in the audience was “Wow, that was really nice. A lot of good areas that even I never been to.” This sparked a discussion of Makapu’u Beach, Kualoa Ranch, and the State Capitol, between this Aunty and Uncle.
- Thank you to Key Assistant Location Manager Justin for choosing such great locations, and capturing them on IMAX film, for even more Movie Memories.
Normally, I’m not a TV person, but I really liked this film
Growing up, I didn’t follow the Inhumans graphic novel unlike some of my other friends, as my parents were of the cultural mindset that “comic books are rubbish.” We’re not going there in this column, but I would like to mention that some heavy topics are covered in GNs. As a storytelling method, it’s one vein whereby today’s youth learn about societal norms, rules, and behavior. Plus, a GN can be taken and read anywhere.
Other likeable film factors include:
- Filmmaking style
- Storytelling through dialogue
- Could have almost been performed in a theatre, Shakespearean style.
- With the storytelling metaphors, (as Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 laughingly said), some of classic mythology tales were brought to the forefront in this film. Here are few examples:
o Samson and Delilah, with Maximus and Medusa, and the hair cutting, where instead of Samson losing his strength, Medusa loses her magical powers.
o Romeo and Juliet, where Black Bolt and Medusa have been separated from their planet and have been transported to Earth by Lockjaw. Earth is now Oahu, Hawaii. Parts of Oahu that are normally not seen, were wonderfully captured on film, so a big “Thank you” to everyone for doing a great job. Scroll down for more on-location interviews that I had with some of the crew, while they were filming the Movie Pilot in Downtown Honolulu.
Another great job of casting by Sara Hayley Finn (Marvel Studio’s Talent Director) and Rachel Sutton (Hawaii Five-0 Casting Director), this film proved to be authentic and touched on a few local issues, such as, the surfers and Gorgon in an afternoon beach scene.
- Anson Mount who plays Black Bolt, the King of Attillan, bears a striking resemblance to Chris Pratt and Benedict Cumberland. If any of the Star-Lord or Doctor Strange fans are reading this, you might want to see this IMAX film, as Black Bolt doesn’t speak throughout the film, using Sign gestures which are verbally interpreted by Medusa, the Queen of Attillan.
- Serinda Swan plays Medusa, his Queen. The story is done well, to show how the two Inhumans met in their teenage years, through use of flashback, and then resuming to the current timeline.
- Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus, used to date and is still attracted to Medusa, even though she only has eyes for Black Bolt, her true love. Blending in a bit of a modern romance tale here. It will be interesting to see what character arcs are developed, as Season One continues.
Inhumans are genetically engineered, as shown by the purple crystals that are used on a young teenage couple. The idea of genetically engineered people is not a new one, especially in Sci-Fi genre, which is what Inhumans is all about.
Anson on Black Bolt
Iwan on Ramsay & Maximus
Production filming (aka “This is the closest I will ever get to being on the Inhumans set”)
Even though this IMAX pilot premiered in theatres on September 1st, 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting two of the Production Managers earlier in 2017, informally at the Starbucks, while they had a “Prep Day” on Saturday, March 18th. The Actual filming day occurred the following day (Sunday, March 19th), where Bishop Street in Downtown Honolulu was entirely closed off to vehicular and bus traffic.
On Saturday morning, I was just grabbing a quick coffee and about to begin a Webinar with AD Jason Roberts, when I met these gentlemen, along with George, another Manager. After Jason’s webinar, I was on my way to performing an Open Check for Kong: Skull Island at Regal Windward 10-plex, so I couldn’t hang out on the Starbucks patio with them. I would have loved to, as everyone was really nice to me. See, there really is no division between Film and Television; this is your Family (& no, that’s not in jest of a line in Disney’s upcoming Coco).
- Asked why the ABC untitled project (at this point in time, as no one could talk about it, due to Non-Disclosure Agreements) was being filmed in Downtown Honolulu, Key Assistant Location Manager Justin said that after reading the script, he decided that Bishop Street would be a good location because “Downtown Honolulu moves.” What was not realized was that there were no bathrooms present at the location site, so everyone was given the heads up on where-to-go. It was a great opportunity to help Justin with the operating hours and some of the basic logistics for their shoot, including which Downtown eating establishments were closed on Sunday, their primary filming day. Some of Justin’s credits include Snatched, with Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer, which was released on Mother’s Day weekend of 2017.
- The other manager I met, while we were ordering coffee at the Starbucks, was Transportation Captain (Coordinator) Steve, whose crew was setting up the sidewalk scene. This was seen the IMAX pilot, where Black Bolt hides out in a side street, once he’s been transported to Earth. Great job of using Merchant Street, as the side street in the movie. This is not one of the normally known sites used in filming, so that was also a nice treat to see on the big screen, because the “Old Downtown Honolulu” architecture was shown.
Locals’ reactions to filming
Some of the locals’ reactions to that Sunday’s filming, was “They’re filming Five-0,” which they were not. As Five-0 was already in its last stages of Season 7 on the other side of Oahu. TheBus driver was getting upset at me, when I was transferring buses from Windward to Town side (after performing Day #1 of Kong: Skull Island’s Open Check), and when I told him the correct answer, his only comment: “da filming’s throwing my bus schedule off.”
A little later that weekend, while exiting Kong: Skull Island’s open check at the 10-plex, one of the Uncles let it slip that he had performed Set Construction for the untitled ABC project, and let me know that it was Inhumans. And, yes, I kept this a Marvel secret, from my initial discovery to the film’s viewing on Thursday, September 14th, 2017, and between releasing this column. I’m finding out that the more you’re involved in the entertainment business, the less said the better.
And, in case you’re wondering, I have similar NDA’s, since I contract with a few other firms, to perform marketing or auditing services. And in the words of other working industry people, “It’s not that we don’t want to tell you, we can’t.”
True Fact: My other film friend Josh debuted on-screen in Snatched, as the Bad Guy’s brother. This scene was filmed in Waialua at night.
Other beautiful location sites
There were numerous sites used in the 2-part Pilot:
- Makapu’u Beach – for more than one beach scene.
- Leahi Adventures tour bus – for Medusa’s ride into town.
- State Capitol interior lobby - serving as the Promenade for the Inhumans’ city.
- Kualoa Ranch - different POV, shot from inside the ranch, showing open ocean facing Northeasterly direction, as well as the Gazebo, where the Leahi Adventures tour bus is shown.
Thank you to the entire cast and crew for capturing different portions of Oahu, before it’s too late to become a film moment! Looking forward to seeing more of Oahu, when the TV series airs on Friday, September 29th, 2017, unless I’m still in the theatre, checking American Made and Flatliners. Then, I’ll have to catch the rebroadcast, or the DVD series collection.
Defined: An Inhumans sighting
This is the same as a “Five-0” sighting, where non-production people observe from afar, as they are not allowed onto the set for Liability reasons (aka “your reason for being there on the set”).
Shot with IMAX cameras
Great print onto IMAX!
I love good film, so I’m normally seated in either the 3rd or 4th row of the movie screen. For this one, I was in 4th row, Center. The editing was seamless, and with a 1.85:1 ratio, most Feature films and rolling stock ads flaws can be seen from my seat. For example, during the Regal Entertainment Group’s PreShow, I can read the fine print at the bottom of each advertisement, since the IMAX screen turns a 6-point font into 9-inch tall letters. (And, no, this is not MST3K, where comments are being made!)
What really makes IMAX stand out as a good format is the curved screen, in addition to the aspect ratio.
- Upon further film research, I didn’t realize that most of the filmmakers bring a lot of Feature Film experience to the Marvel Inhumans universe, such as: Kong: Skull Island, Iron Man series, Lost, X-Men series, The Hunger Games series, Star Trek: Discovery, Jurassic World, Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick series, Transformers series, Star Wars Episode VI, Captain America: Civil War, and Burn After Reading (still an oldie but a goodie), to name a few working credits.
- Thank you to the editors of this film, as the Visual and Special Effects were really good. Other than the matte painting that superimposed the State Capitol onto the longshot of the Inhumans’ city, the remainder of the effects were awesome in IMAX.
- Costume and makeup departments were also impressive. I really liked the custom fitting of each character’s costume, as well as hair and makeup.
If the Chief Quality Officer from the IMAX Corporation or Stan Lee is reading my column, there was seamless integration from the IMAX digital transfer to the digital effects.
And, this is what made it a great looking TV movie.
Thank you for reading my column, as I’m trying to keep you up-to-date with the Hawaii market film scene. This week, it’s a double feature with American Made and Flatliners. Then again, last week was also a double feature with Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Lego Ninjago Movie. Here we go into the busy holiday season, so if I don’t re-surface until 2018, you’ll know why. Aloha, Pam