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


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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dispher



This film is originally called "Shrink", which as its name implies, involves shrinking objects of sorts to fit into an evil plot. That's so much I am revealing for now, as I won't want to spoil your fun watching it later.

Perhaps in the quest for uniqueness, the producers have changed the title of the film to "Dispher" - as there is no such word in the English dictionary and also that there is no other film with such a name in the market.

Uniqueness is important in a name, but a film title should also represent the story, as that is how viewers will decide if they would want to invest the time and money to watch it.

Here is the film...




I applaud the production team for the results, particularly one with tight budget and time lines. Ironically, it was also a laid back and enjoyable experience, working in the more idyllic locations in Johore Bahru, Malaysia - away from the hustle and bustle of urban Singapore. It is healthy to do that once in a while in a place where the common people in the sleepy kampungs (villages) has time to stop and stare, and chat with you endlessly.


As this is kind of a horror flick, much of the scenes were done at night. The few day scenes were shot well indoors under ceiling fans or under the canopies of the generous rural vegetation, well protected from the harsh tropical sun. Not something folks from miserable cold weathers can understand, but you will if you have lived here long enough.


I particularly enjoyed working with my co-actor Daeng Amer. Daeng comes from 30 years of theatre experience, and he gives all he has as an actor while on set. One could easily be captivated to believe that he was indeed the deranged character in the script. He told me that while many actors like to choose the roles they like to play, he does the opposite by declaring that he is willing to accept any role directors offer him. As a result, he has landed on many diverse and challenging roles. And that is real growth to an actor! Something actors may like to rethink.


The village environment is such an antiquated charm for a Singaporean city slicker like myself. I need such getaways once in a while, and it is so nice on this instance that I am paid for doing so.


Here is the production team.






Patrick (the guy on the string) acted as the passenger that I picked up in the night cab, and literally so (picked up) after he is shrunk to size. For that to happen visually, video captures of some stunts were necessary in the green room, and subsequently, applying the digital special effects on the video complete the rest of the magic.

For those of you who do not know, videos of Patrick being hoisted were taken with a green background, in order for it to be replaced with the desired background subsequently.


Green is chosen because none of our body parts are of that colour, unless if you happened to be  one of the few that has green eyes. Not something to be jealous of in this situation. In fact, productions used to use blue screens, but found them  a problem with blue eyes.

Here are some of the special effects that required lots of patience and long iterative processes.



While this film is a short horror flick, I can't help reading more to it and relate some of the plots to what I observe in real life. For instance, about making people feel small and putting them in confined career ceiling - isn't this virtually the same as putting a bunch of shrunk people crying out in a locked box?

And passing the evil box to the next victim - isn't this what investing in properties or stocks are like? That is, to buy it cheap (or even at an outlandishly high price) as long as you can sell it in time to the next ignorant investor just before the market crash!  :)

Finally, one criticism of the film I have is that I find the ending a little abrupt. I don't know why. Is it because they didn't get enough footages for the ending or they did not plan it in the first place? Who knows?



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