An Interview with
|Lim Xin Hua||Wardrobe Assistant|
|Jacklyn Teo May Fang||Wardrobe Assistant|
|Vivien Tan Hui Yuen||Production Assistant|
|Jasz Liong Boon Jie||Handy|
|Lee Yi Qi||Production Assistant|
|Ong Zui Jian||Production Assistant|
|Cheang Yee Theng||Production Assistant|
|Chin Chee Bin||Production Assistant|
|Fong Jia Yuan||Production Assistant|
|Tan Wei Hoong||Handy|
Lone Ranger needs Tonto, Batman has Robin as sidekick, and Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam in the Lord of Rings. Indeed, isolated force won’t get one too far ahead. And sincerity, from ancient to modern times, holds the key in successful alliance & collaboration. Similarly, in movie production, a team of highly cooperative and devoted production crew & cast are crucial to successful filmmaking. Here we have Dasein Academy of Art Mass Communication student interns to talk about their experience as production crew members for the movie ‘Ah Beng: Mission Impossible’.
A: Dasein Interns
Q: How did you join the production?
A: Chance and serendipity! Coincidently, it’s during the semester break and hence we signed up for it. Initially, we just gave it a shot out of curiosity with the learning for fun kinda attitude. However, having gone through the three-month production, we understand what it takes to achieve what seemed unattainable. It’s a bittersweet experience indeed – from not knowing to knowing the details inside out. What is more encouraging is that two of our teammates were acknowledged as The Best Intern during the wrap-up party!
Q: That’s great to know! In the production, what are your roles and responsibilities?
A: We’re divided into three groups. The producer group consists of executive producer, producer, financial administrators, handy, and logistical support personnel. Primarily the assistants are responsible for arranging the shooting schedule of work, coordinate directly with the executive producer, and communicate with the director, staff & cast. Besides, they need to come up with the shooting schedule based on the conditions of the weather and shooting locations to ensure the filming progress was carried out according to the timeline.
As for the director’s group, there’re director, assistant director and log keeper. Basically the assistants are the liaison or coordinator between the director and assistant director. They need to take care of their meals, agenda, and schedule, anything and everything down to the details. Wardrobe is under the same department of design, costume and make-up. The assistants prepared and provided the costumes to the cast according to the scenes while coordinating with the backdrop, costume and makeup crew.
Overall it’s a good experience. During the production, even though we’re assigned to different groups, we covered each other’s back and picked up the pieces together. And a smile can get you out of a tough situation.
Q: Very well said. Can you talk about other interesting experiences?
A: From preproduction to production, it’s a constant learning process. While working in the director’s group, having a good memory is essential. During the second day of the production, we were nagged due to the wrong meal was bought for the director. Being director’s personal assistant, on the other hand, has to be a mind-reader and fast learner to react to his facial expression and the situation accordingly. As for wardrobe department, we had to keep the errors as minimal as possible while taking care of every single detail, say, before or after the filming took place, the costumes need to be in good condition. While in the production group, sometimes we stood in or contributed as one of the extras. In fact, the dramatic incidents never ceased to happen. One of us dozed off and hit a car at the traffic jam while driving sponsor’s car in the rain. Gratefully, the production company helped to take care of the compensation. Having spent time with the production crew for months, they’re like family. When we need help, they’re there for us.
Q: Having gone through the ups and downs during the production, would you look forward to being part of the same production or something different?
A: Everyone has his or her own ways of doing things and getting along with people. Effective communication can only be attained through mutual understanding. Though we’re dead tired after a long day of work in the production, we kept our spirit high and alive the next day. If opportunities knock on the door, we would like to gain exposure in different industries or gaining experience in another production house. It doesn’t feel good to get reprimanded but if we look at it from another perspective, it helped us to grow and learn even if it’s through the hard way.
One night, motorcyclists were bumming around the premise as they got back to the studio. They grabbed everything and anything they could reach including umbrellas, knives and wooden club anxiously, like being surrounded by the zombies bashing into an abandoned mall in The Walking Dead series. Dangerous and dramatic as it may sound, the unexpected twist and turn in the production though crazy but they didn’t quit. After all, like movie script, the characters and plots akin to a sitcom or comedy are in place. It’s the matter of writing the ending and making it nothing but an unusual and fruitful chapter in their life.
Behind-the-scene footage of ‘Ah Beng: Mission Impossible’
Uncountable effort and preparation needed for just a single scene in the movie.
Students get to witness and learn from the shooting in different situations that arouse different emotions – touching, magnificent, excitement, merry and etc.
Originally published in StArt#05, newsletter of Dasein Academy of Art