The New Year's Party and the Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story
"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." - William Arthur Ward
The "Shinenkai" (New Year's Party) for "What the Funday" on InterFM, was held on Monday was a smash success. I thank everyone involved so very much from the bottom of my heart. The event and everything else involved with the event came out better than I ever dreamed of.
The bands were great. The crowd was fantastic. In fact, the manager of the venue told me afterward that it was the record for attendance at his club since it was established 5 years ago.
Poster for Shinnenkai. I designed this poster modeled after the old
Motown posters I so loved.
Not only was the New Year's Party a party, but it was also a movie shoot: we used the party to shoot parts of the trailer for a movie we are making. The movie is called, "A Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story." (ロックンロール亡霊?) Well, I think that's what we are going to call it. Fact of the matter is that this is the working title and we've been trying for over three months to find a better title but haven't been able too.I think a movie title should be a good description of the movie (well, duh!) and, while it is a little long as titles go, "A Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story" is exactly what this movie is about.
It is a story about a struggling Japanese "Sixties Retro-Music" musician who finds the spirit of a long dead Blues musician living in his studio and he and that spirit make fantastic music together, unlike the rock musicians band in real life. The problem is that no one else can hear that music nor can they see the spirit. Only our protagonist can see and talk with the ghost.
Over time, our hero becomes only happy when he plays music with the spirit. He stops working, stops practicing with his band and spends all his time locked up in the studio with a ghost no one else can see or hear.
His band members and his family begin to think he is having a nervous breakdown or is going insane.
Finally, the musician gives up everything to go and be with the ghost all the time and making heavenly music.
Has he completely gone insane? Or has he really died and gone to heaven?
(Left) Loren Fykes (ghost) & Mr. Pan (rocker)
I have assembled an excellent team to tackle this film project. For the director of the movie, I asked Enrico Ciccu who has written and directed for some very fine cult movie productions in Italy. Enrico can be a difficult person to work with; but that’s the way I like it. Great artists are never easy people to deal with. Enrico wrote the screenplay and had a large hand in the making for this short film which was accepted at the Sapporo Film Festival: “Julie – Johnny Guitar.” Enrico also recently directed this: The Erotik Monkey.
Proper and mood lighting is so critically important to the look and feel of any movie. For Lighting Director, I asked my old friend Yuji Wada. Yuji is a famous Hollywood lighting director. And, amongst other works, Yuji does the lighting for all of Sofia Cappola's movies including the smash hit "Lost in Translation."
Scene from "Lost in Translation"
For camera, I recruited Ken Nishikawa. Ken Nishikawa is a former BBC (speaks beautiful Queen's English) director as well as having donw films and TV productions for every major TV broadcasting company in Tokyo. Ken and I have made MANY TV productions and music videos (Shonen Knife, Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols original bassist) and many other famous Japanese bands). Here the trailer for one of our next productions that I expect to start in spring 2015: Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha
Of course, all good films need good acting. I also need people who can act AND play some mean music. I found them. The actors in our film are from several famous Japanese bands and they are all eager to perform.
The main actor will be Mr. Pan (Lead vocalist of Neatbeats - sitting on the right on the sofa in the photo below). Mr. Pan will be main actor in movie. He can act and has been on TV and radio many times and has also acted in one small part in a movie before. Plus he is the epitome of a cool Japanese Rock and Roll band. The Neatbeats, by the way, just returned from a tour of Europe!
Other bands who have agreed to appear: The Privates and The 50 Kaitenz.
Here are some videos from these great bands:
50 Kaitenz: Killer (This is hilarious. You don't need to understand Japanese to get this!)
The Neatbeats (Campy sixties style Rock and Roll with a hot sexy girl, of course!)
The Privates (Excellent Rock and Roll!)
So far we have had two shooting sessions for the film. The first was on Jan. 23, 2015. It went fantastic and everything was perfect. Here is a still from that shoot:
(Left to Right): Me, Mike Rogers - Producer (bottom left), Enrico Ciccu - Director (standing left), Ken Nishikawa - Cinematographer (Kneeling middle), Mr. Pan - Protagonist (sitting on sofa).
I hope you can see merely by the lighting of this photo that we are going for a style and quality that is a compliment to my inspiration for this particular film, Quentin Tarantino.
Finally, we come full circle. The second shooting session for the film was at our New Year's party. I needed to shoot scenes at a nightclub of our hero's band doing well and doing terribly. We got both. Here is a still from that photo shoot:
On stage are the killer Japanese rock band, "The Privates." Sitting in front with red cap is famous Japanese radio dee-jay and comedian, Furukawa Taro. The beautiful woman at the same table is Tomomi Hiraiwa. Behind them both, the guy sleeping (or acting dead?) is me, Mike Rogers (I must say, I do a mighty fabulous job of acting dead). On camera is director Enrico Ciccu.
Everything, as I wrote, was just perfect for both shoots. The editing starts next week and we expect the trailer to be ready by end of Feb.
Shooting this film is one of my dreams come true and I have decided that if we are going to do this, then we are going to do it right and we are going to make something that is world-class quality.
I think that is a good goal for everyone, all of us, even dear reader, for our lives and our goals for 2015: "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it."
I am going to make my dreams come true this year. I am cheering for you all to do the same.
Let's make all our dreams come true, together in 2015!