Wednesday, June 08, 2005

the end is near.

Hi everyone. I know I haven’t written in awhile but I have been working a bunch. Things
are winding down here and I just wanted to give some quick stories of stuff I’ve been

Things are real fun on this set and I have to say they are some of the most talented
people I’ve worked with. pj is our first assistant director. For those that don’t know,
a 1st ad is someone who is in charge of the set. They keep things moving and their main
job is organization coupled with communication. If they can do those 2 things (and it’s
surprising how many 1st ads’ can’t) it really is an amazing thing. So this brings me to
concerts. It’s impossible to plan a social life while working on a movie because you
never truly know when you’ll finish each night and even where you’ll be. I still took
the chance to buy concert tickets to see tori amos out here (she hasn’t played in
Australia for over 10 years which would make for an awesome audience reaction) and also
nick cave (who being Australia was the top of my list of wanting to see here). so I
mention to pj that I have these gigs coming up. He’s really interested in nick cave (he
and his wife were even married to nick’s “the ship song”.) So first up is my 1st tori
show and pj schedules the night so that at the end of it there are no vfx shots. For an
ad who’s priority is to run the set and not people’s personal lives, it was a great
gift. I bailed and had a fantastic evening. The following week I went to see her 2nd
gig and sure enough, no vfx shots at the end of the night. The next day I was ready to
go see nick, a show that sold out in 10 minutes. But I found out we might be working
late. Nick was going to be on stage with his band The Bad Seeds plus 4 gospel singers.
Something he has only done in Europe. pj (who couldn’t get a ticket himself) not only
wrapped early (which is the equivalent of telling your whole company to go home) but
announced “that’s a wrap, shyam has a concert to go to.” Needless to say, the show was
incredible (he even played “the ship song”).

Then that following saturday may 21st I threw a surprise birthday party for bel, one of
our Australia vfx crew. I was planning to represent the ‘french toast & hugs’ gang I
started with daisy my sister’s pup with an early breakfast followed by gokart racing.
By the time the day arrived bel had already found out about the shindig but it was
still great fun. I bought 6 bottles of maple syrup, powdered sugar, peanut butter,
whipped cream, fresh strawberrys & bananas, cinnamon, butter and freshly baked bred for
the happening. Things as usual with this gang fell right into place and a great griddle
pan (thanks lisa!) fell into my hands. More ladies then gents showed up for the morning
food, I’m not sure what to make of that, and then we headed out to gokart race. Some of
the camera guys showed up and we hit the outdoor track. I’ve only been high-speed
gokarting once before in los angeles on an indoor track and it was not too fun. Too
many technical turns not enough straightaway full on / full out. This one was perfect.
At first I thought I can I learn this track, we only have 3 10 minute races but after
the first 2 laps you really dial it in. the first 2 races you qualify and try to get
your best time. The last one they average your speeds and the one with the best wins.
The karts get up to 70 kilometers per hour and really take the curves well. The smell
of gasoline is strong and I flipped up my helmet visor to get a stronger taste (it
reminds me of my chevelle). A lot of fun was had and I got 3rd place (plus a bunch of
bruises down my back and I think even a possible cracked rib!) nice.

This past weekend I made my final trek up to broken hill. I went early on with my bud
messrob to see mad max 2 locations and realized that I forgot my chevelle photo book.
For those of you that don’t know I like to take photos of my car with friends /
locations that I love or think are cool. When I can’t physically get the car there I
take a photo of the chevelle and photograph that in front of what I want. Last year I
snapped her in her glory in front of the taj mahal in India. So I returned one last
time to broken hill and got some excellent snaps of grace along side max’s v8 replica.

Peter fonda is in this film and I got invited to watch the dvd of ‘easy rider’ while he
give live commentary. It was such a surreal experience and his story was such a
rambling affair that it’s hard for me to put down into words. I would hear this guy
mumbling about boots and some sort of drug I’ve never heard of and then realize it was
the guy in the film. another surreal moment was before the film when I mentioned to him
that I worked with him on ‘escape from la’. He plays this acid rain surfer dude in the
film and upon mention of it both him and I yelled a piece of his dialogue “tsunami!”

Kevin my supervisor and I were working out some sort of crew gift to hand out. Noone
has handed out any on this show so we figure we might as be the ones. The first idea
was to make t-shirts with a kangaroo skull that was on fire on it. But noone realized
it was a roo skull so we mulled it over a bit. I mentioned to kev that I wanted to buy
a pair of the sweet vegas elvis shades that nic wears in the film. he plays this crazy
motorcycle stunt biker guy and even if he crashes and eats it he puts on these badass
shades. So that was it. We found out where to get them and bought EVERY pair in Sydney.
237 to be exact. It was a blast to hand them out to the crew and photograph them doing
their best ‘johnny blaze’ (nic’s character) badass stunt pose.

Kevin my supervisor and I are now are 2nd unit. We’ve been on first for most of the
show but visual fx are done there so we’re finishing up with a crew we don’t
necessarily know that well. Our first day last week with them I was getting the usual
getting to know you questions about why I have such strange eating habits and why do I
wear a dog tag around my neck. One of the guys looks at my small red heart necklace and
asked if my heart was really that tiny to which I replied ‘nah man, that’s just extra’.

Things have been really great on this show and my sister tara arrives on Thursday. We
are going to new Zealand next Monday for 1 ½ weeks before coming home. I can’t tell you
how excited I am to go back. Although the entire experience has been really positive
and good for me I’m at the point where I need to be with the people that I’ve known and
loved for so long. When I did the solo drive to broken hill I didn’t stop except for
gas. The only other time I stopped was to get an order of large fries from ‘hungry
jacks’, the Australia name for burger king. As I ate up and sat in the sun with a tasty
ginger beer I looked under the box to see if any fries had settled in the bottom of the
bag. When you find those fries and they aren’t burned edges but big tasty strips
covered in salt they seem extra special for some reason. A surprise. You guys are the
fries at the bottom of my bag. I’ll see you soon.

Love shyam.

To see the new additions to my Australia page please go here.

To see the crew Johnny blaze photos please check out snowmack’s link here.


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