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  • Writer's pictureSam C. Weishi

The Magic in Art

I had started writing this four months ago but this post became difficult to complete. Partly because life/time got the better of me, but it was mostly the frustrating inability to find words and sentences that could perfectly express this magic I've come to realise in filmmaking.

Since the last time I've written: we've finished shooting a short film in JB and we're presently in post-production, I got to be a part of a one-month shoot for 'Mixed Signals' (it's out now and you can check it out on Toggle here) and I'm embarking on another short film shoot end of this month (we're shooting on actual film AND with an all-female team I am so stoked!!!).

I'd written about the earlier short film before; it was the first project I'd taken up and committed to after (finally) graduating from university. I recall fondly, before painted paddle pop skies, these bittersweet words: IT'S. A. WRAP. At that time, more sweet than bitter; we had been shooting for a week in JB, and preparing for several months before that. I had placed my life on hold for this film, so I inevitably welcomed with open arms, the end of an arduous process. Arduous because what I had observed and experienced during pre-production challenged numerous principles I had formed of filmmaking and of life over the years. At what I then felt was my 'lowest', something happened then that reminded me of why I started to do what I do. There was magic, even there.

hanging with sam & koon @ shuangxi (jul '19)

It was the first week of July when I found myself sitting in a studio with Sam, Koon, Kyle, Shien and Imran - the incredibly talented human beings behind lost spaces (check out their debut album!!). They were rehearsing for Good Vibes. I had never been to a live band performance before, neither have I attended a music festival (and lost spaces sealed the deal for me in finally deciding to go for gvf '19), so sitting on those carpeted floors, watching them make music was surreal. Five people, in a space, making music so beautiful it was quite simply, for lack of a better word, magic. They had something to say through their art; that was a little piece of reminder I didn't know I need. In retrospect, it was after that trip that I remembered why I was drawn to filmmaking: it was telling a story, and it was about collaborating with so many others to tell that story. That was the magic. That was the alluring charm of filmmaking.

team TME (jul-aug '19)

And this film set was particularly magical; people from all around the world literally came together to make art. Passionate, talented individuals with promise, potential and the courage to create. It was amazing to have worked alongside such diverse people; I'm eternally grateful. I have yet to reconcile with the conflicting perspectives I've been presented with in the process of making this film, nor will I elaborate further until I've achieved a level of clarity in time to come, but I am, for now, relishing the post-production process. For the most part haha.

A month later, I got to work on 'Mixed Signals' as a production coordinator. I had never worked on a drama set before (although I was an extra on some Chinese drama set years ago), but I was sure this would be an experience different from other drama sets - everyone was so young! It wasn't that I hadn't worked on sets with young people before - all my film sets were basically made up of people my age, but having worked commercially I've noticed sets that were more commercial in nature were often less collaborative; the 'more experienced' crew dictated most of the production. It was so refreshing and mindblowing to me, to witness a collaboration of this extent and to be a part of it. It gave me hope.

shoutout to the lovely production team ❤️

We loved working with one another so much some of us are working together again on a short film!!! I'm particularly stoked to be part of an all-female team - filmmaking has always been a male-dominated profession although I am heartened to see this shifting. These past few months fresh out of university have been a blessing; I have been fortunate enough to be able to do what I love to do everyday.

I've realised the magic in art. Now I just need to find the magic in life.

xoxo, Sam.



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