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

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Interview by RSVP Singapore

Alright, they found out that I am old enough to be their interview subject, and so here I am, being interviewed about my life, particularly about my earlier years performing on stage to recruit student volunteers for welfare homes and my entry into film acting, script writing and standup comedy.

RSVP is an organization of senior volunteers that serves the less fortunate in Singapore. By 'senior' I assume they mean 'more experienced'. Much has been promoted to encourage senior citizens to be more active and healthy, but I find the often touted 'Active Ageing', an oxymoron. I do not believe that one has to necessarily grow old, sick and invalid. There may be some who will challenge this belief, but hey, to each its own. It is all in the mind and everything starts with a belief.

Ancient Tibetan scriptures and the Bible mention about human beings living a thousand years. There are also researches and practices that claim that it is possible to regenerate our cells better and live young to the norm of a healthy eighteen year old till the day we die. Why not? Try it!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ian Lee is Finally Dead

Ian Lee is dead, finally. His death came suddenly, much to the surprise of many, even close friends and colleagues.

Here is a video...

Do you like the video? :)

Ya, the guy is dead! I don't know about him, but I was scared. And that's no Legacy!

We spent the whole weekend at the funeral, giving Ian Lee the best send off we could. However, the plot will continue to unfold. More in the following weeks... 

We are still in the midst of getting Ian Lee "Certified Dead". It will go on every weekend till the end of May 2015. We need your support. If you are feeling generous, please go to our campaign at Indiegogo.com. Don't wait for the DVD, we need your money now. Lol

Click here.

The money contributed will pay for post production, locations, transport and food to feed our cast and crew. As this is an artiste collaboration, none of us are paid upfront, but we hope that there will at least be money to pay for the food for the cast and crew. So please do help us.

Click here.

How was it like playing dead?
It was awkward initially. Talking is cheap, but when it came to actually climbing into the coffin and lying in there, it was creepy.

But, the fear was mostly psychological, and after a few times, it was just like lying in any other box, only more comfortable. Sound quality was great as the sides are all cushioned and there was not many other places the sound could leak to. Surprisingly, that made it easier for me to deliver my lines as I could hear myself so clearly. Well, I think I was hearing myself clearly. No alien voices I think.

It was very hot inside though, as the hall was not air-conditioned and  I had to wear a long sleeve shirt and a blazer.

Lastly, it is a privilege to have such a try-out before the real thing - a live rehearsal (as opposed to a dead rehearsal).

Probably the funniest we-fie I ever had.

Click here 

to help us spread the word around about our crowdfunding campaign. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.

Is Ian Lee actually a horrible person pretending to be good? Woooah... that can put me in a hairy situation!  Can't tell you yet! We need the funds to continue.

Watch this space. More in the coming weeks. If you don't hear from us, that means we ran out of money!!! Or it gotten so bad, we got our dead man repossesed. Repossesed... posession... spirits... get it? Lol

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Certified Dead

For more about the movie, go to http://certifieddead.sg

It is happening. We are now past the halfway mark for the shoots. One thing for sure, making a feature film needs stamina. It goes on and on. Shoots are expected to complete around early May 2015. Then post production will start and go on for 3 to 6 months. Our Indiegogo campaign for crowdfunding is also up. Please help us by contributing, Any amount helps. 

The money contributed will pay for post production, locations, transport and food to feed our cast and crew. As this is an artiste collaboration, none of us are paid upfront, but we hope that there will at least be money to pay for the food for the cast and crew. So please do help us.

Click here.

Certified Dead - Indiegogo from Reel Frenz on Vimeo.

Marrie Lee is the Executive Producer and Director, and also plays a cameo role in the film, This is her first feature film behind the camera, after a hiatus of 30 years in front, from her days in Cleopatra Wong. 

We also have Peter Sihan Chong, the star of "Ring of Fury", Peter  is a Kyokushin karate master and a former Assistant Superintendent of Police in Singapore. "Ring of Fury" is an old Singapore movie made by by Tony Yeow and James Sebastian in 1973, but was banned in Singapore for its portrayal of secret society intimidation.

Unlike many budget feature films, "Certified Dead" has a huge cast and many locations. We have been lucky as there are many people who love to act and also generous landlords who have been very kind to lend us their place for free. Many thanks.

Rain or shine, we soldier on. Most of us work on a regular job during the weekdays and on Certified Dead during the weekends. We normally stay on set for 12 to 14 hours each day - sometimes sleeping overnight on location. Crazy isn't it? :) 

So help us by donating. 

Click here.

Thank you in anticipation!

In Certified Dead, you will once again find me acting alongside Mr Richard Muru, my co-actor in Hentak Kaki. Do you remember Richard? He will be playing the role of 'my' childhood friend and family doctor. There, we will again be arguing, but over something else.

Postscriptum: We belong to a group called "Reel Frenz". We have made 9 short films over the last two years. You can find the films here. For more about Reel Frenz, click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Visualising the Script - 2

This is a set of images I sketched last year, and compiled into a slide show with music. It is about a martial arts master, who in his zealousness to excel, over-exerted himself and sinks into depression. He finally heals with the love and support of his family.

For more about visualisation of scripts in this blog, click here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Instant Comedy - Laffio 29Jan2015

The day has finally come for the first installation of Instant Comedy at Restaurant Laffio, 337 Beach Road, Singapore. It was brilliant - full house with tickets sold out before the event.

I have my material fairly tested by now at Scape and Comedy Club Asia and its delivery adjusted to the audience's reactions on the fly on the very night. Hard doing that while remembering the content and flow.

It was a very lively and supportive crowd. Thank you very much. Sorry I cannot give all of you a free bottle of wine.

Here is the gig:

What I have learned:

  1. Content is king and content in context is bigger king, BUT content in context, in good timing is King of Kings. Therefore, content is only 50%. The other 50% is delivery. It is important to eliminate stammers and unnecessary words, and improve body language. 
  2. Interact with the audience. I think I did well this time, but that makes remembering the script harder. More rehearsals would have helped.
  3. Always plan for a soft landing, in case your punchline bombed. It worked!
  4. Assess the audience well and quickly. If something does not work, drop it, don't let it die a painful slow death.
  5. It is possible to have breakout laughters without sex and profanity.

The next event will be on:
Date: 12th Feb 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 7.30pm

Hotel Jen, Orchard Gateway Singapore, 
277 Orchard Road, Singapore 238858. 
Lounge@Jen, Level 10
(Nearest MRT Somerset)

For other posts about comedy, click here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Instant Comedy

I am into standup comedy. I wrote my material, got them tested and am now in the performing circuit.

I need Standup. After some time as a film actor, one can easily be dictated by scripted dialogues, camera angles and directors' visions of how a performance ought to go. Then, spontanaeity goes out of the window.

 I think Standup is one of the hardest form of improv acting, as the performer has to adjust to the audience, on the fly. He has to think on his feet and yet be on his toes. Now is that possible? These are what I have learned on the job so far:

1. Don't try to be funny
Don't try to make people laugh. Just go on stage and be enthusiastic. Everyone loves a high spirit.

2. Don't try to tell stories
Stories are too logical. Humour is often not. They are usually surprisingly cruel. Sometimes the more cruel they are, the more laughters you get.

3. Talk to the audience
Interact. Get them involved.

I bet there will be lots more that I have to learn. It is a job that can only be practised with a live audience. Dead ones are more challenging, but they will lift your performance to even greater heights.

The moral of the story here is to get started and jump into the deep end. If you happened to have led a miserable and troubled life, then don't despair, for you are more than likely to have an unfair advantage. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.

Come and support us on:

Date/Time: 29th January 2015, 7.30pm

Place: Laffio, 337 Beach Road, Singapore 199565

There will be other comics performing that night too!



The sound recording is bad, so I have a transcript of the first minute or so...

...as a very angry and frustrated man. So I was thinking,... how I was as a newbie, how I can get into character of such a big role

So I observed how sergeant majors behave, researched on them, scripted Singlish and military lingo, practised them over and over again , and finally, abstained from sex. 


It worked. I won the Best Performance Award... for acting as a frustrated sergeant major.

So I thought it was good news right? So I went home and told my wife that I won the Best Performance Award, she said, "I am not surprised!".


Ok, some of you didn't get it... probably because you are getting it every night.


If you are wondering which sergeant major that was, it is none other than the famous Warrant Officer Lee Teck Hong in Hentak Kaki, For more, click here.

For more posts about comedy, click here.

Tin Kosong

Tin Kosong is a short film adapted for Utter 2014 (The Singapore Writers' Festival) from a novel of the same name,  written by Mohammed Salleh, It is directed by Mr Sanif Olek. 

The film is about a Malay man who lives in a make-belief that his wife and family are all well and with him, He spends his time doing odd jobs and collecting empty tin cans to be sold for scrap.

The production overran a little on the day of my shoot, I think it was due to the dance sequences in the preceding scenes. My scene was captured just in time during the golden hour of sunset amid the lovely art-deco buildings at Tiong Bahru, Singapore. 

I was directed to set my eyes on the empty cans in the scene, what was treasure in their little word. The cameraman captured the nuances of the ambiguous intentions spot on, though no words were spoken. I think Mr Khalid Baboo also fleshed out the vulnerable and tired character very convincingly.

There was no audition for me for this role, my suitability probably based on a similar Malay speaking Chinese man role I did in Utter 2013.

I am getting used to acting in Malay. Besides the two Utter films I acted in, I have also acted in some Suria TV (Malay Channel) dramas. In all the productions, they always want me to deliver like how a Chinese man normally speaks (Malay), with slangs like "Gua" for "Saya" (me) and "Lu" for "Anda" (you).  Both which are words derived from Hokkien and propagated by the Peranakans. Ironically, that makes it more difficult as I only studied standard Malay in school. :)

Here is an interview with the director...

And here is the film proper...

For more films in Malay in this blog, click here.