Monday, February 22, 2010


My latest television series for RTM is called Detik 12 Malam (At 12 Midnight). It is not unlike my previous series Bilik No. 13.

It revolves around a TV writer and editor's quest to obtain answers to her frequent nightmares. The writer, who has a blog called Detik 12 Malam, is acquainted with a strange man who operates an antique-cum-props workshop.

As a writer she is curious about the various strange items that is kept in a special section of his workshop. Each item carries a story and with each story, her quest to find the answers to her personal problems becomes clearer.

We hope to start rolling on the 9th of March which is barely a month away. So you can imagine my team rushing to meet deadlines for complete shooting scripts, production crew, equipment requirements, location hunting, talent casting and everything else.

Unlike other dramatic productions for RTM which are serials, D12M is logistically more demanding as every episode is different - artistes, locations, properties and such.

However, after our experience with Bilik No 13 has taught us, we need to be tight with our funding since funding lines for local production is chaotic after the usual banks decided to change their lending policies.

Sadly from what I heard, actors and actresses are pushing up their fees because they know that producers are currently scouring everywhere for artistes. Eventhough most of them know that TV stations have reduced their commissioning prices to local producers, they couldn't care less. Most artistes kowtow to the BIG M...Money controls their lives.

They don't care that producers are begging and borrowing to ensure that they can deliver the productions to the TV stations. All they want is money, money and money. Who offers them the best prices wins. They don't bother is the script is good, the role is interesting or who the hell is directing. They just want to know how much, how many days and how many scenes.

I hope that those who have worked for me and those who know about how my team and I work would be more than ready to work again with me. That they also find it interesting and a worthwhile experience working for me.

Over the next three weeks, I will meet all these people. In this business loyalty doesn't count for much. It is always an interesting experience for me to find out who cares about what they do in this industry.

Anyway, my posting in the blog would be far and few in between. Hopefully, I will find time to use this blog as my journal as I embark on D12M and God willing Pangazou after that. If my luck holds out, and my Perang Selangor is accepted, then I will be in Seventh Heaven.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


FDAM has just SMS'd and called for its members (who have their own production companies) to submit their proposals which was not accepted by RTM in its recent pitching process, to FDAM.
FDAM it seems will try to appeal to RTM on their behalf.
I personally think FDAM (Film Directors' Association of Malaysia) is fighting the wrong cause.
Once again, the association should be fighting instead for causes beneficial to the directing profession, and not fight for a cause that is the prerogative of the producers'.
What FDAM should be fighting for, is that those productions which have been approved by RTM for production through the pitching process, are directed by active members of FDAM. That's all.
FDAM should not question RTM why proposals pitched by the members were not successful. The proposals were in actual fact submitted by production houses and compaies, and not individual nor freelance directors, and therefore FDAM should not subscribe to the idea that they must fight for these producers' rights.
In doing so, FDAM is also opening a pandora's box. What makes them think that their members' proposals were any good in the first place?
RTM have their own set of criteria and reasons for accepting and commissioning some titles and rejecting others. It is their right. No one can question it.
FDAM should also not let themselves seem idiotic by fighting against this right of commissioning by RTM. Come to think of it, why only push this issue with RTM? Why not TV3? Why not Astro?
We, filmmakers, live in a world that is complex.
Sometimes, a director has excellent ideas and vision, but when it comes to writing a proposal or pitching it, they fall flat. That's why it's called a pitch and not a presentation.
A proposal that is weak, but well pitched can be more attractive to the presiding panel.
So don't blame RTM for not accepting ALL pitches. That would be impossible. There will always be winners and losers.
We only hope that in the future, our pitches will be more attractive and more RTM-centric to the powers that be.
But the main thing is that this is really not FDAM's fight.
Their fight should be to make sure that ALL the producers of the proposals that were pitched and commissioned by RTM are being directed by members of FDAM. Nothing more nothing less.

Woooohoooooo!!! Gong XI Fa Cai!!

Before the weekend arrives, and my fellow Chinese Malaysians celebrate Gong Xi Fa Cai, I would like to take your attention to a rather nondescript movie called Tiger Woohoo.
It is not a Hongkong movie nor a mainland China movie nor a Taiwanese movie.
It is a true blue Malaysian movie produced by Woohoo Pictures and Tayangan Unggul.
I have to congratulate the makers of this film, because it is both entertaining and refreshing, and even though nearly 100% of its cast (marring a scene with Malay cops) is Chinese and so was its dialogue (a smattering of BM here and there), it has a very Malaysian feel to it.
I won’t critique its weak plot because as a local movie, it holds very well against ALL other local movies.
The actors, most of them from the Astro Chinese drama department stable, performed admirably, especially Gan Mei Yan as Ah Lian.
The story is also very simple, a group of city misfits (out of work security guard, an effeminate failed fashion designer and a noodle seller who can’t say no) taking a chance in the small village of Berserah in Pahang.
In actual fact, Ah Lian, the granddaughter of a famed Tiger Dance practitioner tricked them into trying out for the Tiger Dance troupe which according to local legend is performed only once every 60 years.
These guys think that they would be paid handsomely but found out the Ah Lian has no money to pay for their services and is doing so to make her grandfather’s wish of creating a new Tiger Dance troupe for the village a reality.
Directed by Beijing Film Studio alumni, Chiu Keng Guan, the movie weaved a very pleasant story for all Malaysians to enjoy.
What I was really impressed was that Tayangan Unggul, in their first attempt at producing a Chinese language Malaysian movie, promoted Chinese culture in a very entertaining, positive and effective manner.
Its morality play too was handled quite well and did not leave a sour taste as most local movies tend to do.

The movie has been screened for nearly a month now, and is still attracting viewers who are catching it after hearing good word of mouth about the movie. If it goes into the Chinese New Year holidays, I’m sure the movie will rake in more money for the producers, and as it is, Tiger Woohoo is currently the best non-Malay local movie box-office performer ever in Malaysian history having already coined more than RM2 million.
I hope the movie-going public would give it a go before it is taken from the local circuit, especially the non-Chinese crowd who are willing to pay for something local and good.
Truth be told, Tiger Woohoo is better than any movies made by Prof Razak Maidin and Ahmad Idham, eventhough their movies make more money.
Culturally and cinematically, Tiger Woohoo is one of the better Malaysian movies made in recent years.