Brad Kaup Q&A
Taken place in the Temple of the Unknown forum by email
in the month of March and completed on 3.20.02.
Brad Kaup is the editor of "Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey"documentary.
Questions asked by forum members.
Question 1: Brad, how did you get involved with
the warriors journey?
In the spring of 1999, John Little approached our company to do color correction on a documentary he produced about Brandon Lee. I can't remember the title of that program. But it was an interesting peice. After "fixing" that show, John and I discussed the possibility of doing work on another project he had in the works. He later brought in the idea of editing WJ.
Question 2: What was the main purpose of making
Warriors Journey ?
In my opinion, the production of Warrior's Journey was to share Bruce's intentions in making of the 'Game of Death' film. The editing of the 'lost footage' took priority on the project. The documentary that precedes the footage segment was created after the 'lost footage' was assembled.
Question 3: What do you expect the fans to get
out of Warriors Journey ?
First off, the fans should expect the most accurate edit of Bruce's footage. Obviously from the amount of takes that were filmed, this project meant a lot to Lee. By veiwing the entire film transfer (as many of you have done) it is apparent that this project meant something personal. Also, anyone who watches WJ will gain an understanding of Bruce Lee's passion for martial arts and film.
Question 4: What was the most satisfying thing
you got out of making Warriors Journey ?
I worked a lot of long nights on this project. There was one evening in which I was trying to meet a deadline the next morning. Around 4am that evening, I was burnt out. But, as it was throughout the project, I knew this was much more than throwing together some shots to make a documentary. This project was the most important thing that I have had the pleasure to help create. And I enjoyed every minute.
Question 5: What was it like working with John
Little on this Documentary
After working long hours with John Little, I can say that I have never met anyone with such passion about anything. And his passion was to share the truth about Bruce Lee and GoD with the public. He was very determined that all the information was accurate and true to Lee's notes. John had respect for everyone and everything in the creation of this project.
Question 6: Where did John get the footage to do
the Warriors Journey documentary?
The reels were BetaSP film transfers from Media Asia.
Question 7: How much original game of death footage
did you have to work with ?
It was about 100 minutes worth. The material alone is worthy of its own release, I think the artport version lays out all the takes, outtakes, etc. But I have not seen thier version. I hope to pick it up somewhere and do a comparison of the documentaries.
Question 8: There is talk that there is footage
out there from Game of Death - filmed by Bruces own film company Concord,
but it was Bruce's last wishes that this footage not be shown. Do you know
of any footage by Bruces film company Concord ?
I wouldn't doubt that there is other footage kept by Linda and the estate. Bruce shot a lot of home movies. After viewing some of Bruce's film, which Linda had allowed to be transferred to video and used in WJ, I can say that he had good knowledge of motion photography. If he shot anything during the period of GoD, I have not, and probably will never, see it. I would hope that the estate has the respect to hold something of that importance within its walls, for privacy purposes.
Question 9: Do you think that Warriors Journey
is a good portrail of what Bruce was working towards when making game of
death. Eg: Is it the correct storyline bruce was going for .
I am not an authority on Lee by any means. From what I understand about scriptwriting and what actually makes it to screen, it is a very open process. Throughout the filmmaking process, changes happen. It appears that Bruce may have been writing (or re-writing) a lot of the story during the filming of these fight scenes. From what I have heard, this would be considered normal for this type of film, during this time, in the market of Hong Kong martial arts films.
Question 10: When making Warriors Journey - did
you work off any of Bruces original scripts that Bruce wrote down for the
Yes, Bruce's scripts/notes were elemental in many places throughout the documentary. We followed the notes as we created the 'footage' segment. Bruce had kept excellent notes as to which takes he favored, and his choices edited nicely.
John Little used Bruce's scripts/notes when he went to Hong Kong to film "The Story" portion of the documentary. He also referred to Bruce's notes for accuracy in all details throughout the creation of the documentary.
Question 11: Is the Bruce Lee Estate (Linda Lee
Cadwell, Shannon Lee etc...) happy with the final product of Warriors Journey
? Have you had any comments or reaction from them ?
According to John Little, Linda was very pleased with the movie. He shared with me a written thank you from Linda herself. As far as Shannon and the current keepers of the estate, I have not heard of their reaction to the film.
Question 12: What is yours and John littles relationship
to the Bruce Lee Estate ?
I do not or have never had a relationship with the Bruce Lee Estate, other than providing the services of video editing. As far as John's connection, I believe he held a position that gave him priviledges over the viewing and research of Bruce's history.
Question 13: When is Warriors Journey to be released
in Northern America or why the delay ?
As far as I know, at this time it is available in the U.S. My hope is that Warner Brothers does some bold marketing of the video. I would think even the partial fans of Lee and martial arts would take an interest in seeing the 'lost footage' as it was intended.
Question 14: How long did it take to produce Warriors
I am not sure when John Little started on this project, but as far as from when we started cutting footage, it took about 14 months (start to finish). We cut the 'lost' footage first. With fine tuning, this took roughly 30 to 40 hours (about an hour per finished minute). After that was finalized we created the documentary portion of the movie. The doc was a long, on-and-off, sort of process. The shooting of the 'storyline' and interviews happened throughout the year, and we edited as scheduling allowed.
Question 15: Do you or John have any intentions
of working on any more Bruce Lee Documentaries in the future ?
At this time, John has not contacted me for any other future Bruce Lee projects. Of course, I would jump at any chance to continue documenting the history of Bruce Lee.
Question 16: From what you have worked on in this
documentary, what is the most valuable thing that you have learnt about
Bruce Lee ?
Two things here:
In my personal life, the teachings of Bruce Lee have inspired me to seek out and act on my passions. Lee's philosophies seem to be a combination of many traditional thoughts. I see this as genius. Like his fighting style, one must encompass many styles and adapt them to one's own needs. I have gained valueable knowledge from Bruce's words.
Number two would be the importance of the physical being in conjunction with the mental. For anyone who thinks of martial arts as "just another form of defense", they would gain valuable knowledge from the teachings, writings, and films that Bruce Lee has shared. He was truly a great man, and I am a little surprised that his fan following is not larger than it is.
Question 17: Are you a Bruce Lee Fan yourself ?
I always believed him to be the best martial artist. Since I have done this project, I have gained a new respect for him. Watching Bruce perform on film is something to behold. Film rolled at 24 frames per second can be slowed down and one can usually step through frame by frame and follow a person's movements. It is difficult to follow Lee's action because at this speed the camera cannot follow Bruce.
I reviewed his other movies in prepartion for WJ and I enjoyed them as much as the first time I saw them. My four-year-old son is also a Bruce Lee fan.
Question 18: After making this documentary, can
you say that the fans now know all there is to know about Bruces last unfinished
movie Game of Death ?
The documetary portion leading up to the footage was limited to an hour. Of course John had enough material to fill two hours. I think he was writing a book to coincide with the movie's release, but I am not sure if it is published yet.
Although I don't believe there is any other missing footage, as some have speculated of other material, I do believe that people, who have an interest in sharing facts with the public, should continue to research the mysteries surrounding GoD.
Question 19: Was there any original game of death
footage that had to be cut from the documentary or is it all there in Warriors
If you are asking if there were any scenes cut out in WJ, no. Every scene that Bruce shot, and that Media Asia provided us, is in the movie. But, there are a lot of outtakes from each scene, and only some of those outtakes made it into the documentary.
Question 20: When was the first time you heard
of Bruce Lee ?
I saw the original 'Game' when I was a kid. Of course, I thought it was great and all back then, and now I look at it and can't help myself from laughing at how bad it is. The '78 version is just a bad movie, plain and simple. You just can't get away with "stand-ins", jump-cut editing, and cardboard cut-out heads in today's movie world. Maybe that's the way it was back then. But taking Lee's project and doing such a horrible job of movie-making is inconsiderate to the audience and shows a lack of respect towards Lee himself. It makes me proud to know that the WJ documentary might mend everything that's been tarnished by those responsible for "Game '78"
Question 21: What do you think of Bruce Lee movies
in comparison with some of the modern martial arts movies released today
I can't say that I have seen any the Jackie Chan movies. I am not interested in the martial arts movies that mix in a whole bunch of comedy. Its just not a good mix in my opinion. I saw Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon. Its a great peice of filmmaking and it appears to have a lot of traditional eastern film style. I am more in favor of realistic fighting and a good storyline. Enter the Dragon is my favorite martial arts movie. If anyone has suggestions to offer for recent martial arts films, post them on the forum and I'll check one out.
Question 22: Is there anything you would have like
to put in Warriors Journey, that you wern't able to?
Looking back, I can't think of anything important that didn't make it into the movie.
Question 23: How much did you know about Bruce
Lee before you started Warriors Journey ?
I knew only his movies and the theories surrounding his mysterious death. I soon learned a lot about him, including the fact that he attended the University of Washington (my almamater).
Question 24: For you what is the highlight of the
Warriors Journey documentary ?
The "footage" segment.
Question 25: In your opinion, what is the most
valuable thing the fans should get from Warriors Journey ?
Again, the "footage" segment allows the fans an opportunity to own a version of the GoD that is close to what Bruce intended. This should put some closure to all those who knew there was other footage out there.
Question 26: Will there be a future release with
all the out takes (like another documentary ) ?
I'm not sure. WJ does not provide all the outtakes. I think all fans deserve to see the entire film reels, and hopefully someone has the $$ and the desire to create such a release.
Question 27: Do you know what future plans the
"Bruce Lee Estate" have on releasing books , DVD's , Video's
Not sure. We may never learn everything there is to know. It seems to me that the amount of knowledge we can learn from Bruce Lee is immeasureable. It is up to the estate to decide what becomes available.