You can’t always get what you want

Yeah, heard that from a song while I was watching House MD. Damn you, Van. You’re making me addicted to it. Bleh. House’s life sucks. He might be the greatest doctor in all time, but his life sucks. Just like mine. Lets not start with the word ’emo’ here, cause its a word people use when they DON’T KNOW how to describe someone. I hate that word. But House’s life sucks. Mine too. Seriously. Nothing goes on right for me. Decisions made in the past have led me to regret it for life. Or maybe for the next 6 months or so. Some of you girls might know what I’m talking about. And there is some ba*****s in the world that have made my life so much more worse. Seriously, stop (^#($&@^@(#*@*$)#*%$&$^#&@) I won’t mention them here. Privacy, guys. But you don’t know, don’t you. Yeah, you don’t. You’re probably stuck in that lucky, little wonderful, blissful, colourful world of yours to care more. I know how lucky you are, but that’s enough. Stop it already.

Arghh! How can I ever express what I feel? I guess its how some of my emotions are being evidently portrayed in films. Maybe thats why I’m addicted to them. Like only the characters know how I feel. No one else in this miserable world does. Miserable, pathetic world. But I’m probably the most pathetic one of them all. Feeling great cause someone’s (mine) life sucks more? Yeah, grats. You deserve it.. Ok, maybe I’m not exactly the most unlucky (there are homeless, alone, unhealthy people, maybe thats why I’m looking for a place to do some charity work with Gil, to bring the little bit of joy to sad people like me), but I’m miserable in my own context. And if you like to compare, I have a more screwed up history than any of you. People who know me well can account for that. Even they say my life is so… FML. Haha! Ying even said that if she feels that her life sucks, she’ll take a look at my photo, then at least she knows someone who life SUCKS SO MUCH MORE. Thats me. Thanks. I’ve had this curse since kindergarten. It’s been with me for a good (19-4) 15 years. Wow. Enough already, all mighty one. Give me some joy to work my life with… Side note: Hey, sometimes making fun of myself does relieve some of the angst. Lol.

Not that life sucks all that bad. Maybe mine does. But life as itself is great. I’m on the bus in the morning and I sometimes see the sun shinning on the trees. They look golden. I see the sun rising and setting, and they seemed magical. I see little kids playing football, and I feel so carefree for them. I see my friends smiling and laughing, I feel miserable. Haha.. Nah. Sometimes, maybe. But I feel happy for them, I sometimes will smile. Then go home and think of how my life sucks. LOL. But I’m glad for happy, lucky (?) people. And it seems that people who look good have more luck smiling on them. Damn. But anyways, life is good. Treasure it. It sucks for me, but sometimes when I ask myself if I’d rather be someone else, I think not. Weird for someone whos life is that miserable, I don’t know why. I don’t necessarily like the situation(SSSSS) I’m in, but somehow or another I’d rather be me. Or maybe its just me being indecisive.

People around me somehow seem to have everything I don’t have. Damn you all.

Go on, laugh. Be merry. Have fun. Love. And I’ll just sit in my room watching movies or reading the AC.

Talk about being passive.

You’ll probably not understand what I’ve been saying this 30 mins. That’s cause you’re feeling good. You’re happy. You’re too damn lucky to be on this world. I’m not all that fortunate. Plus, talk about having multiple pimples on the face, screwed up hair, and miserable hair colour too, being as fat as my mom says I am, and not being able to wear pretty clothes. And a long list down… …

Damn you (ahem.. shant say who) and the cute little face of yours. You claim to be all miserable and sad and come to be for help, and freaking BLAME me even for the little pathetic shit you’re in. Like I don’t have all the worries in the world to care about than to care for you. Then cry, wail, and act like a princess when I (who is more deserving of that) takes the blame for you. And I (who was originally no involved in this shit) have to settle your problems for you, while you’re out there having fun and getting all the undeserving attention and care you got. 5 minutes later, it’s all thanks and gratitude from you. So I’m off feeling like shit, and you’re there feeling that you’ve gained all the world can give, and make merry with (******) and thinking the future’s so bright for you guys.

And you guys take me for granted. Cause weeks down the road, its the same thing again. Now, more harsh. Damn you and that idiotic happiness of yours. Saying ‘sorry’ isn’t going to help. I somehow think I deserve to be happy more than you do, ass. But as luck would have it, I’m in this sad little hole in the world where no one can see, and you’re in some bright sunny beach and have all the love and joy you can get. Ass, you.

Yeah, ok anyway, other than that, people, life is good. Really. And I’m saying it with all honesty in the world, no doubt how angsty I seem to be feeling now. I’ll have to look for the joy in my world myself, since it’s not presented to me. I’ll find it, somehow. You, too. Not the you I was referring to in above paragraphs. But people who’s life sucks as bad as mine. You’ll find happiness. We’ll find them together.

So anyway, there’s so much I want to say about the post (below) that I quickly typed with the remaining 5 minutes of my meeting time today. But I can’t talk about it now- there’s DI session tomorrow and I’ve got loads to prepare for. But I was truly inspired. Will talk about it soon. Not like you care, though. But it makes me happy.

If there’s one guy that truly inspires me, its you. You referring to the greatest DP in the world. Haha! 🙂

P.S. I’m not being emotional here, really. I’m as happy as I can get as I type this. But I am a believer that things in the heart has got to be expressed. And since I don’t have a fantastic film (not yet, I hope) that allows me to express all this visually, my next best bet is to write them down, blog being the best place to do so. (Because hopefully you(the ass) will read it and feel all guilty. Nah, I’m just kidding… ) 🙂

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One nice quote.

Ellen Kuras, a DP said:

“For me, it’s important to protect my crew and just be myself on set. I do not act like a guy just because so many people think of cinematography as a guy’s job. When asked how it feels to have ‘a man’s job’, I say, ‘It’s not a man’s job. It’s my job.’ The most important thing is to check in with yourself and be confident about your own abilities.”

Ok, I’m in school now. I’ll blog more about this article. Inspired. Haha 🙂

One of the best: Emmanuel Lubezki.

I’ve been doing lots of reading lately. Magazines (the AC), books ( Cinematography by Blain Brown), forums (Cinematography.com, studentfilmmakers.com), watching movies with good cinematography… And as they say, when you are in a person’s shoes (I often like to add that you’ll have to be in the shoes and walk around in it a little), you can feel for the person more. The same kind of goes to shooting. I used to watch movies and admire the lighting style, composition, camera movements and how these complements the story seamlessly. And when I tried to develop my own lighting style and plan, I realise (time and time again), that it is not as easy as it seemed. The pros paint a set with light like as if they have magic fingers. Just a snap, and the lights are there, perfect for the story. Or so it seems. But only when you’ve tried first hand and try to solve the problems and limitations the professional DPs might have faced countless times, I slowly develop this heartfelt and sincere respect for the DPs and their works.

The experienced DPs make a film look as if shooting it was easy, but when I read up articles on the difficulties they faced, I can’t help but admire their intelligence, commitment, teamwork and effort. Respectable.

These are some DPs I admire most. More are coming up on the way I believe:

– Emmanuel Lubezki

– Roger Deakins

– Robert Richardson

– Christopher Doyle

– Dariusz Wolski

– Conrad L Hall

– Vilmos Zsigmond

– Vittorio Storaro

– John Toll

– Oliver Stapleton

– (I’ve been watching lots of Bollywood and Hong Kong film these days, and I shall go explore their DPs)

There is definitely so much more, but these are few I can think of for now.. I always love reading up about how they work with the directors, deal with problems during pre-pro and on set, and how they use different tools to achieve the image they want without over-relying on post.

There are some quotes I quote from the website: http://www.blogger.com/profile/08879464916748214969

Its a really good site, go check it out 🙂

Vittorio Storaro: Cinematographer vs. Director of Photography

From American Cinematographer, Master of Light and Motion interview by Bob Fisher (June 1998)

AC:Why do you prefer the title of “cinematographer” to “director of photography” in the credits?

Storaro: Because we aren’t directing. That is Warren’s job. We are writing with light and motion to tell a story. That distinction is very important.

– Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC

Emmanuel Lubezki: Smoke and Lightning

From American Cinematographer, Galloping Ghost, by Stephen Pizzello (December 1999)

“Usually I hate lightning as an effect, because it has the potential to take the viewer out of the movie a bit. If it’s supposed to be raining, it’s fine, but otherwise it can be a bit much. When we did tests with the Headless Horseman, though, we found that the lightning really added a lot of energy to the character– it made him more impressive, scary and Burtonian. Every time the Horseman is going to kill someone, the lightning appears as dramatic punctuation. The problem with lightning is that it really affects the editing of the movie. If it’s really fast paced in one cut, and you go to a shot where the lightning doesn’t match, you start to feel this lack of freedom. It took us a while to learn how to keep it constant without obliterating the images with lightning. It looks really interesting when you’re shooting it, but you have to control yourself!”

– Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC

Vilmos Zsigmond: Character Lighting

From American Cinematographer, A Poignant Pas de Deux by Bob Fisher (December 1998)

AC: Did the different characters have visual signatures in terms of the way you lit them?

Zsigmond: Hugh is kind of suspenseful in the beginning. You don’t know who he is or where he’s from, but he shows up in a bar and claims he’s killed his wife and child. We shot that scene film-noir style, like an old black-and-white mystery. Other characters, like Meredith, are lit more romantically with lots of backlight. However, these were subtle differences, because we didn’t want it to look like six different movies.

“Composition is terribly important, and such a critical tool in storytelling. You use the frame to communicate the feelings you want to convey in the shot. By centering a character, placing them on a side, or short-siding them, you use the composition to support the movement that counts dramatically. The one moment where the composition makes a dramatic statement is what is important. Otherwise, in a lot of situations, composition isn’t as critical. You don’t necessarily have to have a great composition every second. But when the dramatic import of the scene is crucial, the composition should reflect that and aid the shot is being effective.”

– Conrad Hall, ASC

Vilmos Zsigmond: Improv Lighting

From American Cinematographer, Learning to See by Bill Linsman (March 1998)

“August of 1976 was the first time I taught in Rockport. Rob Draper was my assistant. Those first few sessions were a bit haphazard; we were just feeling our way. For example, one time we were lighting a parking lot, and suddenly we had a blackout. The whole town went dark. There we were with the camera and lights, and the lights wouldn’t work. I said, ‘Wait a second. We can do something while we’re waiting for the lights to come back on.’ We had a lot of students who had their cars there, so we actually staged the scene by the headlights of the cars. People were crossing in front of the headlights, and their silhouettes were going in front of those lights, and the images were just beautiful. We came up with something out of nothing to show that in a desperate situation, you can use anything for a key light.”

– Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC

These are just a few. Not exactly the best, but one of those that made an impression on my. Give the site a go, it’s a good read 🙂

This is one man Id love to meet :)

This is one man I'd love to meet 🙂

P.S. You is relative

Its the people in the house that makes it beautiful

I’ve been giving it much thought. If I can’t be a DP in the future, I’ll probably go be a farmer. My Facebook Farmville isn’t doing too bad, seems like a good job for me:

Animals on my Farmville

Animals on my Farmville

Or damn, I’ll go be a philosopher. Told Shu today when she saw a beautiful house at Kismis area: You know what makes a house beautiful? The people inside. Hah.

A girl can be a farmer; a girl can be a philosopher. But damn, it’s hard that a girl can go be a DP. Screw the chauvinist world. Pigs. Someone encourage me please 😦

Anyways, I specially wrote this blog because I saw something really bold and inspiring in the latest Cinematographer Magazine. This cinematographer by the name of John Lynch said in the article: Embracing Inner Anger “The camera was set to 500 ASA, and my meter was coming up E, which means there’s nothing there. But I was still very comfortable- I’m not afraid of the dark.”

Wow. I read this over and over again, and thought of this everywhere I went. This is inspiring. There was so much trust and faith in what he was doing that he was confident enough to shoot something that the light meter ‘warned against’. And I thought to myself if I was able to even say something like that. It takes lots of trust in yourself and bravery, even. Wow. Respect, sir.

Faith, as they call it.

Alright, off to bed. I’m going to read a chapter of “Cinematography Theory and Practice” by Blain Brown everyday from now on. Haha! This is exciting.

“I’m not afraid of the dark.”

Anws, Shu and Ying, I just want to say that whatever you do, I’ll support you girls. If you are scared, all I want to say is- there is nothing to be afraid of, really. I mean, how much can you screw up? We all learn from the stuff we f-up in life. If Lynch can shoot in ‘the so-called dark’ there is absolutely no problem in you girls learning cineto. Don’t be scared cause you don’t know, face it with excitement 🙂 I’m excited for you girls, so much to learn and explore. But then again, if you don’t want the module for other reasons, then you know you girls have all my support. Dont follow your fear, follow your heart ❤ I’m right behind you! Damn, this is cheesy. Alright, I’ll sum it up in the Joshua Simon style: You go, girl! Haha! And enjoy Genting, you b***h! Haha! 🙂

P.S. You is relative. As everything probably is.

Pam

What a semester

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Location Scouting

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My best friends and I - Camera and light meter. And Qing of course ❤

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Flag made by Rein and Mud

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A dog came to visit...

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Crew. Setting up the jib.

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Arri SR II

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We went through shit together. And loads of fun!

My Dear Team

My Dear Team

Reins place

Reins place

Nice Hat...

Nice Hat...

Fun times. We all squeeze at the back of a van.

Fun times. We all squeeze at the back of a van.

Bedroom at the Loft

Bedroom at the Loft

Sunburn. Ouch! :)

Sunburn. Ouch! 🙂

Phew! We just had our results back for last semester.. I’m glad everyone passed. Finally something off our backs, and we can start looking forward to next semester.. And I’m glad my efforts did not go to waste.. Haha!

My dear IBP group spent the past few days staying in the school’s loft (Mon to Wed) [See above pictures!] cause we were having the final year project test shoot. It was pretty cool, staying with friends for 3 days whole, concentrating on nothing but the shoot. Thank you so much, Qing, Fat, Dhuha, Jack Ass, Eugene aka Gil, Simon, Marj, Yi Chee (hope I didn’t miss anyone out) for helping us. It couldn’t be done without you guys, really. And thanks to my group mates who have worked the shit out of us for the shoot, and our advisor. It was fun..

First day was at Rein’s place. Thanks to her mom for letting us use the place.. It was squeezy (cause alot of people turned up that day) but it was fun. We spent day 2 at a warehouse near school (thanks to the kind uncle who allowed us to use the place). And third day was at Dairy Farm Road, some open space between 2 forest. We were burnt! But we stick together, and that’s probably what matters most. And the most FUN part was that we had to carry equipment, piece by piece, down a rather steep slope, uneven land and over a dead tree to get to the location. It was, say, 300m far? Hey, it is FAR when we talk about KGs worth of stuff. Some are delicate stuff, like the camera and lens, and all. But its experiences like this that we’ll never forget. Haha! Well, we did meet with problems alone the way, but I believe we’ll change. I’m trying to…

Cant wait to see the footage during Digital Intermediate. Our sweat and blood are literally compressed in the film itself. Haha!

Today I finally had a break. Went to Sentosa with Huiwen, Renee and Coconut (Sheena). Some ‘real’ fun, inverted comma because the shoot days were fun too. But more of the pressured kind of fun. Today was pure fun, if you get what I mean. And tomorrow I’m meeting Quek for shopping. Like I have the money, but anyways. Then hopefully badminton with Huiwen and Renee, and mother’s birthday dinner!! Haha! Well deserved break, friends.

Was talking to a friend the other day. Maybe I shan’t mention the name here… It made me feel like finally, I’m not the only one in this world. Not a good thing that someone else is ‘suffering’, but it just feels good that I’m not alone. We were saying about how everyone’s life (as seen from FB status) seems so exciting and fun, and we’re just- blah. And how there are millions of people in the world, plus living in a terribly over crowded Singapore, we can sometimes feel like we’re alone. Not that we have no friends. Its just that, sometimes, you get this feeling. And people mistake it of being emo. Damn you. Haha!

Even temporary being able to forget stuff are as good as gold. We know we’ll face the truth again, but sometimes, just sometimes, its good. Pretty darn good. 🙂 But damn, reality is harsh facts. Either I’m not ready for the world, or the world is not ready for me. Ouch, it gets pain sometimes. But as my friend and I said, we are sometimes alone, though we don’t seem to be. Now I further understand Wong Kar-Wai’s themes of Urban Isolation. How true, and how real.

And see, sometimes, escaping into movies is a way to rid this truth of life. I knew that if there’s something in this world that wont lie to you, is fantasy herself. Wow, I should be a philosopher. Impressive huh. Lol!

And sometimes when I see the photos, I cant help but curse the curse that was laid upon me since birth. Sighs. But whatever.

Oh, I was looking through the lists of film school available. Dont know where to go after Poly. Another cross road in life where decisions just have to be made. I don’t know if Im ready to live myself overseas. I don’t know if I want to stay here and study film (since there ain’t many good film schools here). I don’t know if its better to go work first before studying. Seems like lots of options, but truth is, there is not much. Its an either or. Or never, impossible. Hah. How great. Oh well, I do hope I can find a uni of my choice and that accepts me.

Alright, school term starts next week. I do hope for an exciting semester ahead.

P.S. You, again, is relative.

One Day

It just happened randomly. I was chatting with a friend on Facebook, and I was just telling her something I felt true for so long and took it as a fact, when I suddenly felt my heart ache. I don’t know why. It’s not that I’m sad or anything, but it ached. It seemed like fact to me, and it’s probably true. But maybe its the moment of ‘truth’ or so to speak, that made me realise what reality is. Maybe it’s the knowledge of reality that made the heart ache. Ah well.

I’ve just got a hamster recently. Named it Chivo. And it came to mind that is it true that only animals and kids know how to truly love unconditionally? God does, that I know. My hamster doesnt care about how I look. He doesnt care about my age, my gender, my personality… I’m glad I didnt choose my hamster solely based on his look (he was the only one what climbed to my palm so I thought maybe he loves me. Haha!) so I feel less guilty.. Haha. But I did chose him based on his breed, which proves my point that we humans (or at least myself) aint able to fully love unconditionally (?). But it warms my heart to know that at least some(thing) at home yearns for me and wants to play with me. I mean, I do meet my friends, almost everyday. But is the enthusiasm to meet the same? Friends like you based on your personality. They like you based on your smile? Your jokes? Your looks? Your characteristic? Your wisdom? Your money…. ?

I believe all humans are nice to begin with. But there are definitely hidden truths in us that are so ugly, that kids and animals can do way better. You might not agree with me on this one, but its what I’ve observed these days. Hopefully, really hopefully, my views will change some how. But seriously, have you found someone that loves you really unconditionally? I truly hope you have, really 🙂

And kids. I was doing a photo shoots with 2 kids recently, and they really made my day. It was damn tiring repeating things to them and running after them all over the house, but when we were walking to a park, they came and held my friend and my hands. A girl asked us: “Will you be my friend?” and I said: “Yes, of course.” Sincerely.

They have know us for, say, 2 hours? And they want to be friends. Real friends. Not that we treated them like princesses, or had all the money in the world. Or that they knew us long enough to know us personally. But they simply wanted to be friends. And that touched my heart.

I really hope its not true, what I said. I believe that humans know and can love unconditionally. Perhaps I havent had the opportunity to see such love. Or experience it first hand. But deep inside, I hope it do exist.

My hamster

My hamster

He may look like a rat, but he's very much a hamster. Haha :)

He may look like a rat, but he's very much a hamster. Haha 🙂

Just woke up, yawning. Accidently flash :S

Just woke up, yawning. Accidently flash :S

P.S You is relative.