After I started my internship, I figure out that social relationship is really important for employment. I was firstly invited to work in SBS in a religious gathering just because I said I needed to find a job for graduation (Thanks GOD!). Then in SBS, a senior bring me to 3CW and start my DJ career in Melbourne. And now I am a DJ who has more than 12hours show time per week.
In July of 2012, my supervisor recommended me to work in a production house/ studio. This production house is established by a few of Hong Kong people(designers, publishers, DJs) and mainly organizing and producing some local charity event or competitions. And they also give me a lot of working opportunities outside the production house, for example photographer, videographer, event’s MC etc.
In Heat!Production I take responsibility in various working area, from document works to recording works(photos, video and audio), from backstage to MC, and also some post-production works. Although in Heat!Production we haven’t got some big events like a festivals or concerts, I still get a lot of working experience here. And I get chance to meet some celebrities and local politicians here.
I can’t imagine there are so many events in the Chinese community here in Melbourne. I have worked in the production house for only three months and I have already involved in around ten events. My boss told me we are still new in the Chinese community, later we will not do that many jobs but only select some special and important events to do. We are just now building up our reputation and accumulating experience. In fact, after working here for a few months, I discover that there are sort of formula of running an event. Even the MC’s scripts are so similar. Of course, we need to update and change every time to ensure we are improving ourselves.
Also, my boss here really takes care of me a lot. Last time Channel 31 has organized a video competition about promoting “Filial Piety”(the virtue of respecting elderly and parents) and my boss suggested me to join it. He supported me a lot and I finally got my first award in Melbourne.
To be honest, my works in SBS are kind of relaxed because of the pre-recording policy. But in 3CW, I get to on air for three hours every time. This is a good challenge and it can really improve my improvisation skills for my acting career.
In my Sunday afternoon show, I have got a phone-in segment that I will ask the audiences some question and send out gift if they get the right answer. To be honest, sometime the audience may give me a good answer but not the answer I get. They will try to argue and at this moment I need to think about how to console them and explain our rules to them.
I had once on air with a guest host who is one of our sponsors. Then turned out she has dominated the whole one-hour segment and I have barely said anything. Later my supervisor taught me that these sponsors always work like that. Just like we making movie, these sponsors always want the director only shooting their products for whole 90 minutes, and also in the radio industry. My supervisor gave me some advice that I should always notice with the guest hosts. They sometime might over-determine their product or discredit other brand during the show. As a host, we must pay attention and grasp the dominance but never offend our sponsors. Always mildly interrupt them if they are off the topic or saying sometime not suppose to appear in the show.
The art of talking is the most useful technique I learn from 3CW. I must keep telling myself not to bias and always saying the “fact” but not my opinion. As a Hong Kong people working in a Chinese invested media company, sometime I really want to talk about the issues of democracy or freedom of speech in China, but obviously I can’t. When I work with some seniors here, I learn how to ‘pick up the point’. We only talk about the “fact”, no critics and no personal opinion. We report the real incidents and let the audiences “think”.
Later when I get used to do three-hours show with my own, I discover that my speed of doing research become faster than ever before. One of the reasons is that I understand what news or information the audiences would love to hear, and also what’s my strength to talk with. The choice of topic is very important for a live show. Sometime if I talk too fast during the show than I must keep elaborate until the advertising time (around 3~5 minutes every 30minutes).
Although I feel like crazy that I always talk to myself and laugh with my own jokes for three hours, I actually learn a lot of things about Australia and knowledge on aspect area (economy, environment, employment etc.). And I have got a habit to save down some information which can be a good materials for script writing.
After two years living in the shadow I finally can find my first internship working in SBS radio station. This is a Cantonese youth program broadcasting twice per month.
The Youth program gives us 3 to 4 teenagers sit around and talk about the news in Australia. We usually have three segments:
1. Fun and strange news: we are required to do research on the internet to get some funny, strange or weird news from around the world and present in the show. It’s hard to find these news but later when I book marked different websites which I feel they are most updated, it became easier to do the research.
2. Short drama: this is my favorite part that gives me a chance of acting. This segment required us to write our own script approximately 5 to 6 minutes on a topic. In 2012 the aim of the short drama is teaching our audiences various slang in Cantonese and Mandarin and their difference, just like a radio language class.
3. News discussion: this part seems the easiest part because we are just chitchat around. But actually this required us have a good presentation skill, have a wide range of knowledge and take the initiative to talk more. We experienced once that we chose a topic and can’t even talk for 10minutes because we have no information or knowledge about it.
Although this is a teenagers program, we actually have limited content to discuss with. The first problem is that this is not only broadcasting in Melbourne but in whole Australia. If we put our focus on Melbourne but failed to bring the topic to whole Australia, some audiences in other state might get confused. Secondly, as we hosts are all come from Hong Kong, sometimes we really want to talk about some politics conflicts between Mainland China and Hong Kong, but we can’t do that deal to the neutral point of view in SBS. Last but not least, our target audience. In fact, although this is a “Youth Program”, our audiences are not really teenagers. According to the rating from SBS, most of our audiences are adults or elderly. So we must take this to our concern that we can’t discuss about some teenagers’ topic, for example high technologies or some popular culture only attract to the teenagers only.
In August of 2012, I got the chance to host another program “The Movie Time”. This is a program to introduce movies release in up coming month. Ah…I really love movie and enjoy introducing some good movie to the audiences. But sometimes it’s quite hard to do it because most of the movie I haven’t watched yet (hey, they don’t even ever release in other countries) so it is kind of hard to recommend other to watch these movies. And also I must keep remind myself I can’t leak out the content of the movies and I can’t only recommend the movies I like. For example I would love to talk about some festival movies but obviously they are not good for entertainment. Twlight?….I don’t want to, but I need to ‘recommend’ my audiences to watch it.
I think this is my favorite seminar. Because I am also now working in two different radio station hereL SBS and 3CW. When the beginning of the semester I was hesitated about which group to join. So now, I won’t miss this seminar.
Lauren Brain did give us an advice if we want to get into the radio industry, we must first get our experience up from, for example regional radio station, and then keep going up where we want to go. Personally I was first working in a 20 mins youth program in SBS. Then after a month I met a DJ from 3CW and asked me to join them. This a how the networking help our career I think.
I am happy to listen their suggestion that how we practice our broadcasting skills and interviewing techniques. Me personally did ever try some of these exercise before, for example reading news, a vocabulary book of the magic words in an interview and how to dig into the interviewee’s heart to bring out an emotional moment.
In fact I met MAY HU before because we also work in the SBS radio. But she is in the Mandarin group and I am in the Cantonese group(both Chinese but totally different). In this multicultural city, our voice are necessary. There are so many difference ethnic communities here in Melbourne and Australia.
Overall I like this seminar but there are some problems really need to improve. First, I think it is a great idea to invite a band having live performance. But I prefer to take more time on focusing the interview with the guests because I saw the guests would like to share more experience. As a audience, I appreciate the live music. Just don’t consume the interview time. May be they can play music in the beginning or when we are waiting for the seminar ( if the band can come earlier ).
Contribution and collaboration
This group project for Media Industries 2 might the largest group we have ever had in these three years. We thirteen people have worked with each other for two months. From the start of our project, we more focus on work distribution and hoped all of us could take responsibility.
In term of my individual contribution to the project as a whole, O worked in the video production. From the trailer making, shooting in the event and the post-production after the event. I admit that there was some communication problem in our group. But still I find my groupmates are really helpful when we started the shooting and they are all happy with my work.
I think one of the highlights for me in this course was taking a leading role when it came to video producing and publishing the promotional videos for our seminar. Look back to the three years I study in RMIT, I didn’t take the initiative to be a director because I prefer to stand behind the camera. But this time I get the freedom to write the script and directing the promotion video. Although this is just a small work, I am really happy my groupmates trust me and let me do anything I like. Something happened was the theme of zombie. I had no idea when did it become our theme in this semester so our groups got different ideas of “should we put it into our trailer”. Seriously, that’s kind of trouble to put the concept of Inception and zombie into a minutes long trailer. It can be , but that might distract the focus point of the video. And thankfully I got support from my group and finished the video in a very short time.
Participation, this is hard to say did I involve much or not. I haven’t attended all the meetings and was help finding guest. But I still attended the event itself and other seminars to observe what they have done and what they might be missing. And I also take all the media post-production jobs with Benjamin because we understood that we might not help a lot in the pre-production. I tried my hard to reply all the post on facebook to give out some advice or write down some cheerful words as I knew I couldn’t help.
Connections & intersections
The seminar series give me a great opportunity to learn more from the process of researching, finding guests, organizing and documenting. As I am also working in a production house organizing events, I found that we have totally different way to do stuff. The production house I am working has already build up a good network and reputation the Chinese community in Melbourne so we never worry about find guest or sponsor but just follow the same “formula” to organize an event. But in this seminar, it gave me a chance to step back and work from the basic.
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“Take any empty space and call it a bare stage”. Peter Brook, THE EMPTY SPACE (1968).
Before I came to Australia for my Bachelor Degree of Media, I was working as a freelance actor for a year. However, my parents always think this is a dead end industry and I will have no way to stay on the stage for my whole life.
After I have come to Australia, I study Media and majored in film-TV. At the same time I am working in two radio stations, SBS and 3CW(running by a Chinese media company), and also a Production House organizing events in Melbourne. Some of friends say that I am already a multi-media person. However, for me, only the theatre can fulfill my need and satisfy my soul.
In the Personal Network Report I forbidden the option of interview some radio host/ DJs who are my boss or colleague but picking up the theatre industry. Since the first day I started playing drama with my friends, my fellows, my comrades, we said “I LIVE FOR DRAMA”. And up till now, at this moment, this is still the motto. It doesn’t matter where I am or how old I am, and I still hope that I can be an actor for my life.
Hong Kong is often referred to as a cultural desert. Is this real? In fact, Hong Kong is a metropolis blended of Chinese and Western culture. A tiny city like Hong Kong, inhabited by people of different races with a multicultural society, should be an ideal place of culture exchange. However, the truth is, after Hong Kong was handed over back to China in 1997, the society has focused more on the development of commercial economy and the cultural industries have came down to a secondary product.
And now the cultural life has become the main activities belonged to the middle and lower classes. If film, television, radio, publishing, online media and even theatrical arts want to find living spaces in this cultural desert, the intellectuals can only rely on their own creativity and perseverance to struggle and survive.
For the theatrical arts, it is even more difficult to survive. Depending on the kind of performance, it takes at least two to three months and around fifteen to twenty crewmembers, including actors and backstage, for a performance on stage. And also depends on the type of performance. Unfortunately, compared to other cultural activities, even more factors are restricting the development of stage performance.
1. Date: stage performances regularly can perform from 4 to 6 shows. Only the large groups can afford to pay for more than 10 shows.
2. Venue: Unlike others broadcasting media, stage performances have a venues limitation. Normally, a troupe will not change the venue for one play because of setting and lighting issues. From technical run though to the end of the last show, a troupe will stick to the same location. However, performance venues in Hong Kong are kind of rare. The government manages most of the venues and only a small number of venues are operated by private groups, and most of them are much more expensive than public theatres.
3. Attendance: A movie can be played in various cinemas. TV shows freely broadcast in the family television. Online media have no restrictions on visitors. However, stage performances do not have these advantages. Live involvement is the only way the audiences can 100%feel the magic of the stage, especially the interaction between audiences and performers. Even if we record the show and publish as a DVD, the audience and the stage are still separated.
For example, a medium-sized performance venue can accommodate up to an audience of 200 people. If a play can perform for four shows, that means only 800 of the public can enjoy the play.
So, if the theatrical industry has so many restrictions, why do so many people still want to join in?
Personally, I would love to say, the reason we choose to stay in the theatre is the art of “once”. I am studying a Media degree and majored in cinema study. Before I came to Australia I had worked in a TV Channel and also some film productions. But I can only feel satisfy with stage performance. Especially in acting, when I played a role in a short film, sometime I just act to the camera and repeat for ten times and finally only get one shot in the film(sometime the director will cut out the whole scene in the post-production). But in the theatre, I work with the crews and actors in order to do the rehearsal or production meeting with the designers for two months. Still, we enjoy the whole process and build up a great relationship. This cohesion can never be felt from other work.
When we are acting in a short film, we can take another take if we get mistake, or take another shot and the director will make it perfect in the post-production. But on the stage, we feel stress, we know that we can’t get any mistakes, even we did, and then we must do some improvisation to cover it. Is it a benefit? I would say yes. This is the joy of acting on stage. I have ever playing a role in a play that I needed to shoot another role. He supposed to be dead. However, when the moment the sound effect came out, he was too concentrate on protecting his friend and missed the sound cue. I role supposed to be dead still standing on the stage. And that’s the joy of stage performance and it is the moment to text our skill of improvisation.
As I mentioned before, theatrical art is a “once” performance. Although we always put the best thing on the stage, we can never act exactly the same performance twice. There is always unexpected moment on the stage. For the actors, sometime we will forget the lines or skip the lines or sometime make up some news lines all suddenly; and out of the stage, the audiences are always affecting us. When they laugh, we can exert more energy on the acting; when they cry, we can act more emotionally. So each shows are always different. And that’s the reason I keep asking my friends come to see all my shows…if they can afford the tickets.
Although I major in Film-TV production and work in two radio station, if I get the chance to let choose my future career, stage performance is always my first choice. I can never get the satisfaction from finish a short film or a radio show.
In Hong Kong, we haven’t got any big theatre like Broadway. You can never just act for one role like a year. If you want to survive in this desert, you need to find as more way as you can.
Carmen Yuen is one of the best examples. She is an arena worker wearing so many hats. She participates in theatre, movies, writing lyrics and master of ceremonies. Although stage performance failed to generate steady income for her, but her enthusiasm to join the theatrical art has never reduced.
To be honest, it can barely enough to live on just rely on acting and I believe it happen in every countries all around the world. And as a creature with abnormally developed acting DNA, we want more than only acting on the stage. For us, every single platform can be our stage. School tour is the only platform to let us perform the same play throughout the year and really get a good paid.
These school tour majorly organize by government or private company to demonstrate specific information to the students, for example safety knowledge, health education or anti-smoking. This is a way of education bring the students out of the classroom and provide them some knowledge they feel boring or not interested in though drama. This type of school tour can be performed more than 100 shows a year.
Carmen has ever participated in a school tour about financial planning to help the students realize the importance of financial management. Carmen admits that this type of school tour is not only give her money, but also gives her extra-knowledge she has never learnt before.
- “Sometime we can find these performances contain a large number of intellectual, and these knowledge are not found in normal script…they are useful, but no one would like to see it in a stage performance. After this show, I feel myself become half of a financial expert.”
In fact, this is another benefit we can find in acting. Sometimes we learn the knowledge and theory that can hardly find in our day-to-day life. And as a professional actress, Carmen will even spend her private time on doing research or access relevant information about the content. This information also helps in acting and these might help us to understanding our role.
Beside of the school tour, events are another great job opportunity. It can be a conference, a holiday family activity or a Halloween event. Such performances involve with a greater sense of space and interaction. Performers rarely have a script for it but only rely on their day-to-day training and improvisational ability. Carmen says that she will never forget a mall performance about supporting gay marriage.
“At that time I was playing a role of an anti-gay supporter who was hiding among the audiences. And I need to stood up suddenly and shouted some anti-gay slogan. All the audiences were shocked at the moment but then some people started to use foul language cursing us. Luckily, they finally realized that I was an actress after I stepped on the stage.”
Carmen admits that these type of jobs are sometime risky but she is somehow enjoying with the interactive and insecurity. Just like we work in a haunted attraction, it is so fun to see the visitors scream and scare but there are always some people lost their mind and almost hurt us.
At the end of the interview, I asked Carmen how should we survive in this industry, then she only give me one suggestion.
“Don’t get into it.”
Carmen confesses that she has more than one time wanted to leave the theatre, mainly because of her family. She always wants to give them more and more but she can’t. However, she can’t leave. She’d rather take more jobs or work outside the industry. There so many friends earn a lot of money, but Carmen has never give up her career on the stage and determines to stay here with enthusiasm.
The only thing actors always afraid are no one find them to work. Normal people will recognize they loss their jobs by receiving a termination letter. But for actors, the moment when they recognize they have lost their career could be in the afternoon of a sunny day. Might be they are having fun or eating their lunch, and suddenly, they recognize that…no one find them.
There are some hints here I really learn from Carmen:
- 1. Mutli-development. An actor can never continue walking in the old steps and seclude oneself. Stage can be existed in everywhere but not only in the theatre. Try to have an open mind and accept all the working opportunity.
2. Working opportunity. Pay attention to every chance to perform because you will never know which show will make you famous.
3. Interpersonal relationship. Social relationship is the most important part for actors. Because there is always a lot of opportunity to perform out there and the only thing is that you must take the initiative to ask and pay attention for any chance.
The Open Door
“It is a philosophy of paradoxes: We come to the theatre to find life, but that life must be different from the life we find outside. Actors have to prepare painstakingly yet be willing to sacrifice the results of their preparation. The director’s most reliable tool may be his capacity to be bored.” Peter Brook, The Open Door: thought of Acting and Theatre (1995)
For stage performance, we often say that “originates from life, but higher than life”. Our world is changing everyday, we must observe and explore our world. The art creativity is not come from nothing, but always relate to people. I have ever played a role and here is a dialogue of him:
“No one like fact, people only get interested with amended fact”
Yes, art is always inseparable from life and never deviated from life. To draw the attention from public, we must first know our audience. In the film industry, we will divide the commercial film and art film. As well as the stage, the most profitable performance is definitely the commercial/ entertainment drama.
Jim Chim Sui-man, a Hong Kong based staged actor and comedian. He has broke the Hong Kong theatre box-office by his stand-up show Man of la Tiger, which has performed for 128 shows and got 90,000 attendances. He then established PIP Group Organization in 2008. Apart from creative and performing achievements, Jim also devoted himself to art training from children’s art classes, adult professional and personal development course. The courses aim to allow participants to experience the joy and stimulate their creativity through a variety of game-type exercises.
Many Hong Kong drama critics criticize Jim’s deviant and his commercialized performance. Yet, Jim is still the most popular artist in Hong Kong. Jim believes that art can be a business. If commercial operation can save the creative industry, then there are no ways to ignore this great opportunity. Jim admits that he is a theatre businessman and this is the reason he can find the way to survive in Hong Kong.
Jim thinks that the young stage workers in Hong Kong or around the world have the same problem: the attitude. These new generation are lack of distinctive voices. They always scoff the TV, pop media and pop culture but in fact the stage creation require getting close to the audience and art must be integrated into the civil society. Jim has once only got a few thousand viewers but now he has hundreds of millions of audience for reference and let him to assess what actually the public need.
In addition to the youth, Jim also suggests the Hong Kong Government should open their mind. The success of an industry development is relied on the cooperation and support of government. In Hong Kong, te government go fairly slow than other countries. Jim made up his mind to step out from the government funding into a company model is because he does not want to follow the pace of the Hong Kong government. In around ten years before, Jim held a performance in a factory building and get fine of HK$100,000. The government officer charged Jim arbitrarily changed the property usage to performing purpose. And now, the government finally comes out to encourage art groups to use the factory.
Theatre without border
We always say that music has no national boundaries. In fact, the stage also does. Many people think that to appreciate a theatrical art, language is necessary. The truth is, action is the most primitive way to communicate. For example, mime, dance and installation art can creak this diaphragm.
I-Dance Festival is one of the few dance festival in Hong Kong. Victor is the founder of this festival and also the art director of Y-Space.
“We need a dance festival in Hong Kong.”
For Victor, dance is everything to him. The reason he establishes I-Dance Festival is that he hopes to create a platform for dancers from all around the world to have a cooperation and exchange opportunity. ‘I’ means ‘Independence’, ‘International’, “Me”, “Love”(in Mandarin), “Improvisation”. In this festival, Victor invites artists from different countries, Taiwan, Beijing, Shanghai, France, German, Netherland, New York, Japan and Australia.
Victors believes that there are no limitations on stage. The aim of I-Dance Festival is bringing different culture into Hong Kong, and they bring the cultures back to their countries. There was an oversea theatre operation director asked Victor, “how can you gather so many artists come to the festival?” In fact, the success of I-Dance Festival has walk though a lot of hardships and great effort.
The first I-Dance Festival was held in 2004 and that was a 2 days event with 6 dancers. But then in the following year, Y-Space has got no money support and the I-Dance project has been set aside for 5 years. Until 2009, which was the year I work in Y-Space, Victor decided to register Y-Space into a limited company and accepted funding from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. And it was the third I-Dance Festival for 1 month with more than 40 independence artists (dancers, musicians, installation artists, painters and actors) in 2011.
“They(artists) are my wealth. What I earn from the festival are relationships, friendships, reputation and audiences.”
There are so many talented artists in the world and they are too special that can’t fit in the mainstream culture. But I-Dance Festival successfully build up a platform for them to show off their talent. Unlike Jim, Victor will share are the profit from the festival with the artists. He enjoys dancing and he wants to share with more people. Money is never the first priority in Victor’s dictionary.
When I was working in Y-Space in 2009, I did have a conversation with Victor. He asked me why would I like being actor. I told him because I loved to be someone else. Human only live once and we can’t control the real world. But in a drama, I can experience more than I do in the real world.
Victor is not only a dancer, and he also graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. So he knows a lot about acting. The year I work for them he really taught me a lot. As a teenager, he gave me some advice. And I always remember what he said, “never perform for your own self Know your audience, they are the one we act for.” Society sometimes norms art, but art should be unlimited, use art to break norms. It is necessary to release the thinking, to break the culture and bring art to audience.
We can’t blame the audiences why they appreciate the commercial performance. They have freedom to do so. The competition can not only rely on the financial assistance, but also the reality, which is the catalyst of arts. Try to push out creativity and meet the public need.
Brook, Peter. 1972. The Empty Space, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972
Brook, Peter. 1995. The Open Door: Thoughts On Acting and Theatre, Theatre Communications Group,
Interview with Victor MA Choi-wo through E-mail from 29th Sep to 10th Oct
Interview with Carmen YUEN through online phone call on 4th Oct
Interview with Jim CHIM Shui-man through E-mail from 4th Oct to 16th Oct
And now ‘ 28 minutes later’ was our third seminar in the Media industries 2 course. This seminar dug behind the scenes of the Australian television industry with the aspects of content, script writing, directing skills and cooperation etc.
Personally, I love their name of the seminar. First of all, I like the zombie series of 28 Days After and 28 Weeks After. Secondly, the name is really match with the theme of zombie in this semester. Third, it also relevant to the Australia television industry , which 28 minutes is kind of the shortest length of a TV program. Fourthly, it makes me think about the surviving of the tv industry.
Also, their trailer is so simple but fun. And the way they looping the video feed while we audiences are waiting for the start of the seminar. When they made the trailer they have already decided to make a long take of the zombie walking around in front of the screen. It showed that they have a really good plan beforehand and know what to do in the pre-production.
I think this seminar is fantastic. The one thing I really impressed was that they did the interview one by one but not having all three guests up onto the stage at the same time. It provided us a deeper insight of each guest without interrupt by the others.
The three guests are really interesting and when they shared about their experience about writing script were very useful for me. We need to think what we want to see on television and how the central idea important. And we must review our work after we get the feedback. Why the audiences laugh with it? Why they like it or why they don’t like it.
Overall I am really love this seminar and the people who dress up like a zombie to attend the seminar.
As being the first of the seminars, I think Filmenstein has done a very good job. Filmenstein focused on fictional film production in Australia and brought out many aspects of fiction movie in Australia: pre-production, financing, script writing, shooting and editing.
The host, Alex Switzky, has successfully warm up the whole atmosphere of the seminar and organized a list of questions. From the interaction between Alex and the guests, I can see that he has done a very good job on the research before the seminar.
The overall flow of the seminar was good, from pre-production to filming to post-production. And we can see those three guests: Sue Edwards, Glendyn Ivin and Don Linke have a great interaction with each other even they are playing different role in a production. The existence of Sue here in the seminar is quite important I think. Because she always pointed out the information from the view of marketing as Glendyn and Don were focusing on giving us advice of creativity, editing and how is the importance of actually getting along with the writer and the director.
The Filmenstein group has a great management on timing during the seminar. The information and answer from the guests are informative and insightful in the fictional film production. As the first one to go is always the hard job but this group has already invited some relevant guests and upload a interesting trailer for their seminar within a few weeks.
Overall I am very enjoy the seminar but something really need to improve is that in the second half of the seminar the guest are rush on time and only touched on the most important advice for us. Especially for the post production part, it is obviously kind of shorter than the other part. But still, this seminar gave us some great insights.
Finally it’s the last semester our uni life(officially). And in this PP2 course we are going to make a advertising seris for the Burnet Institue. Last year in the PP1 course we have already been told some details of this medical research company including their working scope of work and their aim of work.
In the beginning of this semester, we have been asked to write our own idea for “shortest form”. When the moment I recognized that Burnet Institute also have their own research institute in Asia, I was thinking to bring up the new genre in Asia which is called “ Mirco- film” or “ Mirco- drama”. However there are some problems of this type of genre. Firstly, although this film genre mix the advantages of half drama and half advertising, in fact, the part of advertising/ propaganda only take up a few part. Which means the publicity effect is weak then a normal ads. Secondly, the story is the main part of the “mirco-drama”. A successful mirco-drama is more likely a kind of short film with a hidden idea of propaganda. To create a completed story, it means we need to take more time on the preparation. It might be a good idea if we only get one group to make only production. But in the “Shortest form”, we have 4 – 5 groups of shooting. That’s the reason I have finally abandoned the idea of mirco-drama.
Then finally we came up with five groups of production, which included one documentary and 4 ads. And my role in these productions are mainly as a DOP and cinematographer.
1.Documentary- Peter Yak Tavono
This might be the longest video we need to be done in “shortest form”. We have already interview a few researchers in Burnet Institute with a green screen. Based on the testing clip we have done before, the effects of green screen shooting really make me feel exciting. Also when the days we visit Burnet Institute, we can shoot some useful B-roll for cut away in this documentary and also let us know more about the location. At the same time, the interviews really give us a lot of ideas what Burnet actually do.
In the day we go outside shooting with the drug bus, we take more great footages of Burnet Institute actually working and get interaction with the public (too much indoor shots if we haven’t got this opportunity to follow them). Although we can’t film the public because of the privacy, we still have a very useful interview with the staff and some footages of their work.
Before we arrive Footscray, our crew have been splitted into two team. One is Paddy who got on the drug bus and interviewed with the Burnet’s staff during the journey to Footscray. And the other team is me who took footages from outside of the drug bus. I have taken around three long takes in the journey. So during the post-production, we can have both choices of jump cut around or make a time lapse with those footages.
And something interesting was that I found a syringe near a broken window when I was taking B-roll around the location. I thought that should be a exciting dramatic symbol in the documentary so I took some footages with it. But then when I tried to doing an adjustment of how it placed there to make a better composition (I think), Paul reminded me I shouldn’t do that in a documentary. Yup! That’s right, I was totally influenced the reality. That’s not a good way to make a documentary.
2 Under the Microscope – Michael Serratore
This group of production looks simple but actually I feel this is a hard work to make it perfect. From the script it looks like just a video with a few monologue with the actors acting in front of the camera, but actually the transition between scene to scene is very hard to make it looks smooth and good.
Basically, there are two method to make this transition effect: the first one is moving the camera to the same direction in the end of previous footage and the next footage. So after the editing it will look like the camera is keep moving toward one way and change to a new location. The second one make the transition with props/ or similar objects, Like a white laboratory coat or an equipment in the laboratory.
When the day we did the shooting test, Master Hashim showed his great skill of using the jib arm. This really made the transition much more perfect and smoother than only using a dolly.
Clip from movie Lord of War- Bullet cam
This is a video clip from the beginning of movie Lord of War. Which has a great transition from scene to scene by following a small bullet since it has been produced to it hits on a kid holding a gun. But this video has applied the use of computer graphic and obviously it requires more technical skills then we can imagine.
3. Paint Ball – Eli Mak
Compare with the other two video I contribute in, Eli’s Paint Ball is my favorite one. Because this is short, funny, but still can visualize what Burnet Institute is doing.
Paint Ball – test
After I watched the rough cut from Eli, I can see that the post-production is kind of more important in this production. And the “action scene” will be the part I need to spend time on.