A Sci Fi Adventure novel
Michael James Martineau author of “let’s Get Rowdy!” and “SancZOOary”
Set deep within the mysterious Bermuda Triangle and Atlantis
areas off Andros Island in the Bahamas, this story explores
the possibility that Atlantis once existed, swirled within a cloak
of clairvoyancy, pyschic connections and water breathing visitors
from another world–all of which set on a breathless,
high sea quest to find the answers to this ageless question….
Scince the Occam’s Razor movie is based on the novel, the publisher at the time, IBC (Internet Book Company) was able to get an exclusive interview with Michael about just what was involved in making a film of this magnitude.
IBC. You told us that nearly half the Occam’s Razor novel contains material that isn’t in the movie version. Knowing how intense and exciting the book is were you able to maintain the same level of intensity in the screen version if it is only half the story.
MJM. Yes, because the movie isn’t really half the story. The
IBC. Was writing a screenplay and book that explores the mysteries of the open sea hard to do?
MJM. No, because I love the ocean and have no fear of it. Plus, I’ve been a scuba diver for years, much of my free time being spent exloring the West Indies, Bahamas and The U.S. Virgin Islands where I lived for awhile, once I left show business career agenting rock stars around the world. Incorporating the diving and underwater ex-ploration sequences into the movie wasn’t hard once I had the story’s premise and where is was going to go locked in my mind.
IBC. Having read Occam’s Razor it is hard to imagine how a movie with so much action on, in, and under the water is made. Will most of the water action be done with computer special effects?
MJM. This is an interesting point that reminds me of a production meeting we had in the early planning stages of this film. With a water movie involving the number of stunts (both land and water) this one has our director of choice has always been Al Giddings. Al’s reputation as an underwater cinematographer, producer/director has won him global recognition. His movie credits include: the James Bond water movies, The Deep, The Abyss, and the monster untaking involved in making “Titanic.” As a film maker with his extraordinary skills Al is a firm believer that if you can use real vistas and action do not go to the computer. Computer Generated Images are an incredible resource to use as a fall back position when trying to capture impossible shots, but not to be used as a rule of thumb, because ‘real’ on screen is always better than ‘illusion’ if it can be done. With this philosophy in mind we decided that two directors would be used to make this movie: an overall director who would be responsible for the final cut, but focus on all water activities and a second director who would be solely responsible for the land portions of the shoot. After making this decision we spoke with Steven Lisberger who had had some experience with working on water, but also had made the computer classic “Tron” with Jeff Bridges.
When Lisberger and Giddings got together it was like mixing oil and water. You cannot imaguine what it was like for Lisberger to tell the greatest ocean cinematograper in the world that he wanted to do most of the big scenes with marine mammals inside computers without ever even going near the a drop of water. It was a nail biting creative clash ending with Lisberger heading for the airport and Giddings drawing out technology he wanted to use in this movie that no one has ever seen before.
IBC. Well knowing that Special Effects will be held to a minimum with this movie how do you intend to get whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and tons of other fish around all the divers when you are shooting?
MJM. I know it sounds hard but it isn’t. In meetings with Giddings he suggested that we find a small cove in the Bahamas and net it. By that I mean we would put up a transparent fish net like monofiliment used on fish line, netting both fish and camera lenses can’t see. Then, once that is up we would literally fill up the cove with tons of fish and marine mammals, drop in the crew, actors, and cameras, and shoot.
IBC. You make it sound easy. Isn’t working in deep water dangerous?
MJM. Yes. It is totally incorrect to say there is no danger making a movie underwater. However, is certain rules are followed the ‘danger factor’ is can be cut to a workable minimum. For example, if you dive under 10 meters or 30 feet of water, you do not build up what divers call bottom time, meaning the risk of expanding gases building up in your bloodstream is fairly non-existent. When Al Giddings shot “The Abyss” with James Cameron they worked in 10 meters of water most of the time and Al said there were days when they were underwater nearly 8 hours at a time. The obvious question that comes to mind next is how can you make 30 feet of water seem like hundreds of feet? Simply stated the answer involves being careful where you point the camera. Underexposing film makes daylight look like various degress of darkness and so on.
IBC. There are a lot of dolphins in this story. How will you be able to get them to do things in front of the camera?
MJM. Believe it or not with a little work most dolphins are easy to work with. Flipper and “Day of The Dolphin” were not pretend stories with rubber dolphins. For example, near our underwaretsite in the Bahamas there is a place called The Underwater Explorers Club where people can interact and swim with live dolphins in shallow water. In the movies “Zeus and Roxanne” and the new “Flipper” some of these mammals were used. Sometimes you can draw a simple pivture on a board with a grease pen, show it to the dolphin and with a little luck and patience they will swim down where the cameras are and do the trick. Where there is a stunt too difficult for the wranglers to teach the dolphins we bring in robotics.
MJM. Yes, as in mechanical dolphins exactly the size, shape, and coloring, with the same body language as the real ones. Remember “Splash?” In that movie Oscar Award winner Don Pennington used 6 foot long robotic dolphins to do the swimming and underwater movements, radio-controlled from the surface with the same kind of joy sticks people use in video games. Remember the dolphins cvelebrating the lift off of the mother shiup at the end of “Cocoon?” That was Pennington using free swimming radio-controlled baby dolphins.
IBC Are underwater sets hard to build?
MJM Not at all. Most of them involve basic wire and wood framing with quick drying foam sprayed on the surfaces, which are then colored with non-toxic paints, sunk and weighted down to keep them from floating. Most of the movies where caves, tunnels or big rock surfaces are involved are foam sprayed molds. If you think about how long it would take location scouts and production mangers to find real caves to fit scripts it becomes humorous.
Need to mention barge, underwater lights, interplay of soundtrack