Rainy Robots

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Yesterday I had the honor and joy of helping out with the video shoot for Jesse and Will's song, Hooked on Robots.

The day dawned warm and sunny. There was forecast rain in the late afternoon but it didn't seem likely. I was out and about early in the day and I was already sweating.

Jesse arrived at 10 to put the final touches on the robot costume we started on Friday. We left the house laden with the usual 4th Sunday Spin hoops and my amp, plus Jesse's boombox, the costume, supplies for repairing the costume, and a green screen. We should have brought an umbrella.

The clouds started rolling in around 1. By 1:30 it was plain to see a storm was brewing, but how long would it hold off? We got the robot suited up and I taught all the dancers the choreography before the appointed start time, just in case. Kana, Trine, Nick, Naomi, Reiko, Soness, Yuji, & I ran through the dance over and over until we had it pretty smoothly. I apologise to the wonderful hoopers who turned up on time - we were worried about the weather and started without you.

Since we all had to learn the choreography quickly without the music and only had a few practices to get it right, I shouted it out during each take - up-down-up-center, spin-spin-spin-spin - which made me sound like a hooping drill sergeant, but did keep most everyone in sync. It is challenging to keep hoops perfectly aligned without a huge amount of rehearsal and I think we rocked the robotics as best we could. Certainly we were creating a scene, there were a lot of random people stopping to watch and photograph us. (Unfortunately, I was not among the people capturing the action, so no photos here.)

The moment Will arrived with the camera, we stopped rehearsing and started shooting. We did maybe six takes with various angles and dancing robotic talent and by the fifth take, we were hooping in freezing wind and thickening rain. As we finished the last one, the rain was pelting. Thank you to the hoopers for being professional to the end!

With us background dancers done most everyone was able to escape the rain, but there were still a few more shots to get. Kana had a role as the beautiful robot girl. Jesse quickly got the scene and Kana skedaddled. By this time, everyone who hadn't left when the rain was only mild had huddled under trees for shelter. Some hungover revellers were getting themselves organised to go to dinner. I remained because my stuff was intermingled with the rest of the things in the shoot. Tod & Rob stuck around because the three of us planned to go to dinner together after so they waited for me. What sweethearts.

Now it was pouring so hard that the air was white and the camera could see it. Even though there was only one more outdoor scene to take, it just wasn't going to happen as planned. Jesse looked determined to continue to the end. Everyone else looked like they wanted this to be over fifteen minute ago. I laughed - what else can you do when you are soaked through but not finished?  We gathered up the gear, searching for dropped bits and bobs. I found my iPod in the mud (lucky!). Everyone grabbed something and we dashed and splashed for the park toilets.

Our party took over most of the men's room foyer - robots and camera crews with hoops need a lot of space - but we did our best to be compact and to let people in who needed to use the stinky urinals. We were all soaked and freezing from a 15 degree temperature drop. My bare feet were muddy and the long patchwork skirt I wore clung to my legs. Water dripped down my skull off my nose as if I were a gargoyle. Yet I was smiling and having a great time. My part of the video was done. My hooping friends performed with good cheer and I hoped they were all safely home and dry.

Jesse managed to get his final scene from the toilet foyer, after waiting for Will to dry out a little and fixing some robotic rips. We were all under shelter, but the shot is framed so the background is the green trees outside. We had to move some people from the overhang just behind where Ray and Will were standing, and rather than come inside they hopped on their skateboards and rode out into the rain. Oops.

After getting the shots (with Rob shooting b-roll on his camera), finally giving up on the rain ever stopping, and with Ray's girlfriend needing to get home, we left the toilet, ran to the station using various props and bags as umbrellas, divided up the gear and said goodbye. 

I was so thoroughly wet that dinner had to be postponed until I could have something dry to wear.  Tod, Rob & I went to Kinji, a used clothing store in Harajuku. We spent a lovely warm hour browsing the racks and all bought something with long sleeves. I got a dry skirt, too. Then we had dinner at a cafe while the rain stopped.

As soon as the video is ready, I'll post the link for you all to gawk at the awsomeness of tinfoil robots, hoops, and rap in the rain.

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