Scribbles in the Sand

All About My Life in Taiwan


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Penghu Residents Become Internet Sensation

Fiona and I went for lunch today at the Vietnamese restaurant for a French baguette. Upon walking in I knew instantly that we had been recognised. Two full tables of high school /uni students were giggling and poking each other to look at us. Considering this movie that we made has had over 10,000 views, it’s not surprising that we are minor celebrities in penghu,especially among the thousands of teenager who spend their evening glued to facebook chat. We returned home and found that we were on the front of the newspaper. Fiona dictated and I transcribed the following article article which remains true to the original translation Continue reading


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Day 2 of Filming

三 days of poor light and rain have prevented filming so far.  However, when we awoke at 5:30am, the sky was a deep dark blue free of clouds which meant that filming was to proceed and that we would have no lie-in.

We had to re-shoot the first scenes of me proposing on the beach because the initial takes were too dark.

We drove out of town into the countryside to pick up a new child actor who was replacing the initial one who had gone on holiday. We arrived at Lintou 林投公園 beach at about 8 o’clock.

Unlike the first day where I had been extremely nervous, I was very calm and a seasoned pro by now, and so the scenes went by quite smoothly. I was required to bend down in the water and propose to Fiona. While opening the box I was meant to fling it open by mistake and lose the ring in the water. We had to time our dialogue with the crashing of each wave, and the crew were having difficulty maintaining their footing with the tide bashing against them. I had to kneel down in the sand for extended periods of time which was intensely painful because it was mostly made up of coral.

Another scene was shot at the harbour while Fi was getting her hair and makeup done. After this, we relaxed in a nice cafe for an hour or two until the final scene of the day at Guanyinting.  Despite hours of doing her hair, Fiona only had one short scene of her washing her hands, and you would think this would be easy, but it took about 10 takes because the director wanted a very precise emotion that was part surprise,delight,relaxed, nonchalance.  Around this time in the evening Guanyinting is a lovely location. The bridge is very beautiful and underneath it is a small lagoon/sea lake? where people come and swim.  I was required to scream “WHERE ARE YOU!” across the water four times which was pretty embarrassing and not something  I enjoyed doing too much.

The final scene was completed  just as the sun dipped out of sight below the bridge.

Come back tomorrow for the final instalment of this epic saga.


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Day 1.5 of Filming

The very first day of filming had been a write off since the sky had become too overcast, and in the intervening days it rained non-stop. Eventually, the clouds parted and the blue skies returned. We drove for about an hour across to the other main islands to the impressive hexagonal basalt columns similar to those seen in Ireland. It was only about 8m when filming began but already my blue polo shirt was beginning to show sweat marks, and I was sweating from previously unsweated places, such that my chest and stomach began to resemble a Rorschach blot.

The scenery was lovely and just as the mics had all been set up, a team of 3 hedge strimmer people arrived to tend to the grass, and so we had to wait 20 minutes under umbrellas while they cut the grass. The crew eventually asked them to take a break and in their rest we filmed our scene.

Next we drove a bit further to another popular tourist hotspot. An ancient village filled with old houses. We had planned to shoot at midday thinking that people would be too afraid of the sun, but this had not deterred the crowds.

My scene involved cycling through the street searching desperately for my lost bride whilst looking concerned. Quite an easy scene, although it still took about 6 takes because I either cycled too quickly, didn’t look around enough, or looked too happy. The cast would block tourists off from the street for each take, so that each time we filmed a take, I would have tourists and tour guides watching my every move It was stupidly hot and there was no point in makeup because I was soaked and my shirt was wetter than a mermaid reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

With this scene nailed, we headed outside of the village to some old houses that had been renovated into guest houses. The crew had hired an actor to hand me some Fengru tea. This scene took quite some time because each time we began filming, either someone would scooter past, a plane would be heard in the distance, a door would creak or an ant would fart.  It was here that we took some impromptu gangsta photos in a doorway which are very cool.

A good days filming and an equally good celebratory meal after. We returned happy and all rather browner.


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Day 1 of Filming

The day started at 5am and we walked across the hall to our directors house for hair and makeup. I needn’t have arisen so early because she took about an hour on Fi and then did me in about 5 minutes, mainly just shaping my eyebrows. I’m clearly more photogenic and need less time for makeup.

The crew headed off to the beach to clear away some of the drift wood that the previous typhoon had brought in. We picked up the child talent (a talkeasy student) and shot his scene first on the beach. While we were filming, the army decided to drop by and clean up the beach around us, and then the local athletics club were doing their morning jog up and down the beach.

After 8 takes, it was mine and Fiona’s turn. The first scene was a close up of my face looking nervous and then proposing on bended knee while the waves lapped againt my hairy legs. As I pull the ring from its case, it flies out and lands in the sand, lost.

The nervous scene was done in two takes which added to my confidence, but getting the ring to successfully fling out of the box was more difficult, and after 8 or so takes, the crew decided it was simply too bright to continue filming, and that all the scenes bar one would need to be reshot.

The previous day has been perfect, with their test shots looking lovely, but today was far too bright and overcast and the contrast between the sky and sea was to similar. Another typhoon is on its way and so could disrupt filming further. I guess this is all part and parcel of shooting movies. At least we’re not in the jungle trying to capture a tree frog mating once every blue moon.

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