Hawaii Previous – Showdown In Chinatown

A scene from the upcoming short film, “Hawaii Previous”

I’m honestly beyond excited. I feel a little stupid actually. 

It really wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, but the Showdown In Chinatown Film Contest has sparked a project for the screen2play team. We’re working on our entry that’s due this Friday and we’ve just finished shooting yesterday. 

This week we’ll be in post – and I’m told that’s where the fun begins.

It only started about a month ago but when Evan Nagle and I started writing the script – we didn’t even know if we’d get as far as finishing it. We did. He’s an impressive writer. 

Then we teamed up with John Garcia who though the script was challenging and interesting – but also said he thought we could shoot something awesome. I think we did (even though I haven’t seen too much footage yet, ha).  But John is a pretty impressive film guy. 

Then we shot this casting video to get interest in the film and we were able to lock up both characters – yes – despite them both watching the video. 

Hawaii Previous casting call

See, here they are at the first reading. That’s Jesse Starmer (left) and Hugh Chou (right) – but you’ll get to know them as Joon and Mestiza. 

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Joon and Mestiza

People have been asking us what the film is about. Well that’s tough to answer.

Basically the Showdown in Chinatown Film Contest asked filmmakers to make a “Hawaiian Tale” with the one mandatory prop being the “Pacific Ocean.” What we came up with was a futuristic wasteland version of Hawaii. Yeah you read that right. I know, we think it’s weird too. 

Dan with Jesse, Hugh and Sean the sound man in the background

OK so the movie. The easiest way for me to describe it is to say it’s about two people. Those of us who are sensible. And those of us who are curious. The decision we task the audience with is to see if one of them wins – or something like that.

But thanks for checking this out and if you can – come to the Showdown In Chinatown at the bar “Next Door” on Saturday, November 19th at 9:00 p.m. They only screen twelve films, but we’re hoping they’ll like ours enough to show it. If you do come, I’d head down early – the place fills up pretty quick. At the very least we’ll all have a great time having some drinks and watching great work by the local film community. 

If you like the film, awesome (as long as they choose to screen it). If not – we’ll really be excited to hear your feedback so we can do one better. And of course document reactions on the site. Thanks guys!

Photos & Video:  John Garcia

— Dan

Hawaii Previous – Film Posters

Design: John Garcia

Now it feels real.

We’re two hours from deadline and the mad scientist of film editing John Garcia is to my right. He’s jamming on final cuts, color correction and syncing the audio files that we had to redo because we decided to film right next to a gun range. Don’t worry, I’ll get more into that and other mishaps on our first attempt at filmmaking in a later post. 

We’re hoping Hawaii Previous debuts tomorrow night at The Showdown In Chinatown at Next Door (Map). They pick twelve films to screen, so we’re hoping they like ours enough to show it. If not, we still welcome you to join the screen2play crew at the event and grab a beer. It starts at 9 p.m. but we’ll be there at 8:30 p.m. 

If you can’t make it tomorrow night, don’t worry. We’ll be having another screening within the next two weeks at our production studio in the Green House Innovation Lounge.

Alright that’s it for now, wish us luck. In finishing the movie on time and hopefully getting screened. Oh boy, praise boredom (and crazy timelines).

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Design: John Garcia

Design: John Garcia

Not only can our actor Hugh transform into his character “Mestiza,” but he also designs some mean film posters. 

Design: Hugh Chou

— Dan

Potential New Directions For Tiffany

After publishing the initial plot idea for Tiffany, I received some new direction ideas from readers. Give them a read and let me know which one you like best (or submit your own) on our Facebook Page.

Love Interest

Tiffany’s next victim of downsizing is an obnoxious, cocky and self assured yuppie. This is the first time Tiffany actually enjoys handing somebody a pink slip. She revels in it. 

For the duration of the story, fate brings them together again and again. He’s a waiter at the restaurant where she goes for a date. Then a cab driver as she’s late for a plane. 

Every meeting presents an opportunity for him to ‘pay her back’ until gradually – they both cannot deny a mutual attraction.

Credit: Anna Zelikman

A Darker Tiffany

One reader thought the characters were too likable. Evan said that Tiffany should be more austere (a word that I had to look up – it means stern and cold in appearance). 

Evan thought it should be harder for the audience to understand Tiffany. Something in her past has driven her to find pleasure in mechanics – in compartmentalizing. A severe tragedy or maybe a death? A Bernie-Madoffish family drama or a business partner that snatched up her shares?

It’s an interesting angle, I’ll admit I’m going to have to work with Evan more if this is the route we choose to go in. 

Credit: Evan Nagle

Tiffany Becomes a Career Coach

One reader liked the idea at the end of the original plot and wanted to grow upon it. The part where Tiffany fires people is only half the film – the focus becomes on Tiffany becoming a career coach. 

After hating her first job, her passion becomes helping people not only find jobs, but pursue new careers. There is a lot of room for creativity here. Tiffany could find a project that really motivates her, a love interest could be injected, etc. 

Credit: Liberty Peralta

Tiffany Vanders Has a Job – She Needs an Identity

Looks like we have our first character and a semi-plot to work with. Big thanks to everyone who submitted ideas and voted on our Facebook Page for – Tiffany Vanders.

Although we have a lead – the story is tentative, (as is everything on screen2play) so I would love your feedback on the direction this one is heading in. 


Tiffany is a super positive, ambitious and likable woman who recently graduated from college and landed her first job. She wanted something in public relations but with the competitiveness of the job search – she settled for a “corporate relations” position with a big firm in the city.

The job description was vague but the money was intriguing and Tiffany needed to start working to pay off her school loans. Turns out, Tiffany will be working as an outsourced human resources communicator – or in non-bullshit terminology – she’ll be firing people. 

The story starts here. I can see 5-7 minutes of intro post-college graduation shots and then right into the first day of work. 

Tiffany goes through a very fast paced day in which her excitement for her job quickly leads to realization – and then the frustration of what her job really is. 

The first few days are “difficult for Tiffany but funny for us” scenes. This is where she begins to fire her first set of “clients.” I was thinking a montage of different reactions from employees who are being let go. 

In the beginning she struggles with it, she is herself with clients and shows compassion. They cry or they yell at her – curse – or breakdown. Either way, she goes home miserable.

Tiffany hates this routine – she’s ready to quit. 

Then Tiffany meets Debra. A veteran employee at the firm who everyone seemed to be scared of. Tiffany didn’t know why for sure – only that folks seems to tense up when she walked by. 

She was dark, attractive and intelligent. 

Debra teaches Tiffany that to make it in this profession she has to disconnect. “Just be someone else,” Debra would say. That’s why everyone hates Debra – it’s for her persona. The real Debra actually goes by Debbie and is quite loved by family and friends. 

In fact the real Debbie also meets with the people she fires on the weekends and helps them find jobs. She keeps up her other persona to keep people at the firm off her back. 

Tiffany doesn’t know this yet. 

Tiffany now tries out a few “alter-egos” at home – characters that she thinks are not capable of firing people without compassion. They’re for the most part – ridiculous. 

Second montage. Scenes of Tiffany trying out the different characters she’s manifested. We’ll try to show the funny side of how the tables can turn from the “clients” who yelled at her before. 

This is kind of where I’m not sure

I can see Tiffany doing well as her “alter ego” among piers and her bosses but personally she is still miserable. 

Ironically, despite her success at doing something she hates – Tiffany herself becomes a victim of downsizing. Even though she was doing well, she was one of the newest employees and was the first to be let go.

She’s lost between feeling shock and a developing sence of ease. Then Debbie knocks on her door. It’s Saturday and she’s working at “her other job." 

The two become friends and Tiffany convinces Debbie that the two of them could create a business out of finding people jobs. 

In the end, Tiffany finds passion in a new career. Initially, for the first couple of clients from her past job. 

Credits: Kimmy, Evan Nagle

9 Nerdy Film Locations You Need to Visit in Your Lifetime

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From Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, the spectacular geek destinations in the gallery above are some of the coolest movie locations on the planet. They’re from films you’ve probably seen, but you’d have to be a well-traveled cinephile to have visited them all.

Read more from Wired.

— Dan

Our First Official Film Review — Hawaii Previous

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Holy crap. 

Our first film review from our first short film and screening.

Honestly I’m just pumped that the cool folks from The Red Band Project were able to join us for the screening. Their write-up and review was just a bonus. Check out the review and their site (a film blog based out of Hawaii) below. 

Movie Review: Hawaii Previous Is Not Uninteresting 

— Dan

Hawaii Previous – Film Debut & Screening

The screen2play team is a little nervous, but it doesn’t matter because it’s time. We’ll be screening the full version of our short film, “Hawaii Previous” on this Friday, December 16th. Oh man, that was scary to type. 

RSVP on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to join us (so we know how many snacks to buy)!

We submitted an unfinished version to the local film competition, The Showdown In Chinatown, but afterwards we jumped back into the GreenHouse editing room to polish the final product off. 

It has been a tough (but really, really fun) couple of months and now we want to watch the film with you and hear your reactions. Whether you love it, hate it or are left completely confused—we really want you to share your thoughts with us. Other than the screening, we are really excited to talk about the process of making independent film. It will be the only way we get better at this whole movie making thing. 

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John Garcia with actors Jesse Starmer and Hugh Chou

It will be a really relaxed atmosphere with drinks and snacks provided, it’s free too (but we’d appreciate any donations to our production house The Green House). Oh yeah, in addition to watching the film you’ll get to meet tons of cool people and check out the brand new coworking space in Kakaako!

Hungry? Stop by Eat The Street on your way over, I hear they’ll have ice skating!

Where: The Green House Innovation Center, 687 Auahi Street, Honolulu Hawaii, 96813

When: Friday, December 16th - 7 - 9 p.m. 

Summary of Hawaii Previous:

The initial idea for Hawaii Previous stemmed from the The Showdown in Chinatown challenge of making a film about a Hawaiian Tale, which also needed to have the Pacific Ocean in the film. When we heard the criteria, we figured the other teams were going to go in the direction of shooting a beautiful Hawaii filled with gorgeous blue oceans, palm trees and explosive sunsets. 

We decided to go a different route.

Hawaii Previous is set 2,000 years in the future where Hawaii is stuck smack in the middle of the oceanless continent Amasia (after the Pacific plate subducted, America and Asia became one continent).

Joon and Mestiza are two members from a tribe that live in Hawaii Previous and search for edible food remnants everyday. That is, until they find something in their digging that is of a greater interest. 

Hope to see you there,

— Dan