Production Talk : 'Beyond the Band by Team SEJA - 48 Hour Film Project, Singapore 2009

"In May 2009, the 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which a team make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours. Each team were given:
  • * A specific genre
  • * Prop : Scissors
  • * Character: Amy/Andy Yeo, Journalist
  • * Line of dialogue: Is it supposed to look like that? "
Team SEJA was a team that worked with cast and crew from both Perth and Singapore to produce their film within the 48Hour time frame despite the wide difference in distance. Team members; Muhammad Zaki (Director), Eunice Wong (Director/Editor) and Sueanne Teo (Producer/Editor/Team Leader) shared with Sindie their "Behind The Scenes" stories and their memorable moments on the set.

Li: How did the team managed to get everything organized within the short period of time (eg; planning, location/actor selections, etc)?

Zaki: Days leading up to the launch of 48HFP competition, we have started toying with some ideas for possible genres we might come across. A lot of research was done. Basically, we had a rough idea of what we wanted to do for most genres, so when we somehow got Mockumentary, it was almost as if Lady Luck was smiling upon us as we liked the idea of a Mockumentary very much and we were pretty much leaning more towards that genre, in terms of ideas.

Eunice: We learnt from the past – a huge group brainstorming and trying to write a script together, is too many cooks. With 2 writing the script, it became much easier and faster. Shooting with two units also saved us loads of time – Perth wrapped up the shoot by 4.30pm. We also had schoolmates with perfect timing, i.e. Chris Nixon, who walked into the studio at 11pm with his awesomely stylish cousin Danni (who became the female lead in our film).

Zaki: For our Singaporean unit, we were really thankful for the actors/actresses who came down to help us out. They pretty much responded to our calls in the wee hours of Saturday morning and were more than happy to let us shoot them for the whole of Saturday.

Sue: In order to maximise our time, we shot everything in one location. All indoor shots were in a single location. For Singapore, it was our HQ (pretty much someone’s attic), and even when we did move outside, it was just walking distance from our HQ. For Perth it was the Curtin Uni TV Studio (exterior shots were also on school compound).

Li: What was you/your team's best experience?

Sue: Being able to say we did an international production in 48 hours. Watching the director make a fool of himself, screaming random nonsense into the mic (in the middle of the night I might add) in an attempt to recreate death metal music.

Zaki: Having my producer watch me make a fool out of myself (and recording it on her digicam), screaming random nonsense into the laptop mic in an attempt to recreate death metal music. Oh. And she put it up on Facebook videos too. Do watch out for that. Mmmm... actually. Don't. It was so embarrassing! The version that made the cut was way better since it didn't have my face plastered on the video. In the film, it's called Sunshine, and was "performed" by the Zombies.
Eunice: Having an amazing crew with loads of initiative who set up the garage/stage for the rock concert by midnight on Friday without me even asking them to. Having access to a TV studio and professional lighting equipment. Having amazing actors who didn't need much direction at all. Seriously, this was the smoothest shoot ever!

Li: What were some of the things learnt during this film's journey?

Eunice: Take into account that Singapore needs time to download too! Doh!
Sue: Backup equipment. Especially lights. One of Singapore's lights died just before we started shooting. =(
Zaki: Yeah, I agree with Sue on this one. We really need to get hold of bac
kup equipment in case things fail. We had to deal with Murphy at every turn. He keeps on popping his head every now and then on set just to make sure things go his way. What can I say? It's Murphy's Law. But on another note, it's really awesome to realize that with the Internet, an FTP server, perseverance, hard work, focus, and a lot of guts and pizzas, we can actually do a collaboration between two units in two countries separated by oceans to achieve something in 48 hours.
The pressure was overwhelming but we still share the same passion for filmmaking and ultimately all of us had fun, and I think, as long as the crew remains a fun bunch, we really did enjoy what we did and that's what counts. Winning something in the competition is totally secondary.

Li: What was the greatest challenge & how did the team over come it?

Sue: This is easy. File transfer. Horrendous internet speeds in both Singapore and Perth. Eunice edited in uni, which had better internet than her home. The internet at our HQ in Singapore was working fine until the last few hours when we had to download Act 3 of the film. At 5.30pm, we started the download, and it had an estimated ten hours remaining. Haha! Thank goodness we had another crew member who lived nearby with significantly better speeds than our HQ. He downloaded and brought it over.

Eunice: We also had a bit of trouble finding groupies for the concert scene at such short notice (everyone seemed to be working on the weekend!). Casting was the producers' job and I was so busy doing other things that I forgot about the people I could have contacted to help! But no matter, our make-up artist came through with 2 of her friends, and the producers, Andrea and David, also got some people to come along. The crew had to be in it as well!

Zaki: We ran out of pizzas too early on Saturday night. That was TRAGIC.

Li: How would you summarise the overall production itself and the yourself/team's experience? All:Read all our cast/crew quotes on the 48HFP Singapore blog! :D

Sindie's review on their film could be read


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