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





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Monday, January 4, 2016

The Collector

"The Collector" is a tale of a psychologically unstable man who is compelled to confront his inner demons when he discovers a small music box that sparks memories of his daughter. This is a short film made by a bunch of fresh graduates from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Film Sound and Video School, while waiting for their National Service enlistment into the Singapore Armed Forces.

I love the atmosphere at the flea (thieves') market along Sungei Road. It is so spontaneous and uncommon in today's highly organised Singapore. Unfortunately, 'Sungei Road' will soon vanish to make way for urban renewal.

Crowd control was the main problem there. We had to hide the camera at a safe distance to allow the crowd to pass by and move on, so that they won't stare at the actors or the camera. Annoyingly, one of them followed us around and appeared in front of our camera several times, pretending that his presence in frame was just a coincidence.

The climax of the shoot occurred during the confrontation scene when a public-spirited man, not knowing that we were on a shoot, rushed in to intervene and stop me from snatching the little girl away. We should have kept the camera rolling to capture the commotion. That breaking of the fourth wall, incorporated into the film, would have been priceless.

Some directors are very quick to capture such rare windows of opportunities. To these directors, the camera would roll until he shouts "cut", unless the situation was life threatening.

I have acted in several films as a karung-guni (rag-and-bone) man. For more, click here.

For other films about father-child relationships, click here, here and here.

Some production photos:


  1. Very nice Michael, keep up the good work. Will be following your shows.

  2. Hi Michael. I don't know if you remember me. You hired me to work in the "security and compliance" department of a bank in Malaysia about 15 years ago. You left a couple of months after that, and I left a couple of months after you left. Anyway, I considered you as one of my first mentors, having learned a lot under the few months we worked together.

    Around 2006, I found myself working for a huge company that required a lot of traveling. Between 2006-2008, I was sent to Singapore to deliver a couple of projects. In those 2 years, I found myself immersed in Singaporean culture (and the underground counterculture).

    However, 2008 onwards, I was moved to the Middle East, so much so that I've relocated my family here now.

    Anyway, your movies transported me back to events and atmosphere which I find very Singaporean, which I dearly miss.

    It is amazing to find that you've jumped from technology to the arts. A move I would consider very ballsy indeed. Not only that, it seems that you've done the jump successfully too!

    How did you manage it? With the responsibilities etc. I am always interested to find how one moves from one area, into another totally unrelated area.

    Thanks and I truly wish you the best in all your endeavors!

    1. You have not left a name, so it is hard to know if I do remember you. :) But my guess is that I do. Would you like to email me directly? My email is in the right column of the blog.