Apr 28

Final Critique Notes

They like the story about Fei but we see her face too much

Put more video over would make it a little stronger

7 minute piece making it shorter.

Cutting two of her shots jump cuts cross fades.


Alex like the things Fei said

Highlighted why the art is important.

She gave really cool history.


Elliot- strong points


Taiwanese history

Not a final cut is more of a rough cut.

Story Arc with her personal history

Oakland Here now occupy movement.

Brings it into our world

Connecting things together.

Interview footage problematic looking to the left

So show very little.

What is she looking.

Look space- the interview is good and solid and show her less

The sequence of the drawing was really well consider.

The very faint sound of the sword was good enhance it

Help draw the audience in.



Dave- Rally is a very different presentation we last saw.

Overall it’s a bit disjointed. Sequencing of events. A lot of good of interview but not sequence properslY.


I would paper interview, Fei, Scnsei. Name each segment in your story

And then sequence it and then when you look at the big picture.

B roll was really good- dojo sword play cutting

Some of felt a little flat and lasted for a little long.

The animations added a demantion. The animation about her the facial expression

Didn’t go with the animation… Audio—

We talk about the interview dialogue

Put in some more musical sound in key places that could add a dementioality to add to the story.



Jerry- The idea of the drawings is working… She said something right upfront violence survivor drop a bomb in the dojo. Art of forgiveness reframing trauma. The historical stuff work on the drawing a little more effort and time in pace for Ryans Animation.

Beginning of the body the animation of Taiwan.

It has to be a clear story just say enough to get that across

We are still confuse what we intended it to be

Interesting woman talking not connected interesting feel that’s true

Add it more then to its sum of its parts.

Immediately more cutting undermines the power of that. The sequence diminishes the power. Where’s the footage in the park!!

Tatami footage was nice we see evidence good impulse.

Drawings big thumbs up

Interview is too yellow/ dojo is too dark

Color correction

Dialogue- cut out some of her coming in and out.

Concept- Story is reverse the good stuff is happening in the end.

Violence survivor was good and add more from the end.

Apr 21

Movie Poster

Thousand Fold Poster Thousand Folds Poster3 Fee Looking

Apr 16

Feedback from the Rough cut

Footage was good

There was no space between some of your interview

2 second of transition between people

Still photos letter boxes on the side

Good use of external footage tom cruise animation



Dojo/lake merrit

Not enough exposition to get you in the mood in it


Get sound bites set up what is so cool about this place the audience is left


The teachers voice is hard to understand a lot of reverb fix audio


All the dialogue with the video so many different/ clean up a little more


Worth getting sound bites from the sensei himself.


Audio is poorly recorded

Zoom- re say the important stuff


Cant get the audio putting subtitles-last resort


They like the woman/ what she was doing and why she was there aka Fei

Fei story driven 


Priceless-part Fei

Get Fei in camera to get her to talk to her.

Barrier between the audience and film

Closer to the people closer shots



Dave- Introduction and people favorite part

Right wrong depiction.

Fei Fei


Obatta Sensei his the connection to the tradition



Thankyou for addressing the laziness


Jerry- Topic driven piece not a story

Get Fei to be interview a whole story around her

Get rid of all the other footage

Dave-From the piece- lineage whose your teacher and the lineage.

Get Fei to talk about the lineage


Elliot- Beginning student, this are the influences of my life. Talk about her talking about sensei and Mike talk about Obatta Infostructure

Elevated sense of superiority

Get active shooting move to feel the space part of the actual activity going on


Sound is important


Keeping the culture alive end of intro Link back to the story structure to keeping the culture alive.

Apr 09




What is the narrative spine of your piece?


Sensei and his students try to keep Japanese swordsmanship alive despite the media’s false representation.


Who are your main characters? What are your plans to get footage beyond boring talking head shots?


Our main characters are Fei Fei Chang, Francis DaCosta, Tim Smith. Our plans for getting additional footage include a night time shoot at  Lake Merrit, attending a class at the dojo, and filming more advanced students during both training and tests.


How is conflict driving your story?


The conflict that drives the story revolves around how students expressing their passion are almost immediately compared to inaccurate media portrayal.


What kind of change do you wish to unfold within your piece?


We would like to see students more open to express their love of the art, and in the end leave people with more accurate ideas of what it entails.


What’s the inciting incident and point of entry in your story?


The inciting point is a quest of trying to discover what samurai culture is compared to media portrayal. The entry point is through the students of Suigetsukan Dojo.


What issues do you foresee having making your piece visually strong?
The night time shoot presented some lighting issues when trying to get clear footage in the low light of the moon. Other difficulties include being unable to use flash photography when taking stills of the training, leading everything to being adjusted manually.


Apr 09

Intro and Ending

Core Concept: Sensei and his students try to keep Japanese swordsmanship alive despite the media’s false representation.





The movie will open on a close up of a sword being unsheathed. It will transition from there between shots of students getting ready to train and quotes from one of the art’s founders, Nakamura Taizaburo Sensei. This will bleed over into footage of students training, and from there move on to an interview with Mike Esmailzadeh.




The movie will end with students doing cool down exercises and folding their hakimas. The final shot will be the sword from the beginning being slid into its sheathe.


Both of these will demonstrate the core concept of the art’s reality in comparison to sparse media clips that will be used to provide contrast.

Mar 31

Preproduction Checklist (Updated)

Thousand Fold Production Pre-Pro Checklist

Mar 31

Reading, Viewing, and Listening Notes

As I was unable to obtain “Spirit of the Sword” on short notice, our reading research consisted of the resources on the Suigetsukan Dojo Website.


The dojo teaches multiple martial arts.
Suigetsukan means Moon Reflected on the Water School and was founded in 1991.

The art of Toyama Ryu is deeply rooted in Japanese history and has been used in combat as recently was WWII.


Our viewing research was confined to the media, to get a sense of how they portrayed samurai in movies and on tv. To achieve this we watched Seven Samurai, Thirteen Assassins, and Samurai Delicatessen.

Of the three, Samurai Delicatessen was far and away the most inaccurate of the portrayals, something that is not really surprising as it is an improv comedy bit.

In the case of the two movies, Thirteen Assassins and Seven Samurai, they take the art more seriously, but even they spiced things up for the sake of looking good on film.


Listening research consisted of talks with Sensei Mike Esmailzadeh after our first group session at Suigetsukan Dojo.

Each technique is rooted in historical context, which Sensei Mike Esmailzadeh was always sure to include in the lesson.

An example of the above is the clan sword technique. This is the origin of the “sword catching” myth, but when examined properly, it becomes clear that it is born of the warrior culture mindset of laying down your life for your people and country. It consists of “catching” the sword with your shoulder and holding it there. Then you apply downward pressure on their hands and move in close. This allows you to either take them with you, as you are about to die anyway, or to hold them long enough for one of your clansmen to move in for the kill.



Mar 24

Approaches and Pre-Prod. PDF Part I

Swords by the Lake plans on using two or three approaches to educating people about Toyama Ryu Battodo. The primary approaches are poetic, used in katas and training sequences. Expository voice over will be used to explain the art to viewers. The final approach is participatory, with the Thousand Fold Productions film crew participating in a taped class.


LMW2 Checklist

Mar 02

Final Pitch

Feb 23


Pitch storyboard.


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