First, thanks for the compliment, but considering what they were up against, I think the actors were outstanding. Most were [members of the Screen Actors Guild] out of LA. You have to understand that a typical independent movie is shot over two weeks or more, about 18 to 30 shooting days. If they are really good, they can get 10 pages of script shot in a day. Which is great; I mean, Hollywood only shoots one to three pages per day. On The Five Stages of Beer, we had nine days to shoot total—consecutive days, no less, and on many of those days, we shot 16 pages! What I'm getting at here is that these were strangers who had to act like best friends. We shot the bar scenes pretty much sequentially, and I think you can see the chemistry build among the players. For a group of professionals thrown together for one week to make a feature film, I think they did a tremendous job. At the end of the movie, you feel for these characters. Maybe it's because they do build their performance, and they grow on the audience as they grew together on the set.

Why did you only have nine days?

Because we were borrowing all our crew off their regular jobs, and they were borrowing gear. So we decided we could only hold them down for one week. We shot Saturday to Sunday, straight through nine days. That was all we could afford, and we wrote the script to be shot that way. I think that was our strongest asset. We knew going in we'd have to keep the sets down to a bare minimum and keep the scenes close and conversational.

With such a fast shoot, it would seem like there must have been a lot of stress and the potential for disaster.

The only close call I can think of is that Sam Upton, the guy who played Mick, is a real kickboxer. During the boxing "date," Sam kept goading Jenya Lano, the actress playing Audrey, to really smack him. She did try, and we had visions of a late-night rewrite to incorporate a black eye or busted nose. That was very close to a full-contact scene. I wish we'd shot it last.

What sort of humiliating ordeals did you go through to get financing?

Mark and I made a little money before the tech bubble burst, and we used that to finance the film. Well, that got it through production and editing. Much of post and marketing has been coming out of our pockets since we wrapped. It's kind of like bleeding to death in a warm bath. You don't really notice . . . until suddenly your credit card bill comes, and then you're dead.

The Five Stages of Beer Screens at the Lido Theater, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach. April 19, 5:30 p.m.


Jimbeau Andrews, the writer/producer of the new surfing documentary Nihi, grew up in Orange County, graduated from Saddleback High and was a lifeguard for the city of Laguna Beach for 12 years. His Aloha Films offices are located in Laguna Beach. His film looks at Hawaiian surfing legend Titus Nihi Kinimaka as well as the more spiritual side of surfing.

OC Weekly: How did you first encounter Titus Nihi Kinimaka?Jimbeau Andrews: He and I met when I interviewed him for a Tow In film titled Strapped. We kept in touch after that, and I continued to visit him when I returned to the Islands. Our friendship grew, and in 2001, I became his business manager. I'm sorry . . . a "tow in" film? Strapped is the name of a Tow In surfing movie I produced. "Tow in" is when a surfer is towed into a wave by a jet ski. While I can appreciate the aesthetics of surfing, I can't understand why anybody would actually want to risk his life splashing around in the ocean like that. I simply do not get it. How do you explain the appeal?

As an avid surfer, I can understand Titus' devotion to surfing, and I have a sense for what drives him to risk his life in pursuit of his sport. The dedication that he has applied to his sport reflects the choices he has made in his life. I feel individuals like Titus thrive off the penultimate experiences in their sporting lives. And to a certain extent, the more capable they become, the more pressure they feel to push the limits of their skills.

Were there any mishaps in the production of the film, either in the ocean or out of it?

When I went looking for production funds for Nihi, I was told repeatedly that the investment in a surf film was too risky. The crucial ingredient is cash, and when I found our angel financiers in Gregg Gaynor, Jonas Price and Aaron Egger, I couldn't have been happier. Unfortunately, we had another partner at the time who misappropriated these funds and set back our production plan by three months. I thought it was all over then, but the money came back just in time, and we jumped into production. But then our finances snagged, we ended up getting one-third less than we planned, and we ran out of money to finish the edit.

Jeez, that sounds like a terrible scramble.
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