Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sound Off (Part 2)

Sleepless. Thinking.
The songs in reverse. This man sinks.

I sensed the appearance of speckless clouds assembling within the infrastructure of my medulla oblongata. They possibly look like some misshapen Caspers ready to take flight upon a finger cue. I have nothing more than wonderfully bad ideas at this hour of darkness. Some ill-humoured train of thoughts came choo-chooing with the blares of untuned tympanic pulsation, accompanied by a sudden burst of smokes whose sole objective was to disintegrate this foggy mind and blur this night visions. The voice of ideas, on the other track, slurs in heliocentric circles tethered on lunatic cords saving not one zing of its pathetic little breath. Ideas are essentially my survival tool for all times, that’s for sure, since I am neither rich nor very handsome. Cause at the end of the day, be it those that are notable for a dedicatory mention or mundane like the cardboard backings of your untouched sketchpads, we all lived by our own ideas about things surrounding many other things. Major things. Not that major a thing. Things unseen to things unforeseen. From dangerous ideas to pompous ideas. Killing an idea just to save other killer ideas. Even when penning an entry such as this, where the simplest of night is nothing more that just ambient lightings covering 45% of the bedroom’s visual spectra (where else the moon is both a night décor and a mystère to behold), a single strand of idea is the only sensible reason that might just set you helming. Please raise your hands if you have no idea what I’ve just said. You’re not alone.

Charcoal was factually my first spec script which turned out to be another short unedited novella of imperceptible proportions, unpublished but shared. Fitfully, my first spec script had to appear somewhat inventive, something entirely out of standard rules, out of the median and one that rolls aside from the norms. Yet I predicted about a minute ago that this is not going to be anywhere near unique (since my pieces have always been bulls and can be categorised from slightly OK to dreadfully unexciting and perhaps mediocre to say the least) so let’s just crawl down to the root of matters, shall I?

Spec Script

5 friends in an interactive agency, each a noisemaker of various degrees, are trying to save their company from losing their last and only account, or they’ll face an end-result that could spell doom to their already doomed career. This is a drummedy set against a modern day backdrop in a future not so distant away, in which each episode is told from 5 contrasting narrators. And they are:

(Mental notes: Descriptions are subject to change. Establishing identities must be done with experiential research. List a list of specific non-actors for future castings. Watch selected Woody Allen shows for inspirations. Think about how certain characteristics of your protagonists relate to real life personalities that you had encountered or chanced upon, all this while you are waiting eagerly for someone or taking a crap).

Royce Metalteeth Tan

Royce Tan was one of the cutest baby born 28 years ago to unknown parents and has been living in foster care for as long as he can remember. Known as one lucky bastard who received a Design Scholarship to study Digital Arts in LCC without any prior experiences (but whose portfolio glints with pluperfect photo effects and thoughtful type treatment inspired by constructivism), he only came back to work in Singapore when a man old enough to be his father confessed that Royce was his real son after seeing him winning a prestigious yellow pencil in D&AD. Royce was obviously conned, and from this hurtful incident, he is determined to reconnect with his real parents whatever the cost may be. Wanting badly to know their reasons for years of absence, he decided to run a 5 by 3 columns ad in The Sunday Times fortnightly without fail (now reaching it’s third year, with rather minimal responses). Royce is always well groomed, normally spotted with slim ties or checkered shawls and was popular amongst friends as the creative genius who singlehandedly clinched a viral campaign deal for Biore. He also had silver fillings in most of his left and right lower premolars and as such was nicknamed Metalteeth by his peers. It is also a direct reference to his favourite instrument, the Vibraslap, which he aptly described as both corny and serious. Royce loves French Films and Japanese cuisines and had countless failed (ala tragicomedic) relationships, which he openly discussed with his close friend...

Tasneem Rattlesnake Khan

An artist of voluminous dreams but small abdominal solar plexus, Tasneem Khan possesses an elephant’s memory ~ he remembers everything that he reads, from phone numbers to stock figures, from useful facts to useless information that no one bothers to know. His life, though not as dull as you might perceived, is full of negative spaces waiting to be filled with what one believes to be that of an artist’s autobiography. As an animator whose knowledge on molecular genetics equates that of a Britannica encyclopedia, his true goal in real life is defining the inner workings of a human brain – and he wishes to display this interactively through a sound and motion online exhibition (now into it's seventh year in the making but is waiting forever to launch). For him, money does not necessarily begets a smile to a person’s face and to get involve with the emotional subtexts in some course of romance is a profoundly unfathomable issue no humans in their right minds should ever attempt. He is trying to find that one true identity, just like his animated figure named Viktor ~ a character based on him, only slightly less pessimistic. Tasneem talks in the speed of a bullet train and often get stressed up for nothing. He counters the stress by rolling the mini cabasa that he kept in a special stainless drawer in his office. According to his online journal, this is the best and cheapest therapy management in the history of therapies. Rattle5nake is both his email password and a little reference to the instrument mentioned. He is 32, tweets incessantly and listens to Ravel while dropping a deuce. He is often seen debating over the choice of screen typeface with...

Aeryn Steelrain Zee

Aeryn Zee will make men drool. Even other ladies find it hard not to notice her at first glance. One of her biggest traits is that she is highly energetic, and despite her regular frame, she climbs mountain and does trekking as a hobby. She is also (pathetically) one heavy drinker and is going through counseling phases for her addiction. Five years ago she was trekking under the influence of alcohol and fell into a booby ditch meant for animals, resulting in a swollen cranium and broken bones in 12 different parts on her thoracic vertebrae. But as fate has it's way, she met her husband in the hospital while undergoing treatment. Now on the verge of recovering from her alcoholism, Aeryn drinks only when the dire need of ideas arises. Aeryn loves Killer Sudokus and tends to decipher them quicker with the consumption of red wines. In the office, she’s the flasher with an inexhaustible techno-geeky wisdom, where Flash actionscripts are concerned that is. Aeryn is probably the only woman on this feeble earth who knows how to play a triangle 71 different ways to produce 71 different sounds, and she demonstrates the various techniques on a website called Timbreland. Her given moniker, Steelrain, is a metaphor for a woman who amassed both gentle and tough personalities, while being an ethereal reference to the triangle too. Aeryn is 29 plus, rides a Vespa to work and believes that Elvis Presley is still alive. She often gives indecipherable and idiosyncratic advices to...

Yoko Brushbaby Yew

When asked about her name, Yoko Yew will break into John Lennon’s Imagine in a slow four-four. When asked again about her name, she will tell you to go and ask her mother. Yoko acts as the writer of the company and has oriental eyes that sparkle like trigonal crystals every time a perfect phrase blooms in the outermost epicentrum of her necromantic brain. When she writes, she tends to speak in the first person diathesis. When not writing, she will compose instant jingles for an imaginary brand of healthcare products. As a pianist, Yoko had written 10 short etudes while in her sophomore years, all of which except one were dedicated to her late grandfather who taught her the pianica and introduced her to Jamaican reggae. She also plays the French horn, banjo, drums and sousaphone. Yoko is a shy girl who longs for some loving after her parents got separated when she was only eight. Quiet by nature but poetically vocal, she harbors a secret crush on one of the guys in the office, but have been keeping low about it for fear of rejection. Yoko carries short bangs and gets turned on seeing guys with cornrows. She earns the pseudonym Brushbaby from a journalist who saw her in a little segment at a corporate media gathering when she played the bongos using Zildjian retractable wire brushes with great artistic precision. Yoko is 26, idolized Pablo Neruda and collects odd shaped bottles for her sister who is working on a performance cum conceptional art. Anything else, she will share secrets with...

Willien Glissando Ho

The admirable guy in the creative team, Willien Ho is a fashionista of the highest order. Always clad with something fresh and outlandish everyday, he is what the guys called The Unorthodox Homo Sapien. His experimental styles can be seen evidently in the e-branding works that he had done for several companies, some of which were considered very high-art to be regarded as marketable in the real corporate world. Having said that, his funks and grooves are just a wacky façade meant to cover his veiled, bleak past. Willien suffers from borderline personality disorder and it is a topic one wishes to avoid in a discussion. It is debatable as to whether he is truly suffering or acting as one. Willien professes to all that he is a brand conscious freak and claims that he hides his dysphoria through shopping therapy. Not ready to share the secrets of his life story, he usually spends his free time baking cookies and named them after dead celebrities. He lives by himself in a rented apartment and visits his mother’s grave twice a year. His busy father travels for business and wired Willien money from everywhere. Gliscendo, his self-given virtual alias, is a combo of the Italian terms Glissando and Crescendo, meaning: “A person who gets louder as he glides”. Nobody has any idea what it actually supposed to imply, but Willien simply likes the synthesis between the two words. He is 28, collects wind chimes as part of his dreamcatcher series and found inspiration in the midst of unrest made better by the strident outcry of an untouched vacuum cleaner.


By now, actual clouds have gathered and flushed themselves to the other side of the earth. Rain is eminent and there's a certain air of discordance bothering the moods but not as much as to make me itch. Everything else being constant, I still held in high regards the significance of rain. They can be summarized in just 8 simple words, though at this moment I shall pause and withhold it with some strains, because (1) I am not ready to share, and (B) you ultimately don’t care.

Either way, this is how I end.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sound Off (Part 1)

Guided by a dusky north star and propelled by the insanity of whatever was left on the palette of my toyed or tortured mind, I reached the high points of tonight in blah-coloured style, a manner almost certain to give one a moment to barge in and comment freestyling. While I gulped mugs of caffeine that had once again yanked me further into oblivion blackened with poisoned prose, a pleasing voice rather soft and pristine peered above my right shoulder, talking grimly by way of whispering about things that sat crosslegged between true and false. This is the voice of ideas, a voice wired through the conscious that reverberates with forced rebounds and gapless shuffles. The night ideas were heavily cold, imprisoned in foreign bars, begging urbanely using the word “please” thirteen times for some form of way out. I answered nonchalantly, replying that I just want to write my next spec script. Just so you know, I just want to write my first spec script for TV, the one that doesn’t involved shirtless hunks playing water sports called “polo” or a group of crime investigators or a set of troubled families rigged with a couple of rebellious pre- or post-puberty youngsters.

But here I was listening again, and what I heard (dubbing over that voice) was a multitude of sounds, cacophony and melodious, tangled in a basket of infectious hums. Hours ago, the matchless modulations of Latin percussion and saucy brass thrilled me immensely. Esplanade Concert Hall vibrated with the tuneful romps of Afro Cuban All Stars, where the gaieties amongst audience could be seen as they danced (some pranced with weird steps!) without a care in the world. Then rewind to three days back, in a scene involving the variations of pipes, trashcans, sinks, lids, brooms and mops. These are the rhythmic noises that cast a colourful riot of splendour. STOMP, after roughly more than 17 years, still proves to be a scintillating work of trash art. Bursting with animated dynamism, the extended flippancy was a fun watch whilst the thumps and thunders provided a satisfying (if not resounding) conclusion to the standard midweek. Now flashback to two days prior, in one of the most awaited full-house concert by the new wave, pop rock cum country artist: the ever so witty performer, Elvis Costello. This time, the pumps and charms of the versatile crooner were made stranger by the strums on his electric guitar; a progressive (or maybe precocious) take on the soundscapes genre if I can put some sense to it. Strung together like a rhapsodic travelogue of moods, this is yet another sonorous ride that fills an unfurnished space.

To top it all were three movies in between days: two Koreans and one Hungarian. Madeo (Mother) by Bong Joon-ho has all the right ingredients for a suspenseful murder drama involving a mother and a wrongfully-accused mentally impaired son, and this is one movie I should be recommending just by the sheer cinematic display and engaging storyline that got me hooked from the onset. Haeundae, made with a budget of US$10 million, is a Korean film you are not required to waste your time on. Though it promises a good premise that would attract wide audiences with similar taste for natural disaster flicks (tsunami attacking the city of Busan, yes very original), the build up was a mishmash of flimsy interlocking dialogues and convoluted subplots, and by the end of the movie I couldn’t help thinking that the deadly tidal wave was merely a god-of-machine device installed to make the characters come full circle with their sets of problems and achieved some form of atonement. That aside, I would still watch this feature if only to witness the effects glorifying the screen in full 3D surround sounds. But make no mistakes: Korean films are moving on to higher territories where Singaporeans could only dream of. See it to believe it, and you might be swept away with the visual accomplishment; never mind the story. The third film is way out of league, with its surrealistic scenarios and oddball characters, containing an array of very stunning cinematography that surpasses my presumptions when I first caught the trailers online. Taxidermia is a Hungarian film with dark plot points told in one linear fashion involving three generations of men from Hungary: an orderly during World War II, a speed-eater during the Cold War and a taxidermist in the modern times. To reveal the essence of the film would be too much a detail. Also, I am advising you (whoever you are) to not see this film right after a meal. Halfway into the show, I officially labeled Taxidermia as the Ultimate Gross Movie of All Times, and thanks to me you might want to catch this just to see if I am being hypocritical with my 60 seconds movie review.

78 down and 22 more films for the viewing. Time is slowly closing up. Not a day goes by without a little something-something on the side. Being busy is kind of normal, while love, for good or bad, is still hiding in plain clothes.

Tomorrow marks another day, where it was expected to be partially cloudy and everyone will be wearing their invisible overalls in cynical shades of greyish blue. Perhaps a little contemplative theatre play would be sufficient to clear the blues away. Matinya Toekang Kritik (Death of a Critic) allured me many months ago and seeing that I am only a quarter into the script, it is pretty safe to say that I'm still unspoiled as of today. A review might follows if I have the craving to criticize.

Speaking about scripts, the voice of ideas threw me back into existence for the trifling task at hand.

But my energy sapped, my minds snapped, my power snared, jabbed, trapped, kidnapped, grabbed by the flaps, wrapped in a web of bits and maps. The ending mark came upon me, as I wrote a short closing passage that was meant to be apt, writing blindly with no tendency to use heavy words that could misconstrue the stories beyond the lies and craps. The ideas are there, ready to leap further out of the ledge. Call me if you have any visions where all these might lead to. You could save me from this guise, this intuition, this cruel perplexity. Please take me away from a realm where ideas are vain and the only sign of reality is the sound made from the ticking of the pregnant clock hands asking me to wise up and go to bed.

To be continued ...