John Sayles' AMIGO and A Moment in the Sun out at last.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Will came to us from Argentina on a leave from Harvard and he is a highschool friend of Luke's from Santa Rosa.Rainer is from Alabama but we last saw him in New Mexico and actually he is on leave from college in Chicago. His aunt is Miss Kathleen Broyles.

From near and far, and we are speaking a lot of Spanish! 

New arrivals from the U.S.

Welcoming party for US SOLDIERS Bobby Guay, Will Boddington, and Kenny Guay with Chris Cooper (COL HARDACRE) and POC Vanessa and of course John Sayles.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Villagers at their costume fitting

Wardrobe filled the Toril barangay hall with costumes and began their fittings. Here are Costume Designer Gino Gonzales and Wardrobe Master Steve Salvador with their first customers.Look how nice the Guerillas and little boys look here in their new clothes.
Once Joiee and Jon Jon get their hands on them (that's sandpaper they're using I think) they'll never be the same again.

Down to the last detail

Do you think that when Chris Cooper sees his uniform tomorrow he'll notice that Daniebelle has sewed  over the yellow stitching with (historically accurate) gold thread?

I'll be sure to tell him.

Ate Virge and her girls

They feed us good food every day.

A laundry line worth waiting for


Those of you who know me may have been wondering, "where are the clotheslines?" They are everywhere in the Philippines, but these are the most beautiful I have seen. They are BARYO clothes, made by our Wardrobe Dep and then "aged". You see them here drying by Wardrobe's  aging station at Ladaga Inn.If you look closely you'll see intentional stains.

These are "camisons", the underslips for all the Filipino background extras. I think they have just been dyed in strong tea.

Cantonese dialogue for auditions

Feature film by US Indy giant is looking for two  Cantonese speaking 
men in their 20's. Dates of employment March 9 &10 plus travel time 
to Philippines, Bohol, fully paid.

Please record auditions in Cantonese on video using either AVI or 
Quicktime formats. Go to and click "send file." You will 
be prompted to attach the file to send, just like an email. After 
attaching the file, send to email address

EXT. San Isidro – slit trench – evening

The four coolies attached to the garrison are digging a slit trench –

What goes in this hole?

The white ghosts shit in it

(CONFUSED) They were out in the field all day. Why don’t they shit there?

Because they’re white.  They shit in this hole and then they cover it with lime and then with dirt.

You’re making fun of me.

I’m telling you the truth.  I’ve seen them do it.

It’s some kind of magic.  And a terrible waste of shit.

Maybe.  After they bury it they usually move away.

It can’t be safe to work for them.  I don’t like to carry their bombs. Or their men when they’re wounded.

What do you like to carry?


The others laugh, even the poker-faced Chuckles.

These ones feed you better than the black-hair white men.

This is true.

And they pay better than the monkey-fuckers in Manila.

The ones here are so poor they have no money to pay.

The dog-eaters here are so poor they are their own coolies.

(signs) And that is as low as a man can sink.


Children play in the water as WOMEN from the village scrub clothes.  The women barely look up as the coolies pass with bundles of soldiers’ clothing-

May today we don’t have to dig.

I don’t mind digging.  Unless it’s after a battle.

That was bad.

They begin to lay the clothes out-

They use us like mules, but mules don’t have to bury the dead.


The coolies are scrubbing clothes in the running water-

If you have enough land you can sleep all day while other people work on it.  And if the government is forcing men to be soldiers you can pay somebody else to take your place.

But if that man is killed his spirit will haunt you.

Better than being killed yourself.

When I get home I’m going to buy some too.

You gamble too much.  You gamble and you lose.

But some day my luck is going to change.  Without gambling, I’ll be an old man before I have enough to buy land.

You were born under a bad sign.  If your luck changes, it will be for the worst.

He senses something,  look around-

Where did they go?
咦! 佢地去咗邊呢?

Looking for Cantonese speaking actors in their 20's

We are using the blog as a casting board all of a sudden.
Here are John Sayles' bios of the two characters we are looking for, MOON and CHOP CHOP.
Wu Shuk Yee was born in a village not far from the city of Shenzhen, son of a poor rice farmer.  He grew up in a large family with never enough to eat and when he was old enough to be a good worker joined some other boys heading for the city to make money as laborers.  He was always strong enough to carry a heavy load but has bad balance and falls down a lot, so he doesn’t like to work loading boats or on high buildings.  Shuk made enough to eat well, but hoped to be able to earn enough to send money home.  But if he ate less he was too weak to work long hours.  Then a few of the young men told him how you could make more money on a contract overseas, and he signed up to work in Manila.  Lots of Chinese live there, with their own neighborhood and some with big houses and owning businesses, but contract workers are treated no better than the buffalo that pull the carts and sometimes worse, even by the rich Chinese.  Shuk was caught inside the walls when the Filipinos surrounded the city, and he was not the only one starving for a change.  But when the Americans came it got better, though some of the things they expect you to eat must really be for dogs.  He is saving some money now and hopes that in a year, maybe two, he will be able to go back home and brag about how he got rich.

Chan Wai Ling was born in a houseboat in the canal that separates Canton (Guangdong) from the foreign quarter on Shameen Island, his father a mender of pots.  He is the third son in the family.  His second elder brother signed a contract to be transported to Cuba and has never been heard from again, so when it was Wai’s turn he agreed only to a two-year contract working in Manila for a Spaniard.  The ones who came home from there said the work is no harder than that in China but the pay much better, plus it was so close to Hongkong you could almost swim.  When he returns Wai will buy a shop, or at least be able to rent a stall for his father to work in and try to move everybody off the boat where it is so crowded and there is so much disease.  He was halfway through the contract when the war broke out and the Spaniard, who had guaranteed everybody’s fare home, disappeared without paying them.  Luckily the Americans came who pay a little better even if they are big savages.  They aren’t close to the shooting too often, but you have to watch out for the monkey people here, who are jealous and hate all Chinese and will kill you if they get the chance.
It is hard and it is lonely being here, but if you work hard and don’t gamble or smoke the opium you can save enough to buy a future.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mabuhay: Cast and Crew but US for US Soldiers There Will Be Another Memo

Study this memo from our office and see if you can tell how perfectly Filipino is this welcome:

Reminders for US Cast and Crew – Arrival to Manila and to Bohol Guidelines

1. Upon arrival at the Airport, a representative from the International Press Center (IPC)
carrying the sign “BARYO” will meet you before you reach Immigration.

2. We have secured a special work permit for you; this will allow you to stay in the
Philippines for 59 days. In the case where Immigration stamps your passport with 21
days, inform Michael, who will meet you outside the airport, so that he can ask IPC
to have it changed to 59 days. For this process, you have to leave your passport with
Michael when you meet him, this may take a few days to accomplish. He will deliver
it to you in Bohol after the changes have been made.

3. IPC will assist everyone with Customs. For Judy, James and Mary, since you are
flying in with your equipment, customs will ask you to sign a re-export commitment
paper. Sign it. The purpose of this document is to waive the duties and taxes for your
equipment. You will show this again to customs when you leave Manila in March.

4. After immigration and customs, the IPC representative will endorse everyone to
Michael Cardoz personally. They will not leave you unless you are already with

5. Michael will assist you to your connecting flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol and will hand
out your ticket.

6. As you arrive at the Bohol Airport, after picking up your luggage, make your way out
to the parking lot. A driver for the hotel (Olman’s View Resort) will be carrying a

7. When you arrive at Olman’s, look for Aileen at the front desk and you will be assisted
and shown to your room.

Michael will give you an envelope containing the following:
1. Endorsement Letter from the International Press Center.
2. Synopsis of BARYO
3. ID issued by the International Press Center and the Film Development Council
4. Pocket money for terminal fee, meal allowance and a fund for excess baggage. Kindly
keep all the receipts for liquidation. Vanessa Ulgado, our coordinator in Bohol will get
these receipts when you arrive at Olman's View Resort.
5. A photocopy of the re-export commitment document (For Judy, Jaime and Mary)
REMINDER: Please pack light. Charge for excess baggage are as follows:
Excess Baggage rate is PHP100.00 per kilo plus Value Added Tax
For the Foreign-Based/US Cast:
Business Class is 30 kilos or 66 pounds
Regular Economy is 20 kilos or 44 pounds
Economy under promo is 15 kilos or 33 pounds
*As discussed: Excess baggage for Judy, Jaime and Mary will be shipped on airfreight
cargo unless, otherwise advised.
The usual TSA regulations apply.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I think it's called a Busman's Holiday

Take the map Locations has made of all the places we'll be shooting, and make it a tour. One stop in the Clarin Ancestral Home which we will dress as COL HARDACRE'S Headquarters. Production Coordinators Dani and Vanessa were happy to visit there since heaven knows they'll never get out of the office once we start shooting.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Heads up on the welcome packet

Skyping is a good way to communicate from here, so if you bring your laptop set up for skype and if you open an account (by using your credit card) you can use your laptop to call a phone anywhere. It's often more convenient than video skyping since you can call a cellphone. The office also has a Magic Jack which you can plug into a laptop to make free calls to the US. If you don't bring a laptop you can probably negotiate to use someone else's for Magic Jack.

Don't bring what you can buy here, which is almost everything. Here you can easily find contact lens solution, Johnson & Johnson Q-tips, ibuprofen, sunblock, and Off! You can't buy Pepto Bismol tablets, any Bach's Remedy products, or sensitive skin face lotion with sunblock.

I have acquired the local habit of carrying a rag to wipe my face after a sweaty moment. Bandanas are good, or handkerchiefs. I bought thin terrycloth washrags, a bit bigger than a face cloth and that does the trick. Good for drying your hands (no paper towels here) or for covering your head when it rains. Really. When it rains here, people will tie just about anything over their heads.

The welcome packet

We start shooting in 10 days.
today I am helping write the Baryo Survival Memo, which means recommending restaurants and where to get a massage, and how to take a tricycle into Tagbilaran. 

For the rest of the welcome package, besides the survival kit memo, I know there will be other documents, like stuff from accounting and the AD's. The meals memo should be here too.

It would be good to include the Location maps and some notes that give  a little orientation like

"Welcome to Dauis, Panglao Island. Panglao poblacion (town) is on one end of the island and Dauis poblacion (town) is on the other. Dauis is connected to Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol by two bridges. The bridge closest to our hotels leads directly to the cathedral and plaza in Tagbilaran. You'll use this bridge most of the time.

The other bridge is closer to Dauis church and crosses to Bohol east of Tagbilaran. You won't use this bridge much.

Tagbilaran City is what you see across the bay from the hotels.For all shopping and almost all restaurants, you will head to Tagbilaran.

Most of the shoot is in the baryo of Toril in the barangay of Maribojoc. To reach Toril we cross the bridge and drive through Tagbilaran and north. The trip takes 30 minutes without traffic and there is always traffic at rush hour."

I remember how long it took me to learn where the heck I was when I looked out the van window.

A Day Off

We were still a small enough group that we could all fit in one van. It was decided that we would be tourists so we could recommend to the cast and crew What to Do in Bohol.
Churches. Bohol is famous for its Spanish churches.

Ebot is dressed for his motorcycle. He and Robin rode up front and we were a caravan. Margie was given this skirt by the nice man at Baclayon church folks who felt she was underdressed. Now she has a new sarong.
Don't even THINK of taking a photo in the museum. Do admire some wonderful wooden saints.

Home improvements

Do you love my new header page? My sister Marta begged for the change. This carabao is the guardian of the big acacia tree which took a long time to find. It is the landmark in the scene where RAFAEL leads the US Army on a wild goose chase.
We didn't see him at first. Cooper remarked on the big smear of mud on the trunk of the acacia and said it was made by a carabao rubbing against it.
I guess we heard a snort. We turned around and there he was, neck deep in a wallow that was sunk into the hillside.
Tabi-tabi, po. Salamat for being the guardian of our blogsite.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When buildings are a country's legacy

Churches here are old, from the time of the Spanish, 16th and 17th Century. They are often dilapidated but they will surprise any visitor with their grandeur. They are sacred but often include the profane, or at least the popular.
Check out the parol (Christmas stars) here on one of my favorite churches, in Albuquerque (that's right), and the bride and groom dressed for a "pictorial" in its wonderful old courtyard. If you go, walk across as we did and get a look at the interior.

If only this country spent enough money on preserving its history!

Something in the stars

Over the past two days all we do is say goodbye. First, goodbye to Arleen. You remember Arleen, our first line producer. She got us up and running out of chaos while we were still in Manila. You've seen her on our trip to Balicasag. Yesterday she flew to Amsterdam and her new life in Holland with some lucky German guy. She'll be teaching film production at the university level. She is a talented producer and I hope for the sake of the Philippines that she returns to work here.
Then we had to say goodbye to John Boyd, and we didn't even get to work with him. He was our SHANKER. We cast him way last Fall, and though we knew he was a regular on "24" we just couldn't imagine he wouldn't be able to come to the Philippines. We were wrong. We'll work with him another time, insh'allah.
And finally Bebeth. She and Cooper welcomed us to Toril and smoothed every path. Though we knew that Bebeth had volunteered to go to Thailand for the VSO on a project to fight violence against women, we hoped that somehow she would be able to delay her departure till after the shoot. We hoped she was going to be our Boholano translator on the set, working especially with the extras and local actors that she and Cooper helped to recruit. Wrong again.
I'll really miss her. I miss my girlfriends when I'm away from home and Betty and Arleen were my location pals.

Here's a great picture of Betty. Bye, bye. Ingat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Appearance is Everything

The make-up will be fairly simple - as little as possible, as the RED camera sees everything and none of the characters would be wearing make-up in this situation.  Hair is also fairly straightforward-  we’re trying to choose our female extras with enough hair to pull back, no plucked eyebrows, etc.  Both Joel Torre and Yul Vazquez, who play Rafael and Padre Hidalgo, will start by shooting the scene where they are let out of jail after several weeks, so they’ll start with a growth of beard and then be shaved.  Some of the American actors are growing period moustaches and Chris Cooper, playing Colonel Hardacre, will have a beard, but it is rare to see photos of these soldiers with stubble, so I’ll be asking them and the extras to come to the set shaved whenever possible. The American army hairstyle for enlisted men around 1900 was fairly short on the sides, the beginning of a sideburn, and a bit of forelock hair.  No buzzcuts or shaved heads.  If you could part your hair in the middle you tried to.  Officers sometimes had longer hair, especially the old Civil War veterans (men over 50).

The Filipino insurrectos all appear to have close-cut hair in the photos-  probably a precaution against head-lice when living out in the bush.  Some of the village men have longer hair.

In the case of Raul Morit, playing Chief, he is supposed to be a Macabebe, who wore their hair long.  We’ll keep it long throughout, even after he has a US uniform on, so the audience can identify him easier.
Women tended to tied their hair back very simply, and much is written about the shine from treating it with coconut oil.  Even the little girls in photos mostly have theirs tied back.

In sc. 4 Rafael, Joel Torre’s character, is hit in the face with a rifle butt.  We’ll need to do a special make-up for this, if fact four different looks as the wound progresses (after the fourth day there is a gap of several weeks in the story, so he should be completely healed when we see him again.  Once the schedule is locked I’ll send you a breakdown of these scenes- Day One Wound, Day Two Wound, Day Three Wound and Day Four Wound (the first appearance is on shooting day 3, so you’ll have some time to practice) and when they appear.

The other special make-up is the scene where we see the Chinese workers who have been killed with bolos.  We’ll set the camera angle first (so you don’t have to do every side of every worker) then give you some time with them while we shoot other angles.

John Sayles
(below are some period photographs that should be useful)

Army baseball team, Manila, 1900.


High-ranking American officers.  Col. Hardacre is almost a General.

Spanish friars of the Dominican Order, ca 1875-1880

Men on right are Augustinians, like Padre Hidalgo.  Hair fairly short but no tonsure.

Spanish officers

1896 or 1897: Spanish soldiers with captured Filipino insurrectos


    Spanish army officers

Little girls’ hair is usually seen tied back.

Chinese coolies in rear left.  Very few appear with their queues still on- 
mostly very closely cut hair.

The man on the right has a queue but wears it coiled on top of his head-  not visible under a hat.

Coolies in foreground.

Mostly we see them in hats.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Little Sayles Talk

Roosters to move to condominium during the shooting of Baryo. Lucky rooster inspects his new crib.

Word Has Gotten Around...

We have curious visitors dropping by on the unfinished 'baryo' set almost everyday. Here, the Fine Arts students of the University of Bohol, with their professors, poses in front of our 'church'.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

SSFA Students Following Baryo Blog

Jessica and Amanda Mr. Ziskin's film class, mod 2 asked:

Do the women wear make-up?

What about the make-up you use in other movies, is it more involved?

What is the difference between make-up for film and make-up for theater?

Is it difficult to hide the body mics and keep them dry?

What is the earliest the actors have to wake up to begin shooting?

Thanks for your attention.

It's a mystery

We motored quietly through the sacred mangrove forest. First we said tabi-tabi, po to the guardian spirit, like we did when we entered the cave.

Not one of the photos I took were in focus! The first clear picture is this one, taken as we are leaving the mangrove and re-entering the Abatan.

Follow the link to see a photo of the guardian who sat high in the trees looking down on us as we left her domain.
Salamat, po.

Friday, January 8, 2010

On the Abatan River

Cooper was our guide and Joseph was our pilot.

Christmas Eve

We were very far from home for Christmas but we were well taken care of. On Christmas Eve day we cruised the beautiful Abatan River.