In Production - 'Love Song' by Calvin Choo

"We are final year students in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Synopsis aside Love Song The Musical has been a common goal for the team throughout our 3 years of education in polytechnic. There were heaps of arguments during the conceptualizing. Scripts were written for neo-noirs, dramas and suspense thrillers. But in our final moment right before the end of the deliberation period. Calvin, the director finally broke to me his genuine interest for this project. "I always wanted to do a musical" he said. I went like "What the fuck!?" (pls dont quote me on this) But he describe one scene that he always have in mind. And I bought it completely. So with no script, no story, no time. We embarked on a musical. That was how Love Song started.
The inspiration of the film came when he shares with us his observation and memories on moments where things are more pure and innocent. The magical moments of first love and the courage to be vulnerable. So that became the story. Our hopes for it, is to tell something simple and genuine. But of course, we want to tell it as beautifully as we can. Looking back, it has been an exhilarating experience with majority disappointments and crashes. But I remember the first moment we see our original story and song acted and sang aloud by our lead actor, Rayve, we applauded in unison. And that became the moment we choose remember above everything else. "
Chian Sing Wei, Producer of Love Song

Jeremy (J): do you like musicals or you just wanted the challenge?
Calvin (C): I love musicals. Moulin Rougue was my first musical actually. I watched it and I fell in love with it
J : Can you share a little more? Like what musicals you like
C: After Moulin Rouge, I went out and watched a couple more, such as Rent, Chicago and of course, 881. There's just something in musicals which I can't really explain..being a lover of music and movies, it satisfies me in both aspects. My favourite musical is still Moulin Rouge, though Rent comes in close. (Pause) Yeah..basically, we just plunged into producing Love Song without any experience with Musicals, without any real knowledge on how to create songs and such.
J : You mentioned you started this production from scratch.... that must be daunting. Where was your starting point in this production? C : The starting point was actually a joke! We were shooting a video for National Day and I jokingly sang this song about FSV, our course. We then joked that we should shoot a musical for our final year project and it got me going. I wasn't really sure if anyone else wanted to do it though
J : With no background in music, how did you get the music created? C : I met our music composer, Bevlyn Khoo, through a classmate when she came and helped us with one of our school projects…and I loved her songs. So when it was decided that we were going to do a Musical, we contacted her immediately for help
J : She is quite famous, I have heard of her.
C : Yes..she is..and she's very very nice. Of course, there's also Jean, our arranger who has been doing a great job. These 2 ladies have been exceptional in this field
J : So please describe the what kind of a repertoire you ended up with?
C : Basically, we have 2 songs. Both of which Singwei has written lyrics for, before Bevlyn composed the music and Jean arranged. They're just simple, romantic songs. But to me, I love these songs as we really enjoy listening to them. First time we heard it, we kept looping them and it got stuck in our heads for quite some time
J : Okay.... I guess designing the cinematography for a musical must be fun! I am interested to know what funky shots you had? C : Hmm..for me, we wanted something simple for the cinematography, but at the same time, we wanted it to look amazing. We wanted it to be like..each shot was a picture by itself, which which link to the whole story. Every ounce of effort was spent on making sure it was well lit, movement done smoothly and understandable (Pause) We did have a couple of challenging shots……….We had to do a shot, tilting down, dollying back and jibbing down at the same time…..that was our most challenging shot. Why we needed that shot was to establish the location where Zai, our main character, lives and establish him as well. (Pause) Another funky shot we had was a 360 degree pan and jib shot.
J : I see. Wicked! (pause) Can the actors really sing? Or are you using dubbing?
and I insisted on using simple shots.
C : YES! Both Rayve and Joanne-Marie were selected not only for their acting skills, but also their ability to sing!
J : Where did you find them? C : We made them sing during shoot, but we will also polish it up later on with a studio recording. Joanne-Marie responded to our casting call, but I wasn't around at that time. So when I saw the recording of the audition, I knew I had found the perfect person for the role of Vicky. As for Rayve, we were introduced to him by Kenneth Lyen. then Singwei went down to see his performance in a play. After that, we met up!
J : So................. er..... is it an expensive production? C : Hmm..compared to the many short films done here, I wouldn't say that it's REALLY expensive. Afterall, with the way the film has turned out to be, every single cent spent was well worth it. And last I heard, we're actually spending just a bit more or the same amount as the other groups…. and we've gotten support from MDA and school
J : That's a happy ending! All the best then!

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