"Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." -- Sanford Meisner


Comedy Open Mic - 24 Oct 2017

Comedy Open Mic - 24 Oct 2017
We had splendid nights on the 12th and 26th September. Come and support my fellow comics and me again and have a night and fun and laughter, on the 24 OCTOBER 2017!!!

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Film Review - Certified Dead



By Michael Lim. Before you can say, "another local movie" and dismiss it, "Certified Dead",  being an honest first time effort at movie production, by Doris Young, actually accomplishes several well deserved accolades. Young, better known by her nom de plume, Marie Lee, is best remembered for her 1970s role in the genre of action karate flick films "Cleopatra Wong" and shows that she can also be an accomplished movie producer and director in her inaugural feature film. 

Considering that this is her first feature made with a shoe string budget of $44,000 and volunteer actors, it would be unfair to compare this with a  Hollywood indie feature. Sure, there are areas for improvement but consider the difficulties and the learning curve the director, actors and script writers have to overcome to distill the end product of this feature, it is a triumphant accomplishment for Young and her crew. 

Helmed by a cast of mainly Singaporean actors, it tells the story of Ian Lee, a middle aged man, who in his earnest to live long enough to provide for his family, becomes a "rodent" for an experimental new serum developed by his best friend Dr. Charles Moore, played by Richard Muru. The drug that is supposed to help sustain Ian's athletic pursuits but has other unintended side-effects. For starters it triggers Ian's adrenaline and ups his athleticism and pheromones. This triggers his boss Hilary, as she finds him suddenly the object of her sexual attraction. Hillary,  played by Toni Ravelo, a Cuban Mexican actor, provides the love interest character to Michael Chua's Ian Lee.

Eventually the drug takes a toll on Ian's life and he suffers a heart attack, and supposedly drowns while swimming in the sea. But he is still walking around, seemingly alive only to be discovered by his doctor friend that he is actually dead and the serum is somehow sustaining his brain while the rest of his body is in a state of rigor mortis. Upon realizing this, Ian tries to fulfill his bucket list before the entirety of his body succumbs to complete decay. 

The movie showcase some fine acting by Michael Chua, who is a veteran staple of several locally produced independent films. Ms Ravelo also has some scene stealing performances as Ian's boss who asks Ian to remain behind after a meeting, if only for a post conference tête-à-tête. 

While being a generally dark drama, Certified Dead has some lighter moments, such as when the mediums visit to Ian's home in an attempt to exorcise him, and his supposed wake at the funeral parlour where he starts talking to his Doctor and his daughter Erin, played by an incredibly talented Shayleigh Koh. 

Eventually, the finale was sad as Ian realizes that his demise can only be resolved by his own departure from his family and he is no longer in the land of the living. In a way it reminds us that as Singaporeans when we yearn to strive too much for success, we get so distracted by what we think is important that we depart from and leave the things that most matter to us in our everyday life - family, friends and loved ones.

The last scene of Dr Moore's enticement of a new rodent may serve the possibility of a sequel.

Certified Dead (Final Trailer) from Reel Frenz on Vimeo.





Some photographs of the Singapore Premiere on the 30th October 2017.




For other posts about Certified Dead, click here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In Conversation with Aamir Khan


Aamir Khan needs no introduction to any Indian. He is a Bollywood superstar that has consistently made lotsa money with movies he acted in, often also championing social causes.

He was in Singapore to promote his new movie "Secret Superstar" and to meet his fans at the event, "In Conversation with Aamir Khan" @ Mastercard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. 2 Oct 2017. 


4 things I learned from the interview:

  1. Aamir makes sure he gets 8 hours of sleep during shoot days. He loves sleeping.
  2. He is attracted to unusual things.
  3. It is more important that his audience loves his films, than if his films win awards.
  4. Between a camera take that captures the inexplicable magical moment but technically imperfect, versus one that is only technically brilliant, he will choose the former.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lost Night (Official Video)



Debut music video, with music and lyrics written by Victor Chua, in between mugging for his university exams in Europe. Great escapism stuff, singing in the woods in the dark of the night. #victorchua #indie #indiemusic


Support independent music, To 'like' his video, click here.



Lyrics:

I lost my night through strange events Looking for sleep in the dark Have you found my inner peace Cos I'm still looking for that spark And I'm tired of trying to be neat So tonight would you have that dance With me

So tonight would you have a dance with me
Let's break the walls that they built Let's build back some of what they've broke Running away Running away From all that secrets that we keep That left us empty, unachieved It feels so good To be free
It feels so good When we just let ourselves be And we'll make it Yes we'll make it For you For me So tonight would you have a dance With me


Video by: Louis Stul

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Closure


This is a Ngee Ann Poly student film "Closure", adapted from the book "Men from the Boys" by Tony Parsons. It was again a late night shoot, given that the whole story happens in the evening.

The story is about a teenage boy struggling with his biological mother's attempt to come back to his life.

The working title of this short film was "Mothers", but it was changed to "Closure", as the former comes to close Darren Arronofsky's "Mother" currently screening in the cinemas.

This is my first time working with James. My second time working with Ling and Carin. You may remember seeing Carin playing the role of my daughter in "Father's Devotion" :). See here.

Now, the film itself...



It was quite a struggle remember long convoluted lines after midnight. That is why late night shoots are to be avoided where possible.

For more Ngee Ann Poly shoots, click here.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Let's Go Bananas




Event: Let's Go Bananas (Open Mic)
Date: 12 Sep 2017
Time: 8pm to 10pm
Venue: Flying Monkey
67/68 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480

Organiser: Stagecraft

Performed a 6 minute Standup Comedy at the event with very local content.


For non-Singaporeans, you may need some background knowledge to appreciate the sarcasm. Click here and here.

Also, 'Angmoh' means White people or Caucasian. 

The next event will be at 8pm on the 26th September 2017 at the same venue. Come and join us.

For other blog post on standup comedy, click here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fatima














"Fatima" is a story about an older Malay resident who meets a middle-aged Chinese man during her final days of her life in a nursing home.

I love acting in Malay films. It brings back memories of old Singapore when the language was more commonly spoken. However, as this story is contemporary, more English is used in my dialogue.

See the video:


 It was a hot day and the location was very noisy. So the perspiration on our faces were blotted/powdered away and the sound laboriously cleaned up and designed. Thanks to the industrious crew.





For more Ngee Ann Polytechnic films, click here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ask Me Anything in Viddsee















Viddsee.com, an Asian short film curator site, has invited me to their "Ask Me Anything" page.

Click here.

#acting #act #future #futureoftv #futureoffilm #michaelchua #viddsee #questions #films #film #filmmaking #shortfilm #curated


UPDATE (31st August 2017):

It was an overwhelming response - 39 questions!  My favourite question is question 13:

"Can you tell us what been the funniest moment on any of your sets so far? :D"

And my answer is:

Okay, I am mentioning this because this is funny and that you have asked for it. 

In one intimate scene, I was to surprise my screen wife by lifting her up suddenly to  the bed, rolling over and kissing her on her lips, then 'cut'. We rehearsed that and all was well and agreed.

However during the take, the director (a lady) didn't say 'cut' at the point we had rehearsed to. With no 'cut', we had to continue and improvise with our act. That was not a problem between the actress and me, as we were very professional about it, but next to director was a young chap prompting "Cut! Cut! Cut!" next to the director's ear. It was very annoying, but the director ignored him and called 'cut' only at a point she deemed appropriate.

The director prolonged the take because she likes the delivery and didn't want to break the flow too early.

As for the young chap, we learned that he had the hots for the actress and was jealous.

The lesson learned was that there should be only a minimal crew on set during such takes. Young jealous chaps not allowed in.



Here are the list of 39 questions:
Click here to read the answers.

1. I really enjoyed your acting. Can you share some of the challenges of being a local actor?

2. If you are asked to perform for no fee, and you are willing to do so. How does that affect the final film production?

3.If the part asks that you kiss a person (male or female) that you are not attracted to and the kiss must look most passionate. How is this achieved?

4. Thank you for the previous answer, I am also curious to know how you cope with rejection. Is it a natural response or a skill you have developed?

5. Have you ever had strong disagreement with the director on set, and if so, how did you deal with it?

6. What tips could you give to aspiring actors to guide them along their career path?

7. When reviewing a new script, what do you look for and what would you avoid?

8. Which local and international actors do you admire and why?

9. What do you hope to see more in Singapore development of movies? Budgets, scripts or supportive audience

10. What advice do you have for people who have ambitions to become actors/actresses? How do you compare Singapore film industry vs film industries in other countries?

11. What is one advice you have for actors in Singapore?

12. How does the Director help out with uncomfortable parts, if the actors /actresses feel uptight, like sex scenes, etc

13. Can you tell us what been the funniest moment on any of your sets so far? :D

14.What innate talents does one need to have, to make it in acting?

15. Why do some actors /actresses get stereotyped into certain roles?

16. How does a director help the actors portray their characters convincingly?

17. As a Freelance Actor, do think/feel that it is possible to rely solely on Acting(silver-screen only) to earn a living in Singapore?

18. I thought the a couple of the short video clips I saw were quite good, story-wise, acting-wise, not those over-exaggerated acting the I observed in local mandarin movies. Just wondering why we hardly hear or know about them. What are the problems the local English language movies faced?"

19. How far do you think the Internet will disrupt the traditional theatrical distribution of films?

20. What's your advise for those who wants to get into acting?

21. What's your biggest achievement thus far?

22. You left an exciting career in the Cyber Security space to follow your heart and passion in the creative and performing arts industry. Do you have any regrets? What inspired you to make the transition and was it a tough journey ?

23. How has acting changed/enriched you as a person?

24. ...as we all know, 'the Gift' was amazing. How did you prepare for your inspiring role in this film?

25. What's your worst filming experience?

26. Is there any other roles / characters you would hope to attempt in the near future?

27. If you could have it your way, what would be your dream role and movie?

28. What are your artistic inspirations, Michael? And what considerations do you have when taking on a project? What has been your best film experience so far? Would care to elaborate more on that experience? Would you also care to tell more about what is your opinion on the growth of the local art scene?

29.  I will like to know what are some do's and dont's of directing, specifically from the perspective of actors? How can directors work with actors better to create a great piece of work?

30. I have seen that films are made in an order that is not the same way as the final storyline is edited. How do you, the actor, keep track of the emotion and intensity of the scene when they are being created in such a different way to the final sequence?

31. What got you into acting?

32. ...you are very good in crying in your role, how do you make yourself cry?

33. Beside being actor and director have you think of writing , you are good in writing as I have read some of your blog?

34. Good to see your passion for acting. Could you elaborate what drives you the most?

35. Of all the roles that you have played in the past, which is your favourite?

36. When was your first role as an actor?

37. Also would be interesting to know what is the most extreme change to your appearance - in terms of hair, body weight, face changes etc etc, that you have done to prepare for a role?

38. Have there been a time when you had a really bad day but had to act or perform that night. How did you get through it?

39. I'm interested in how you feel about playing against type.

I'm specifically thinking about when you have to assume a character you would not like in real life - how do you approach that, and do you 'enter into' that person's psychology, or distance yourself emotionally?