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KS Cover no. 73 2006 June

JULY 2006 :: 074

Rodosha: The Laborer

Or how to make a movie in your spare time

Have you ever wondered how they got those people to fit into that little box in the corner of your living room? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do it (remember, most of those movies come from Hollywood after all). I myself am an independent filmmaker holding a job on the side. Rodosha: The Laborer is my latest work and an example of how with a little creativity, a little knowledge and a lot of passion anyone can put their thoughts and ideas on to that moving canvas.


Before you can do anything you need something to make a movie with. There are lots of options out there, but the way of the future seems to be Digital Video. For those who have a wee bit of cash, a good camera to start off with is the Panasasonic
AG-DVX100 series. It is DV, has a 24p option (giving a more film-like experience) and is cheaper than the competitors (for now).

While film looks beautiful it will cost an arm and a leg. In Absentia, was a 9 minute short shot on 16mm that cost around $2,000 simply for film, processing, and telecine.


Like any kind of art form, a movie has to start with an idea. Rodosha started over three years ago based on an observation I made at work. The idea is a simple one: A salaryman realizes he has missed a lot of his life because of his supreme dedication to his work. It’s not a new story, but it is one we can all relate to in one facet or another. But why tell this? I wanted to explore why a person would do such a thing, his personal story, and what the possible outcome might be. And that is usually the whole point of any story, because it has all been told nowadays.

Finding Actors and Crew

You can’t make it alone. Indeed, it’s all about who you know. And for Rodosha three years ago, that was the death of it. I had been in Japan only a short time and knew only a handful of people. And Rodosha’s story encompassed different decades, places, and had a cast of at least a dozen people. So the project was sidelined for an easier horror short entitled 152. After making connections through 152, production on Rodosha started in October 2005. The search for actors started as well, but Kansai isn’t the best place as most actors go to Tokyo. I found some resources, and through connections and auditions I found the right people for the roles.


So now that I’ve finished all the storyboards, location scouting, set design, auditioning and everything else needed to be done in pre-production, what comes next? The most enjoyable part (notice the satirical smile on my face): organization!

If you don’t have organizational skills then you need to find someone who does, because there are schedules, shot lists, rehearsals, arrangements, and a list of endless things to be done. I consider myself pretty organized but brought on
a Production Coordinator for Rodosha.

When can you get this all done? Good question. For Rodosha filming was done every Sunday (to accommodate every- one’s schedule) taking six weeks to shoot in February and March. We filmed throughout Osaka and Kobe at offices, izakaya, parks, streets, houses and sets. However, when making your own film, only use places that are necessary for your story. The main rule of independent filmmaking is: keep it simple.


OK, you filmed everything. What next? A lot still needs to be done. Firstly, mostand most important: editing. Depending on the edits, you can make 10 different movies with the same footage, simply using different shots and takes. Special effects are important too. They can correct colors and add/remove elements in a shot. Rodosha required a few effect shots like this because the sakura season (key to one scene) came after filming finished. And last, and certainly not least, is music. Music (or lack thereof) can strengthen the emotions already in the scene or change them completely. It’s very important to know someone who can create music for you (using tracks from your favorite CD will cost you a load of money). Post-production can be a long and crazy process, but at the end of it you have a finished movie in your hands.

Where do you go from there?

Here is the hardest part for your film: finding an audience. In a world of technology, anyone can make a movie. So why is someone going to want to watch yours? You have to convince them. One of the best ways is through film festivals.

The independent filmmaker’s best friend is the film festival. If you can get into these festivals (not the easiest thing when 500 to 2,000 others are trying just like you) it will put your film in front of a matching audience. This could then lead to connections (hmm ... was that a key to something somewhere?). And there is a festival for your film out there. There are thousands around the world, all with a different slant on the subject. The process of sending your film out is a long and expensive one. Festival entry fees range from $10 to $75. And over a period of two years, when you send your film out to 20 or 30 or ... well you get the picture. As for Rodosha, its road to the festivals will start in the summer.

The best way to start making films is simply pick up a camera and mess around with friends. Going to film school helps (like I did). It gives opportunities to use professional
equipment, learn from professionals, study techniques and gain firsthand experience.

But it isn’t necessary. Just look at Kevin Smith, or Quentin Tarantino. What you do need is a creative mind, attention to detail, and patience. I know you’ve seen a movie and thought, “I could make something better than this!” Well now is your chance! With the digital era upon us, all you need to do is try.

Text & photos: Darryl Knickrehm

:: Online Articles


Film Exposure
International Film Festivals


Rodonsha: The Laborer
Or how to make a movie in your spare time


The New Tabehoudai Culture
Guide to all-you-can-eat & drink


Dansol, Philippines


Testing Times
Guide to the Japanese Proficiency Test

:: Kansai Listings


Up to date cinema listings guide so you always know what's on, where and when!

:: ART

Best exhibitions + Kansai art listings


Best events + Kansai event listings


Best gigs + Kansai live listings


Parties not to miss + Kansai club listings

:: Also in this month's mag


Spanish Bar Circo, Toyonaka


Sports Bar & Restaurant Cancun


Yuka: Elevated Riverside Dining
Kyotofs gracious dining experience


Nathen Fake


Best festivals + listings


New releases and top ten paperback books


Reel reviews of the silver screen


Domestic and international news

Darryl Knickrehm: the films

The Visitor (pre-production)
2006, Short Film

Rodosha (coming soon)
2006, Short Film

2005, Short Film

Movieday Series: Fartman
2004, Internet Short

Movieday Series: The Visitor
2004, Internet Short

In Absentia 2004, Short Film http://inabsentia.dariru.com

Once Upon a Time
2002, Mockumentary

Game Night
2002, Student Short

Rodosha’s premiere is on July 16th.
For details, visit www.Rodosha.com
Want to join Darryl’s crew? E-mail him at:
[email protected] or visit http://dkpro.dariru.com