Been a busy few days. Have been immersed with a few projects. One of them is a tv movie we're shooting next week! It's a cool and fun comedy that is inspired by Ugly Betty and Mean Girls (it'll be on ASTRO), and it's the first time I'll be shooting something with song and dance numbers! We've been prepping, doing all the last minute stuff like prop hunting, rehearsals, storyboarding, basically just getting all the elements in place.
Making movies is hard work! And people always say it's not really a "real job"... which I have to agree. I don't really consider it work, because I like what I do. So it's great to do what you like, and make a living out of it. Saying that, sometimes it really IS hard work, and like they say in film, "rush and wait"; you're either hanging around with nothing to do, or it's crazy time! And when the going gets tough, it can be really tough. Actors drop out. Schedules conflict. Props get lost. Locations can't be found. People fail you. Things can fall apart like dominoes, and the job of the producer (this is also my first time as a hands on producer, phew I miss you Edmund!) is damage control, and making sure everything is in its right "place".
But yea, as a filmmaker in Malaysia, sometimes you get the looks, especially if you are hanging out in say The Curve's Starbucks at 2pm on a Monday morning with your laptop (that's "work" for me). If you bump into a relative or acquittance (who undoubtedly is in a tie and meeting with other people in ties), the first look they give you, since you're in your sandals and t-shirt, is the "I-didn't-know-you-were-a-bum" look. And then when you tell them you make films, they give you the "I-didn't-know-you-were-a-bum" look again. Haha... And then when they say goodbye, they give you this half sad smile, which is the "It's-too-bad-you're-a-bum" look.
The worst thing for me is during Chinese New Year, with my relatives. Once I had a short film shown on TV, and in it, an actor has constipation and tries to take a dump several times. For YEARS, all I heard from relatives was "WHY MUST YOU MAKE FILMS ABOUT PEOPLE TAKING DUMPS?". Tough times.
Ok, I'm babbling! Moving on! The actor I'm introducing you to is none other than... CHUNG KOK KEONG.
He is the coolest "old timer" in Malaysia. Seriously. He's been around so long I believe they didn't have televisions here when he started in the business. That's how long he's been around. So he started in radio shows. And now he's in my film. Non Malaysians who watch the film tend to like Chung Kok Keong more than Berg (the younger guy), while locals prefer Berg. I don't know why this is. For me, I think CKK has that look that just tells you he's been through so much, it's not worth telling you his story, but you can try to read it off his face. I knew when I saw him, I didn't need to do much. In fact, I needed him to do LESS.
Anyway he does a pretty cool job in THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA. I'm happy with the performance. In the film, he plays a fisherman whose wife dies, then has a spiritual "awakening" of sorts. A couple of critics say that "he has the fisherman role in his bones"... which is a great compliment, because Chung Kok Keong is no fisherman and he doesn't particularly like water too much. But he's a trooper.
Here is a picture of Chung Kok Keong with some diseased chickens... Avian Flu anyone?