Friday, June 17, 2011

Wedding Galore

Recently two close people in my life just tied the knot. My beloved aunt and beloved cousin. You had no idea how busy it was. I got to say, I was so, so tired I was quite thankful my Sunday appointments were cancelled. Here me out.

On the 10th I was back home late because I was partying - don't judge me. Give me some credit for being the party boy for once and not asking the cab driver to give me discount on its fare. I got home to a messy room. You have no idea my definition of messy. I can't stand any form of mess. Everything has to be in order before I sleep. The Capella paper bags, my shoes (I'm that picky for a person who doesn't have many shoes), and my jeans were lying around. What's more, I had a week's worth of laundry that was yet to be done so there's no more space for dirty laundry, and no more good stuffs to wear. After all those cleaning up, it's almost dawn and I had like what, two hours sleep?

Two hours later I was woken up to help out with the solemnization ceremony. It's so humid! Heat is one thing, humidity is totally the other. One thing about Malay wedding, which we will discuss if we have the time, it's all in the family. Malay weddings are like family business that definitely doesn't account for the annual $40 billion gross in wedding events industry. Because there's no tax imposed to account for these expenses...

Anyway, the first place I visited that morning was the mosque. It's so ironic. So, so ironic. The night before I was at Zouk clubbing away and the next morning I'm somewhere holy and sanctified. I wouldn't say it's a totally bad thing to do but it's just ironic.

First stop: my cousin's solemnization ceremony, 8am. It went smoothly and comfortable enough because the 21st century mosque is equipped with A/C unit and a lush carpet. They say it's good that solemnization ceremony is held at holy places like in this case the mosque because you're going through a sacred process in a sacred place. Alternatively, you can solemnize at home - which what most Malay Muslim couples do.

I helped out carrying the dowry gifts since I live a stone's throw away from the mosque. Even so I took the car because it seems more convenient.

After the wedding, we had breakfast at the wedding reception venue. Of course, the reception was not open yet until afternoon.

Second stop: my aunt's solemnization ceremony, 11am. It went smoothly as well. If only it would be at the same mosque, we wouldn't have to roam around! This time it was held at the multi-purpose hall. Amazing venue to have their solemnization ceremony there as well because it's big. Especially there were quite a number of golden aged people who were wheelchair bound, it's very considerate of them to have it there. Knowing Malay families, we would invite the entire country if we could because to most Malays, celebration and joy should be shared. Especially weddings.

What amazes me was the couple's Minangkabau style outfit that was made from songket! You people have no idea how thick and ithcy songket is without lining and how it tortures on a hot day. Which is why we always joked among ourselves to be glamorous with songket only on first day of Eid and don't even care about dressing up after that! But you see, because songket has connotation to wealth and status in the traditional Malay society long time ago which is why songket remains a prevalent choice of fabric till date and doesn't come cheap. Some people don't wear them but hang them in a frame instead.

After both solemnization ceremony, I really thank God it did not happen simultaneously otherwise I would need my Time-Turner to be at two places at once. See, because they are my close relatives, it's impossible to miss one and not offend the other.

It was already afternoon and weather is a little gloomy. It was raining but it's so hard to predict if it's gonna rain heavily or not. There's this belief that rain is a form of blessing.

Drove over to Sentosa Island to continue my ScreenSingapore escapade. I'm kidding! I was there to fetch Sham and Lance because I invited them to my cousin's wedding reception. They have been such a doll that week I thought it would be great if they could come and join the occasion. I was bummed that Sham was not able to make it because she has got a lot of work to do so I brought Lance. I understand S was very busy! When we were there, he asked if he can take photographs. Only Sham and I would understand.*Wink*

Sent him back after that and came back to my cousin's wedding reception. Mingled and catch up with my relatives whom we finally got to meet after so long. The wedded couple were looking great. Great to know my cousin was not dolled up like a tranny. Unfortunate things happen to some, I am so sorry.

The performances were great and wholesome must I say but I don't know whose kids were they, but they really got to behave or tied up onto the coconut tree.. I wouldn't mind kids playing but it's my taboo to be playing right in front of the wedding dais while the event was on. It just irks me really. Whatever happen to respect? To your host, and culture? It's no wonder back in the old days people would say stuffs like the dais spirit would haunt you if you do not respect and play around that area because even people in the 21st century seem uncivilized. Shame on you. Would you unleash your child and let them play near the podium while someone important is giving his speech? My late grandmother once told me a story about one of her friends who disrespected the wedding dais. Now I'm looking back into some people's life who disrespected or upsets couples on their wedding day. There is so many living example who must not be named.

After the reception, it was already night and we (my relatives, family and I) went to SIN for supper at McDonald's. It was a perfect coincidence because that night was the night Lance will be taking off for Zurich. After supper, while they were busy talking I excused myself to meet Sham and Lance for his departure.

That day was an overstretching day for me because that night I slept early, and woke up mid-afternoon. I had my dreamless deep sleep.

Here's a just for laughs. Uhuh, it happened real life. A young baby nephew got an iPad for his birthday.
"Daddy, I don't want to listen to 'Insyallah' (by Maher Zain), I want to listen to shuffle." Pfft.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ScreenSingapore: Filmmakers and Sales Agents

Throughout the days in ScreenSingapore, I managed to attend some of the 'In Conversation' series and workshops organized in ScreenSingapore. These fringe events really help a lot of people in the film industry world. I personally feel that filming industry is a niche market of entertainment industry. Filming probably comprises the majority market alongside with the music industry because the music industry reaches to both consumers and film makers who needs music for their films. I don't know, let me make a disclaimer here. All these that I have are just thoughts and opinion, nothing ever factual so I don't really have any trouble of you disagreeing with me.

In one of the talks that I went (honestly I don't remember which talk was this from because there were too many and it didn't occur in my mind to share it) here are some pointers that I managed to get. The one in bold is what was said that I heard in the talk. Things were really fast and I only have two fingers to type them down in my BlackBerry. If only I know how to write shorthand...

"Small sales agent company has lesser films to market."
Small sales agencies company definitely have small  number of films or rather small budget films to market because for one thing they are a small company. Naturally you would think taking your cheap film to a big sales agency would help. Just like this analogy: would you send your child to some school with low education investment(s) or low budget education when you expect your child to be a high paying lawyer or doctor? Of course not. However, the upside of getting a small sales agency may mean they have their resources targeted on those films they have. Which means their energy and efforts are concentrated on that several films they have. Back to the the 'child' analogy, because the intake would be low for that small school, they might as well concentrate their energy on their less than a handful students. Think ratio.

Sending your low budget/new movie to a big agency may be a grave mistake for your movie. One of the reasons would be you'll be paying probably more than your film production budget for marketing, and you're competing for their input with other bigger movies. It's like sending your child to an independent school, to compete with the big guys whom your child can't even beat.

In a nutshell, big or small, it does not equate to their potential to sell your film, but rather one has to choose an agency depending on their budget, storyline and casting. Getting a big sales agency does not mean your film is going to sell that well.

"Nationality of agents doesn't matter."
One must not see nationality of an agency as a hindrance when it comes to choosing a sales agency. It does not mean that the foreign company is not gonna sell your movie because of nationalism.

The sales agency will have to see the message of the story, usually something that carries a universal message. Which is probably why Titanic and Avatar remains as one of the highest grossing film. In case you don't realize, there's always 'love' involved in most of the highest grossing film. Hint: probably the most universal message.

One living example is the award winning Japanese film Departure. This film is purely Japanese. From is director, to its cast and yet managed to gross out USD$61,010,217 as of 2009, in Japan. That does not include sales from the other parts of the world! Better yet, It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Oscars in 2009. Their sales agency comes from the other side of the world: Britain.

"Some films are hard to sell while some are easy."
Naturally, films with a good cast, or a good storyline are easier to sell. A slow story like Eat, Pray, Love or The Tourist would sell with actresses like Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie but would it sell if it is acted just by your pretty neighbor next door? People would still watch if they had read Eat, Pray, Love, but I personally wouldn't watch The Tourist if it had not been for Angelina Jolie.

Good storyline like Avatar or the Harry Potter series didn't have a popular casts (or that's what I thought at first for Harry Potter), in my honest opinion. Throw me eggs for all you want, but I don't know who the hell who these casts were until I watched the film. Besides, these movies are backed by dedicated producers, great effects, and demand. So in fact, most of them turn into stars because of the movie and not vice-versa. Seriously, would you know Daniel Radcliffe or Rupert Grint if it had not been for Harry Potter?

"Resources are finite."
The trouble sales agent might face are probably time and of course money. Both are vital to market the film in my opinion. They have got to pick the right time to market, and make sure they have the money they needed by the time they launch the product.

Since time is limited, sales agencies have got to ask themselves what is the proportion they are willing to give on each movie that they are going to sell because you can't concentrate all your resources on one film and abandon the others. There has got to be a balance where you put them.

Sales agent usually have a mixture of films that they hold on to. Some are good, and of course some are not. Where good films are concerned, it's clear that they may sell like hotcakes which means the input may be less compared to what they will be getting out of the film. On the other hand, extra resources may need to be pumped to movies that are not so popular but probably good enough to make sure they get some money out of it too.

What I mean by poor movies here doesn't mean they have a poor storyline. Sales agents got to make some money from the well to do films to market the poor films to the community - that has morality or universal message to bring to the world.

This is all I have for now. As I said, this is more of an opinion, observations and not facts that probably need to be backed by some data. Read with caution, thanks!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Golden Experience:

For the past one week, Capella Singapore has been my second home and I made a new adopted family stood by people from different background. People like Wai Yi, Sham and Lance has enlightened my life amidst that busy week. Wai Yi is like my godmother, Sham is like my godsister, Lance is like my godbrother. Since the cold morning of the first day at ScreenSingapore, till the last red carpet I went, they never fail to make me look forward to each day, and not wanting this to end so soon.

Yeah right! So much for wanting not to end so quick. I've been dying throughout the week walking around trying to find worthy pictures, finding interesting stuffs, and survey the resort. That's right people, Capella Singapore is the official hotel for ScreenSingapore and that's where the media center is located: right at the heart of Sentosa Island. Being the heat intolerant I am, I spend most of the time indoors and emptying as many bottles of water as I could while snapping away.

So here's some things about Capella Singapore you might want to know.
1. Capella luxury resort is an extension of two old bungalows named Tanah Merah, where the lobby is.
2. You don't have to walk around the estate by foot. This is one of the best hotels that says your foot is not meant for walking. There is a 24/7 buggy service upon request.
3. It's almost impossible to get a mobile reception there. Don't blame on Capella Singapore, blame your service provider.
4. They have a 24/7 free WiFi service at The Club and the estate. Don't fret about internet connection. It is so reliable.
5. Parking is not cheap. Duh, but they have a shuttle service.
6. Capella Singapore has extraordinary art pieces lying around the estate. Not for grabs.
7. As luxurious as they are, they embrace wild animals by allowing peacocks to roam around. Many would have fenced them away.
8. Bang and Olufsen, and Bose is only a basic feature of the room and facility. There's more to casa de luxury.
9. Their muffins are to die for. Hard and crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.

That somehow wraps up my experience in one of the most luxurious hotel in Singapore - Capella Singapore. That explains why I love hanging around there so much because on a normal day, I could imagine that place being so serene. Just don't look too far because the downside of having a sea view is that you will see an industrial island across and tonnes of ship in between. Totally unsightly.

I was walking to the ballroom to attend the Opening Gala Party and I saw a board that has the event title on it. I thought it was high quality printing they produced and thought how much they had spend on those high quality printing. As an Events and Project Management graduate, expensive signboards and basic non-ad posters are the last thing you want to spend your money on - won't deny it is still essential for direction. I was surprised to know that Sony LCD was used because you wouldn't have any idea that that thing that you see was digital and not printed. It looked so real! Anyway, Sony is the sponsor for those LCDs that you see.

All these while I'd brag to my friends that I take the BMW to school every single day but they had no idea until I said that's an acronym for (B)us, (M)RT and (W)alk. One of the most amazing experiences I had in ScreenSingapore was to hop on to the official automobile of ScreenSingapore, the BMW. That was my first time in BMW. It feels different. Having ridden on several luxury cars, nothing compares to BMW 7-series. There was this one time I went to the BMW World Asia in 2010 at Marina Bay Sands and I was gobsmacked by the amount of energy and research that they put into their production. Today, I felt blessed being given the opportunity to get the real BMW experience. They say, nothing works and feels better than trying on it yourself.

Here's some fast facts about BMW that I found out from one of the drivers and some from personal research.
1. The blue and white color you see in the logo is of the Bavarian flag. Which brings you to the second fact.
2. BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works)
3. BMW is pronounce as bee-am-vee in Germany. Beemer is one of the many slangs that I'm still used to.
4. The common model series they have are 1, 3, 5, 7. Series does matter when it comes to class comparison.
5. BMW does celebrate April's Fool. Every year they come up with funny and intelligent April's Fool advert.

I kind of look forward to own a car. I am so fickle about this. Every time I walk in luxury hotels, or even furniture stores, I've always imagine of having my own home and fantasize the things that I could do like cooking, sleep on my water bed, watch television from my very own state of the art TV, and even hosting - something that I'd really love to do. Now that I've ridden on a SGD$300,000 car, I feel like owning a car now and gosh, imagine all the places I could go with it.

The movie premiers were held at different places namely Golden Village (Vivo City), Cathay Cineplexes (The Cathay), and Shaw Theaters (Lido). In one of the talks that I went, one of the speakers mentioned about giving a wholesome experience to viewers where quality should not be compromised. He's saying this in light of the causes of increasing piracy. He was talking about service, and technology and I thought he was right. I mean these days I's prefer digital format as compared to the normal one. I'd rather watch something that is crystal clear than any movie that has noise and frequent black dots appearing out of the blue. It's pretty distracting and for the same price, why not go for the one that is more pleasant for the eyes. Touche?

On my last day, I went to the VIP hospitality lounge and the make up room. It didn't occur in my mind to go there despite having the access to all areas until the organizer from the make up room came over to fetch the plate of croissant and chocolate muffins for the make up artist. While helping her out, she told me that Jason Spevack will be there. I had no idea who he was because honestly, most of the time I am oblivious of the actors and actresses name and just associate them with the cast name they are known for

Anyway, I just hanged around the make up room to see who is this Jason Spevack. Probably a haughty American actor bossing around what he wants, despite being a minor. The door bell rang and to my astonishment, I remember where I saw him before. He was one of the supporting characters in Ramona and Beezus led by Selena Gomez!

He is personally adorable, cute, and of course, white. This Canadian actor checks his BlackBerry occasionally probably for new BBMs and let the hairstylist do their job. Even when they asked royally what kind of hairstyle he wants, he's casual about it. After his hairdo and make up, I had the time to interview him before any one else from the media. He was really nice.

Throughout my journey through ScreenSingapore, I've met a lot of nice delegates, whom most might have thought them of as aggressive, not-so-nice, bossy and arrogant. In fact, they are one of the nicest (and yet important) people in the entertainment and filming industry that you will see and no, not only because they have name and pride to uphold. You can just feel the genuinity. They are not like 'some' local celebrities or producers who pays for entourage more than what they get.

It was an honor to talk to one of Greg Coote's daughter. She's so pretty! Greg Coote was one of the financiers of Avatar and was awarded the A.M (Member of the Order of Australia) for his services to the film industry and the community. Of course, there were many others like Jon Landau (one of the producers of Titanic and Avatar) and local producers like Kelving Tong, and familiar faces from Men's Fashion Week like Dr. Frank Cintamani.

If you ask me if ScreenSingapore rocks? I betcha!

"ScreenSingapore will debut as an international cinema event offering policy makers, industry buyers, sellers, producers and creative talent from all over the world a platform to exchange ideas, business opportunities and showcase their product. Leveraging on the growing interest in Asian content, the very strong theatrical marketplace and Singapore's position as a globally connected regional gateway, ScreenSingapore will reinforce Singapore's position as the global media capital."
(Adapted from:

Stay tuned because ScreenSingapore will be back in June 2012.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ScreenSingapore + Cosplay = Party!

I thought I wouldn't have to write to you until the last day of ScreenSingapore. It seems like the second day was as surprising as the first. I did not regret pulling myself out of my possesive bed, go down and get a warm shower and relax those tense muscles I got from walking, standing and typing too much.

I reached the media centre on time, early enough to get breakfast and some others are busy cutting up snippets that has ScreenSingapore mentioned. Newspaper publishers would be richer for at least the next one week getting the extra cents from people who has interest in ScreenSingapore I bet?

Since morning to mid-afternoon I concentrated all my energy on blogging about this, uploading photographs which is not yet published until reviewed because I wouldn't want any controversies to happen! Speaking of which, I apologise for the mistake I made in ScreenSingapore Facebook page. I totally overlooked the elaborated programme sheet that was entrusted to me. There must be other mistake that I might make each day! How could this be!?

At about 3pm, Aya Omasa was at Capella Singapore for her latest movie press conference. She talked about one of her latest movies Paradise Kiss that was adapted from a comic book written by Ai Yazawa. Apart from elaborating her role in this drama romance movie which was produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, she also talked about her fashion and her casting members. She is such a doll that I wish to keep. Paradise Kiss premiered last night on the 6th of June at The Cathay.

After the conference, I took a self-proclaimed tour around Capella Singapore. I might as well do that rather than rot in the media centre waiting for things to happen. I thought it would be great to give myself a break by walking around. It was not as beautiful as it sounds. I was perspiring in the midst of humidity. It was killing me.

In the evening, I put on a fresh shirt to get ready for the red carpet gala premier and hop onto the official car of ScreenSingapore: Siebener Beemer (BMW). BMW has been a wonderful official car that has made ScreenSingapore a smooth sailing one. Never think that transporting VIPs and celebrities on time is an easy job. Throughout the ride, I learnt several new things about the chauffeur which I had no idea before!

S and I was early so we decided to go to the toilet and freshen up. While walking along this hallway I thought I saw this abandoned dolled up mannequin and I was a little terrified that I said out loud "'Oh my God, that is so freaky!"' to Sham. I looked closer and it blinked. We continued walking, doing my best to hold my laugh. I had no idea actually that was the real deal cosplay. Amazingly he did not respond to what I said. He was there even when we walked out from the washroom. Better yet, he was one of the cosplayers who walked down the red carpet. I was aghast. Totally. What I really think highly of them is how they endured the heat without perspiring much (or it seems like it at least).

May'n arrived and her fans were all in high spirits. They even waved orange stick lights into the air when she performed. Look at how loyal they are. Although they did not make the majority of the crowd, their fanatic energy spreads throughout the vicinity.

At about 9pm, we left the area and headed for our own little party. L, S and I went to Lau Pa Sat. We were famished. I felt malnutritioned. They ordered satay, and since L said he would be up for something spicy, I recommended one of my Thai favourites, Tom Yam. We ended up with Nasi Goreng Kampung (Kampong Fried Rice) instead which was as spicy. See L, I keep my word and I'm glad you love that spicy food.

We wrapped up the night by heading to Long Bar since L wanted to try Singapore Sling. I saw many reaction when they sip that Singapore Sling. You would want to give that a try. I had a blast of a great time with S and L. It is so wonderful that I met the two of you. ;)

I'm off to the next media conference now.

There's a french movie premiering tonight. See you there! More official details can be found in Ta!

Monday, June 6, 2011

ScreenSingapore Premiere

I set my expectations low: poor benefits for people in charge of the media like us. I expect some put out but I was wrong. Ms R and gang definitely did not trust me by asking me to come way, way early. I think Ms Ching just woke up when I pressed the door bell of the media centre.

Personally, I think Sentonsa Island has never, ever been convenient. I still don't understand why do we have to pay to enter the island once named so ironic to its modern name: Pulau Belakang Mati. Dead Back Island. Call me a complain king, but try putting on my Docs on a rainy weather. On the other hand, I'd appreciate that some parts of Singapore remains inaccesible. It gives it an exclusive edge.

My morning in ScreenSingapore started with personal briefing by Ms Y.E, which I like. I think my absence was a blessing in disguise. I'd rather have a one to one briefing, communication so that my doubts are cleared without embarrassing myself. Who knows, I'm fond of asking silly questions.

Since I am way early than anyone else. Even the shopping malls are not open yet, I headed to the buffet for breakfast. I was spoilt for choice. the dessert was cheesecake which is one of my favourtites, and the muffins are to die for. The muffin pretty sums up the day I had. Hard on the outside, soft on the inside and both ways, it's delicious.

I am the official unofficial photographer of the event. Which means officially, I am appointed as the unofficial photographer. I know right, what a totally laid back job and let all the professionals do the sweaty hard work of asking high profile people to pose for them. If you must know, I will be going around front and back scenes of ScreenSingapore and take as many candid pictures as possible. I have a lot of things in mind but digital camera is pretty much restrictive on its quality.

The highlight of the event for me was the red carpet gala premier where celebrities make their debut appearance at the Vivo City Golden Village. That was one of the most embarrassing moment I had, apart from being so underdressed. I learnt my lesson by getting something proper for the following premiers and yes, look at where the escalator is going - not to the red carpet.

Everyone was in high spirits and I saw familiar people at the gala and opening party. Bobby Tonelli, Nicholas Chee, Frank Cintamani, and even Jeremy (one of the short film directors I knew from my project last year). I didn't talk to all of them because partly I'm nervous. Shh!

It's an honour to meet film producers like Jon Landau who produced the all time high grossing film: Avatar and Titanic. I was head over heels that I was speechless on what to say but to move my fingers to snap their photos.

Okay folks, I will keep in touch with you again should any worthy updates come up. Ta!