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Thursday, March 23, 2006

My creative works seem to share a common theme...

Dawn Yang, or Dawn Yeo, returns to The Great Swifty Speaketh!

During the editing assignment, a raw footage from a short film is given to groups of two to edit into a watchable short film. The rushes weren't anything special. It's about this guy who works in the filming equipment room at the Media And Communications School of Murdoch University. It was late at night, someone called Monty phones in to book a camera, the main guy complied. Then, suddenly, a hot babe walks in, flirts with him, seduces him into giving her the last camera. Hot babe leaves happily.

Monty, a big dangerous-looking dude comes in, pissed off that his camera had been given to someone else. Monty beats up the main guy.

I guess that should be what the original film was like. The audio track's completely removed, hence we have to put in sound effects of our own. Basically, it allows LOTS of room for creativity. Anyone could come up with their own reading and interpretation of the footage they saw.

Although I'm usually a Sony Vegas user, this assignment managed to make me become better versed with Adobe Premiere Pro (which is pretty much used by most people I know, and also taught by my uni), and someday, perhaps I would come up with something regarding the merits of these two editing software I use (for the time being, go read DVguru's comparison of the four top editing softwares in the market, it's great for all aspiring filmmakers and editors).

Speaking to people who did this assignment last year, I learnt that the ones who scored the highest were:

1) Someone who made hot chick and main guy had sex in the office (implied with sound effects), and then being caught by Monty (who is hot chick's boyfriend).

2) Someone who turned the short film into a horror tale. Hot chick's a GHOST!

3) Someone who stuck to conventional route, but spent lots of time on adding dialogue for the sound effects (via dubbing!)

Therefore I did what no one had done by dubbing the film with... JAPANESE DIALOGUE. Now, what makes this even crazier is the fact that I do NOT know Japanese, what I did was to cut out random snippets of dialogue from the anime, Cowboy Bebop, and put it in my project. Therefore, anyone who actually knows Japanese would 'WTF!' through the whole thing, or giggle like crazy. I stuck with the conventional route, except, instead of being beaten up, my main guy got SHOT by Monty. And as main guy died, he lamented the fact that he never got to know the hot chick's name.

Here's the end result.

When telling my aspiring filmmaker friend Sebastian, who is chillin' in UK, about what I did, he immediately remarked about it being rather similar to this aborted stageplay, Adieu, I did back when I was 17. I couldn't help but agree, and said that it's also similar to my second short film,Forced Labour. My creative works, both writings and films, are seemingly united by a few common themes! It's always about regret, yearning and the lost opportunities of romance! It's possibly influenced by my personal life, and it's funny that I've never truly noticed that until tonight. It's all subconscious, I try to pour my emotions to tell a good story, and ultimately, they are all united by a similar theme. Here's a summary of my works that belong to this category:

Adieu = Takes place during the 1920-1930s era, like a film noir. My main guy walks into a bar, speaks to the bartender, tired and world weary. Then he sees his ex-flame appearing onstage, singing. He sees a new possiblity in life, leaves the girl a note while she's still singing. Goes off somewhere to meet up with her, unfortunately, he's murdered by gangsters who had a history with him. Hours later, the bar singer stands alone, waiting for him, not knowing that she's not going to see him again.

Forced Labour = A business transaction between two rival gangs (led by women) was interrupted when one of the gang bosses had to go into labour. The protagonist, Karen, has to help her sworn enemy deliver the baby despite their unspoken past. It's finally revealed in the ending that Karen's husband was gunned down three years ago by the pregnant gang boss shortly after Karen had a fight with him. Karen's selfless act was possibly driven by her own regret of indirectly causing her husband's death, or never fulfilling what he had wanted.

The Cottage (Blogathon 2005 Story) = A time traveler tries to resurrect his dead lover. His (mis)adventures, presented in journal form, are mostly wistful ponderings and monologue directed to his absent lover. Ah, I still love the 'Let my love for you flow in the River of Time for eternity' line in this one. But yeah, you can probably see the picture now.

Even my upcoming short film deals with similar themes, even though it takes place in a postapocalyptic internet-less world. A girl grappling with the shocking identity of her online boyfriend, and also the feeling of loss and regret of someone who had always been in love with her, but never the chance to express his feelings.

Hell, even my DAWN YANG WEBCOMICS are like that.

Dawn Yang, or Dawn Yeo, should appear in Swifty's future films.Who else does stuff that explore these themes? To my consternation, I could only think of Wong Kar Wai (read this analytical article about his meditations on loss), and to a lesser extent, Christopher Nolan (his films have more to do with guilt and regret than real heartbreak). Urgh, that means I'll be following the footsteps of shitloads of other aspiring filmmakers out there! I'll become an incompetent WKW-wannabe and churn out rubbish like The Third Generation!

Now, like Sebastian had asked, what kind of works will I make when I get married and have kids in the future? Of course, judging by my current situation, whether THAT will really happen is in doubt. But for the time being, I won't mind revisiting themes that seem to haunt most of my works. It's not as if I am deliberately trying to tell the same story, but I guess subconsciously, it's something that will slip through no matter what I do.

BTW: Can anyone name some other directors who tend to make films about yearning, regret, losses, lost opportunities in romance and heartbreak? I think Shunji Iwai's one of them too (though not that apparent).

(Sorry, Dawn)

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