GENRE: Psychological Thriller.
STATUS: In post-production.
LOGLINE: A man having various dreams of dying in the same spot of his house tries to figure things out with his therapist, which makes him deduce that the visions must be happening for a reason that he must discover.
MINI-SYNOPSIS: A man confesses to his therapist that he constantly has dreams which always concludes with him dying. Convinced that these experiences are not just a function of his going through tough times, they delve deeper into what is behind the situations that he finds himself in. But his visions are so disparate that they seem random until he realizes there are two commonalities. One, each vignette involves someone from his work group, and two, it always ends with his death in the same location, the living room of his house. A thriller described as “Groundhog Day” meets “The Sixth Sense,” Find Me is a taut psychological puzzle that pulls all of its pieces together at the very end.
IMDb: Find Me
The concept for Find Me developed out of a desire to continue filming a series of short films, to avoid unnecessary bureaucratic work in doing so, and the availability of a shooting location and a lead actor. The series in question was in relation to the short film that was co-produced by YBS and Fatlark, Grab (inset is the movie poster). The back story on this previous production was that it had been hampered by having to meet the myriad of administrative requirements imposed on it by SAG-AFTRA on this New Media Production, which was the result of four of the six performers in the shoot being union actors. As co-producers Eric Nemoto (YBS) and Mark Ganialongo (Fatlark) recalled, SAG-AFTRA authorization did not come until just a couple of days prior to the shoot (despite the appropriate application forms being filed weeks in advance as per SAG-AFTRA instructions). Hence, as Eric and Mark met to discuss moving forward on this project, the thought was to film another episode, but to try and do so as a non-union production and using only non-union actors. Particularly with the fact that both had learned that SAG-AFTRA’s rules for New Media Productions had changed wherein it no longer could be used to film features (and it was always the intent to expand Grab until a full fledged feature film could be pieced together), given a desire to film the next episode on a shoe string budget, it made sense to film the next short strictly as non-union. Other union shoots would ultimately enfold sometime in the future, but this next shoot, the men firmly agreed that they would try to get this production in as low maintenance as possible. But as far as doing so, there was the obvious problem of the availability of the two actors who appeared in Grab who were non-union. Lizzie Laws had relocated to the mainland and Michael Carter was killed off. Mark reasoned that Michael would be perfect to center the series around and the fact that he died in the original episode could somehow be worked around, with either shooting a kind of prequel, or, inventing some story which explains that he wasn’t killed off in the first place. Committed to the notion that there is always a way to carve out a story, the two agreed to meet and flesh out ideas.
Tough And Talented Michael Carter Is Set To Star In Find Me
Mark and Eric first met on August 11th, 2022, for dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen in the Kahala Mall in Honolulu, Hawaii. Through a series of brain storming ideas on how to bring Michael back from the dead, a revelation hit them, why not just do “another” story centered around Michael, a short film along the lines of Grab, but not quite. Eric agreed, however, he gave his personal opinion about the idea of filming another short. He offered that, per his experience, the logistics for developing a short was as extensive as filming a feature, the only difference being that of course the latter would require more days of filming. Shorts, as Eric explained, has a less likelihood of going anywhere. Features were tough to sell as it was, so selling a short was near impossible. Eric mentioned that the tried and not so true function of the short film had always been (and continues to this day) to showcase a filmmaker’s talent to the extent that it would impress some glorious investor who would eagerly back the filming of a feature length version of the story. He gave examples of his own desire to raise funds this way and also that he actually had never heard of any other filmmaker succeeding with this tactic (not that it had never been done but just that he, personally, had never really met anyone). So in all of his endeavors, he had focused on filming feature length movies, with the expressed belief that you find a way to get a movie shot, and one never knows what exactly could sell. He gave as an example the tremendous viewership of The Landline Detective, which garnered in over 15 million streaming minutes off of the YBS Amazon Prime Video Direct (PVD) platform, and brought in significant income. “Who would have thought,” he asked, “That ‘that’ movie would be the one to sell?” Eric mentioned that he just, really, wasn’t into filming short films. He offered that most filmmakers settle for this because they’ve never really filmed a feature before and by virtue of that believe that doing so was this titanic mountain that could only be produced with a significant budget. But YBS “had” experience in filming features, many features, so he would rather focus on developing whatever they were going to film into a full, feature length movie. Mark agreed. “The key to independent filmmaking is really not money,” Eric expanded, “It is to secure a location where one’s filming can be controlled.” Landline had been filmed for a mere $200, so any movie could be written around what the project knew it had, which, for this one man movie the production had a room. Eric reasoned that this was the added benefit of centering a story around Michael, who had told him he was all in for filming at his house and on his property. So, agreeing that they would develop a feature centering around Michael Carter and film it on his property they brainstormed on ideas and eventually came up with what they felt was a thoroughly winning story (see Story Concept). Then deciding that Michael needed to be brought in to solidify the project, they held the next dinner meeting with Michael at the Zippy’s Restaurant on Nimitz Highway in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 17th, 2022. Michael not only said he was on board for the project but offered up some story ideas that both Mark and Eric decided to incorporate. At the conclusion of their meeting they decided the next step was to visit Michael’s house at 47-040 Okana Place, in Kahaluu, Hawaii, to get a sense of the settings that could be used for eventual filmmaking, but also, then, to get a sense of how to write the scenes that would specifically be shot. They subsequently met at Michael’s place on August 22nd, 2022 to look at the available places to shoot (see the photo montage below). Eric and Mark held another meeting at the Nimitz Zippy’s on August 31st, 2022 to finalize the story ideas and the essence of Find Me was established. However, they both agreed that rather than try and rush both the story and shoot (originally, when talking to Michael, Eric had suggested that the shoot could ensue along with other projects YBS was working on, within the window of October 15th, 2022 to November 15th, 2022), they would take the rest of the year to write the script, and then attempt to shoot it sometime after the turn of the year, perhaps February or March, 2023 (it would be later). At any rate, it was agreed that Eric would write the script, Michael would star, and Mark would direct.
Michael Carter’s One Acre Property In Kahaluu, Hawaii, The Eventual Shoot Location For Find Me
In brainstorming story ideas, both Eric and Mark kept flashing back to the fact that in Grab, Michael ended up being shot by the character portrayed by Thomas Smith and dying in the living room. Eventually, they realized that this would be the hook, that Michael has various visions of dying, and always when he does, he dies in the very same place. In order to find a way of expressing these visions the idea came forth that Michael is talking to someone about these peculiar dreams or nightmares that he’s having, and they settled on the notion that he is seeing a therapist. As he discusses his problems we will flashback to the scenes that he is seeing which on the surface have nothing in common but two things. One, they deal with fictional characters that are based on real life characters at the company that he used to work at, where either he has retired, or, was forced out due to some matter that will be resolved at the end of the movie. And two, again, he always dies in the exact same place. Towards these ends they settled on basically seven concept scenes. Michael’s character is given the name of Drumond or “Drum.”
The Therapy Session: As mentioned, we see Drum talking and explaining his visions to someone that seems to be a therapist. It takes place in a room that looks like what one typically associates with a professional in the counseling field. Drum goes go over each of his visions for which the basic ideas are as follows.
The Mentor: Taken primarily from Michael’s own personal history of being a boxer when he was younger and the relationship he had with his boxing coach, this will tell the story of Drum catching a young man stealing from him and rather than turning him in, he starts to mentor him, first in boxing, but then on other matters and life in general. This will be a drama which will feature the young man discussing having to make choices that will come to define him.
The Crypto Wallet: Patterned basically after the central theme behind Grab, this will show two men breaking into Drum’s residence in search of a hard drive that contains the crypto wallet of bitcoins that were purchased early in the crypto currency age, which is now worth millions. The men are surprised by Drum and his wife as they return home from a night out and then the wheeling, dealing, and conniving comes forth, where no one knows who to trust.
The Sushi Party: A story that is inspired by a segment of another script that Eric wrote entitled, “Bar Stories,” this comedy drama will depict Drum and his work friends – in an attempt to get back at a member of their work place for his outrageously rude behavior, as well as possibly shock shake him into changing his persona – fake that they are running a cocaine drug ring. But their outlandish play acting will come to boomerang hilariously on them.
The Work Group: This occurs in a lunch room wherein all of the supporting characters who appear in all of Drum’s vision scenes are having lunch together. They talk about having a dream about Drum, which are the same visions that we have seen. Thinking these oddities are some form of surreal sign rather than mere coincidence, they decide to visit Drum at this house after work. It is through this scene that we realize that Drum left the company earlier. Also, we see a photo on the wall of the therapist, who we discover was the head of the company’s human resources department, but who had died years before.
The Big Reveal: The work group gets to Drum’s front porch. They bring with them grocery bags filled with food and bottles of wine. They ring the door bell but get no response. Eventually, they notice that the door is actually not locked and is slightly ajar. One worker tilts his head to see what is Drum’s outstretched leg. He is dead.
The Ending: We realize that the visions were emanating from Drum himself who had been stuck in the netherworld between earth and heaven. Because he had died with no one around, he cannot move forward until someone discovers his body. Hence, the dreams were his unconscious means of communicating to his work associates to come and find his body, and his therapist is the former HR director who is helping him transition to the other side. As a door opens, light brilliantly explodes into the camera, and Drum steps into it.
Find Me features a bevy of Hawaii’s best actors, many experienced in both stage and film. In addition to Michael Carter starring as Drum, Laurie Tanoura plays the supposed psychologist, Rita, in the mysterious therapy scenes. Chance Aguiar plays opposite Michael’s Drum in the mentoring story, portraying, Rico, the young man in need of guidance. Accompanying Michael’s Drum in the turnaround crypto wallet story is Marty Wong, as Andrea, Scott Francis Russell as Steve, and Mark Ganialongo as Chris. Mark Bush as Reid, Chandler Aguiar as Bobby, and Christine Tsuzaki as Allision, join Michael’s Drum, as the hardware store employees out to extract their revenge on the insolent curmudgeon Walt, played by Rick Bernico. Malia Aiello as Holly, and Chase Aguiar as Aaron, play the fake FBI agents who barge into the riotous sushi party story. Marty as Andrea, Chance as Rico, and Rick as Walt appear again in the work group scenes where they ultimately come upon the body of Michael’s Drum. Lastly, Tamzen Lim as Clarice, joins Michael in the movie’s final scene, set at the gates of heaven, which proves to be Drum’s tearjerker redemption. Michael, a retired fireman, also has his dog, Daisy, a 7-year-old Labrador Retriever and retired accelerant detection K9, appearing in each story.
The Brothers Aguiar – Chance (Rico), Chandler (Bobby), And Chase (Aaron) Play Featured Roles In Find Me
Eric Nemoto wrote the original screenplay for Find Me on December 16th, 2022. Revised drafts were completed in 2023, on February 14th (2nd), April 22nd (3rd), May 7th (4th), May 16th (5th), with the final production draft also finished on March 16th, 2023. Though Find Me would be a passion project where everyone participating would work for free, some funds would be needed to pay for the shoot’s food and craft, purchase the external drives needed to store footage, and cover any other incidental costs. These were originally expected to be covered by YBS. However, frequent YBS supporter, Steven Dillard, once again supplied the sufficient funding towards this end and would serve as the production’s executive producer. Michael Carter, Eric, and Mark (Mark G.) Ganialongo, served as the producers, making decisions on casting, scheduling, and also making adjustments during the ensuing production. Together they would lead the small but very effective crew. In addition to directing, Mark G. would serve as the director of photography (DP), and also helped with the project’s bottom line by supplying the necessary external drives on which to store all video footage, as well as his cameras, lights, and audio equipment. Mark Bush (Mark B.) also supplied his audio equipment and handled sound on the initial shoot dates. Denny Hironaga, Steven, and Christine Tsuzaki would run second cameras on certain shoot days. Mark B., Christine, and Mark G., would trade off the duties of being on sound, with Allan Okubo and Dann Seki each helping on certain days. Eric served as lead caterer, prop maker, and manned the slate along with Christine.
Find Me was filmed over the course of eight days during the months of June and July in 2023. Prior to each shoot, director Mark G. would hold Zoom meetings with the cast prior to each shoot day, in order to rehearse each scene and go over the day’s schedule. The mentoring story kicked off the production shoot on June 3rd, 2023, with Chance Aguiar playing Rico, the young man in need of guidance from Drum, played by Michael Carter. It encompassed a one day shoot conducted at Michael’s residence. Given the nature of the storyline – an older Drum coaching the younger Rico in boxing – the schedule of activities for the day also included Michael, a former boxer, giving tips to Chance on the basics of how to move about and throw punches. An early morning to late afternoon shoot had all of the mentor scenes successfully wrapped on this one day.
Behind The Scenes – Michael Teaches Chance The Fundamentals Of Boxing
The lunch room scene involving Drum’s former work associates played by Marty Wong (Andrea), Chance Aguiar (Rico), and Rick Bernico (Walt), followed next on June 4th, 2023. The location was the break room of the offices of the Hawaii Herald, a newspaper dedicated to serving the Hawaii AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) community, located at 2736 Waiwai Loop, Honolulu, HI 96819. The site was graciously permitted by the Herald’s editor, Kristen Nemoto Jay, and facilitated by the cast rehearsing the scene continuously, the shoot was wrapped in a full afternoon.
Mark G., Christine, And Eric Watch On As Chance, Rick, And Marty Act In The Work Group Scene
The crypto wallet scenes – involving Michael as Drum, Marty as Andrea, Scott Francis Russell as Steve, and Mark G. as Chris – followed on June 9th and 10th, 2023, back at Michael’s residence. Two very long night shoots enabled the production to get all of the crypto scenes in, which was no small doing, as it involved (prop) gun play, choreographed fight sequences, and the small crew having to creatively take on added roles. This latter point involved Mark G., who had to pass his directing duties onto Christine whenever he had to be in front of the camera. In the end, however, everything that needed to be shot was in the can and Scott became the first Find Me cast member to be wrapped for the production.
Behind The Scenes – Mark G. Films, Eric Runs Slate, Christine Calls Action, As Marty Acts
The finding Drum’s body scenes followed next on June 17th, 2023, again, back at Michael’s residence. This particular shoot day actually involved portions of three other storylines. One, it showed Drum (played by Michael) sitting in depression, which is part of the opening scene of the movie that ultimately connects up with the final “going into the light” redemption scene. Two, it followed Andrea (played by Marty), Rico (played by Chance), and Walt (played by Rick), as they arrive on an impromptu visit to check on Drum, only to find his dead body. And three, it showed Rita (played by Laurie Tanoura) escorting Drum to his past where he finally realizes what had happened to him. A full day’s shoot accomplished all of these objectives and meant that both Marty and Chance were wrapped for the production.
Michael (As Drum) Lying In The Same Death Position Where He Is Discovered For Each Storyline
The complicated sushi party scene, where Holly (played by Malia Aiello) and Aaron (played by Chance Aguiar), portraying fake FBI agents, raid the group to purposely scare curmudgeon Walt (played by Rick Bernico) so as to give him his comeuppance, was shot next on July 1st, 2023. Because of the cast availability, the sushi storyline had to be filmed out of sequence, starting with Walt’s leaving the group upon realizing that he was being asked to be a part of a drug ring. This was then followed by the FBI busting in and the rest of the group – Drum, Reid (played by Mark Bush), Bobby (played by Chandler Aguiar), and Allison (played by Christine Tsuzaki) forcing everyone – playing along until they realize that they’ve gone overboard. The cast then combined their lunch break with performing the scene as they ate plates of sushi while commenting on Walt’s unique tasting home made sushi. The day ended with Walt excusing himself to take a phone call and realize that his fugu sushi has caused the inadvertent death of not only Drum, but everybody else. As crew members Mark B. and Christine acted on this day, added crew member Allan Okubo filled in on sound for this day. By the end of the day, the production had wrapped Malia and Chase.
Brandishing Guns And Wearing FBI Caps And Badges, Malia And Chase Played Their Parts To The Hilt
July 2nd, 2023, was the next shoot date and would encompass the filming of the final go into the light scenes involving Drum and Clarice (played by Tamzen Lim), as well as the Drum and Rita (the psychologist) therapy scenes. The shoot location was the Brad Powell Theatre of the community theatre, TAG – The Actors’ Group, located at 650 Iwilei Road, Suite 101, Honolulu, HI 96817. For the scene involving Drum and Clarice, Mark G. set up a green screen for both Michael and Tamzen to act in front of, so as to enable a background simulating the ethereal plane leading to heaven to be inserted in post-production. This scene also involved Michael’s dog, Daisy, who appears in the ending scene when Drum greets Clarice and finds his personal redemption. This shoot took more time to set up than film, as once everything was ready, it was finished in a half hour. Tamzen was then wrapped for the production.
Tamzen Lim Plays Clarice, The Source Of Drum’s Depression And Redemption, With Daisy Playing Herself
The second half of the shoot would take longer. Encompassing nearly 20 pages of dialogue and requiring the setting up of a completely different backdrop, the cast – Michael as Drum and Laurie as Rita – along with the small crew of Mark G., Christine, and Eric, after a short dinner break, stayed late into the night to eventually get all of the therapy scenes in the can. When it was done, Laurie was wrapped for the production shoot.
Drum (Michael) Confides To Rita (Laurie) During Rehearsal As Christine Stays On Book And Daisy Waits
The remaining scenes related to the sushi party story, the final scenes of the production, were shot on July 15th, 2023, with another small crew (Mark G., Denny, Dann Seki helping out on sound, and Eric) filming the remaining cast members who had yet to be wrapped – Michael, Rick, Mark B., Chandler, and Christine. These final scenes actually involved the beginning of the story, since the ending of the sushi party leading up to the group dying from fugu poisoning had already been shot on July 1st. Filming on this day included shooting the scene involving the gang informing gullible Walt of their fictitious drug ring operation in a different location which had not been used before, the second floor living area of Michael’s house. An early morning call time led to the final “martini” shot of the day culminating around 2:00 p.m., and with it, Find Me was wrapped.
Behind The Scenes – Mark G. And Denny Film The Beginning Of The Informing Walt Scene
Upon completion of the shoot, Find Me has now been transferred over to Christine Tsuzaki (see inset photo), who will serve as the project’s editor. Christine has been an integral part of the YBS team on many projects, and has also been the primary editor on two specific movies, The Curse Of Witness Protection and Where Are We Going. As the editor for Curse, her work finally led to its completion after an endless series of delays. With Where, in addition to serving as its writer and director, she also expeditiously edited the short film such that its premiere was held just a few months after the shoot was wrapped. Her experience assures that Find Me will be in good hands while in post.