China Diary

Day 191: Lannister Always Pays His Debts

Right now, the biggest worry in my brains is a certain scene for the film which I just can’t seem to disassemble into actual images with meaning. This sequence takes place towards the end of the movie, and is described quite openly in the script, but it’s always been clear as a day to me when we shot it, but now that we are actually building it up – it’s very much VFX-related sequence – I’m out of ideas. We have sketched few big images to it, tried and experimented some techniques and tested out some footage, but nothing has really worked yet. Max is pushing me to deliver a “miracle” with the scene, and while I agree with him… I have no idea where that miracle is hidden. I feel the answer is floating around somewhere in the back of my brains, but I just can’t access it. Feels frustrating.

To me, creativity is like a big, black dog: you don’t want to stare it straight in the eye, or things may turn bad. You have to approach it carefully, let it have a smell at you and slowly let it accept you. Only then, you may have made a friend. Right now, I feel like the dog is smelling my palm, but it’s not really trusting me yet. I don’t want to rush it, but at the same time, I kinda have to.

Yesterday I spent the day by putting Tuomas Kantelinen’s music in place to the movie. It was a tedious process, with the new editor’s assistant being kind of a contributing factor to the hardship. She’s very skilled, but she speaks zero English – she has no idea what words like “stop” “play” “back” “yes” or “no” mean, I mean, she just speaks no English at all. And sometimes it feels like she doesn’t even speak Chinese; when Tanya the post production coordinator tries to explain my wishes to her, she just stares blankly at her, and then does something completely different. There is a major communications breakdown between us, and even the slightest bit of work with her can be cumbersome. But she knows her stuff, which is great; we just fail to connect in any level. Not her fault, though. But nevertheless, frustrating.

Luckily, she had done most of the work beforehand already, and to me it was just confirming the music was in place. It was also the first time I saw the new cut, since Max had made some tinkering with it, and I was pleased to find out that the film itself works pretty well.

This might actually turn into a pretty good movie. And it’s not just me saying it, though; I’ve heard positive feedback already floating in from the producers’ side, and all the way up to China Film, too. We’re not even nearly done yet, though, but seeing this taking shape now and looking pretty good at it is giving me strength to carry on pushing.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_16e76After the workday, Tanya took me to a barbershop around the corner – the price of the haircut here is 8,60€, compared to Finland where you pay anything between 35€ to 50€, and the result is just as good, even better. Here, they wash your head before and after the treatment, and they cut great.

Haircut done, we had a dinner at a closeby Sichuan hot pot place. There, the system works so that every food item is impaled in a wooden stick, which are then dipped into the hot pot sauce – either spicy or mild. Your bill is based on how many wooden sticks you have left in the table after you’re done.

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Mushrooms, seafood, vegetables, noodles, sesame sauce and the hot pot. Heaven on a table.

Then, it was time to go pay my debts. Last time in town, I had visited a bar where I bought drinks, but it turned out I didn’t have enough cash with me (no, they don’t take cards here), but they told me that instead of getting the money to pay up next time when I’m in town. I’m sure they believed I’m a tourist and out of their hair as soon as the door closed behind me, but Lannistered up and came back to pay my debts – and needless to say they were surprised.

Back at the hotel, I was feeling slightly buzzed after few drinks, and ended up watching random crap at YouTube through the night. Judging from my What’sapp, I went to bed around 9am (thanks, jetlag), and woke up at 2:01pm, one minute after my first meeting of the day was to begin.

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