Lunch Fu

Watch with audio commentary

On a lovely Sunday afternoon, two families want to have a picnic at the same table. The two fathers, who happen to be kung fu masters, fight to the death to settle the matter. This epic kung fu battle is full of flying kicks, stupid comedy, and un-synced dialogue. This is one picnic you won’t want to miss.

Production

Filming Lunch Fu was a lot of fun. I think I remember the shoot taking about ten days total. Because it was hard to work with everyone’s schedules, it was usually just me, Andrew, and Dave. I had extra help on the bigger days so that things would go better according to plan. We worked on it when we could though, mostly on the weekends. It was also very hot so we couldn’t film very long at one time. We shot it in a park across the street from Dave’s (Chef) studio, so all the equipment was easy to access.

One of the props we used actually wasn’t even ours. The grill that Andrew (Cook) uses at the beginning was in the backyard of the studio. It probably belonged to the people upstairs. We borrowed it for a little while and brought it back everyday. Actually I don’t even remember if anyone lived up there. If they did, please do not tell them we used their grill. It will be our little secret. Thanks.

We shot in the park at different times of the day and on different days of the week, so this caused some problems in continuity. Sometimes there were like a hundred kids there playing around. Sometimes there were none. Sometimes there were fruit vendors on the sides of the street. Sometimes there were people there with dogs. Sometimes it was sunny. Sometimes it was cloudy. We had a lot of problems like that. I didn’t care though. I just wanted to make the movie.

This film was partially written and partially improvised. It was really fun because we all got to be really creative. Actually the reason I made this film was just to test out my new blue screen. I kept on getting ideas so I just decided to make it a short film instead of a test. In the script I wrote everything that I wanted to happen, and then we kind of improvised the actual choreography. I did not use story boards. Some of the shots I had planned in my head before the shoot, but most of them were made up on the spot.

One of the fun things was that the dialogue was going to be dubbed, so Dave and Andrew could say whatever they wanted. They said some pretty funny things. I forgot most of them, but there a few I remember. Here is a list of them:

When Bobby tells Cook that he wants to be as great as him some day, Andrew actually is saying, “You will never be as good as me.”

When Chef is trying to trick Cook on the playground and tells him to stand in a certain spot, Andrew said “Butterfly” instead of why.

Near the end when Cook and Chef are about to jumpkick each other, Andrew says, “Will you marry me Dave? Let’s move to Seattle.”

That’s all I can remember. I only remember Andrew’s stuff because Dave mostly spoke jibberish. He made some pretty funny noises though. We recorded the dialogue in Dave’s studio after the movie was edited. It was kind of like doing a voiceover. We had a lot of fun with it.

Post-Production

There isn’t really too much else that I remember about Production. Post-Production was crazy though. It took forever. It was really hard. I had to edit around all the mistakes I made and try to fix them with tricks that I knew. I also had to do lots of blue screen effects. I edited it on Final Cut Pro. The biggest problem is explained below. It’s kind of a lengthy explanation, but hopefully you’ll understand it.

Lunch Fu was filmed with a wide-angle lens. A wide-angle lens is kind of like a fish-eye lens, but less extreme. It distorts the image by bending it around the edges. It gives it more of a cartoonish look. I shot this film on a Canon GL2 camera, and the lens just screws over the top of the other one. The problem with that is that when you’re zoomed out all the way, you can see black in the corners because the lens attachment is partially obstructing the view of the lens. Then there was one day that I left the UV filter on and put the wide lens on top of that. The corners had so much black on them that I had to reshoot a bunch of stuff. These black corners are more noticable on some shots than others. Almost every shot of the film had to be zoomed in slightly to get rid of them. It was a pain, and it results in a little loss of quality. In some shots, I used some effects in post production to get rid of the corners, but if you look closely, you’ll notice.

Another huge problem was the weather. Sometimes it was cloudy and sometimes it wasn’t. I used some crazy color correcting techniques to make it flow better. I had to turn the sky blue when it was actually white in lots of shots. You’ll notice if you look closely. You can tell especially when Andrew is in the shot, because all of the white on his costume is partially blue instead of white.

Those are just a few of the problems. Sound editing took forever too. I also had to drive up to Wisconsin a lot because that’s where Joe (music) lived. I went there every now and then to see how the music was going and to tell him what I thought of it. I had a good time working with him.

One last thing I wanted to point out that no one knows is that I am in this movie. It’s kind of funny. There was one shot I needed of Andrew, but he couldn’t do it because he had to leave for school. I really needed the shot, so I borrowed his costume and filmed myself doing the action. Since the shot is far away, you can’t tell. Andrew and I have pretty much the same body type, so no one will ever know. It is the shot after Dave shoots the fireball at Andrew. Cook flies through the air and lands on the swing. That’s me. Yippee.

I hope you enjoyed these notes. Thanks for reading them.

Cast
  • Cook: Andrew Houle
  • Chef: David Geisler
  • Bobby: Mike Gastaldi
  • Synthia: Kim Geisler
  • Cook’s Wife: Anna Deters
  • Chef’s Wife: Rosie Zurad
Crew
  • Director: Jay Pavlina
  • Writter: Jay Pavlina
  • Cinemtographer: Jay Pavlina
  • Editor: Jay Pavlina
  • Music: Joseph Ulrey
  • Script Supervisor: Tim Pavlina
  • Production Assistant: Michael Roest