Sunday, February 26, 2006

Going NUTS

Since we made up our minds to go all the way, we have been actively putting things together.

Although there are bumps and all, we're still chugging along fine. Managing as best as we could.

And then, came a shock that could possibly halt the production - the filming location.

We have been rejected by a certain authority to use our intended location. If you have been reading this blog and been on this journey with us, you would have known how important the location is. The whole story is based on this location. Without it, the movie won't work.

I could have accepted the authority's reasons but something that that personnel said really riled me:

"In the first place, you should have find out from us whether you could have the permission to film in this place before you write the script!"

In the first place, we are not writing a story that takes place in a high-security area like the airport or the Jurong Island. It is a place where Eng Tiong grew up. In fact, his parents still stay there. Eng Tiong and I are now staying just opposite this location.

It is a story about a place we know best. Do I need permission to write a screenplay about a place that we knew best?

Secondly, the place is up for re-development. People staying there are already moving away. So when we wrote the script a year ago, we knew there will be vacant places for us to film in.

Oh geez, or maybe I should have consulted with that particular authority before we even attempted to come up with that story!

That reminds me of Mr. Sim Wong Hoo, Creative Technolgy founder's NUTS article in his book "Chaotic Thoughts from the Old Millenium".

NUTS stands for "No U-Turn Syndrome". In Singapore, as long as you don't see the U-Turn sign, you can't make a u-turn.

What he's meaning to say is that, in Singapore, we proceed to do something only when the authorities tell us we could. For everything else, assume that the answer would be a "no" if there isn't an explicit "yes".

So reminders for all Singaporean scriptwriters/ producers out there - before you write your screenplay.... no... before you even think up a story concept, please, call up the relevant authorities and ask about the feasibility of making it happen, even if it's as simple as and as common a setting as your own housing estate.

From Mr. Sim's book, about NUTS:

"To meet the challenge of the new world, to meet the challenge of rising to a knowledge-based economy, we have to innovate like mad. How can we innovate when we need to obey rules to innovate? Innovate means to create things out of nothing, it means moving into uncharted territories where there are no rules.

How can you innovate when you have to get approval of somebody who looks at a rule-book first?"

And we wonder why the local feature filmmaking industry isn't taking off...