Green Ninja: Origins.
[New Video] Kendrick Lamar @ The New Parish in Oakland, CA (Nate Dogg Tribute, on 2Pac, and Dr. Dre) Pt. 1 & 2
Labeling Kendrick Lamar the future of “westcoast” rap would be a gross understatement, because while no other single emcee seems garnishing more attention so fast out west, after seeing this show I am convinced that he is the future of rap…no…hip-hop. Period. His energy and aura on stage is what many rappers can only dream of capturing, and Kendrick captures and controls the crowd effortlessly. I guess that it was only right that his first headlining show be in Oakland. The show was incredible and the live performance tells me that if this is only the beginning, this kid is gonna be around for a while. I think these hip hop elites should have a reason to want to cherish their legacies….because the hip-hop history books will be writing about Kendrick Lamar very soon.
Watching the Babak Sarrafan and Jim Orr work with the Crazy Dragons at the Pao-Hua Buddhist Temple was an indescribably amazing experience. Today I really got to see hands on, even though behind the camera most of the time, exactly how a film crew and real production must operate, and how important each individual person was in relativity to the overall efficiency of the production. In a production you are forced to adapt to unexpected situations, as in this instance where we just were told to show up on the day of the shoot, then refused at first, testing the patience and creativity of everyone involved in order to get the problem solved. Fortunately, everything was worked out and the footage was amazing! Shots out to the costume crew for doing an amazing job on everyone, I was really impressed!
Kevan Hom did a spectacular job playing the Green Ninja, as did Professor Greg Lagera (who is really a Grand Master in real life!) and the rest of the Crazy Dragons. The shots were incredible inside of that temple. The Green Ninja:Origins is being shot 70’s cinema style so the film carries that look in the feature, and with the purposely off over-dubs, this film will really be something special. Dr. Eugene Cordero came out again to show his support, with Nick Martinez and Amy Holsten doing an amazing job keeping everything on point and in-line. I only wish we could turn this into a full length feature film!!! Cant wait to see the finished product (gonna see if I can sneak my way into post somehow….).
I also got a chance to sit down with the Director of Photography Jim Orr to discuss his involvement with this project and other projects he is working on, including the directorial debut of Alicia Keys’ first film. Jim was really cool and gave a lot of insight regarding film vs. digital filming (chemistry vs. pixels), and explained how this project, Green Ninja: Origins, was being shot 70’s style look, which is why the Panavision ($350k) camera is being used, which would have been the same camera used back then. Very cool. I could tell that Jim was very excited to work on this project, and loves working with enthusiastic students who are eager to learn. Good people.
Overall, this project was a blast to work on and I had a lot of fun. It is definitely a great hands-on learning experience to be able to be a part of a real film crew on a real film set, something that a lot of other universities and programs just don’t offer to the their students. I was very fortunate to be a part of something to special and so multi-dimensional that it is still a little hard to grasp. I have accumulated about 70GB of footage that I will make some BTS videos so that you guys can really see the behind the scenes action!! Great job everyone!!! ITS A WRAP.
We are about half way through all of the major production for the Green Ninja:Origins and the project is looking amazing. It is interesting to see how this crew of students interact so efficiently and professionally, coupled with the experience Jim Orr and Babak Sarrafan on this shoot, using the 35mm film set up. It is also amazing to see how important the dolly is, and more so the DOLLY TEAM! Great job guys. There were a few mechanical hiccups but everything was handled in a quick manner by the geniuses on this set. Today Kevan really convinced me he was a real ninja when I saw that sword work. My friend Pat called me and said Professor says that this guy has had some training before! I saw it today….very cool.
Today I also sat down with Dr. Eugene Cordero, professor of Meteorology and Climate Sciences and the person who put all of this together, for a quick but in-depth interview on the Green Ninja. In the interview Dr. Cordero discusses how the project was birthed and how Professor and Director Babak Sarrafan came up with the idea for the character. He explains the cross-collaboration between the different colleges within the university, and the many different aspects of this project concerning the power of social media, as well as the benefit of having the Radio Television and Film Department at San Jose State at his disposal. Dr. Cordero also discusses future plans for the Green Ninja and the many other projects that are currently underway, including funding from NASA. This is big.
Day 3: Buddhist Temple. Crazy Dragons. Get Ready.
Today we wrapped up day one of shooting for the Green Ninja: Origins project with Spartan Studio Films, a San Jose State University sponsored film directed by Babak Sarrafan and filmed by San Jose State students and members of the Film Production Society, with Jim Orr as the Director of Photography. The Green Ninja Project is the brainchild of Babak Sarrafan, professor (Radio Televison & Film) at San Jose State University, birth from an idea originally proposed by Eugene Cordero, a professor and scientist in the field of Meteorology and Climate Science, representing one of the lagest collaborative effort between multiple departments and colleges within San Jose State University.
My part on this project was casting the legendary Professor Greg Lagera to play the Sensei, and the Crazy Dragons for the talent. If you don’t know who they are, you must not know the history of Kajukenbo! Read about them! Everyone was a blast to work with and very professional. Professor Lagera, who teaches for free, informed me that be has been in a couple of movies before….and it shows! This is exciting stuff!!! Did I mention we are shooting on 35mm film!!!
Today’s shoot was at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA, a beautiful place I will definitely have to come back and visit again sometime. For a student-ran film project, everything went very smooth and everyone was extremely professional and on point. I can get used to this. I am also doing behind the scenes footage and will edit together some nice vids for you guys to see…a real film crew!!! Also, Nokia donated us some N8 phones (thanks!!) that shoot 1080 footage from a 12mp cam! I’ll try to post some soon….Stay tuned….
After 2 months of shooting and editing, the official music video for The Happening is finally complete! Exactly three months after the Luzion “Doin Me Again” video…sounds like a long time but we’ve been busy. Special thanks to everyone involved in this project. Victor Del Castillo for the C0-Direct…one love! Great job. Anthony Riser on the DP keeping everyone in line, getting the crucial shots, and getting the locations! Special thank you to Priyal Patel for the additional shooting, design, and production (you got my favorite shots!). Shots out to Malcolm Halcrombe and Jimmy Evans again for the excellent acting and screen-work. It was a long time coming, lots of shooting, and crazy editing but we got it done and got the idea out. Crazy team. Look out for the mixtape coming soon…The Prince and the Disscourses. Just a little something for summer…more videos coming soon…stay tuned. I.V League.
Cool dudes. Enjoy.