Category Archives: Director’s Notes

The Thank You-s, Debriefs and Loopholes

Its come down to this. Jim’s all out of ideas..or is he just not thinking about the ones that he knows he should be?

He’s gotten all the help and pushes he needs, and now he finds himself literally standing at the door. So.. what does he do now?

The Reason Why

Ultimately, more often than not, we tend to look for reasons for the things we didn’t do, for things we never did. But when the time comes to look back, more often than not, those reasons were just excuses for ourselves not being able to step up to a chance we did ACTUALLY have, a chance we always wanted and has finally come…

 

It seems that Jim’s just made a big round from day 1. He’s found himself back at square one, but why? Like the waiter said, maybe we just let things get in the way. Many times, when our heart isn’t anchored on a resolve, a purpose, a reason.. we easily get swept away by doubts, questions and the smallest of worries.

The Waiter reminds Jim of having courage. He reminds him that, usually, some of us need that bridge to cross over – from refusing to know because we fear we’re not enough, and hide behind our excuses… to stepping up and taking hold of a resolve.

Sometimes, all we need is courage to get to that reason. That’s why taking a leap of faith is called a leap, not a hop.

The Thank You-s, Debriefs and Loopholes

 

And with a warm but heavy heart, we’ve come to the conclusion of our first ever web series. And if you’ve been reading till now, I want to say thank you so much. We had no expectations of what the response would be like for something as risky as taking on a web series project. And you guys blew our minds.

Now down to some serious stuff. As a home-grown team, I can only do my part to show our own country and (hopefully) the rest of the world what we independent, small time, amateur, YouTubers are capable of. The rest? Is up to you guys. How far we go from this, is how much we get support. And the support we get is simple – its that share button of yours. If you could help us just spread this around, it would do the team, the channel and the videos, wonders. And that’s all we can ask of you! 🙂

As for the rest… You should know I love leaving blanks in my story writing. And you can be sure I’ll be doing a commentary on these loopholes. I just hope you’ve been watching closely.

Whether or not you recognize her

 

Or remember these…

 

Its really interesting to see people having their own theories and comments already about these small things. And hey, I’m gonna enjoy those too until I’ll give my side of the story 😉 So forgive the lack of explanations… for now.

 

Here’s to what’s to come! 🙂 Thank you everyone for staying with us this far!

Thank You God for seeing us through!

I used to be a “you”

 

By far, this episode was probably the most challenging to write. The penultimate episode of the web series which had to tie up most of what’s happening before, and what’s going to happen – both seen and unseen by you, the audience… for now.

It was also challenging because this episode had the most loopholes and missing gaps to fill in. Up until I managed to sit down with Nick during the time when I was getting the cast members selected, and we just talked about life. It was during those talk sessions we had over coffee and during the recording sessions – when I managed to fill in the gap of Episode 5.

 

“You Didn’t Do Anything”

 

Even the best intentions should be questioned sometimes. Lee’s done what he thought he had to do. He protected his friend, right? And now he’s faced with Sarah just wanting to be alone.

Most of us have the best intentions, with the wrong methods, most of the time. But that’s not really what matters. We’re all humans, we do that a lot – they’re called mistakes. Its what we do AFTER that, that defines the kind of person we are.

 

Lee’s come face to face with his past. A feeling he never wanted to remember, a person that reminded him of himself – who he never wanted to face again. And all that created was not the passion to protect a friend, but rather the hate and disgust of what he used to be. And maybe, he’s just realised that, because he’s been too used and too comfortable to who he is.

Every now and then, the only thing that makes us check ourselves – where we are, who we are – is the pain of a person. Be it our own or someone else’s. But making a move about it? That’s the scary part… and it’s also the part that matters.

 

What This Meant To Me, Personally

 

This episode was a joy to create with the team. A joy to write, score and act out. Its a character interaction that I find is very rare, almost too rare, in shorts nowadays. A whole episode about things that nobody wants to deal with. About just a couple of guys being real.. with themselves and each other. Its a tone and vibe that I personally, just wanted to make. Because I loved it, because I wanted to and I was able to. I’m not saying that the web series isn’t an expression of what I wanna create, but I must say that this episode was one that I was looking forward to share for more than a dozen reasons.

 

But this is the kinda thing I wanna strive for in this scene. There’s too much of sappiness and shallow hype going around that we’re all too used to. Episode 5 was THE risk for me in this web series. And it has also become one of my personal achievements. We had Nick lend us his amazing acting talent. We had an amazing venue. And last but not least, we had nothing short of an amazing crew to create the visuals that we took. I can only thank these guys so much before they start throwing things at me, but that’s how much I appreciate them making this happen.

 

Well, here’s to 5 episodes. Phew! We made it this far. Just onnn.. wait, I hope you’ve watched the later part of this video. Have you? :p

Really knowing someone

So, what’s the deal with Lee?

Basically, Lee is Sarah’s good friend. He’s in the same classes as her but he’s never really taken much notice or more care than he has to about her social life in school. Well, until now that is. All of a sudden, some new guy has got her attention and its not really the kinda guy Lee expected it to be. What does he do? Well.. now we know.

 

“Guys will be guys”

I quite liked writing that phrase into this episode because it sums up so much of what many of us do – guys and girls alike. I believe most of us, or at least more than I would like to believe, do things with the best intentions in heart. Although, its not often that most of us sit down to figure out whether those ‘best intentions’are actually only for ourselves.

 

There’s not really a mild way to dumb down the word “hypocrisy” but, I’ll try calling it self-deceit… or maybe just ‘fooling yourself’. Like Lee with the excuse of ‘doing things for a good cause’, sometimes we take fooling ourselves a step further. We place our own darkness on others.

“Every fight comes from the fight within” – The War Inside, Switchfoot

Many times, our way out from our darker side is to put that blame on other people. Why? Just so it doesn’t seem like we’re the one at fault.

 

 

If on the inside, we’re at peace with a certain issue, it shouldn’t bug us even if it happens on the outside. But when we aren’t, no matter how we try to hide it, it’s gonna show in what we do towards other people. The insecure project their insecurities onto others. The jealous blame others for their jealousy. Its an unhealthy circle that starts and ends with the demons we face within.

And that’s what Lee faces this episode. He has the best reasons, the best excuses and hey.. he’s even in the best position to do so. Plus that surprising coincidence when they saw May together with Jim, what chance does Jim have on getting out of this?

 

Yeah, sometimes even the most unfortunate things fall beautifully into place beautifully. Things have worked out amazingly well for Lee’s plan.

 

But the question now stands, what’s next?

What benefit has he brought in the end?

 

… guess you’ll just have to tune in next week to find out :p

“How do you know if a guy likes you?”

I actually have so much I personally enjoyed putting into this episode, I’m gonna try and take it point by point. Here we go.

 

Meet Sarah

So in this episode, which is relatively longer than the last two (we hope you’ve noticed that!), we finally give a whole introduction to Sarah – that girl we’ve been hiding since the teaser.

So as the story goes, Sarah’s the one who asked Jim to help her out with some school work. As much as I’ve approached the story from a guy’s point of view, I thought it would be good to throw in another perspective – a girl’s.

 

Screen shot 2013-05-20 at 5.27.38 PM

 

The story, as it goes now, portrays Sarah finally meeting up with Jim for, well, math. Sarah’s done something out of the ordinary. She’s asked a guy out, or actually started doing so in her own way. It’s so out of the ordinary, her best Lee (played by Nick) is having trouble trying to figure it out as well.

Sarah’s done her homework (Metaphorically speaking. She still needs help to do her literal homework), she’s made her move and now she’s at that place wondering the same thing Jim is “what’s he thinking?”. For Sarah, she takes it one step further, “how do you know what the other side is thinking?”. It’s pretty interesting, isn’t it. How we humans seek to always worry about something, when there’s nothing else to worry about.

 

I think its safe to say that we all can find comfort in that one fact – the other side is usually always thinking the same thing. Or they’re pretty much as worried as we are. So just maybe, we don’t have to be too nervous about worrying what the other one is thinking of us. Most of the time, everyone’s worried about how they’re doing themselves. Solution? Do what you gotta do at that moment in time – what’s needed to be done. And the rest? Well.. we’ll get to that soon enough.

 

 

Vanes in Dreambitious’ “Surprise”!

 

Sarah’s character is played by Vanes, a very sweet girl and (crazy) friend which I had the chance to meet during the Berjaya Youth Film Festival 2012 that I submitted “The Last Part” for. If you’d like to, she’s actually done more videos with a channel called Dreambitious so do check them out! 🙂 They’ve put out quite a few videos already and they’re pretty good stuff!

 

“Yes, I Am A Guy”

I grew up reading all kinds of manga (Japanese comics, for those who don’t know what that means) that featured the lead character’s father as some sorta crazy, whacky and somewhat hopeless person. And well, along those lines, meet Sarah’s Dad.

 

Sarah's Dad. Played by Colin Kirton

Sarah’s Dad. Played by Colin Kirton

 

He’s the kinda dad that doesn’t really know how to go about explaining to his kid why girls do this or guys do that, explaining relationships, love or explaining anything at all… and he kinda has moments when he talks to his late wife.

…Yeah. I wouldn’t really call him the most normal person either, but when he needs to be, he proves himself worthy of having the title “Dad”.

 

When it comes to matters of the heart, our actions speak louder than words.

I’ve always been a firm believer in this. That no matter how much we hide it, what we do is always true to what things are really like deep within us. We can’t run too far from what makes us who we are. Most of the time, we find out what people are really like by what they do, not by what they talk about. And I feel, that’s something we all should watch out for. Regardless of circumstance. It’s a piece of advice that has served me very well, and I thought that it would be something worth sharing too.

Colin was very gracious enough to be a part of this project. He’s a theatre actor and leads a group called the Footstool Players. I was very blessed to be a part of his crew for a while. I learned tonnes watching his team act and most of what I’ve been able to see in their work, I’ve put into my videos. Do drop by his page and send him some love!

 

 

And… there’s Lee. But I think I’ll save him for next time. Haha.

Thanks for reading this far, if you’re still there! 🙂

“Girls Like Those Kinda Things”

That’s pretty much the kinda things that Jim’s trying to figure out in this episode, with Shawn’s help of course. He’s in the usual, help me please, tell me what to do, kinda situation. There’s no running from the meeting now and hey, maybe a few last minute pointers from someone who (seems) to know what he’s doing might help.

 

That one friend, and you.

Many times, things kinda start off by trying to guess what we’re expected to be like or what we’re expecting the other person to be like too. Most of those times, we gotta get a second opinion. Hey, its totally normal.

We usually have that one friend who potentially makes everything better… or worse.. or both at the same time. Sure, its great to have someone guide you along the way. But when it gets to a point where you feel deep inside your gut, something doesn’t seem to right, what do you do?

And its with all these expectations, we get distracted from what we were really supposed to do – just make sure you’re there. YOU are there. As just yourself, and that’s probably the best preparation you can make. Most of us don’t have a random waiter hitting us back into focus, but its something we should remember.

Nobody can be a better you, than you.

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The Web Series Begins!

 

 

Why? This is why.

There’s only been a total of 2 short stories on our channel. “Alone, Forever” and “The Last Part”. So we thought we’d bring back Jim in this web series, and tell one more of his stories. In particular, one that has a touch of… wonder.

 

This story starts off with Jim trying to figure out what to do. Its the first time a girl has talked to him, what more give her number to him. Usually, things like that don’t happen to him… at all. Add on the fact that its the same girl he’s really had his heart for, for quite some time now, the chances for this are mathematically impossible. So does he call her or not? Does it mean what he wants it to mean? Or should he just condemn himself to a fate he’s used to all along and not realise something he’s NOT used to has just happened?

 

Jim deals with a situation most of us always tell ourselves..

“when the time comes, we’ll know what to do” or “hey, when it happens, it’ll happen”.

But when the time DOES come and what it DOES happen, honestly? Most of us don’t feel up to it. We don’t believe in it, or maybe don’t even realise it has happened. We tend to find SOME reason to put down ourselves instead of rising up to the challenge and seizing what we’ve been hoping for all along.

 

Jim doesn’t deal with not knowing what to do. Instead he deals with the lack of courage to do it. It’s not that pushing a few buttons takes a high IQ and genius intellect to carry out, but it does take a huge heart taking hold of what has been a wish or hope for a long time. That’s the reason why, he does what he does. Now will he have the courage to change that? Or not?

 

Get the drift of the web series’ title and theme yet?

Well, you have 5 more episodes to :p

Oh yeah, and there’s a disappearing guy with a broom too. Just sayin’.

Hope you enjoyed the video guys! Share it around please! It’s a first of its kind for us and we’re excited about it! 🙂

“More Than…” by Skyward – Our first ever MV

Life’s been really hectic for quite a while, and this post has been long long long overdue. But before the webseries’ release next week, I knew I needed to put this out.

As part of a bigger initiative I set out to fulfill by creating the webseries project, one thing I had in mind was to create an original, accompanying soundtrack as well. I’ve always wanted to put out some original music but never knew what to start with, or where to start. I guess, with this webseries, I had the perfect reason to start with SOMETHING.

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One of the scenes from the webseries that Nick’s character, Lee, is in.

When Nick came on board as one of the actors for the webseries, I had just lost a means to record the music and sounds for the webseries. I was planning to wing it on my own. Knowing Nick had some knowledge and experience in recording and mixing music, I asked him if he could help me out by teaching me how to record some simple acoustic tracks more.. properly. Before I knew it, he generously offered to record, mix and produce the music of what you’ve just heard in the video above.

So here’s a big thanks to you Nick! And The Factory Music Studio for allowing us to record there!

WHAT THE SONG IS ABOUT

Here’s when we get a bit more personal for a bit. I hope you don’t mind that, but I’ll try to explain it as simple as I can.

Most of us claim ourselves to be hopeless romantics. Some, more than others. And other’s not as much. But I believe within us all, there is that one desire to find that one person – who will just be absolutely, or for a more pop-description, perfectly – perfect for us.

“More Than…” stems from the discovery of that person. When we actually do meet him or her, we find that most of our expectations are blown out the window. Past hurts and scars make total sense and maybe we even understand why we had to go through what we did.

We find ourselves face to face with something we never knew we wanted, but more than what we actually need. And because of that, we wanna be more than what we are for that person – to be more than we believe we’re made to be.

I believe that’s what a significant other should do. Spur you on to be better in all aspects, to grow to be more than the person you believe you are. And accepting that hey, maybe we all deserve a little more than we’ve under-credited ourselves to have.

And that’s pretty much what the song is about. Acknowledging the past, learning and moving from that for a better present and making way for a better future… relationship-wise of course.

Never thought I’d start out Skyward‘s music with a love-type song but hey, where the wind blows I go. Haha!

Before I go, I just wanna give a shout out to INTI International College Subang Campus as well. Dr. Dominic and Claudine, you’ve been the best. Thank you for being so gracious and believing in what we do. For allowing us to use your campus. Thank you.

At one of our recent gigs.
Photo Credits to VinceLoh Production

AND thank you to EVERYONE who made such a great response to the song.

To those who ACTUALLY sang along when we performed it live, I cannot begin to explain to you how overwhelmed I felt on stage. Its gonna be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

So stay tuned guys! We’ll be seeing you real soon!

Webseries premieres this Monday!

Updates on http://www.facebook.com/themingthingTV

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The Webseries – “This Is Why”

 

Ever since we released it and maybe even before, I’ve always had a liking for the story of Jim. Or in the least, his character because I strongly relate to it as well. After “Alone, Forever?”, I felt that it could be taken further than that. And that’s what I set out to do for the coming months on end.

 

Alone Forever

 

This upcoming webseries “This Is Why” is a story that I’ve written, rewritten and revised countless times. Because every month, I would get a new perspective on one of the characters or maybe an addition to the story. Finally, this year I managed to get the right team involved as well as time and energy to get to work on it.

The webseries stands for more than just its story (which you will soon see), its also Bryan and my own efforts to create a project completely “homegrown”. What we mean by that is there are no sponsorships, no corporate companies involved. From the cast, to the locations to even the music and the script.

This project is just us, going from door to door, asking for permission to shoot, talking to friends and people who are passionate about what they do. Using whatever we already have and our own savings to create something we honestly love.

The outcome?

Well, you’ll see :p

Hope you enjoy the video! 🙂

Alone, Forever? – defining ‘The Escape’

Note: Prior to this, I wrote a bit about how comments have been going around regarding the similarities between WongFu’s video “Strangers Again”. You can read it here. Hopefully that clears some things up with the issue.

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This year for Valentine’s Day, Bryan and I were thinking about making a video for the occassion.. which ended up as a video not really for the occasion, but more or less in association with the #foreveralone-ing that was going on. And here it is:

I have a few things to mention in this post, INCLUDING something that quite a number of people have been requesting for. So that’ll be a surprise at the end. But bear with me, this will be pretty long. But there IS something for you guys at the end (if you would like it)
 

WongFu Influence

If there is anything that I can say in response to all the commenting and discussions in the comments on youtube.. and the comparison to “Strangers, Again”, I would say this.

If anything at all, this short could be considered as a tribute to WongFu and how they have inspired me. And all in all, if comparisons have to be drawn, I am absolutely privileged for this video to be recognized as something along the lines of their work.. be it a parody, “copy” or what not. I assure you, the script is entirely original and not based off anything they did.

Before I get to anything else, I would like to talk about something that i realized many people were forum-ing about on the video’s comments. And it so happens to be important as well.

 

“Stage 6: The Escape”

In the essence of story-telling, the video only portrays a certain way that this might happen. It doesn’t need to be with a different girl or guy, it could be with the same. It is not a sure thing, but it is a do-able thing. It doesn’t mean you give up, it could mean you can keep trying until you succeed. You don’t have to believe it, but you can as well.

The Escape represents hope.

The whole deal of Stage 6 is the mere fact that, “hey, there IS hope”. As long as you don’t give up to what you know is true and right, as long as you stand your ground staying true to yourself, there WILL be a person who is doing the exact same thing and waiting for you to come along into his/her life as well. That was the purpose behind this stage. Well, my purpose at least. I’m sure everyone has a different story to tell, both good and bad. But this is how I would like to tell mine.
 

Gratitude.

We were so fortunate to have people lend us their spaces to shoot and play around. We owe these guys so much.

Mr. MD Khan. The shop owner of Korean Collections in Tropicana City Mall was just the most pleasant man ever. He even asked us “Do you want to use some nice clothes hangers to shoot?”… which resulted in me leaving behind the ones i brought. A week later when I went back to ask for his name for reference and the hangers, he offered to give me a new one in place of mine. Thank you so much sir! Remember to check his shop out when you go there!

We managed to pop by MyBytes as well when YauHui told us that Jonathan YKT would be working. We went there, the boss allowed us to shoot and wallah! Jon’s standing in on behalf of his camera shy boss. Thanks so much man!

This is Mr. Chandler. What really topped the cake of the shoot was the people at Baci at Citta Mall. Marianne worked there prior to this and they were so open and willing to give us a place to shoot the restaurant/cafe scenes. I tried to be cheeky and asked whether we could have the place after hours and all he said was “Yeah go ahead, why not?”. I am so grateful to you Mr. Chandler.

Thank you SO SO much.

 

Cast and Crew.

 

First off, there’s the videographer for the short: Bryan. He’s the lone pilot behind the camera. (Of course, not forgetting YauHui who tagged along. Thank you so much for staying the whole day!) I’ve worked on a couple of simpler videos before with Bryan so I’m no new fan or friend to him and his work. He picks up the smallest details and just brings a fresh perspective into the shots. Many of the scenes were entirely due to him and him alone trying different angles, different takes. For this short, I expressed to him with utmost importance that certain scenes need to be strong in their perspectives and dynamics/statics. And just like that, he translated it perfectly. We worked on such a limited, tight and rushed schedule and yet he brought the video through. Thank you so much Bryan. Everyone reading this – stop by his page, facebook, twitter and just shake him warmly by the virtual hand. He takes awesome photos as well!
 

If you guys remember Sam from the last video, well, he’s back again. Initially there was another scene that he would be playing another role in, unfortunately we couldn’t get it done due to unforeseen circumstances. Right now, he’s getting involved with loads of things around town (not like he wasn’t already, its just been multiplied). Keep an eye out for all of that! He plays the waiter in this video and I am truly grateful for him being there in the middle of the night for just an hour. Thanks so much Sam!
 
 

And without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce to you Marianne – who (if you didn’t actually know already) played the part of both girls in the video (more about that later). Long story short, we had major issues deciding who was going to play the role of the girl in this video and Marianne literally dropped out of the sky. Everything fell into place so amazingly fast, it was freakishly perfect. This was probably the first short we actually practiced our parts and ran through the scenes before shooting the next day, and hey it paid off. It has been a total joy working with you Anne! By the way, she’s a brilliant artist too. Go check out some of her work, it’ll knock your socks off.

 
I’ve saved this last part for a good reason. It’s because its something that I am exceptionally proud of in this short.
 

Soundtracking & Music

Meet Edwin T.

Edwin and I sat down for 8 straight hours and worked our brains, hearts and souls off putting together the soundtrack for this short. Okay, he sat down. I paced up and down the room and occasionally pressed keys on the keyboard. Other than the first few seconds of the short that featured Christina Perri’s “1000 Years” and a short rendition of it at the back, everything in the middle was original and composed especially for this short. Edwin is a music machine monster. He’s the mastermind behind the music and really, it wouldn’t be in existence if it wasn’t for him. The second he touched the keys on that keyboard, I knew this was going to be great. And hey, we have a present for all you guys.

We had many requests for the music used, and people were asking where we got it from. Well, now we’ve put it up and made it available for download. We are really glad that so many of you like it and we thought that we’d give it to you guys.
 

Tying loose ends up.

There are quite a few things that I wrote into this script that I’d want people to find out for themselves. Some are obvious memes, puns and what not. Although, I will mention one of it here. If you have or haven’t noticed, Marianne and I both played double roles. Marianne – as both the lead girl character and geeky girl at the end. And me – as the douche as well as Jim. There is some significance in that.. and I’ll leave you with that to ponder upon. /troll.

But all in all, I’m glad to see that everyone has their own take on it, both good and bad, because maybe it strikes a chord somewhere in people. And I am grateful for the people who have left such positive, encouraging comments. Some who even shared their own story.

Ultimately, cut me some slack people. This is the first short I’ve ever written.

I’ve got tonnes to learn and tonnes of mistakes to make.

Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement thus far. From the bottom of my heart. I am utterly grateful for everyone one of you.

ming out

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