November 1, 2010


So something I haven't really mentioned here is that in addition to the film watching, film review writing, film reading and general faffing about I do I also occasionally find myself involved in making something filmic. This latest endeavour is born of a vague (initially throw away idea) from a brainstorming session two years ago. First we knocked together a trailer. Then we decided to make it a six episode web series. Then we shot it. This is... Tetris Cops

Produced by an Indian, a Chinaman and a White Guy Productions, the original plan for filming was to shoot an episode a weekend, for six weekends in a row. That didn't quite work out as planned. Instead, as can so often happen (especially when you're working on zero budget) things got pushed out. Various uncontrollable things happened. Months went by. We regrouped. We took a week, glanced at each other meaningfully and said "This is when we film. Let's do this!"

A few of us took annual leave from our day jobs for the past week. We didn't use that leave to relax. Nossir. We used it to film. I was first helping out on a couple of other episodes, and then worked on directing mine. And it was great. Fucking awesome. I was exhausted at the end of most days; from standing up, from constantly working through scenes and problems, from driving around trying to navigate Wellington city streets, from holding a big ass camera over my head... I was exhausted and a little delirious. I felt a helluva lot better than after a regular day of my office job.
Photo courtesy of Chris Tse 

The thing that really got me, is how great folks can be. Our two cops, Julian and Logan, are played by two professional actors, Simon and Paul. Acting is what these guys do for a job. And they agreed to help us out. The mad fools agreed to put on awkward box costumes and run around spouting dialogue in gruff cop-action voices. To top it off, they're totally ace, riffing randomness like the best of them. And our villain, also a professional actor trained in all types of cool stuff (Ben), was happy for us to whack a fake mustache and fake tan looking make-up on him as we made him strut around with a faux Mexican accent. And the same goes for all our cast. From the Chief, to the DA to little random insert characters. Just the fact that these people were willing to give up so much of their time, often taking time off from work, makes me feel all humble. 

Shakespeare, this ain't.
Photo courtesy of Chris Tse 

Not to mention the guy who let us use his car for the Tetris Cops' car. None of us had met this guy before. He didn't know us from Adam. But my friend, co-writer-director-producer Rajeev saw his car and flat-out asked him if we could use it for a shoot. "No worries." This dude, this awesome dude, let us borrow this:
The Tetrismobile
with no worries. No worries driving it. No worries hanging on to it over night. What can you say about a guy like that? Fucking. Ace.

Basically it's been a hectic, busy week running around like a madman fighting traffic, weather and the odds. We've got most of the footage we needed for the rest of the series, with only a day worth of shooting to go. It's been exhausting and rewarding. And I'm looking forward to y'all seeing it and hearing what you think of this crazy little series. Shot on a frayed shoestring, with a lot of goodwill and help, I'm pretty chuffed with what we've achieved so far. I'll be keeping you posted on release, likely early in the new year.

The challenge, for me personally, is to not let myself fall back into the morass of daily routine now. I'm already plotting and pondering new projects. I know I have to move beyond that initial stage and get going, get moving get creating. 'Cos that's when the good stuff happens.


  1. I'm so excited to see Tetris Cops!
    Even though I'm in it for barely any time at all I was still struck (as I always am) by the professionalism you guys manage.
    So proud & whatnot.

  2. So very excited to finally see this. :)