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Monday, April 16, 2012


Some comic relief in between takes.

"Fairytales", by KSP productions.
Directed by Kelvin Sng.
Starring: Royston Ong / Siona Wu Murphy / Yogendra Santhiran / Louis Fong / Maguire Jian / S. Gunasegaran / Guest Starring: Maia Lee / Leena Salim / Chen Shu Cheng

I felt connected to "Fairytales" from the time I responded to the call for casting. So, I was delighted when I was shortlisted.

Then, I had to rush and hop into a taxi after a gruelling day of running around the tracks during the production of "Hentak Kaki", from Woodlands, at the north part of the island, to Tanjong Pagar, at the southern tip of Singapore.

During the audition, I was to act out the scene of the emotional departure between the father character and his daughter, after their chanced encounter. The father being prevented from seeing his daughter as a result of an acrimonious divorce.  I felt for the pitiful father and cried my hearts out during the audition, surprising the audition panel. Actually, it surprised me too, given that I had been acting out the contrarian character of the tough Army Warrant Officer Lee Teck Hong in "Hentak Kaki" for a few days, up till two hours before the audition.

"Fairytales" is about a group of youths, who because of the lack of parental attention and guidance are being lured into peripheral and illegal businesses by some shady characters in society. The story is inspired from some social realisations in the aftermath the unfortunate gang clashes and slashings during the year 2010. Kelvin wanted to make a movie to educate young people, empower them to make their own choices in life and not be led astray by the darker sides of society.

Here is the trailer:

This is the scene where Amanda, the lead character, calls her father on her birthday. The dialogue for this scene was re-written on on the spot on set. I had hard time remembering the lines, as I was still very new at that time and was used only to well rehearsed scripts. "Fairytales" was also my first experience acting in a Mandarin feature film.

Note: The following two videos are very primitively extracted from the DVD I bought. I am blogging this in between shoots, so do not have time to do a proper extraction yet.

Besides the lines, there were a lot of movements in the scene, from closing the boot, walking to the front, putting on the ear-piere to talk to Amanda, getting in the car, taking out the ear-piece after talking, look at the rear mirror to greet the passengers, turn on the "Hired" sign, buckling the seat belts, starting the engine, ...etc, with specific parts of the dialogue synchronised with some of the key actions/positions. Miss out on any one of the key action and there would be a re-take. 

From this, I learned not to rely solely on the memorization of script, but rather focused on listening and responding to conversations and integrating the speech with the actions. This became very useful some months later, when I acted as a gangland boss in action films, such as the "Back Alley Bulls", a US production.

What was to come was even more coordinated actions, as we needed to leave the covered car park area where we were supposed to drive around and instead proceeded to  an alternative route, driving amid real traffic, road constructions and speed humps. This, with the camera mounted on the bonnet, the director on the front passenger seat but plastered to the side out of frame and the sound recordist in the boot. Yes, we had that poor man in the boot!!! The speed humps were real interruptions and noise to our taxi conversations, and violent bumps for the sound recordist in the boot.

Anyway, I learned fast and executed this part swiftly, driving around and chatting to the passengers. However, I was exhausted after this scene.

I was asked if this was my taxi. I take that as a compliment! :)
Lastly, this is the clip on "The Makings of Fairytales":

"Fairytales" was screened during the Singapore International Film Festival and a few other screenings in the cinemas. Subsequently, it was screened in the schools, with the aim of educating the youths that they do have the power to exercise their choice, and not be led into crime.

I particularly like the last part of the film where the co-lead character, Jason, is asked by an older man in the coffee shop to look at his 'friends' from the perspective of an outsider. The older man told Jason that he too is an obedient boy, though not to his parents, but to his gang boss. That I think, is the central message of "Fairytales".

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  1. Thank you. Films are fantasies. Fairytales are fantasies with a moral message. All good fun! :)