The Making of BLUE GUSH ( deaf 35mm filmmaking ) ( CC )

Uploaded by Silencebound on 11.04.2011

After Robert Hoskin returned back to Tokyo from Los Angeles with his newly-bought hand-held Arriflex IIB
35mm motion picture camera from Lloyd's camera exchange store in the Hollywood street in late April 1993,
he then decided to form an all-deaf independent 35mm film production group but didn't give it a company title name yet.
Robert arranged the first-ever test shooting experiment film and went to Kodak Eastman company and bought a 200ft
35mm raw negative stock to make a big try-out on it, prior to write the first-draft script for 'BLUE GUSH'.
He then gather out 3 deaf ladies, including his wife Yasuko, to do the basic sign-language conversation
outside near the Sumida street about three blocks away from his home, and plugged in the loaned
16 volt battery pack to his Arriflex IIB camera to prepare everything being in readiness to create something
bigger image of visual hand-to-hand communications for the big screen.
Robert starts filming few scenes at Yasuko and two deaf ladies talking at each others while standing on the middle lone footpath.
His Arriflex camera went very fine and much-convenient operation simple by turning the ON/OFF switch
plugged to his Arriflex camera.
Robert then contacted to Imagica Film Laboratory in Gotanda to have his 2 mins 35mm exposed film being developed.
The result from the 35mm rush print was wonderful and faultless with colourful picture presentation while
projected it in the Imagica screening theater, in convenient 24 f.p.s. with 1:33:1 academy aperture ratio
that Robert normally wanted to.
The 2 minutes 35mm rush print and original negative film of first-ever experimental outing is now preserving
in the Silencebound film storage vault as it is never intented for public showing.
Robert then wrote the first-draft script in basically shooting script style with 37 shot cuts being made to
reflecting that all of his four deaf actors and a crew to pick-up all the plot of the story from start to finish
story mode, rather than have it written in too detailed english-only texts.
Shooting start.
Shooting start.
It has no dialogue thru the story as that is the main reason Robert wants to create the scene-by-scene
cuts of narrative experimental deaf drama element ever presented for the public viewing purpose.
Although he wrote the shooting script with 'manga' ( Japanese for 'cartoon' ) pixs thru the 6 pages manuscript,
completed written the first-draft on 12th May, 1993.
Robert chose the four actors, all deafs of one male actor and three actresses for the basic role characters
in "BLUE GUSH", but had several problems to find the newly established company name that he wanted
to creat it as of the independent firm, then they gathered in his smallest interior apartment to establish
a company name for his all-deaf production inlet and found the name 'Muteki Kaisha',
stands for 'invincible company' which he felt that it sound quite challenging image as that exactly means
his independent all-deaf film production company would not be influenced by other firms dispute that
they produces deaf drama movies in big 35mm film format which it is the world-first for the deaf culture
and it's history, out of the 98th year of motion picture activities around the world, in Tokyo, Japan.
Robert also hired his deaf friend named Kenichi Sakamoto to be his production assistant until 'MOTION OF CONFUSION'.
Robert then bought two new 400ft 35mm negative films of Kodak Eastman EXR 100T 5248
with No.85 geltin filter required to be installed in his Arriflex IIB camera's matte box.
Few weeks before the first-day film production of "BLUE GUSH" start rolling, the bush purple flowers next to
his apartment that was originally written in his first-draft script with 'deaf man character walking on small chome road
with his deaf woman, find the purple flowers hanged out from the bush, he arrives to it and picking some bloom of flowers
and give it to her', was withered down and became rotten, and then disappeared away as because of the heated condition.
Robert then rewrote the first page of shooting script to change the scene to 'deaf man character and deaf woman
strolling on the small chome road and notice at nearly-empty big plastic coke bottle on road, picked it up
and poured out the remain rain water from bottle and he dumped it in the nearby bin' to make
the story focusing at that water-gushing incident looks better.
Matsuda, fill it up a bit.
Man and woman there, come, man and woman appearing from there.
He casted his Japanese deaf wife Yasuko Tsuchiya for the role as 'deaf woman', her long-time deaf friend
Midori Shinohara to portraying as 'hearing innocent victim woman', her real deaf husband Noboru Matsuda who
was the 'deaf man' character, and the mysterious water-gusher woman was portrayed by Yasuko's
late deaf friend Hideko Sebata.
They all have no acting experiences but Robert badly needed them, anyway.
His first 35mm movie project "BLUE GUSH" is an experimental narrative short subject movie, with film budget
adjustment to calculated how much the 'five minutes' 35mm movie was spent entirely on the negative cost.
Yasuko, no.
Hey, Yasuko !
No, not too big. It's little !
- Very little, like this, I told you ! - But he said.
No, that small !!
Yasuko, come.
Go over there.
Good. You just talking at each other by signing, anything you can.
Just bit further away. Start over there.
Best here.
Walking straight, only straight to camera.
Before the first-day film shooting was set to roll on Sunday 27th of June, 1993, Robert has considered that
the lighting condition for the whole film scenes is to be the same level of shade lighting at exterior area
without any light changes.
Robert wants to have start filming all the scenes within one day but the visual morning sunlight is
different from normal afternoon lighting as he wanted to start it in the morning till early evening . . .
All 37 scenes in one day with odd lighting changes ?
Not likely, otherwise all the scenes would be unmatchable with cuts on previous shot and next shot after,
so then Robert found the solution by arrange the filming time restriction by start shooting from 1:30pm,
as the sun moves away to west route and the film set become bit dimmer with sun-shaded
five-storey apartment building until about 5:00pm.
That is what he has recommended for, although there is virtually no lighting technical personnel provided on set,
and shot first 400ft Kodak raw negative stock ( out of two 400ft negative film stock ) of first 18 shots
from the first scene of 'deaf man and deaf woman strolling on small chome road' to last shot for the day
is 'deaf woman standing so anxiously while views at deaf man and the suspected woman with bucket' scene.
Robert Hoskin, the deaf film director is also the 35mm cameraman as he shot all the scenes included pan
and tilt the camera, and done the focus-pulling while operate the camera by himself.
Action !
It's crazy.
Gee, okay.
Next, incident here.
Don't want it ! Cancel that !
Kenichi Sakamoto, his deaf production assistant, instructed at the 'mysterious water gusher' Hideki Sebata who stood back hidden
inside the second-storey apartment where that is the film director's real apartment, with the blue plastic bucket
that she was prepared in her readiness to perform the water-gushing action, while Robert mounted
his Arriflex camera up outside to shoot at her with the bucket on her hands in hidden-face angle.
Robert tell her to throw out the dirty dust water out from the window thru by Kenichi's 'directorial' signal as
Hideko can't see Robert's signal for 'Action !' to instruct her to take the performance action while standing in the 2nd floor apartment.
Hideko gushes out the half-bucketful water out from the opened window after Robert tells Kenichi to give her
a 'go ahead', then she extended her upper arms out of window to reveal her different colour T-shirt to pull a mistakable
difference, and director Robert asked her to do it again and she moved back about half-step away
from the opened window not to reveal her T-shirt or her face.
Hideko then repeated it once more and finally 'print that !' the scene.
Remember, walking straight, not crooked walking. Only straight to camera.
Throw it away ? Don't need it ??
Robert has wanted to finish it all by arranged the shooting day to be held the following weekend,
but Matsuda says that he can't make it until other weekend.
That worried Robert evenly as the half unfinished scenes supposedly to be complete within one week later.
The first full-exposed 400ft 35mm roll was sent to Imagica film laboratory for processing to see how good
is Robert's camerawork, and he is relieved to learnt that his talent on the directorial effort and his
camerawork from the 400ft 35mm rush print is splendid but still far away from being satisfied
because his "BLUE GUSH" is half-finished . . .
Robert asked his team crew and cast members to be full-activited for remain scenes to be finished,
then they agreed for one more day on the after next Sunday,
as the second-day film shooting was on Sunday 11th of July, 1993.
Put it in bin.
Then I'll pan the cam and return it back, and you walk to camera.
Just signing out lightly, not too boost. Dump the bottle away, right.
Robert's hearing friend Takayoshi Honda has, under Robert's request, agreed to shoot this video documentary
on Hi-8 video by Robert's Sony NTSC format video camcorder that Honda often loaned it for his special
video documentary projects including Robert Hoskin's second 35mm short movie,"PATCHED-UP !".
Honda shot first 80 minutes on the first-day film production of "BLUE GUSH", and additional 41 mins on
the second-day film shooting, to produced a special two hours long unedited documentary, simplify titled,
"The Making of 'BLUE GUSH'", which it has finally shown here for the first time ever.
All 'Muteki Kaisha' members regrouped for the last day film shooting of "BLUE GUSH",
which found bit rather unpleasant experience for director Robert.
He asked the 'innocently bucket-carrying woman' Midori Shinohara to be stand still for the nearly-full
bucket of tap water to be thrown at her lower body area with her yellow apron as of the 'vengeance' action scene.
Robert starts shooting at her in middle-angle scene as 'deaf man' Noboru Matsuda threw the water at her
and splashed to soak her as she pulled her amateurish comical facial expression that has ruined the critical shot.
Right !
Look at her ?
Oh, I understand.
Robert told her to do it all over again, slightly frustrated as because of the one 400ft new film stock is
something very limited and hard-to-get items, Midori then agreed to do it again with her bewilderment as
she doesn't wants to pull any uneven mistakes, just because she is simple an amateur actress so that
Robert just cannot put any directorial pressures at her.
The reshooting of 'innocent woman's soaking apron incident' scene was redone after made 15 mins break
while Robert's wife Yasuko blow-dryed Midori and her apron up by portable hairdryer near the film set.
Honda shot at them on video as that scene revealed extremely bewildered Midori behind the corner
of his apartment building which he can't see her angered face while cleaned herself up away from his sight !
Test camera.
Stay there - I'm focusing it.
Finally, they all re-assembled together again to re-filming the soaking scene with Matsuda
to gushing out the water at her in vengeance action performance, and the re-shot scene is very fine with
Midori's natural reaction expression as what Robert has wanted to, and 'print that !' scene shot.
Yasuko also has put her reactions against him as she doesn't want him to give her too much pressures
for every next scene shots but all the scenes is very simple to performing it in as all of the shots
is provided without dialogues, reflecting that it is only an experimental narrative film for
the whole film budget spending adjustment element.
Robert shot almost all the scenes in one-take only as it's not just the tight budget entry,
and finally wrapped up with remaining 60ft of unexposed 35mm film still left to shoot.
Robert got the unscripted idea by shooting at 'the empty blue bucket left on the ground's gutter', and
filmed at it on ground-level angle to give more impression image for the ending of film but never used it in the finished film.
Move closer, closer . . . Stop !
Closer . . . Stop . . . Closer . . . Stop, move bit left - Stay !
Turn around a bit, good . . . Okay.
- Pick it up, then cut. - Got it.
Too strong !
Over 22 level ! Should be less than that - Too much !
Hey, wait - More less light !
Damn light . . . Too much light !
Light it right down here, not cover it so leave it lighted.
Action !
- That's it ! - After that, change clothes ? What if I'm wet ?!
No, leave it on !
I'm really worried !
Matsuda, look like we're swimming with wet clothes !
Only one gushing water and one take only. I don't want to waste time.
Water spilling down on that spot.
Hey, it's hard !
Bit more lower . . .
Hey, Robert ! That's enough !
Sakamoto, check at her !
Think that it's too heavy for her !
Crazy !
Wet on hand when throw it ?
Right on this spot.
Don't need it.
Matsuda, you become 'bewilder', and then rush out.
Let's rehearsal - Go !
Well, it's 2pm.
Turn around and knock it ?
Just turn around, like that . . .
Just turn right straight to door.
Staring so stunned . . .
Yes, like this.
One more practise.
Shooting start !
Action !
That's good one.
Yes, good - Don't filming the same shot again. Waste our time ! He's best one.
Sakamoto ?
Get it ? You ready.
Hey, Matsuda ! Too far away ! That camera can't see you. Better at here.
Water is drying out.
Okay. It's wetting. No problem.
Stay in there !
Done that with my camera's eye is darker. But the iris shutter is right ! It's strange.
I can't see at her, but can you see her ?
Not him, Sakamoto ! What is Yasuko doing ? His acting is okay, but what about her acting and her facial expression ?
Nah, you're okay ! But what about you ??
Is that ?! . . . Hmm, okay.
Drink ! . . . Drink please, I'm thirsty.
Yes, drink.
Yasuko, let's rest and drink if you want to.
Shame, wrong way ! He's from 11th, as mine is 13th. If he waking up on 13th, then we apply for a day-off, right,
but he lied to change time. That would made our application difficult. Well, better to say 'no'. I knew about it . . .
After finished that, then next to other area ?
Yes !
Anger with your forced expression, and left out with dejected face.
Not with it, but only that scene.
It's weird !
How weird . . .
It's old.
Your hanky to wipe your arm, like this . . . Simple.
Better to use 35mm lense . . . Let's stay on . . . Hmm, 35mm . . . 35mm.
Well, 35mm.
He's funny !
Bought the rolls of film, now one is in his camera ! It's very expensive !
Only two rolls of film !
Yes, that and that, too . . .
I'm slim, as that I'm swimming thru the waves, but Midori is fat and can't swim. Still, I'm so slim.
My belly ? Yeah, I'm ok with it.
Robert is good swimmer, like that. Strong shoulders.
Let's practise.
Script please.
I'm intenting for last scene shot but cancel it for today, so filming at that window instead.
Too dim on that ground, better light at the window. Do that.
Sakamoto, I've told her not to spill it on floor, as she already knew it.
Perfect !
Look at him !
Practise !
Not 'moving head', only 'staring silently' . . . Right.
Go on !
Watch her.
Action !
Matsuda, don't look straight down - Just wriggle your eyes at 'her face and bucket', and then grab it !
Look at his face !
Continue 'staring', like this.
Matsuda, what about her dress ?
She will wear a red blouse.
- It's from the opposite road, yes. - Is that the right-turn road is the sento, right ?
- Yes, over the road near my apartment is the sento. - Oh, I see.
It's nearly finished - Few shots remaining.
Nearly done.
It's 10 metres. Just two shots.
Well, Sebata. Let's back out bit further, not too closer, just step back.
Only this arm out.
This one, hey, Sebata !
Look at her sleeve ! But Midori's sleeve colour is different - Can see it !
- Sebata, up to your elbow, straight out ! - Step back a bit.
Best to roll-up her sleeve.
Now roll-up your sleeve, Sebata.
Up to your shoulder.
Bit crooked arm, not straight out !
Bit pull back, like this.
Practise please.
Go on.
Very little ! Look at it . . . Gee, '5' . . .
Still going on . . . He's working to check at it and cleaning it - Really tiresome, alway overtimes there.
Would be fed-up, later on. No good, as salary level is too same as others' . . .
Again there, and we'll talk.
Few feets remaining . . . Oh, great, GREAT !!
Oh, Sakamoto, well, just pull a face for it.
Just at your face only, pictured like this . . .
Let's make a 'sparkling face', like this ?
Studying filmmaking, well done ! thank you.
Just one shot.
Signing or not ?
- Yes, all done ! - Thanks, well done. Thanks.
SUNDAY 11th JULY, 1993.
Practise now.
Robert . . .
Matsuda, move over please.
I'm shooting at her.
- Put water in bucket ? - Not yet, just practise only.
Hey, practise - Empty bucket is okay.
Do it again.
Level apparatus is right.
Oop, my mistake !
I've found out and learnt about it.
Hey, Robert !
When I grabbing her by my hand, should be at this length ?
Me !? I'm not bad ! Before that, a hearing guy's filmmaking does a crazy thing !
Bit more.
Stop, please.
Wearing her watch ??
You and you ? Okay.
I'm going to pan the camera.
Not that.
Let's practise.
What should I do ?
Then you mutterin' your mouth.
Speaking with mouth only ?
- Yes, like this . . . - Chattering teeth, that is.
Look at me !
Matsuda, you looks 'so irate', then grab her bucket and drag it, like this, and then cut.
Well, pull it swiftly away from her, bit further away so that cam can see her. Practise that.
Looks so 'sternly', and then grab it.
What am I going to say ?
You just looks so 'frightened' expression.
Just simple saying, isn't it best ?
Just showing your chattering expression, it's easy !
- "What ?" - What to say it, I'm confused !?
"What are you ?", "What are you doing ?!?"
Not important . . .
Needing to say something, huh ?
Just 'staring with fright'.
Midori, you 'look at it and up to his anger face with shaking face'.
Supposed to focusing at you.
Yes, I think that you're right.
Matsuda, during her talking mouth, you glaring at her, and if she closed her mouth, you then grab it.
Oh, okay.
During that, your face become depressed . . .
'Looks so stunning', and . . .
Midori, really "What happened on it ?"
'Looking scared', with heavy face depressing, and then you flashin' grabbing it. That's it !
Don't need to pull it too straight away. Best to handle it loosely.
From that to that way.
Bit too rough ! He's . . .
Think that's great. Just pulling her hand from it.
Ok ?
Thinking not enough.
Ah, yes ! That's right.
Then you're growling.
Right . . . Ah, you then . . .
That's it !!
You do the charging action, anyway.
Remember, you do 'stunning' instinct, and then that.
Go on.
Good, really good . . . Now, look this.
Just one step forward only. Stop this. Camera will focus back.
Here, and next to this shot.
Action !
Not that ?!
Lighting difference . . .
Action !
Okay ! Done.
Can it be edit out ??
Yes, I can edit it.
- Are you confident ? - Yep.
Look like I'm plump.
After wrapped up Robert's first 35mm short movie, he has some unexpected and expected problems
involded with post-production process which took him over three months to have the finished
'BLUE GUSH' to reach the big screen. He contacted Nikkatsu Studios to have his 2x400ft rush
prints being edited by himself on 35mm Steenbeck editing machine which cost 15,300 yen per day to use it.
Firstly, the Nikkatsu Studios person-in-charge Kiyoshi Iga was almost reluctant at Robert because
that he is deaf and foreigner, but Iga accepted him to use the Steenbeck anyway as that the Studios
nowadays widely accepting many other firms of independently filmmaking groups to use their
studio rooms and other production facilities as Nikkatsu company has badly wants to get the money
which it has frequently suffered on almost bankruptcy situation in recent years.
Robert then began editing the 35mm rush print of 'BLUE GUSH' on 14th July, 1993, which took him
9 1/2 hours to finished it, as the film was 2 mins and 40 seconds long, without title and ending credit.
Noboru, soaked with water . . .
Hey, Midori ! Showing your realistic stun face !
Sound like I'm divorcing you - No good !
Medium-Angle picture stays the same.
Robert ! She should be stunned within M.A. area.
Yes, but she over-reacted - like this ! I can see her !
Let's do it again with it, same M.A. at her back.
The Imagica film laboratory has suggested Robert to visit the small title animation company called
'Tsudoh Creative Company' which it designs and animates many commerical brand name logos
for the big screen in 16mm and 35mm formats. Robert found the right place to get the title footages
and went there. Satoshi Tsudoh, the Tsudoh studio manager, became bit concerned at Robert
at first as Satoshi thought that he is like a tourist visitor who would only glimpses at Tsudoh's studio
room for his personal studies as he would scoop all the important informations and return back to
his native country, but Imagica has fully mentioned Tsudoh that Robert is a deaf professional
filmmaker with new future, then Tsudoh accepted him without hesitation and deal out the raw
material for head title and ending credit lines for 35mm film that Robert asked for, and he wanted
the smoothly-text white lettering of 'BLUE GUSH' in Japanese and English, and same white lettering
texts for ending credit lines in English only with full black background as that it is simple a
no-frilled low-budget film based on spending adjustment.
The title designing was finished with 'Music by Gregory Humphreys' was added in the
ending line as Robert hasn't arranged the music yet.
Gregory Humphreys is Robert's Australian deaf friend who lives in Wollongong, Australia, as he is full
credited as 'Associate Producer' on all Muteki Eigekikai's five 35mm short films.
Teruo Tsuda, the Tsudoh cameraman, shot 50 seconds of 35mm negative film at all the titles by a
special animation stand with beaming device underneath to glows out the white light thru
the designed title cels to the camera.
The finished title film footage was sent to Imagica and processed it with new rush print, and
test-screened it with magnificent result.
Robert then took it back to Nikkatsu Studios and edited it to splice with full-edited 'BLUE GUSH'
footage to 'fine-cut' the rush print of 3 minutes and 26 seconds running time.
And you just 'staring' at him, like this. It's easy.
Yasuko, too - You only standing to stare at him with your hands clasped together.
Practise ?
OK !
GO !
Only that remaining. Careful !
He said it ! Oh, yeah.
It's about this size left. Can't use after that.
Robert, I think not need to show her face but her belly area only, right ?
. . . bad shot.
No good !!
Gushing at her to show her face.
Hmph ! She pulled back, like that. Too far !
Should I throw the water at her belly, right ?
Yes, at belly only.
- Must be gushed straight at her. - A bit more less . . .
He's shooting at me.
45 ?
Checking if he's right.
Wait, lemme . . .
Looking nice.
It's so perfect . . . Just passing me perfectly.
You stared at him so wonderfully !
Easy for you . . . You look at that bucket, and then look-up at the window. As you . . .
Attention, look at it . . .
Again . . .
Patience please.
The post-production problem brewed up as Robert has troubles on searching for the music composer
as he earlier suggested that Gregory Humphreys would be the one with his previous
experiences on deaf filmmaking activities back in Australia.
But Gregory says that he just cannot do that himself, as beside that the musician's fee would
be higher and would be unsuitable to perform the music in Australia for a shortest Japanese movie.
Robert took his advice with very disappointed thoughts, and wondered how to solve the
remaining problem, as of his extreme unrelated life into music accomplishment environments
but he knew that every theatrical films traditionally provides
various music effects usually added, all intensively.
What happened if his movie was presented entirely without the music ?
Watch at it !
It's all final shot - One more shot to go !
That sound quite amateurish way so Robert needs to avoid that point and endlessly tried to
find out where it should be performed, and he suggested that Nikkatsu Studios might have it's
own music composer in the sound recording department as Robert has thought that the department
only produces sound effects on films that he doesn't want it to be added on 'BLUE GUSH'.
Kiyoshi Iga introduced him to Atsushi Sugiyama, the sound recordist, and told him that
Sugiyama can do the simple music selection from old Nikkatsu soundtracks to be insert
in his film at lowest cost.
Robert at last accepted this, and at last ditch, he asked Tsudoh Studios to reshoot the ending
credit lines with 'Music selection . . . Atsushi Sugiyama' and removed Gregory's 'music' credit
line but still remains his credit line as 'Associate Producer' being intacted.
Robert has paid further 24,514 yen including processing the new original 35mm negative film,
minus the rush print that he doesn't need it to re-edit it on already-finished edited rush print of
'BLUE GUSH' - and finalize the post-production tasks with the music selected tracks
which it isn't named in the ending credit.
Sugiyama briefly completed the selection and the music-recorded Scotch audio tape was transfered
to 35mm optical sound negative which it must be processed by Imagica lab !
Robert hasn't been too sore to learning all the depth aspect of post-production tasks as just only
completed his 1987 Australian 16mm film "FLICK 'N' CLICK" without the release print being made.
The cost of processing the B/W sound negative film were pretty expensive, cost 23,160 yen for 360ft roll.
On nearly completion of post-production, Robert went to negative film cutting department near
Imagica Laboratory, and Robert passed his edited rush print and uncut 35mm negative rolls to
neg cutter Tetsuo Nakamizo, and begged him not to demand to pay exuberant cost charge.
Nakamizo sincerely accepted him and worked to edited out the neg outtakes and matched all the neg
cuts from rush print's keycode numbers, and he received 50,000 yen for his service
included extra 10,000 yen for optical sound negative matching.
It's quite bit too much costly fee but Robert has paid him gladly without concerned as of
Nakamizo's brightest and friendliness character, anyway.
The full edited negative film was sent to Imagica and almost done with first answer print version
which it showed bit dimmer opening shot and Robert wanted to have it lighten-up by the color
timer technical personnel, and finally made it extremely well on first release print.
The final film production budget cost, under Robert's self-financed spending adjustment, is 424,066 yen.
That's slightly bit higher cost as than what he has thought of . . .
"BLUE GUSH" was premiered at the Imagica preview theater on Saturday 23rd October, 1993,
with 24 patron audiences who was invited to see the first Muteki Kaisha film outing, as it is just
only 3 minutes long - not a bad achievement for a deaf foreigner who created a great glorious
element for the deaf's culture, not just only for Japan but for the entire world.
Hi-8 Video Photography by TAKAYOSHI HONDA
English Subtitling by ROBERT HOSKIN