Monday, October 15, 2012

KL48HFP: Behind the Scenes of Bihun

When I first heard of the KL 48 Hour Film Project, I was like, "fuck, where do I get a camera?"

I did not have a crew, no equipment, nothing. I was just a lone corporate figure sitting in his boxers at home, drinking soy milk.

Then I met Fareeq, whom I have lost contact with 10 years ago. Apparently, he just bought a 5D Mark II. I was like, "Cool! You wanna join KL48HFP?"


And then, "Do you have a mic?" And he was like, "No. But I got LED lights."

"Ah, we'll figure that one out later."

Having access to a camera and a DOP, I went around looking for a producer. So I called Roy up.

"Dude, you wanna produce this short film for KL48HFP?"


So I had a team. I began doing pre-promotion on my FB page, and Satpal Kaler stepped up, volunteering to do whatever.

I was looking for a female actress, otherwise it would be just four dicks with a camera - the set-up of a very good gay porn.

So I met Linda Hew and she could edit and act. Meanwhile, I was afraid of horror, so I got Sani to do the makeup.

"Cool!" This was looking more like Bowfinger and I was happy.

I began writing stories for the KL48HFP, as well as planning a rehearsal short. Roy said to me, "Dude, this is the first time we're doing this, so tak best la, kalau prepare. Kita redah je la, baru adventure."

And I was thinking, I already had experience writing for film, so I might as well take this opportunity to learn other things and step away from writing duties. So I kept all my stories, and cancelled the rehearsal short.

So there was the meet and greet, and then the kick-off where we drew the genre Drama.

That night, we discussed the script and we did not plan any shoot. The discussion went on and on, though, and by 5am, I had to pretty much chase everyone out of the house and we agreed to meet tomorrow at Fareeq's place at 10.30am.

Roy slept at my place and we arrived at 10.30am in Kepong, but it was around 1pm, after lunch, before we went up to the apartment.

Since we did not scout or recce the location, we ended up discovering that the kitchen was too small. We discussed for a while on whether we should shoot the kitchen scenes at my place and 'tampal' it with scenes from Fareeq's house.

I was like, "Fuck this shit, let's just shoot the damn thing already."

Half of our equipment was held up in Langkawi, along with our lead actor. So Satpal, who wanted to do anything we want him to do, became the lead.

Since we had no audio equipment, we went and used Satpal's DIY boom mice - basically an H1 fixed on a PVC or a broomstick.

It was as guerilla as we could do it.

The original plan was to shoot only using Fareeq's sole prime lens and also make full use of his GoPro cameras. This was soon scrapped because we decided to just go and do whatever and use whichever lens which would not require us to reset too much every single shot.

Six and a half of a fun-filled afternoon later, we wrapped up shoot. Then, it was offline, when Linda noticed something wrong.

The footage from the 5D was not behaving very well. We thought a few conversions would do the trick and went to sleep.

The next day, we finally listened to the audio properly - before this, we simply checked that the thing was recording. Disaster! The audio was horrible, so we spent most of Sunday trying to fix it, which made it even worse.

We were still fixing the audio when I said, "Fuck it. Let's just send the bloody thing." I blew only one deadline in my life and that cost me RM78,000 in lost opportunities.

So we sent it in, warts and distortions and pasted audio shit and all. I was hoping that the story would still be entertaining and that audiences could still enjoy it despite the technical bullshit. We crammed in as much wanking subtext as we could in 5 minutes. Every shot was a wank, with an entire dissertation behind the explanation and justification and whatever the fuck.

However, seeing it in the cinema on Saturday enhanced all mistakes and flaws, also making it very clear how fucked up the audio was. It distracted attention away from the story and story - along with the actors' performance - was what the film was banking on. Well, at least people just went "WTF!" and didn't come out of the cinema angry, like they did when they watched some of my other movies.

Oh well. Next time we do this, I will definitely pay more attention to the technical aspects of things.

Roy is organising a get-together later next week so we could fix the audio properly before it is uploaded.

I got a lot of shit to do, but have already got Fareeq to agree to shoot my next short film. Slappy pappy wank wank! - That's not the title, but it sounds interesting.

I honestly don't know how it will turn out, but I hope it will be as fun as this one.