cowboy bebop

Wired Fences | 鐵刺圍欄

A short film/music video | 短片/MV

Director’s Note: 

“Cowboy Bebop” is one of my favorite animes of all time. The series is full of style, energy and emotion that still gets me, even when I watched it again 13 years later. For me, the only thing that detracts from the series is the gaps in Spike’s story.

The main director of the series, Shinichiro Watanabe, said that underlying theme of the series is Spike’s karma. We do get the few episodes where Spike’s past haunts him (“Ballad of Fallen Angels”, “Jupiter Jazz”, “Real Folks Blues”), but at the end of the series I still felt there was much more story to explore about Spike and I was disappointed that “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie” didn’t take the opportunity to shed more light on his past.

A Bebop prequel seemed to be in order and I didn’t see any fan videos on youtube that really explored the subject. When I got an assignment to do a short film at De Anza College, I saw it as an opportunity to take the idea out of my head and put it on video. 

I had made some small films before, but this was a first for me on many levels: having a typed script (hand wrote my earlier ones), storyboarding, directing other actors. Also, it’s my first “music video”. I wasn’t sure it was going to be one until I showed the rough cut (camera mic audio, no music) to my class and they laughed at the gunshot sound effect. “Damn, my sound sucks.” Music video it is. Note: I also saw “The Artist” around this time which you can see made a strong silent film influence.

The Song: “We Climb the Wired Fences” is one of my favorite Radio Dept. songs of all time and it lacked a music video. Fences were very prominent when I went through the footage and I thought the imagery and the song’s lyrics/sound fit well. You can follow the Radio Dept. on Twitter ->!/slottet

Production: We shot in two days on a Canon HF R20 and I smashed together a rough cut in 1 day with Final Cut Pro 7 (I was literally editing up until class time and exported it during class). The final edit you see here I took time editing it together in about 10 days, working on and off, starting from scratch.

In Conclusion: If you’re unfamiliar with “Cowboy Bebop” I hope you will still get something from the short. If you are familiar with the series I hope you can look past some of the creative liberties I took and wish that the film satisfies some of that Bebop craving you and I might’ve shared after the series.

Regardless…if I’m successful, you should be able to watch the video and enjoy it without having to read any of this. If you have any thoughts or comments, please send me a message!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Dury Kim and Kyle Knaus who both shot and acted in the first part of the film (0:00-0:52). Thanks to James Z. Feng, Vicious, who was a big part of pulling the film together and over the years has taught me a great deal about filmmaking, acting and life in general (he’s the director of the feature length MMA Documentary “Fight Life”,, and founder of RiLL Films). Issy Alex Virasayachack, DP, breathed visual life to the fight and door opening sequences and Nick Louie died as a character and came back as a DP to film the Spike/Julia/Vicious flashbacks and the graveyard scene. The lovely Mary Ann Lumba, Julia, was great at bringing her own style to the role and was a pleasure to work with (she’s also the founder of a life coaching website for that needed inspiration: