Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 5

Day 5 began at 9.30pm. And I believe it was just an hour ago before we informed Chi Wing that he would be play the part of Will's tuition student. Chi Wing took it on his stride (he's cool like that) & he performed well on his first acting role with us. The only problem we had with him was that he was unable to act scared - because he would look too cute.

An hour later, the 2 leading actors, Caleb, & myself arrive at Kepong KTM for scene 11. I initially had doubts about the location, but once I look through the video camera LCD, it felt right. The street lights, the night view, the narrow path & the entire surrounding set the atmosphere.

Scene 11 was the most difficult to write. I took almost 2 weeks to think through it, and with May's help, I managed to complete the script just a day before we shot it. So it's understandable that the actors took a while to memorize the script.

Because the KTM was still operating at the time, there were people passing by & we had to stop from time to time. There was this passerby who made our day that night. We were getting ready to shoot when he asked "Can I pass?" and then as he walk by he wished us all the best. And that was really neat.

We headed back to my house for recharging (energy & camera battery) and a change of clothing. We took longer-than-planned to get out of the house because I wasn't sure of which location to use. In the end we just settled for the abandon shoplots behind my house. It turned out alright, but as I looked at the footages again I realised that there was a spot that had a better background colour (yellow wall) & probably even better lighting...

Doing 2 difficult scenes in 1 night is no easy task, let alone a bunch of amatuers like us. Thankfully the mistakes made were funny enough (blooopers!!) to distract us from the fact that the time was almost 1am. Day 5 was about being spontaneous & flexible, being able to just go with the flow, enjoy the moment & enjoy the results of it. I suppose that's one of the beauties in movie making. I'm thankful for a bunch of friends that has made this journey so enjoyable. Hope everyone involved enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

Read Day 4 here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm leaving my day job.

It is confirmed - I'm quitting my day job. My current contract actually ends in February, but I'll stay till April to make sure all my tasks have been passed on.
Ready to take off...

Had a conversation with my boss, for whom I am grateful. He gave me a chance to learn in his company & meet so many friends. He reminded me of the opportunity I'm leaving behind - involvement in a big project that will look good in my resume & job security for at least 2 years. He also allowed me the opportunity to share with him the frustrations I have with this job (will write about that next time).

The reason I'm leaving this job is because of HOPE & BELIEF. I hope the real world isn't filled with jobs that will drain the life out of every individual. And I believe that if the real world is what I have experienced in the past 2 years, that the real world is LIKE THAT, then I need to create a new reality, or at least represent what I believe reality should be like.

the sky's the limit

My family & friends have really motivated me towards this decision, especially with the arrival of my PC & my video camera. God has been really good to me as well, answering me exactly the way I asked for. It's awesome to know that I'm not alone in this journey of running with a God-given dream. I'm still planning out the things I want to do during my first few months of unemployment. One thing's for sure - I have a video camera and a powerful PC which I desire to fully utilise.

You'll see me doing a lot of that...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back To The Start

Really looking forward to the coming Saturday - friends coming over for a time of seeking the Creator, God. More & more people are picking it up, so it's really exciting...

Read about our previous gatherings here and here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 4

Day 4 was a Wednesday evening... Initially, these scenes were suppose to be taken on a Sunday afternoon, December 9th. Unfortunately Alina slept in (she forgot about the whole thing), hence the re-scheduling. She was very apologetic about it, and she promised to make it for the next one. With our weekends all taken, I had to use a weekday, and was pleased that both Alina & Jason made it.

So we met in church at 6.30pm. May bought food for everyone, so we decided to eat first, lest we get distracted by hunger. Again, the conversation was enjoyable, so much so I forgot that we were suppose to be shooting 4 scenes within an hour.

These 4 scenes are gists of an interview between Alina & this new young author, Tang Wei Ken, who have just written the book - Where There's Will, There's Wei - which is the title of our movie. These scenes serve mainly as guides to the story of Will & Wei, and to some they're like breathers in the movie. In fact, our movie starts off with Alina introducing the book & its author.

Jason & Alina had a lot of fun doing these scenes. We used the white screen as our backdrop, and since there was only 1 white screen(and 1 camera), we had to do every scene twice. Either of them memorized the script, so they had to keep on checking their lines. Alina was first up, so she made a lot of mistakes & Jason kept laughing at her (blooper video).

There's this likelihood that we won't use these scenes in our remake of the movie. Personally I would want to let the story speak for itself. Would love to put in more scenes, and that does not necessarily mean more dialogue...

Alina is one of our best actresses. But even though I always consider her in every project of mine, I only recall working with Alina once before. The title of the play was Retune, and it's demand was extremely good. We performed in 3 times, I think, one of it we did for 600 people, and they clapped after every scene. But that's another story... It was rather 'last-minute' when I smsed her & requested that she played the role, so I'm grateful that she accepted the job...

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Day 3

I've finally completed my post on Christmas... Feels a bit messy around here, because right now I'm going to write about something that happened 2 weeks before Christmas. And I plan the next post to be about the last weekend of the year... And then I'll continue to be writing about the movie... If you do get confused, just click on the labels at the sidebar. Oh, there're video links there too. Hope you'd enjoy and get a taste of the movie making process...

Day 3 didn't start off well for me. There was this scene which we were extremely excited about. It would be the perfect beginning to the story of Will & Wei. It would depict the young William & Wei Ken and how they faired in kindergarten - the beginning from their friendship. It was suppose to serve as a great indicator of their relationship.

But it was not to be, for us. One of the child actors backed off & refused to take part in the shooting. Furthermore, the noise in that place was not suitable for shooting at all - bad management on my part. It was really hard to chew. I remembered the time where the initial planning group actually talked about this scene & how their faces lit up... It was suppose to be awesome. I wonder if they would be as frustrated as I was if they had to face it head on.

For the next hour or so I was absolutely blank. Everything just stopped. I felt disappointed. I wanted to just go home & sleep, but I had to get myself together quickly - we had another scene to take & I was suppose to preach in youth service the very same day. I couldn't pick myself up in time, so I had to ask Jason to help me coordinate the shoot. He agreed to help without asking any questions, and that really comforted me. The scene was well done, thanks to Jason & the participation of the youth. I would then proceed later to preach about how life can be frustrating, and how easy it is to just throw in the towel & give up doing the things that are right, true, just, and necessary. I talked about how amazing it is, that in spite of all the pain, the passion of Jesus took Him to the cross & how that perseverance has given us so many good things. 2 of those things I was exceptionally thankful that day were HOPE & FAMILY.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Decisions, Decisions...

This week is quite crucial for me. My manager has placed pressure on me, & I have to decide on whether I'll be staying with the company beyond February or not. And oddly enough, my entire family is not with me right now. Brother is in Australia still, dad went to Phillipines & mom has gone to Kuching. I wish I can talk to them face-to-face. I've heard their opinions, but never really have I shared my dilemma with them.

It used to be easier. Day by day I would face more and more situations that were hard to bear. Work wasn't fun. But I've come to realise that no matter who I work with, there's certainly be conflict & contrasting opinions, so it's not about that anymore. It's not about hardship I've faced anymore, because I know following my dreams will be equally challenging. And it's definitely not about money, because I know that my Dream-Giver has my back.

It's about where He wants me to be, who He wants me to touch, and what He wants me to learn.

And so I've asked God to help me imagine my near future. I need to see myself - what I'll be doing & how I'll be using my time... If I can see it, then I can do it. I don't know if it's just me, but I see a lot of myself being without a full time job & doing free lance stuff... Movie making is one thing. Maybe more stuff on videos... There's plenty to explore in that area, and it's one of my strongest gifts. Another thing I love about not having a 9-5 job is the amount of time I can have to invest in people's lives.

Of course, keeping this job will assure income - Stability. But as innocent as it sounds, I believe that if God wants me to quit this job & go free lance, he'll meet my every need. Plus, I can get any job I want (i think), though I doubt I can find a job that pays as much as what I receive now. I have actually thought about it, and the worst job I can get is kindergarten teacher. God knows how bad I am with children.

People say that those who follow their dreams are brave people. Well I'm scared as a hungry mouse that has just been injected by some Australian lab student with some chemicals that cause its skin to illuminate - scared to stay hungry, scared to be eaten by the cat if I do venture out. I want it to be God's timing. I want to be doing what God wants me to do lah, simple as that. Could you pray with me please? Maybe we'll get an answer...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Day 2 Part 3

Third installment of the longest day in our shooting schedule.

This part is one of the longest scenes we have. It's a bit too long for me, but it could be just me. After all, it was quite late when we ended the shooting, & I spent a lot of time editting, so... Anyway, this scene is one of the most important scenes, as it conveys several things about our 2 main characters. Knowing that it might get draggy & long, I tried to put as many comic-relief moments as possible, but it didn't turn out the way I imagined it to be.

First, it showed the aftermath of Wei Ken's intervention in Will's trouble with the coffee shop boss - Did Will keep his job? Or did Wei Ken make matters worse? Secondly, we wanted to tell the audience the dreams and aspirations of the 2 childhood friends. And lastly, we lightly introduced the role of the leading lady of the story, Jean.

and I think Brian did quite a good job in doing that. What do you say?

In the script it was specifically stated "smile like an idiot". I recall the audience having a good laugh at this.

In spite of the long day & the time, we still managed to have fun and enjoy ourselves. All thanks to Brian & Jason. Check out the blooper and you'll know what I mean.

Read Day 2 Part 2 here.

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Day 2 Part 2

Second installment of the longest day in our shooting schedule.

After getting Brian & Jason wet (find out more here), we headed to Brian's house, where we'll shoot the coffee shop scenes. This part is actually a continuation of the singing scene, where Will does a lot of damage with his singing, and of course pisses off the boss.

I don't know if anyone noticed, but there's a glitch here. You see, Jean was suppose to be see in the previous scene, following her angry mom (the boss) into the kitchen. But because we shot that scene at a different location and on Day 3, Jean did not bring the clothes she wore for this scene, so she couldn't be involve. Did anyone who watched the show notice that? Hehe...

Anyway, here's how the story goes. The boss gets angry at Brian, rushes into the kitchen, where the other 2 colleagues (played by Caleb & Daniel) were resting. Jean tries to comfort her mom, as Brian pleas for a second chance. The next picture is suppose to depict 3 faces terrified by the boss' anger, but I think it doesn't do justice to their great acting. Sorry guys.

We wasted quite some time here. We actually shot the scene in Brian's house kitchen, but it was only until May and I saw a nicer spot in the dining room area did we decide to reshoot the scene. That spot was bigger, the background was nicer, & we could actually do a bird's eye view on the scene (you'll have to see the movie to catch that). Good thing the actors were cool with that. Now back to the story.

So Wei Ken comes in, & tries to be the hero - the right man in the right place at the right time. He tries to save Wei Ken's career. And as you can see, he went quite a great length to do so... Do you think he'll succeed?

See? The background colour nice right? The black & white effect was used in the movie. Click on the picture to see the blooper.

Read Day 2 Part 1 here.
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Day 2 Part 1

Day 2 of our shooting is the longest in our schedule. There were 2 breaks in between, for carolling practice as well as dinner... Then of course there's the travelling to do. So I was hoping that Part 1 would be done quickly and smoothly as possible, but it wasn't to be.

The first scene we shot was a break up scene. I wanted to do it at a playground, but the playground we went to was filled with mosquitoes. Joseph also mentioned that someone committed suicide there... Jason & Jean had to suffer a while before I decided to change location. It turned out to be a good decision. It wasn't a perfect location, but we got most things we desired.
Jason & Jean aren't a couple in real life, so it took them some time to adjust to the idea of holding hands. Jason found it hard to control himself (laughed a lot) while Jean was still feeling the effects of the stings... But we managed to pull through & let Brian & Joseph go off to their carolling practice. Jason, Jean & I headed up to the apartment where we would shoot several more scenes.

One of the most enjoyable things throughout the entire process is to be able to spend time with one another. At most we meet 3 times a week, & we hardly get to talk. And during those moments we took to rest, eat, & prepare props, we managed to catch up on each other's lives . It was refreshing & very precious indeed.

Another really cool thing about this movie making process is to have people working together. I LOVE THAT!! It's so cool to have different individuals make time, come together, & put effort into ONE CAUSE. It's just so awesome. Not 1 person had to do something alone. Everyone helped each other out. And that my friend, is UNITY.
Benjamin Teng only appears on 1 scene, and he took his part seriously. He even gave input on how the camera angle can be & all that... And the scene turned out quite well, thanks to him.

I have A LOT of people to thank. And I do remember. Your contributions are not forgotten.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Christmas Highlights

1. Having Dorcas & Deborah over for Christmas Sunday. Throughout the years I'm happy to form a bond with the 2 sisters. I don't know how much hassle the family has to go through taking care of them. The only problem I have in the short moments I have with them is that they're quite heavy despite of their size.

2. Deciding against staying at home & work on the movie, I had a good time ushering in Christmas with May and my big bunch of friends. This picture was taken at the rooftop of the Looi's residence. We were trying hard to fart and the bench was about to break.

3. Going to the Scully's for lunch. It's a must to eat Aunty Belle's cooking!! It was a simple meal but it was awesome!! Took a short clip of Sonia but somehow the footage was overwritten... Sad. so no picture here of the lovely Sonia Dawn Scully.

4. My family was extremely gung-ho that day... After such a filling meal at the Scully's and visiting 2 more houses, we went to the Young's for steamboat at 6pm!! Didn't take a lot there lah... But it was nice to be able to be with more people that day.

5. The picture you see above is the aftermath of the dinner at Joseph's place. Joe is enjoying his vodka + sparkling juice, Caleb is high on 100 plus, & Jason... is switching between drinking vodka + sparking juice & making sound with the bottle. Joseph was actually the first person to send an invitation on Christmas Day. My parents were too tired by then, so just May and I went.

The environment was so much different compared to the other Christmas parties I've been to. It was rather quiet. Apart from the Teng family, there was Jason, Caleb, May and myself. And it was so much fun. We could actually hear each other speak!! Aunty Jessie is always generous & the dining table was full of good stuff. There were several different kinds of cakes, as well as the Teng family pasta... hehe.