Film Gems made in 48 Hours - 'Stuck in the Middle' by Superfly Monkey Dragons

What can you do in 48 hours? Go for a short getaway to a neighbouring country, do that spring cleaning you’ve been meaning to do for ages or finish up reading War & Peace, since you started on it last year. Or, you could make a movie. That’s what 27 teams in Singapore did on the last weekend of November for the 48 hour film project.

The teams’ tasks were to make a short film using these elements – Malone Lim or Marilyn Lim the taxi-driver, a guitar and this line “The book says that it is important not to miss this step”. As hard as it was for the judges to make their decisions for the many awards given out at the award presentation on the 8th December 2013, two teams, Superfly Monkey Dragons and Beep took home with them the most prizes. Our writer, Gwen, reviews both entries and speaks with the respective teams’ Directors/Screenwriters.

Review: Stuck in the Middle by Superfly Monkey Dragons
Won for: Best use of line, Best Acting (Comedy), Best Editing, Best Writing

What do you do with two small time thugs who hardly know how to interrogate a man properly? Right, you make a comedy. That was what made Stuck in the Middle stick out amongst the offerings of the 48 hour film project Singapore screening. Apart from superb casting; Tushar who seems like he has been made for the screen;  Jason the Chinese smartass Ah-beng who played up his stereotype to the maximum and the very game abductee who had to wear a pair of (lacy)female undergarments over his head (I hope he doesn’t believe in the three life times of bad luck superstition), SITM once again was a good example of a team which used its injects well, that despite having heard the line “The book says it’s important not to miss this step” twenty five times, I couldn’t help but laugh so hard when Tushar delivered it serious faced, without so much as batting an eyelid. For the 48 hours’ time limit, Superfly Monkey Dragons is one beast that has indeed unleashed its super powers in film making.

Interview with David Liem, Stuck in the Middle

Thanks David, for agreeing to share with us about the making of Stuck in the Middle! It is quite a funny story…Did the idea of two thugs interrogating a guy in the toilet come to you immediately after the injects were made known to your team?

David: I was actually pitching another idea to the group when this idea came about. It is loosely based on a scene I directed 2 years ago for the 48hour project in 2012, which also had 2 thugs in it, but I wanted the audience to get to know the 2 thugs better since they are quite hilarious as a duo. I thought it would be interesting to show the contrast between how mean the thugs think they are and what actually transpires in reality. We wanted to mislead the audience to think they were actual mean thugs, so when they discovered how pathetic they are, that's where the comedy lies.
The actors were really well casted – were they already on your team when you decided upon the characters or did you sculpt the roles around the cast members you had?

I've worked with Tushar on 2 other films, he's quite hilarious and I wanted to let him run free with his character. Jason was an acting friend of the other David in the crew, and he's really talented and also appeared in other 48 hour films as well.  Tushar and I wrote Tushar's character for Tushar, but with a lot less intelligence. Jason's character is supposed to boss Tushar around, and he's supposed to be the brains. I had no idea how Jason was going to portrait his character but he did an amazing job. 

Could you share with us one (or two) difficulties you faced during the filming Stuck in the Middle?

We made a calculated risk by shooting only night scenes, which meant we started shooting Saturday at 730pm. Luckily, we finished by 230am. But I was quite worried we wouldn't be able to finish as everyone was getting very tired. 

Another challenge was to keep everyone focused on getting through all the shoots. We have a lot of creative people in our group. There were artistic differences at times, but as time wound down, we became more focused on finishing the film. 

Editing was also another challenge as our editor Alex was so tired from the shoot before he had to rest properly before we could start editing. We only started editing at 130pm on Sunday, so that was quite an undertaking and very stressful for the editor.  

Read from your website that you got bitten by the film bug in 2011.. That’s just two years ago! How did you pick up this craft by yourself?

Yes I learned film making from scratch. I watched YouTube videos, bought equipment and started shooting for my friends and doing competitions like the 48hour film project. I also now run the video production business in my company to further strengthen my skills. 

Film making can be incredibly expensive.  Yet sometimes, it doesn’t even have to cost a cent. Just curious, what did you spend on while filming SITM?

Luckily we have friends who have good cameras and gear, and my company has some basic equipment so there wasn't a challenge there.  I spent a little bit to rent an ultra wide angle lens, but that's about it. There was more money spent on food props and make up. 

How long did it take – for you to i. write the screenplay ii. Film the short iii. Have it edited? Did you and your team get to sleep at all during the 48 hours?

Ideation - 3 hours
Writing and refining script - 6 hours 
Filming - 7.5 hours
Editing - 6 hours.

Yah we actually got decent sleep. A first for me. I slept well the first day and slept in the 2nd day since i didn't have to edit. Even our editor slept well. 


Stay tuned here at SINdie as we are trying to get our hands on this winning clip. We will post it here once available.

About David

David co-founded Happy Marketer ( ), a digital marketing agency in 2011 and has produced over 90 videos in the last 2 years. Active and deeply involved in video production projects, he has won several awards at various film competitions and wields strong understanding of the video making process.
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