Production Talk - 'Seeya In Elektrik Dreamz' by Nelson Yeo

Seeya in Elektrik Dreamz talks about a tale of four people confronting the end of the world. A woman had a fling with an unknown man, just moments before the world ended. She searched endlessly for him. Two orphaned kids found each other in a godforsaken world. A friendship was formed. After his wife left him, a dreamless man went around stealing dreams from corpses.

Based on a post apocalyptic set, Seeya In Elektrik Dreamz portrayed a different and foreign sight to our local lands. A  visually driven story that questions ourselves if time has lost its purpose and would one rather live on an alternative world. 
We now talk to the person behind the creation of the film and have a look inside inside his world. 

1.  What embarked you on the journey for Seeya in Elektrik Dreamz? Your Inspiration for the film?

NY: At the beginning, I was in my Bob Dylan fanatical phase, so I had initially written Seeya in Elektrik Dreamz like one of his prose. The title was the first thing that came up. I've only read the first few pages of Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep? So I did my best to interpret the rest of it. Lol. Which was my initial version of Elektrik Dreamz. A few useful ear-catching keywords were throw into our FYP pitch (knowing that the lecturers/judges will be drawn to them). It was very vague at first, but I knew that I was gonna make a science fiction genre film. But I think the gist of it came about when as usual, my lecturer asked to see something more, and not to take the easy way out. So I ended up writing alot of personal experiences into Elektrik Dreamz. The initially story was about a breakup and a longing for someone to return, but enough things happened in my life to make the film alot more than that. It pretty much sums up a phase of my filmmaking journey and my life. The structure of the film was at its core, inspired by Tarkovsky's The Mirror, as I had wanted the film to deal with memories and dreams. You won't really "get" the entire film, but what you draw from it are feelings and emotions. And of course, the films of Terrence Malick in the narrative structure and the voiceover.

2. Was it tough to base a film on a post apocalyptic set?

NY: Not really, it was trying to pull off something that is convincing that is the hard part. Part of the magic of cinema is to create a world in which your audience can believe in. And we aimed towards that. But at the same time, we stripped away all the unnecessaries and only kept to the essential bits. A lot of thought were put into the preproduction to create a convincing world. Intially, I had wanted a more realistic style, but Cindy Khoo, the production designer had managed to come up a steam punk design that gave the film a more fantastical design. Also Feng Kexin's cinematography plays an important part to creating a barren and dying world. Initially, she has storyboarded all the shots in the film, but we kind of improvised and reacted to the surrounding everytime we go on set. So it became more of an instinctual thing. Lol. She managed to capture a lot of brilliant imagery, that plays a really important part in the film since the entire film is kind of an abstraction of images. A lot of credits go to my producer Eileen Loh as well, for gaining us access to a lot of unaccessible locations.

3. You mentioned about it being a visually driven story questioning time losing its purpose and if one would rather be living in an alternate world. Could you tell us more on that?

NY: This is a tough question. Lol. I guess it's a human condition. When things get really bad in life, we always long for something better. Everything, including time, loses its meaning, you wish that someone somewhere else fare a lot better than you.

4. What were some of the difficulties you went through while making the film? 

NY: Of course, the most difficult thing is to convince the crew at first. It's not an easy story to explain or pitch to anyone. Its easier to convey the images to them. Hence, everyone just have to go with a gut feeling. Initially, I had wanted the film to be more freeform and improvisational, but our schedule and this being a FYP and all, didn't allow us to do that. So a lot of it had to be crafted in preproduction. I would really have loved to do this film in a more cinema verite style though! Of course, crafting the film in postproduction is another big hurdle to us, Syazali, our editor has done a wonderful job of cutting the film down to the essentials, crafting a story out of images that doesn't really connect. (Trivia: Syaz told me that this is the only film that he has cut as Syazali, rather than his alter ego, the Source!) Kelvin Teoh, our sound designer from studiohMB had to create the soundscape from scratch, because a lot of our location audio couldn't be used. Kelvin's brilliant sound design is complimented by my long-time friend, Teo Wei Yong's brilliant score, to complete the picture.

5. Would you, rather live in an alternative world then? 

NY: I'm not sure. If I'm gonna miss all the opportunities to meet all the people I know in my life, I rather not. But I would love to create more worlds in my films for people to believe in, after all aren't cinema and art mere reflections of our lives? So it's not really all that different.

6. What do you have planned next?

NY: Hopefully, a superhero film about two superkids. And hopefully it will be a feature... To quote Stan Lee: "Face front! True believers! This is the one you've been waiting for!"... I'm currently in the process of researching and writing it now, so lots of comics reading. The idea spawned from two short stories about two kids with superpowers, I wrote about 2 years ago. It was inspired by my neighbour's kid when I rented an apartment near Jurong. It will be set in Singapore, or maybe an alternate world somewhere... Lol, perhaps an alternate Singapore.

7. Anything else you would like to add?
NY: Like to thank everyone who worked on or supported the film~ T-H-A-N-K-S! I hoped everyone enjoyed working on the film, or even bothered to sit through it!

Article by Yvette Ng

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