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


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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Reel Frenz - First Film

Below is a message by Marrie Lee, the founder of Reel Frenz.

It is an inspiring tale about how a group of people from different walks of life, mostly untrained in film making coming together to make films. Most in the group do not know each other prior to Reel Frenz.

To read all the  Reel Frenz articles in this blog, click here.
Dear Reelfrenz,

I would like to extend a personal invitation to each and every member in Reel Frenz to come for this meet up. Why?

I know all of you joined the group with one common intention in mind,  that is to be part of a film, whether in a minor or major role.  I know all of you wanted to make films but frankly don’t know where to start.  That’s the truth or you won’t be in this group, you will be out there making films already by yourself.

I, too, was like you.  When I first formed the group, I know I wanted  to make a film but frankly I don’t know where to start. In the first 2 meetings I called, a lot of people came and we talked and we talked but nothing was done. We were just happy talking.  I told myself, there must be something more than just meeting up and talk. We will never make a film this way.

And a film needs a script and at that time, we didn’t have one.  So I proceeded to attempt to write one, my very first script.  I don’t even know how to use a scriptwriting software so I used Microsoft Word.  I didn’t have a story. My mind was blank. I was running out of time as the next meeting date was fast approaching.  I wanted to write a story that involved more people because many of them came to the meetings. If the whole project only required 2 or 3 actors then the other members will lose interest. Think fast Marrie.

And then it hit me, the story that is.  And I wrote a script that had a cast of 22, a very ambitious feat.  And in the next meet I was able to present my story. And most seem to like my story. Maybe there was no other to compare then. :) 

Still I didn’t know where to move on from there.  But I know that I had to find my cast and my crew to make it happen. In that meeting I found many of them.  I had a DOP whom I was confident in as I had witnessed his work before.  Also, I met this quiet and unassuming shy guy who asked me softly “Who is doing your editing? Can I be involved in the editing team?  I had this dynamic full time actor who volunteered  to be acting coach.  And lastly, I asked around who would like to direct this film. A fresh faced, cheerful young lady stepped up and said she would like to do it.  I have never met her but somehow I trusted her. I said I would be the  co-director so I can learn from this just out of school, young enough to be my daughter stranger .

And so, with my sister and 2 long time friends, I found my key team.  And  we set out to plan auditions for the roles and drafted out positions for the other key players.

We had members who volunteered for roles whom they have no idea how to fulfill.  But it was a learning process for everyone.  We called for an audition and the big joke was that 18 came to audition for the 22 roles. So we casted all of them and even had to look for more people.

Over the course of more than a month, there was a lot of preparation for the first shooting day, fine tuning to the script, rehearsals, costumes, locations.  We had a lot of trials and tribulations.  Along the way, we weeded out some negative influences, some people who joined us with different expectations. At the same time, our team got stronger, with the addition of other team players, like one spunky lady who took on anything we dished at her. Nothing could stop her, YouTube was her best friend and teacher, whether it is in creating of hairstyles or doing a full bridal make up. 

Locations were a headache, some of the people were really nice, allowing us to shoot for free, others like the Zoo and Scape wanted a rental of $4K and $8K respectively.  Crazy, we are a non funded passion group.  So for some of the locations we could not have, we learn to use chromakey or green screen filming. We were so lucky to have a member and her husband who allowed us to invade her house for 2 weekend days, from 9am to 11pm.

We needed places to rehearse our lines and dance.  Earlier practice in places like Esplanade were not conducive and private. So, we moved to the comfort of function rooms of 2 condos that 2 of our members graciously helped us to book.

There are so many more encouraging experiences. I could go on and on and on.

At last, I had found my dream team, a dream team made up of so many different nationalities with so much color and ideas to give  Everyone was so enthusiastic.  Never had I expected to achieve what we have done over these 5 months. And by the time we wrapped on June 16th, this team had become one big family.

I am writing this down to let you, the newcomer,  know that it had not been a bed of roses but it is definitely do-able and rewarding.  I say with great satisfaction that we have done it.  We were amateurs in making films and we may take a bit more time to get there but nothing is impossible.

So if you want to do a film, you can be a part of our upcoming project or you can form another project within this group and tap on the resources and the many talents that you will find here.

You may have a script that you want to make a reality, do share it and form your team.   Usually I would say the storyteller would make the best director as you would have envisioned  the whole scene in your mind as you write it.  So if you have the confidence, then opt to direct your story. But not everyone knows how to direct, you can invite someone else to direct and be the co director instead, like what I have done and learn along the way.

There are many brilliant technical people within Reel Frenz, I have read many of the profiles.  We can film more than one film concurrently if more of  technical people will come forth -   directors, cameramen, sound, lighting, editing, special effects.

And for those who do not have experience or skills but want  to learn, please volunteer to help too. It won’t happen for you if you are not in the event itself.  No one is too insignificant or useless. Every bit of help is needed and you may be surprised to find how fast you learn along the way.

Please come to this meet. You will be glad you did.

Marrie Lee


...and a short clip I took to replay to the actors so they know where they can improve themselves on.

Trailer of Reel Frenz's first short film.
For more details, click here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crimewatch 2013 Ep04 Part 1 - Online Sex

Acted in this episode last month as the father of a boy who got tricked into showing his willy  to a crafty girl online and subsequently blackmailed. This is a reminder to the mischievous, adventurous and gullible.  Amid the lifestyle intensified by the Internet and smartphones, a little titillation and side track can lead one down the slippery slope of moral decay played out in accelerated time. It is amazing how our procreational instincts can often land us in deep waters. :)

Production was swift, executed chop-chop with the Mediacorp crew at a beautiful penthouse, conveniently near my home.. I think both the lead actors delivered their roles very convincingly. Applause!