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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Annoyed By Ex-High Schoolmates Who Work In The Same Industry

(The 'industry' referred in the title is the media industry, which includes film, tv, new media etc.)

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to run into two people from my former high school during separate occasions, one works now in a New Media company, the other works in a video-sharing site owned by a huge corporation that owns a couple of television channels. I'm not going to name names.

Through a stroke of coincidence, I was suddenly contacted by both for similar reasons, they were asking for both my short films and Greenlight Pictures' (which are Ming Jin's). The former to provide mobile phones as a platform to exhibit these short films, the latter to offer the website he's working on as a platform to exhibit these short films.

So I had an appointment with the one who works in the new media company at Starbucks.

... and was subjected to wait for nearly 45 minutes before she arrived, something that would have annoyed me less if she weren't the one who chose the appointment time. I sat and waited, nearly emptying my ice-blended mocha, taking the opportunity to start writing notes for a short film I intend to work on.

She arrived, apologetic and flushed face. I brushed it aside, and we proceeded with the discussion. Explaining about the role of her company and the software they designed, she took out a laptop computer and placed it before me, intending to demonstrate the capabilities of their software and why they wanted my (and Greenlight's) contribution.

But she couldn't get the software to work, rapidly pressing, only to receive one error message after another.

That went on for 15 minutes.

She called her office and asked a colleague for her, step-by-step instructions to keep things going.

That went on for another 15 minutes.

I sat back and waited. The boredom and suppressed annoyance caused my mind to drift slowly away, I daydreamed I was in another place where I wasn't wasting my time with this. I daydreamed that I didn't need to daydream to lessen my boredom.

She finally got things to work. I wondered whether she knew I was annoyed and that she was merely concealing it all with a facade of nonchalance, just as I hid mine with indifference? Things aren't entirely her fault, yet it was still a rather messed up situation.

Sample of conversation from the appointment:

"So, if you provide us your short films, we'll be able to put it on our software, allowing people to download it into their mobile phones!"

"That's nice, it's just that, our short films just aren't really good to watch on the tiny screen. Like my Girl Disconnected, they are arthouse works."

"Arthouse works? What's that?"

"Ya know, art films? Non-mainstream films? That kind of thing?"



Tip to people who intend to have business discussions with me:

Please, PLEASE be punctual. I'm a time-conscious freak!

Another one who works in a website that is occasionally being advertised in this blog is a much longer story. You know in films or stories where characters from a small up-and-coming company get insulted from an arrogant someone who works in a large corporation? Well, ironically, this happened between this guy and I. Look at the following conversation:

Him: Hey, give me your short films, and Greenlight Pictures'. So we can put it on our website.
Me: Er, well, what exactly do we benefit from it? What separates it from putting my short film on Youtube and my blog?
Him: We are just giving you indie guys the chance to get more exposure.


That's not SO bad. But the guy is seemingly gifted in finding ways to irk or alienate me.

Me: Well, actually, we are in the midst of getting [Name of famous actress concealed] for the role in KURUS.

Him: *scoffs* Can you people even afford her? She's expensive! And perpetually busy! And she's doing this musical!

My initial reaction was to smack some manners into his face. But I'm civilized, so I merely started explaining to him the machinations of independent films, not just locally, but around the world.

"Independent films," I said. "Offer a different kind of exposure for actors and actresses. That's why most of the time, they take pay cuts for it. They don't do it for the money, but for the interest in the project, or the passion in acting. They help actors build credibility."

"That is why the finest and biggest Hollywood actors often balance independent dramas with popcorn big-budget films, they need to make a living, but sometimes they need a different kind of reward from their craft. Why would someone like Tom Cruise appear in films like Magnolia or Eyes Wide Shut? Do you think he demanded his usual $20 million for each role? Malaysian independent films travel overseas, appearing in many foreign film festivals, they don't make money in local box-office, but sometimes they win awards, and most of all, they give the filmmakers and cast members foreign exposure, opening the possibility for job offers from other countries." I continued.

The look of indifference that remained on the guy's face seemed to scream "yeah, whatever, 'Swifty', I don't give a shit."

Twas so hate-inducing that if I were less civilized, I would've stabbed the guy's eye with my fork (we were having lunch then).

Funny how a guy whose job (like me) involves public relations could be so effective in alienating and pissing others off.

Anyway, just a few moments ago, I've received a phone call from Ming Jin telling me that the aforementioned mystery actress has confirmed her involvement in KURUS. I'll make an announcement about the cast members soon.

To the condescending one who questioned our abilities to attain her services. All I can say is... up yours, man.