Production talk with Kristen Ong (Every Single Night)

Every Single Night won Best Art Direction at the 5th Singapore Short Film Awards


A young but weary couple mull over a documentary on snails while having dinner. When the woman fails to tear the man's attention away from the television, the illusion of the documentary begins to manifest before her eyes. 

What inspired Every Single Night?

At the time of conceptualization I had just broken up with someone I had been together with for a while. Back when I wrote the script I wasn't conscious of why I had written it the way I did, but looking back now I think I was trying to explore how my relationship had gone through rhythms where I felt like we were close to running out of things to say to each other. During those periods, the meals we shared were often quiet, comfortable and strained all at once and that dynamic stayed with me, always bothered me.

What were the difficulties you & your team encountered during the filming/ post production?

You can say that the shoot went relatively smoothly. We shot everything (including the documentary footage) in one day. Creating the sound design was the most difficult aspect of making the film. We wanted to design a soundscape that was complementary to the surreal occurrences on screen and the mood of the film, while at the same time allow insight into the woman's state of mind and point of view. The script was deliberately written without any dialogue so quite a bit of post-production time was spent experimenting with the sound design and seeing what could help bring out her inner world.

Was that a real snail documentary or did you guys make it up (including narration, visual content)?

The visuals are a mix of stock footage and footage that we shot on our own. The narration was based off research and written into the script. After filming we got 91.3FM DJ Adam Piperdy to record the narration for us.

I can see how you guys won for art direction. May I ask which director(s) influenced this piece?
In some part, Michel Gondry, whose brand of visual storytelling I've always admired. I had been watching quite a number of music videos at the time and conceptualization was mostly visually driven as a result of that. 

Could you elaborate on how the title "Every Single Night" came about?

After I had written the script I remember reading it and feeling as though the couple would wake up the next day and do the same thing all over again and again, hence the title. 

Would you mind sharing with us the expenditure breakdown of this short as well as equipment used during filming?

The short was made with roughly $400. The location was free. $50 was spent on art and the prop snail shells were handmade. Antonio (the male lead) was a classmate. Majority of the budget went into food (on and off screen) and transport. We shot the film on the Sony F3, which was provided by Ngee Ann Polytechnic. My DP, Lincoln Yeo, mostly used Sony lenses, but used Canon lenses for the wide and macro shots.

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