Monday, November 15, 2004

"I should like to put across that everything - epic adventure, humour and feeling - is contained in the normal human condition." - Ermanno Olmi

So said one of the greatest Italian film directors living today, on the 1964 US release of his film "Il Posto".

As if to prove his point, here's a photograph I took in Cambodia, earlier this year. In it, you see a pre-school child trying his damnedest to agitate a bunch of older school-going children. I was witnessing what must have been a bit of an "epic adventure" for our naked little friend, and a bit of a "horror" to the older children on the back of that truck.

The sight of this made me think several things. Firstly, how free were, and how much less inhibited, before they clouded our thinking in school. Secondly, it gave me an idea to make a telemovie about the first day of school.

I have my own pool of "horror" stories on the subject. How harrowing it was for me on that day, suddenly finding myself in a cold and unfamiliar place, surrounded by frightened children and hostile adults.

Now it may have been a relatively insignificant day for you, but for me it was like Auschwitz.

If you have interesting first-day experiences to share, do it through the "comment" button below. Inshaallah, if I use any of them, I'll credit you in my telemovie.

Don't expect to get rich with this, though. With "Rabun", by the time we had paid the actors, the crew, the equipment people, the live-sound people, the post-production studios, the caterers and the transport folks, we had zilch left for the producer, the director, the writer, the editor and the cinematographer.

Why? Simply because we wanted to shoot "Rabun", our very first "movie", our very first baby, on FILM, instead of the standard telemovie VIDEO format.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, the grand budget for a 2-hour long telemovie is generally RM80,000 or less. In Singapore, I know someone who's getting a 100,000 Singapore Dollars grant (that's more than 200,000 ringgit!) to make a mere short film.

Oh well. It's a fair cop and society's to blame.

All that aside, even if I don't end up using any of your stories, and you don't even get the pleasure of seeing your name appear in my end credits, at least you would have benefitted from the cathartic therapy of re-living a defining moment in your life. Plus, you would have also participated in The Storyteller's second screenplay writing exercise. And all that, for FREE.

Even-stevens, no?