Kent Richman

Illustration by Max Currie

The filmmakers turned out to be graduate students from Waseda University who wanted to chronicle life after Bonanza for Kent Richman. With Ozman on the loose, their documentary had legs. Hideo was right: they could help him. But now that they were here, Kent was disappointed. “Where’s the rest of your crew?”

Hideo nodded to Chieko. “We’re it, friend. This is new wave documentary. We don’t need high production value to make a good film. We want people to know what it’s like to be Kent Richman without all of the filters. That bullshit’s for TV—no offense. This is film.”

“Isn’t it digital?”

“Sure, but we’re making a film, man. Come on, Kent. Play ball, how about it? Real film, which I predict no one will be using in five years anyway, can be as much of a mask as, well, as a mask. With handheld DV we can capture you without the mask. See?”

“I guess so.” Kent wanted to believe, but he’d seen higher production values for audition videos. And he liked the mask.

“Don’t worry. We’re good. We’ve trained with the best.” Hideo placed the camera on the floor. “I was a PA for Kazuhiro Soda’s last film. I’ve seen all of Errol Morris’ films, some like five or six times each. Chieko was audio tech supervisor for the Sakura Film Festival. Don’t you worry about the production stuff—you just be Kent Richman.”

“I can do that.” Kent guessed there might be value in capturing a more realistic version of himself, normally presented in the high gloss of television. “Get to the uncooked me instead of the glamorous show business side that everyone sees.”

“Uncooked. Exactly. Chieko, remember that. We might use it later.”

“‘Kent Richman: Raw and Uncooked.’” Kent liked it.

“Yeah, raw and uncooked,” Hideo repeated. “The real Kent Richman.”

“‘Kent Richman is not RI-CHU-MAN-SAN!’” He felt a surge of inspiration.

“Okay.” Hideo fidgeted. “Maybe.”

“‘Kent Richman is Big in Japan.’ Or ‘Another side of Kent Richman’?” Kent searched for a pen and paper. “’Kent Richman: Here and Now.’ Should I write these down? The Life and Times of—”

“Listen, why don’t we take a breather.” Hideo leaned towards Kent, his hands on his knees. “Don’t want to impose a title on this thing yet. Let’s let the camera tell us what to call it. We’ll get there. Let’s just talk a bit.”

Kent believed he might be able to turn the documentary into something special. A stripping away of all his masks. Show people that being Kent Richman is not all fun and games, glamour and gold. That life in front of the camera can take its toll. That Kent Richman was down but not out.

Bullet

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