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The Rise and Fall of Love Letter: My True Feelings
In late December of 2014, a man named Alex Mahan (would later be known as Yandere Dev) started work on a game called yandere simulator. Over the next few months and later years, the game would become fairly popular with many people supporting the game and many youtubers playing the pre alpha of the game. It seemed that this game could have gone on to be as popular as Fnaf as both were made by small indie developers. But then, problems would arise as Alex didn’t really know how to program. People tried helping him but he often lashed out at other people trying to code his game better. There were also constant delays with the first rival, Sana, which she was supposed to be released in sometime in 2016 but was finished in August of 2020. There were more problems such as, using funds to buy personal items instead of on the game, banning people on his discord and subreddit in mass amounts, and even doing pedophilic things like writing about child r*pe. By the time we reach 2020, the game has been being programmed for nearly 6 years and the first rival has still not come out yet and it looks like the game isn’t going to be finished any time soon. Though one person had enough, and that person is Draepis.
Part 2: The beginning and rise of Love Letter
In July of 2020, a man known as Draepis claimed that he coded Yandere Simulator in just two weeks (we now know that some of that code was from his failed game Heart Break). Many people, including I, were very impressed that this guy was able to make a game in development for almost 6 years in just two weeks. People thought he was a God send and he would be the one to make a proper yandere game. The game at the time was known as Love Sick which was supposed to be the official title of Yandere Simulator but Alex did not make that change for whatever reason. People were volunteering, Aepis and others were coding, fanart was being made and over all the game was on track to become the definitive yandere game. The game would later change its name to Love Letter: My True Feeling after Alex threw a hissy fit and claimed that Love Sick was his title. The game would even get a main character named bow chan. The yandere simulator subreddit would even be hacked and turned into an anarchy sub for a couple of days with people posting pro love letter memes. It seems that this game was on the ups and would become the definition of a true yandere game. Until it wasn’t
Part 3: The fall of Love Letter
The game would take one of its first massive blows when the creator of bow chan copyrighted the character and denied the use of her in Love Letter. This did hurt the game but they did make another main character known as Setsuna Haichi. Her first design was mediocre but the second design looked great. It seems like things were going back up for the project. But then there were some people leaving Love Letter due to possible mistreatment from the developing team. That certainly hurts but it didn’t hurt as much as the child grooming story. Most of us know it, in 2017 Draepis groomed a 10-year-old on discord and it was pretty bad. This story would surface and a lot of people did not like aepis after that story. And I mean, I can’t blame the people that were hating on him. This story also exposed some of the toxicity and hypocrisy found in the love letter community as some people were defending his actions or even victim blaming. This extremely hurts the community as Draepis had removed the comment feature on both his twitter and his YouTube videos as well as the Love Letter discord being shut down. Then, on September 23rd, 2020, Draepis made a video in which he declared Love Letter to be a cancelled project. He cited the reason for the cancellation for him being subjected to nonstop harassment and the project taking a toll on his mental health. And the game, to my knowledge, has fully stopped development and I think this is the end for Love Letter. Aepis said he is going to do a different, non-yandere game as he said in his cancellation video that yandere games are cursed.
Part 4: A message to Aepis
To the former developer of Love Letter, I hope you improve, not just as a programmer but as a human being as well. We know that you have done unforgivable actions in the past but now is time to improve from those actions as I believe that one day you can become a great programmer. I am sorry for the amount of harassment you have received from these recent events because even though you have done something terrible in the past, you did not deserve the amount of hate that you have gotten. I hope that your mental health will improve and that you will become a better person and programmer in the future.
Part 5: To every and all future Yandere game creators
We have seen the problems and drama that yandev and aepis have been through so to anyone in the future that tries to make their own Yandere game, make it a secret. Do not share your game online until a proper demo has been made. I say this because one of the main downfalls of Yansim and LL was that they got too much hype too fast when not even a proper demo or even prototype was made which helped lead to the downfall of both games. The yandere genre may be cursed but I’m sure that someone out there can make a yandere game that will break the curse.
Btw I'm posting it here because I can't post it on the official Love Letter Subreddit
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL…Lights, camera, carnage!
I know it’s been like, forever, since I posted an updated Demolition Days entry. Plus, I still have to finish the saga of how Esme and I escaped from the Middle East. However, these past few weeks really deserve their own entry.
So here it is.
I’m sitting in my office over betwixt the Geology and Petroleum Engineering Departments as I’m currently under contract for both.
Oh, and here’s a bit of an update: so is Esme.
Yep. She decided that she has way too much free time on her hands around campus so she’s going to go after her very own geology Ph.D. Just think, she finishes and the Rocknocker household will hold a real paradox.
Pair o’ docs…get it?
Some days it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps…
Khan is growing like a weed and often accompanies us to our office in the departments.
He’s been accepted by everyone as one rather large, outsized, and rambunctious Rig Dog; sort of the Geology and PE Department’s unofficial mascot. I have no lack of volunteers when it comes time for Khan’s walkies. He’s such a lovable, slobbery doofus, everyone’s kind of taken with him.
So, we’re sitting in our office, Khan wandering the halls looking for scritches and I’m working on my next article for Fuel Magazine, while also working on a fresh Greenland coffee.
“Rock”, Esme states categorically, “I’m not like you. I can’t sit and hammer a keyboard eight hours straight. I’m going to the house and start dinner. Should I take Khan home or will you bring him along later?”
“Hell if I know where he even is right now, Dear”, I reply, as Khan has wandered off again and is probably slathering over some brontosaur femur in the school’s vertebrate paleontology museum.
“Fair enough, Hon”, Es states, stands and cracks like a stack of tinder. “I don’t know how you can sit there, slurp Greenlands all day and still be able to move at night.”
“All part of being an ethanol-fueled, carbon-based organism,”, I smile back. “Plus, the more I write now, the less I’ll have to do over the holidays; so there’s that dynamic keeping me going as well.”
“OK”, she agrees, “Don’t stay too late. I’m planning on Ossobuco tonight. Can you drop by the bottle shop and pick up a nice red for dinner?”
“Chinese or Soviet?” I asked.
She simply ignored the feeble joke and told me to use my better judgment.
I was going to ask her which, but I decided to just smile and tell her I would and I’d be along in a few hours.
I’m working on some of the more unconventional aspects of a very large asset here is one of the local sedimentary basins. It’s one where they have to drill 10,000 feet deep, turn sideways and drill another 15,000 or so feet, then hydraulically fracture the living fuck out of the reservoir because it’s tighter than Dick’s hatband. Just another day in the trenches.
Suddenly, Dean of the department wanders in and fixes his own Greenland coffee from my supplies.
“Y’know Roc”, Dr. Per says, “It’s weird having a 60+-year-old doctoral candidate here.”
“Oh?”, I innocently ask, “How so, Junior?” as I’m at least 20 years his senior.
“Well, for some reason”, he continues, ignoring my comment after slurping at his soupçon, “Many people in the department have taken to keeping bottles of booze in their desks and the rate of cigar smokers around here has skyrocketed.”
“I see no obvious correlation between the two events”, I replied modestly.
“The hell you don’t”, he laughed. “You’re a perambulating bad example. You swear, you smoke, you drink and you make no bones about it.”
“That’s all very fucking true”, I snicker back, “And…?”
“And we wouldn’t have it any other way.” He laughs. “Once the news hit that you were going to be studying for your DSc here, we’ve had all sorts of inquiries. Many from prospective students, a load from the Oil Patch, and even one or two from the government, if you follow the way I’ve drifted…?”
“Oh, you mean Agents Rack and Ruin of the Agency?”, I replied, “Did you finally meet them?”
“Oh, I spoke with them months and months ago.” He explained. “But it’s the calls from Russia, China, and North Korea asking about you that gives me just the slightest bit of pause. Do you really know someone from the NKVD named ‘Olga the KGB Lady?’”
“Olga called?” I started, “And you didn’t tell me?”
Dr. Per sighs. “Damn, I knew it just had to be true. It’s too weird to be make-believe.”
“I’m the original prototype.” I smile as I drain my coffee, “A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
“And well-read, evidently”, Dr. Per chuckles.
“Of course”, I replied. “There was something else you wanted?”
“Oh, yes.”, he replies, “We’ve got a request from the Humanities Department. There’s a bunch of fourth-year film students doing a movie. Evidently, they got a grant from some crowd out of Hollywood. Gave them a load of dosh to make their student film, which from what I understand is a cross between ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Godzilla’; but much artsier, of course.”
“Of course”, I replied.
“Anyways”, he continued, “They’re going ‘old school’, as they put it. ‘Man in rubber suit-mation’. That means detailed miniatures.”
“And…?”, I smile broadly, hoping he’ll fill in the rest.
“Explosions”, he finally says, “Lots and lots of explosions. But they need someone who’s licensed…you see where this is going. Right?”
“Let’s see”, I summarized, “They want the kindly, wizened old Dr. Rocknocker to provide the pyrotechnics for their film extravaganza?”
“Yeah, that’s it in one”, Dr. Per replies, “But remember. This is all in miniature. The pyrotechnics here are going to be seriously fractional to what you’re used to.”
“Dr. Per?” I asked, “Are you a fully licensed and tenured master blaster?”
“No,” he replies truthfully.
“Then leave the explosions to me”, I snickered.
“Gladly”, he smiles back, shakes his head in mock disbelief, and refills his Greenland coffee mug before departing.
The next day, I have several visitors from the Film Department.
Now, far be it from me to cast any sort of aspersions or bow to stereotypes, but at this particular university, we have an outsized Asian population. Which is especially weird considering the currently frosty climate here.
Decidedly most un-Asian. Not a single jungle or rice paddy to be seen.
No, I’m not trying to be stereotypical, or racist, just truthful. As the film crew consists entirely of Asian students. A group of mainland Chinese, one Vietnamese, a couple of Japanese, and one or two odd Koreans.
There’s Xuan Jiahao, Fan Ling, Wan Yating, Geng Zhelan, Yin Zexi, and Duan Zedong. Then there’s Nguyễn Xuân Hãn, Tatsuno Miyuki, Fukutsuchi Yoshimatsu and Ya Na-Woon, and Pang Byeong-Cheol.
And that’s just for starters.
We’re all assembled in the main conference room, and it looks like it’s going to be a multi-media spectacular. They’re going ‘Full Monty’ on us, showing us all they’ve got, figuratively speaking, to try and entice me to work with them.
Plus, they want me to do it for cheap or free. Preferably the latter.
Hell, any chance I get to blow shit up, that’s payment enough. But I’m not about to tell them that, at least, not yet.
Once we’re all settled in the conference room, I decide I’ll be the Master of Ceremonies, for at least the beginning.
“Well”, I began, “Good day and welcome to the University’s Geology and PE Department. I’m, as you already know, Dr. Rock, and I’m the one that will potentially be handling all the pyrotechnics for you during the filming of your latest epic. Please, just call me ‘Rock’, if you don’t mind. Also, please state your name or nickname before replying. Sorry, but I’m a tad bit overwhelmed with your numbers. Just for a while until I get you all in some sort of order.”
“I’m Fan, sir”, Fan Ling began, “I am the group leader here.”
“OK, Fan”, I reply, “It’s just ‘Rock’, as I’ve never been knighted. Yet. Please tell me about your project and what small part I can play.”
So, over the next three hours, several Greenland coffees and tots later, I have a pretty firm grasp on what they are setting out to do.
They are a batch of senior year film students from around the globe, as there is another mob, sort of more behind the scenes, whom I haven’t yet met. They somehow got the attention of a bunch of big film producers in Hollywood and wrangled a fairly hefty grant from them so they can complete their picture.
It’s going to be a kaiju/superhero/animation/folklore/anime/manga mash-up of some sort or other; I really didn’t follow whatever was considered to be the plot. However, it’s going to have some pretty nifty CGI, “Suitmation” for some of the kaiju, and some incredibly ethnic superheroes; like “Sushi Man”, “Mao Man”, and “ARVN Man”.
It has elements of comedy, horror, gore, giant monsters, and miniatures; all being stomped and blown up. If one looks at the thing for a sort of skewed meta-viewpoint, it does have things to say about racism, bigotry, and prejudice today, just delivered with a soft double-tap to the head.
All in all, I can’t wait to both be a part of the flick and see the thing when it’s finished.
The trouble is, none of them have the foggiest notion of what pyrotechnics are nor how they are handled.
“Doctor, sir Rock, you can help us?” Duan asked hopefully.
“Just try and hold me back!”, I grinned widely.
They all laughed and clapped. They were happy I was on board. They were happy their movie could go ahead. They were happy they could report to their investors that they had a pyrotechnician.
I was happy I could go out and blow the living shit out of things again. Hell, it’s been almost solid months…
But first, some ground rules. If I’m going to be handling the pyros, and yes, I looked into the legality of all this. I sent off for the proper tests and accreditations, found that I was heavily overqualified, and brought into my blasting portfolio the necessary documents to be included in the credits of this mainstream extravaganza.
However, if I’m to be working on the set as a pyro wrangler, then I’m the boss. The hookin’ bull. You all know the drill. I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, and things that go boom are my sole bailiwick.
Everyone readily agreed as I set down some ground rules. In fact, one clear Saturday morning, I took my little crowd of lens-folk out to a local limestone quarry, which was now defunct, unfortunately.
As a bit of an aside, when I got here to university, I made myself known to the locals. I personally know every rancher, oilfield operator, and owner of sand pits, gravel pits, peach pits, limestone, granite, or serpentinite quarry. Ditto with the many farmers possessed of recalcitrant glacial erratics out in their fields of plowed Pleistocene glacial alluvium. I’ve already removed several large erratics for Farmer Bowen and in fact, his north 40 was going to be transformed into a movie set soon.
But I found some scenery that’s even better.
Nonetheless, today it’s “Let’s all get acquainted while Dr. Rock blows a lot of shit up for your education, edification, and entertainment” field trip.
We wheel the two 15-seater university vans into the old limestone quarry. I know the owner of the land, one stodgy old curmudgeon by the moniker of Augie Steinhauer. We get along famously. He doesn’t give two furry rat’s asses what I do out in this old quarry; as long as I keep him in the loop.
“However, Dr. Rock”, he says to me the other day over shots and beers I brought with to smooth the way, “If you could prune up that jagged east wall, I’d be most appreciative. My damned blighted fool of a brother-in-law goes in there to try and find crystals; and some moron sold him dynamite. I’m afraid that bonehead’s gonna bring down that entire east wall on his fuckin’ noggin. Plus, I could use a couple-few yards of gravel as well, if you know what I mean…”
“Sure, Augie”, I say as I lean over and hand him a lighter for the Cuban he filched out of my vest pocket. “Next Saturday, I’ll clean up that east wall and make a bunch of little ones out of big ones for you.”
I continued with the movie angle and he sort of glazed off into the ether. He wasn’t concerned with movies, but he desperately wanted a pond out back where he could water his herds of horses and dairy cows.
“OK, Augie”, I say, “Here’s the deal. You let me and the kids shoot their movie out on the south pasture, particularly on the oxbow in Steinhauer Creek you’ve got over there.”
An oxbow is a really tight bend in a river, creek, or brook. This one out in the south pasture covered about an acre or so, about equal to 43,560 square feet, 160 square rods, or 4.25x10-30 square parsecs. One acre is equivalent to 0.4047 hectares (4,047 square metres).
A nice size for a stock pond.
However, it was currently occupied by an unruly acre of sand, gravel, sneezewort, itchweed, and crawdads. Which was just the right place for all the miniatures to be placed and have some of the Suitmation guys go a-stomping.
See? Everyone benefits.
So, back to the quarry and I’ve brought along a traveling case of some of my more usual and unusual noisemakers.
Of course, I’ve got dynamite. I also have some home-brew nitro, complete with my special additive that makes it 75% less twitchy and 100% just as boomy. I’ve got PETN, RDX, a little gelignite, some Seismogel, a couple of different binaries, some C-4, of course, and all the adjuncts: Primacord, caps, superboosters, demo wire, my galvanometer, and Captain America with the big, shiny, red button.
Just the necessities, don’t ya’ know?
So, as usual, everyone in the quarry is wearing their PPEs, which I insisted upon and also which they thought were very cool and were destined to make it into the film one way or another.
I had set up a folding table with my traveling case, and a huge sign which read in great garish red letters, “BLASTING ZONE : HAPPY HOUR 1400-1800 HOURS”.
I let folks mill around and get the feel of a quarry. I pointed out some hazards, like loose rocks, talus slopes, and the occasional irritated rat, badger, and weasel.
They thought it was all great fun to be in the wide-open outdoors with some gonzo chap who wandered around wearing a very cool, highly polished aluminum hardhat, smoking a huge cigar, and wearing field boots, shorts, field vest, and a Hawaiian shirt in -30C weather.
I called the meeting to order and decided on some small demonstrations.
Blasting caps go “Pop”. Caps and super boosters go “BLAM”, Primacord goes “ZZZZIZIP! KERPOWIE!” and C-4 makes quarry walls echo and people’s ears ring.
However, before all this, I got their universal attention and ran through the usual pre-blast folderol.
I told them how to clear the compass.
North? CLEAR! And all that.
I told them how to look for any sort of organic lifeform that might be in danger’s path when the blast was initiated.
I told them all about “Look once, look twice. Then look again.”
I showed them the blaster’s airhorn and how it blares.
Then I told them all about “FIRE IN THE HOLE!”
With that, I explained we were good to go and I hit Captain America’s big, shiny, red button.
A 12-ton block of dolomitic limestone was rapidly and noisily reduced to a couple of cubic meters of nicely shattered high-magnesium limestone gravel.
I accepted applause munificently.
They were all scribbling like mad when I showed them the difference between 60% Extra Fast dynamite and 40% regular stick. They oohed! And ahhed!
When I set off a 2-kilo charge of C-4 to prune that east wall of the quarry, and like Shaka, the walls fell; they whooed.
They kept writing and asking for more demonstrations.
So, I took this as the opportunity to go big or go home.
Next was a solid 3-kilos of PETN. Great for really good vibrations. I gave them excitations…
Then, RDX, or “Torpedo-charge”. I decided to spread it around and clean up the talus slope at the foot of the east wall. With a couple of pounds of liquid binaries, I pruned that east wall back about 2 or three meters. Now, Mr. Steinhauer will have all the gravel he needs for some time to come.
Finally, the finale. I ran some primacord around an old, dead jack pine that’s been giving me the metaphorical red-ass since it’s always one way or another in my way. I placed some of my special nitro concoction around the base of its dead roots interwoven, bifurcating, and anastomosing through the cracks, fissures, and fractures of the dolomitic limestone.
Funny enough, 60 seconds later, that old jack pine was gone, as were its roots and the stranglehold it had on hanging a hard right turn and getting equipment to the backside of the quarry.
The crowd went wild.
I packed most everything up and was ready for Q&A time.
“Dr. Rock!”, Nguyễn asked, “Those were great effects. Can you make them smaller?”
“You know, no one’s ever asked me that before, “ I admitted in full Burt Gummer mode, “Sure. I suppose I could.”
“Can you show us?” he asked.
“I’m a little uncertain what you want me to do.”, I replied, “Smaller explosions? Why?”
“Oh, our miniatures”, he responded, “And our actors in the suits…”
“Of course”, I said, realization hitting, “But, I think it would be better to use bigger explosions and just add them in post-processing, don’t you? Little explosions have such a tinny sound to them. It really makes the effect look really cheesy.”
There was a lot of conversation and I realized that I was only the pyrotechnician, not the film producer. It’s their show, so I should do what they want, right?
In the end, it was decided to try both. We’d meet the next day out in the south pasture oxbow and they’d bring along their cameras, suit guy, and some miniatures. We’d blow them up as they thought; with little, itty-bitty explosions, then, afterward, we’d set off some proper blasts. They’d film them in slow motion, or fast motion, I forget which, but whatever, they’d run it eventually at normal speed and it would look all that much more momentous.
It’s all jargon and gobbledygook to me. I’ll make big booms. I’ll make little booms. Just tell me where and when.
So the next day, there’s a mocked-up generic city on the sand of the oxbow. Some guy in a pseudo-Godzilla suit, complete with shiny back fins, was going to stomp his way through town. They wanted smoke. They wanted explosions. The wanted fire. But they wanted it all in miniature.
Where’s the fun in that?
It was a bit of a wiring clusterfuck, but some balloons filled with gasoline, some with acetylene and some mighty light blasting caps later, we're ready for some test rolls.
Fakezilla starts stomping his way down the mini-avenue. Crunch goes one model car and I flick a switch. Flame erupts from the smooshed car and there’s a cheery little pop as the mini’s gas tank explodes. A model train gets derailed into a fuel depot and I had a pretty good time, in spite of myself, setting off a load of little charges.
All very cinematic and fake, if you asked me.
Then, there’s the finale of the scene where the monster is herded into a cul-de-sac of high rises by the wildly firing military. All the huge skyscrapers are blasted at their base to fall inward and bury the poor, misunderstood monster under huge piles of building rubble.
Those scenes were in the can, as it were, so we reset the set, as it were, with my take on what explosions and fire should really look like.
We watched the rushes on one screen and as the monster virtually trampled the buildings again, I set off my charges.
OK, a gallon of 100-octane flight fuel was a wee bit much perhaps, but damn, that lens flare of the refinery going up would have done J.J. Abrams proud.
I used superboosters, C-4, and primacord around the base of the skyscrapers and set them off one after another. I had timed it so they would first go into slow-motion explosions, then all about meet halfway and well, let gravity take the rest onto the monster to bury him; at least until the next scene.
They had to admit, the acoustics were much better with my explosions. They decided to go for a mixture of miniature explosions, primarily for close-ups, and my explosions, run in slow motion in the film, for the general carnage and destruction establishing shots and slightly more distant scenes.
The grand finale of the movie was the total destruction of the city, much to the alarm and remorse of the creature as well as all the inhabitants of Mini-City, SE Asia. They wanted total destruction. An ‘Age of Ultron’ finale-sort of blowing up the entire city and putting it into low earth orbit.
Which would work out well with my creation of a stock pond for the landowner.
I called in a few markers and had some of the geology department, who wanted some time drilling, to bring the VibraCore unit out to the Steinhauer place and meet me at the south 40 pasture.
We took several VibraCore cores cross-sectioning that classic oxbow. We extracted the 15-meter long cores and properly laid them into the appropriate core boxes.
We had great core recovery numbers, over 98%. I told them to leave the thin aluminum pipe sleeves in the oxbow as I was going to need that next week. The aluminum pipe had a wall thickness of slightly more than industrial-grade tinfoil, but since we buzzed them down some 45 feet or so, they’d serve as very useful conduits for the AFNO I planned to have pumped into the ground over the next couple of days.
Some of the guys in one or another of the oilfield service companies owed me a favor or 12 and had some leftover AFNO from a couple of jobs that screened out. Knowing how much of a pain in the ass the paperwork is for returning unused explosives, they naturally turned to me and asked if I wanted any part of it.
I sent them maps and specific details of what I needed to be done. The AFNO was to be cut to slurry grade so it would flow easier; basically, all they needed to do was add a bit of extra diesel. Then, they could just hook up a Coflexip hose and pump the slurrified explosive down one or more of the 4 aluminum pipes that we had vibrated down to clay level.
This worked a treat, as the first truck, and only one I had thought, pumped away over 1,500 pounds of AFNO.
Told me “It flowed like melted butter”.
So much so, that back at base, word got around that I was hosting a home for wayward explosives. Over the next week, no less than 6 trucks had come over to Mr. Steinhauer’s south pasture and emptied the remnant slurries out of their tank trucks.
Free explosives! All well and good, but I was pleased with the first bill of lading. The second was not too terribly disconcerting. The third, fourth, and fifth gave me pause. By number seven, my calculator was having a meltdown as I realized they had pumped over 8,500 pounds of ANFO away and it was all sitting there waiting for an initiator.
Luckily, the oxbow was basically an acre-wide bowl or more precisely, basin, first lined with nicely impermeable clay. Filling that is was the 50 or so vertical feet of fine fluvial sands, gravels, and conglomerates. So, through thorough testing, I found that no ANFO had leaked out of the closed oxbow, but I was still standing on 4.5 tons of deflagrating explosive.
Now AFNO may be a crackerjack explosive, but it’s lazy as hell. It needs one hell of a good short, sharp shock to initiate. As I noted, it’s a deflagrating, not detonating, explosive. I told my film guys that there was a “fair amount” of explosives under the place where the set was to be placed and where filming of the finale was going to happen.
They decided that if I said it was safe, then they could take that to the bank. There really was no danger, it’s not like they’re tromping around on nitro or anything so twitchy. Still, I made certain to shield all the smaller explosions at the surface just to be extra sure. Sheets of corrugated tin floored the set, so we were doubly insulated from any untoward accidents.
The shoot of the almost-finale went off without a hitch. Buildings were destroyed, refineries were blown up, there were cars stomped and trains derailed. It was all filmed with multiple cameras, multiple types of cameras: slow-motion, thermal, high definition, and the like.
They were shooting hundreds of miles equivalent of whatever the hell they store film on nowadays. We all sat in the gazebo that had been set-up off-site so we could review the rushes and re-film any scenes that didn’t quite come up to snuff.
There were a couple of scenes that needed some re-dos, but now the set was mooshed well and proper, now they needed to be really blown the fuck up so we can proceed right to the ultimate shot where I set off the AFNO.
Before that, but after filming some smaller explosions in the ersatz city, I instructed everyone to get back.
I had them set up cameras at 1 kilometer.
I had them set up cameras at 500 meters.
I had them set up unmanned cameras 50 meters from the oxbow.
They groused, the bitched, and they kvetched; but they listened.
I went over the safety dance with the whole crew right after lunch and before any of them took off for distant locales. I impressed upon them that this was going to be a one-hit-wonder.
There are no re-takes.
“But Dr. Rock”, Fukutsuchi asked me, “Why not?”
“Several reasons, Mr. Yoshimatsu”, I replied, “Chief among them is that it’s going to be a huge explosion and by this time tomorrow, the only thing left of the set will be a lake.”
“Oh, jolly joke Dr. Rock!”, he replies, not realizing that I was quite serious.
“Live and learn, Herr Yoshimatsu”, I mused quietly to myself.
We spent the next couple of hours filming some small, infill explosions. Since we had some time to waste while the director waited for the ‘perfect time, right when the sun eclipsed the treetops’, the guys out on the remote cameras were getting antsy.
“Camera 1 to base! Camera 1 to base! Systems status. What’s happening?” came a frantic call.
“Base to Camera 1, hold your water. It’ll be a little while.” Came the response.
“Camera 2 to base. I need relief, right now. Can’t wait.” Came another frantic call.
“Base to camera 2. Use the pucklebrush 20 meters to your north. Then get back on camera!” Came the exasperated reply.
“Camera 3 to base! Camera 3 to base! I’m being attacked by cows. What should I do?”
“Relax. Guernsey cows aren’t carnivores. Give them a good tip and be ready to roll!” came our reply.
Finally, time and tide aligned and the director decided it was showtime. After radio checks and to ensure Camera 3 wasn’t consumed by an errant Black Angus or Hereford, everyone was ready and rolling.
“Well, that was different”, I replied once I found the director and disinterred him.
Seems that Late Pleistocene clays are a great refractory material. The 4.5 tons of ANFO went off without a hitch. A good portion of the blast energy went up. A bit went sideways, but a fair amount went down, struck the impermeable clay layer, and rebounded upward with a newfound zeal.
In other words, there was a smoking crater left that measured some 10 or so meters deep and with a nominal diameter of approximately 27 meters.
Great huge throbbing clouds of sand, gravel, and creek mud were thrown, well, one fuck of a large distance from ground zero. Camera 1 at one kilometer distant reported dodging high-velocity dirt clods immediately after the explosion.
Fully 21 cameras caught the explosion from an amazing number of angles and in a variety of styles. Infrared, false color, high-speed, 3-D…the whole Megilla.
The director was incredibly excited once his hearing returned. He was in the gazebo, once we unburied it and set it up again, seems they can’t handle shock waves worth a shit.
However, he was slavering over the footage the different cameras had recovered.
“This will be great for the finale! We can use this shot here, and cut to the infrared, then cut over to …” and so on and so on.
I pulled out a flask, took a healthy tot, and sparked a fresh cigar.
“Yeah. It was a good gig.” I muttered to no one in particular.
I was pleased to see that Mr. Steinhauer’s pond was already filling. Should be good for rock bass and crappie by spring.
So, we packed everything up, replaced some of our smaller divots and headed back to our normal lives. Me at the Geology/PE Department and them at the Humanities ward or wherever the hell these characters hang out.
A few days later, I get a call. Seems that a letter had arrived for me via the Film Department.
Would I want them to bring it to my office?
“Sure”, I replied, “I’m here all day”.
A short while later, Ya, Pang, and Geng drop by and present me a letter, handwritten, all the way from Hollywood, California.
I zip the envelope open and see it’s on the stationary of one of the larger, meaning that I’ve actually heard of it, production companies out there on the Whack Coast.
The letter, in brief, was thanking me for my participation in the student’s film. The author of the letter said he was particularly impressed with the “reality” and “impressive results” of the practical pyrotechnic effects; particularly the film’s finale.
“Well, that’s nice”, I smiled quietly to myself.
Then I read the closing comments.
“We are looking into getting our pyrotechnicians blaster’s permits and having them spend some time in local oilfields.”
Guess my reputation precedes me here as well.
“We are also looking into what brands of vodka and cigars are preferred there in [redacted state].
Very truly yours,
James F. Cameron.”