March 13, 2024

House of Ninjas showrunner and executive producer Dave Boyle

The Netflix series House of Ninjas has become a hit show, rising to #1 in the streaming service’s top 10 list. The story follows the Tawara family, who have been ninjas, or shinobi, for generations. Tragically, the oldest son and brother disappeared six years before in a battle with their rivals, leading the Tawaras to stop being ninjas. But the family must fight together again as the rival clan gets more powerful and threatens the entire country.

Showrunner Dave Boyle was first brought on as showrunner for House of Ninjas by an executive at Netflix Japan, who knew he was familiar with the culture. Dave’s second language is Japanese, which he studied as a Mormon missionary in Australia. He had written and directed a few independent Japanese American and Japanese language films, such as Man from Reno, Daylight Savings and Surrogate Valentine, which all took place in the U.S. This was his first experience with shooting anything in Japan. He was drawn to the tone of House of Ninjas, which combines both drama, action and violence with comedy and warmhearted playfulness. “Tone was the reason why we all wanted to make this project. It’s more than the plot mechanics and the story. It was all about creating this atmosphere, this tone that an audience could sink into and enjoy for many, many episodes. And so I think that tone was something that we were talking about from the very, very get-go and something that we really wanted to nail and get right.”

Once he was on board, Dave began working on the preproduction and show bible for House of Ninjas. The show bible had to be written in three weeks, which is a very fast process, especially since Dave knew the show’s foundation required a deep understanding of shinobi culture and history. He found the preproduction process in Japan to be much different from the U.S., with casting happening even before the show’s scripts were written. The script format in Japan read from right to left, and the top half of the page is left blank for the director to draw storyboards and a shotlist, as a clear way for the director to show what they’re planning to do.

House of Ninjas is available on Netflix.

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February 8, 2022

Special Episode: Sundance 2022- Blood director Bradley Rust Gray and cinematographer Eric Lin

The film Blood is about Chloe, a woman who travels to Japan for her work as a photographer, just a couple of years after the death of her husband. She meets up with her Japanese friend Toshi who is interested in turning their friendship into a relationship, and she needs to decide if she is ready to welcome romantic love back into her life. Blood is a quiet and contemplative movie about human relationships, and unfolds slowly through Chloe’s conversations, interactions and dreams.

Director Bradley Rust Gray and cinematographer Eric Lin had worked together before on Brad’s film, The Exploding Girl. A lot of Blood was improvised, and Brad used the script mainly as an outline short of a few scenes needed for exposition. They found opportunities to weave in the dreams Chloe has about her past with her husband in Iceland. Eric and Brad wanted everything to feel very naturalistic, as if the camera is eavesdropping. Eric chose to shoot much of it on very long lenses, as though shooting a nature documentary. They wanted Blood to feel like the audience is present with Chloe the whole time, peering in on moments in her life.

Blood premiered at the Sundance 2022 Film Festival and was the Special Jury Award winner for Uncompromising Artistic Vision. Blood is seeking sales and distribution.

Find director Bradley Rust Gray: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0336486/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Find cinematographer Eric Lin: https://eric-lin.com/
Instagram @holdtheframe

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz