Attending the 82nd Academy Awards

I attended a “live” screening of Academy Awards at GV Grand this morning!

This was the invite:

Invitation

To be honest, I’ve never been interested in the Oscars. I’m interested to know that a movie I watched or an actor I like has won an award, but I wouldn’t sit down for four hours to watch it happen. I’m happy to hear the news if someone tells me, but I wouldn’t actually go find out myself.

So why did I attend this event?

I dunno. I guess I thought it sounded glam and fun, something different.

Also, I wanted to see Avatar win awards.

Avatar

I’m sad it only won three, but I suppose The Hurt Locker is a worthy contender even though I haven’t watched it.

I want to watch it now, though. I liked Kathryn Bigelow when she was giving her acceptance speeches for Best Director and Best Picture. Very real and humble.

Kathryn Bigelow

Actually, many speeches were very real and humble. I enjoyed Sandra Bullock’s (Best Actress) speech. Moved me to tears!

By the way, Ben Stiller went on stage to present an award looking like a Na’vi. He was so funny!

Ben Stiller

I was a bit stressed about the dress code today. It said “Hollywood Glitz” but I really didn’t think Singaporeans would dress in Hollywood Glitz on a Monday morning (9 am).

But I feel that it’s important to follow dress codes to respect the event. Yet, I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. So I compromised today by doing casual glitzy.

Actually, bluff you one. I did casual glitzy cos I don’t have anything full glitzy to wear. Haha.

Red carpet photo

I know the pants is really wrong. I really would have preferred to wear a skirt, but I don’t have any appropriate ones. And I only started deciding what to wear half an hour before I was due at the event, lol.

I had thought to wear a certain black dress I have, but realised this morning that it was crumpled and there was not enough time to iron it!! What a catastrophe.

Anyway, beside me is Fish Chaar, my actor friend, who has played my screen partner in films about four times or more, I can’t remember.

He’s working in Universal Studios Singapore this year. SO COOL RIGHT! If you visit the Donkey Island or something like that, see if you can spot him!

So, when we arrived at the event 20 minutes late (thanks to my wardrobe emergency), we found that 85% of the guests had gone in very casual clothes (like jeans and tee) or work wear. No one was even near Hollywood Glitz lah what is wrong with Singaporeans??!!!

Breakfast

Pictures of the breakfast reception. We were served champagne with breakfast.

Champagne

We also got a goodie bag consisting of a magazine, some perfume and skincare samples, and tons of vouchers.

Goodie bag

Okay, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful because it’s a good thing when people give stuff to you and you shouldn’t complain. But I really think goodie bags ought to have real stuff in them, not samples and vouchers, which really just come across as disguised advertising.

Well, to be fair, samples and vouchers aren’t that bad since you can actually use them. I have received goodie bags that come with advertising leaflets and brochures. Seriously, where is the “goodie” in that?!

Alright, done ranting.

Okay, not really ranting, more like observing, since I enjoyed myself today and am in a happy mood. And I realise that the Oscars is a really entertaining show. Guess I’ll be watching it yearly from now on.

If I can wake up.

Last day is for camwhoring

You would think a morning shoot at the beach would be a pleasant way to spend time. I suppose it is, except that there’s nowhere to sit if you’re wearing a dress.

So I kinda just stood around while the others sat all over the place.

On a tree root:

On the ground:

On the camera case:

It wasn’t too bad, really. I had a tree to lean on. My scene at the beach involved leaning on a tree with Fish.

The guys went to check out the tree and the scenary before the shoot started:

It drizzled a bit in the middle of the shoot, so the umbrellas came out.

Thankfully, the drizzle petered out after a while. I was worried about having to lean against a wet, slimy tree trunk.

Fate was in our favour. The tree didn’t get wet and our scene went smoothly. We were able to troop back to the food centre by noon to avoid being sand-baked on the beach.

Somewhere to sit down properly!

Of course, being perverse, I didn’t really sit down during the times I was able to rest between scenes. I went off to the side with Fish to camwhore while they were shooting Jan.

This is Jan, with Alexa:

This is Fish and me:

Next, me in my full costume, which I think is a little large for me, but which I quite like because it’s different and I think it makes me look more innocent than I actually am. Haha.

Fish in close-up:

Fish and me again:

There was so much camwhoring because it was the last day of shoot.

Fish even got a picture of me photographing myself. Duh.

He said he was very impressed by my camwhoring skills. Double duh. I don’t know if I should feel flattered or embarrased.

But camwhoring is tiring, to be honest, so I didn’t do it for too long. I turned my camera towards the set and got a picture of Shivani holding out the slate and grey card in front of Jan’s face.

Heheh. She looks a little harried.

I think it was because, at that time, a huge mass of dark clouds was seen heading our way and the crew went into a mad rush to finish up before the looming storm broke.

It was a sad time for me. The end of last days of shoots always is. I’ve gone on about post-production blues enough times, so you know what I’m talking about.

It was fun while it lasted, but that’s the whole problem.

The more fun it is, the harder to say goodbye.

Flat 7-Up doesn’t taste very good

But never mind flat. I had to drink flat and diluted 7-Up.

Awesome, huh?

Not.

This was my main prop in yesterday’s shoot:

The cup was at first filled with 7-Up. Throughout the day, we had to keep changing the water level in the cup for continuity purposes because scenes aren’t usually shot in chronological order. Plain distilled water was used for refilling the cup. By the end of the day, the 7-Up had become very diluted, plus all the gas had escaped.

I had to drink some of that.

Not that it was gross or anything but, just so you know, diluted flat 7-Up isn’t exactly a great choice of beverage.

We did our filming at East Coast Lagoon. There was sunny rain early in the morning.

It doesn’t look like it in the picture but I was freezing because it was also very windy.

The rest of the day was great, though. The rain stopped and it was nice and cool all day. I didn’t break a single bead of sweat. It was so comfortable filming there with the abundance of food and drink, shelter and seats, and great company.

The weather was also great for tracking shots because laying out tracks for the camera is pretty hard work and something you wouldn’t want to do under a sweltering sun.

Remember I said I was doing two short films for NYU Tisch Asia graduate film students? This is the second one with the same crew, except that they all swap duties in every film they make so that they get to experience all the different jobs in a production.

Nicolas (above, left) was my director in the previous film but now he’s the DOP. Eric (right) is DOP-turned-grip.

That’s really cool for me because I get to relate to everyone differently, so it’s interesting.

You know like how you form different levels of relationships with different colleagues depending on the type of interaction you get with each person?

For example, say, there’s this guy who’s your boss for a week. You take orders from him. Then, the next week, he’s the department secretary. He helps you make appointments or whatever. Suddenly you’re relating in a different way! So it’s kinda like that.

Basil (above, right) is the director of my second film. He was the grip in my first.

The only person whose role never changes is Fish.

Fish always plays my boyfriend. Haha.

Fish was a sad boy during the shoot.

I only had to drink diluted flat 7-Up. He had to face a mug of beer all day without getting to drink it because he didn’t have any scenes requiring him to actually drink his prop. (Beer was poured down the drain when the mug needed to be emptier.)

Poor Fish.

What must it have been like!

Acting the office slut

The other day, I received a call inviting me to audition for the role of an office slut.

“Office slut? Hahaha…” I said.

“We have three roles, actually,” the producer said quickly. “The office slut is the leading role. Well, she’s not really an office slut. More like a sexy bombshell who attracts all the guys. There’s also a pretty bimbo and a smart accountant.”

When I got to the production office, I was given scripts and asked to read for all three roles. Although they had initially invited me to audition for the office slut aka hot mama role, both director and producer thought I was more suitable for pretty bimbo upon meeting me. They also considered me for smart accountant because they needed someone with good diction for that role.

A few days later, I got a call telling me I’ve got the leading role of the Hot Mama.

Huh?

I don’t have a sexy bone in my body, wat? I don’t even have cleavage. But I happily accepted the role. A job’s a job, y’know?

It was a three-day shoot for a corporate video. We were supposed to act out several funny skits to showcase a well-known company’s office equipment products. The video would be shown at an event for business associates.

Corporate videos are usually boring jobs. But this job was just awesome. The script was funny and fun to act in. The crew was friendly and jovial, the director had a great sense of humour and kidded around with us, the cast got along well. I was quite sorry when the three days ended.

Two of the actors were people i’ve worked with before.

There’s Peer, who was Master Chief at my Halo 3 jobs. He played the boss of this dysfunctional company we work at, and he was damn funny at it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of him because I only took out my camera on the third day and Peer wasn’t on set on that day. Sheesh.

There’s Fish, with whom I’ve worked countless times. Including the Halo 3 job! Yeah, he was there, too, as one of the marines.

Fish played the role of Handsome Guy. Isn’t he handsome? Incidentally, you can catch Fish in the latest Singaporean movie, Truth Be Told, starring Yvonne Lim. Go watch! Support local productions!

We rested in this room whenever we weren’t needed.

This meeting room had been turned into a holding area, makeup unit, dining room and rest lounge. We spent the time here joking with each other when it wasn’t our turn to be filmed.

Fish pretended to be a job interviewee.

I camwhored.

How fun.

One of my scenes involved a photoshoot in corporate clothes where I had to flirt with Fish’s character.

The role was really quite a stretch for me. Really lah! I look nothing like a hot mama and my clothes are wrong. But it was a rush job and we had to make do.

The result of the mock photoshoot:

Group shot! Me and Fish with the crew:

The other actors weren’t involved in this scene so they were resting in the holding area.

Here’s Judy (with Fish), who played the Pretty Bimbo:

And Janna (right), who played the Smart Accountant:

This was when they just arrived and haven’t gotten into costume yet.

We did this funny scene where we were all talking on the phone at the same time.

It was hilarious. In fact, the whole three days were hilarious. Comedy is so fun!

Director Zul is a superman. Apart from being the director and scriptwriter, he is also the DOP and cameraman.

For this scene, he took on one more role: soundman.

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone operate a camera and boom mike at the same time on a panning shot! It was amazing but so funny!

There was a lot of lighthearted banter between takes.

When the crew was busy setting up, Sani (who played the Office Secretary and my character’s main love interest) put on a straight face and asked the director, “Director, what’s my motivation for this scene?”

Which was funny because it’s a bit redundant to use motivations (an acting technique) for a short comic corporate video.

Laughter all around.

“Your motivation is to do a good take so I won’t fire your ass,” said Zul.

More laughter.

I’m paraphrasing the director, of course. I don’t remember his exact answer but it was funny like that.

Inspired thus, Sani decided to give an impromptu Acting 101 lecture. He put on this stupid accent and launched into his lecture to no one in particular.

Of course, he didn’t expect me to switch my camera to video-capturing mode. I captured a minute of his silliness before he realised that someone was videotaping him.

Hahaha!

Will post the video tomorrow. Watch out for it!

When violence is fun

I love, love, love doing short films.

They’re most of the time experimental, usually intense and always very creative. You have to be very creative to tell a good story under 15 minutes.

I almost didn’t accept this particular job because of the script. It was a double-edged sword, actually. I love the script but my role is scary. It involves a lot of violence. And I was afraid I’d get hurt because I have a tendency to throw caution to the wind and neglect my own well-being when filming.

During a shoot, nothing is more important than performance. Injuries can be worried about later. Injuries can heal. Whatever’s captured on screen is forever. You get the picture.

But I decided to accept the role because:

  1. I wanted to be part of this amazing script.
  2. Two of my favourite actor buddies are in it.
  3. Louis (actor) wouldn’t stop raving about Josiah (director).

Josiah preps Louis for a shot:

I’m glad I accepted the role because the shoot was fun despite being very tiring (emotionally demanding) and a little painful (violent scenes). But such an exhilarating experience it gave me.

That’s Louis on picture left and Fish (mosaic-ed to keep the ladies from hyperventilating) on picture right. Looks like a horror film, huh? But it’s not.

To prove it, here’s a happy pose.

Notice how I’ve brightened up the picture to make it look even happier? I’m such a cheat, aren’t I?

Louis “plays cheat” by doing push-ups just before a take to induce panting.

Yes, showbiz is a cheating business. Then again, you probably already know by watching Making Of programmes.

And here’s me pretending again to be in a horror film.

I think I miss being in one. Horror films are so cool to make.

Here, the crew is setting up for the next shot, in which Louis throws me on the floor.

The person on the floor is supposed to be me but, at this moment, someone else is there to test the shot because I’m resting. (Being thrown on the floor is very hard work, you know.)

Actually, I lied. I wasn’t resting. I was busy being the (unofficial) set photographer.

It’s fun taking pictures of men in compromising positions.

The sad thing about short films is that… they’re short. All too soon, production ends and all you’re left with is a memory. A very sweet memory of a talented crew and talented co-actors who gave nothing but their best to bring a vision to life.

Unfortunately, Fish isn’t in this picture because he left early, the bastard.

But he’s a lovable bastard (so don’t kill me).

I’m gonna miss people (once again).