Monday, August 15, 2005

Frog : Episode 1

In the year 2000, I made a little film called Demolition Frog. It's a story that I had to tell about a little frog taken from his family in a rice field to become the subject of cruel laboratory tests. The frog is left in a beaker yearning for family and home.I guess it's a release of buildup of angst I have against the mistreatment of animals by us, the self appointed rulers of the universe. The film's success and subsequent screening in film festivals in France, Manchester, Phillipines and Thailand was largely unexpected...but I am needless to say very happy.Being more determined than ever and ambitious, I wrote a second story Frog:Episode 1. It's a prequel, this time it's my small comment about our we seem to take our environment for granted...seems kinda timely seeing the haze and all... but I never got started having my attention being taken away by firstly trying to get a sponsor for the project and then my other interests of painting, my gradually building and busying career, SEPET, my other project Ordinary Miracles (tentatively shelved due to a lack of budget and me not wanting to compromise on a story of my beloved hometown of Kuching)

That's the problem with the practice of art and creating really only take the initiative of being able to pull yourself away and committing to something...and yet that is in itself asking alot...from the idiotic distractions modern life tend to throw at us.I mean nowadays even important family matters are sometimes put aside and left to mount into huge problems in the course of a busy day...however, it is strange to note that while matters of self and heart gets placed aside, most of us would eventually finish work that brings in the dough...goes to show how important money really is huh?

Demolition Frog was a clay animated project. It's a traditional form of animation that is done physically; the shot being made from posing clay models instead of manipulating pixels on a computer...needless to say, it's an ardous task. So why do it? I have friends who are telling me to tell the story with software like maya or lightwave... but I much rather do it with clay...why? Well, there seem to be certain sentimentality, a feeling, a romantic quality to clay. When I was in Thailand, I marveled at the temples…the small drawings that filled the massive temple walls each in it little way gave the place its total charm. It must have taken ages to do those drawings which aren’t in anyway manufactured…but slowly hand drawn by artisans. Hmm…In some ways we have de-evolve as it seems we are all less and less reluctant to put heart, sweat and time into doing something worthwhile but want to emphasize on as fast of a turnover and financial profit…and hence why, not to be a hypocrite, I am doing it the hard but gratifying way…I want the frog films done with clay… (I intended to do Ordinary Miracles with cell…25 hand drawn frames a second)

Two out of three young people, answered my offer to work on Frog. One’s a student the other a freelance graphic designer. They were like everyone, busy with their own lives, but they loved the story at hand, were concerned and they called as we were building up to the starting day…one didn’t take my offer even though she initially told me to give her a chance and said she like to try out productions. I guess she wanted the more glamorous acting type roles and balked when I said the words ‘hardwork’. Ah well…two out of three ain’t bad.

So we started on the 12th of August 2005, wie jie showed up at my apartment at approximately 2.30pm, I jumped out of bed from a really late night and we began… he was new to this so it’s up to me to gauge the task at hand and instructed him on what to do. Firstly, we evaluated, sized up the scope of the project and what we had to do…then we started….We worked humbly, seated on the bare floor of the living hall of my apartment with low chairs wrapped in newspaper serving as our table and work space…there isn’t any air conditioning but it was quite cool…the haze was went away on the day we started work (I initially wanted to reluctantly cancel due to the haze)…God’s gift I suppose… Later that day, Hooi Yee joined us…she’s also new to clay but a trained classical animator. Over two days, we modeled leaves, trees with wire and paper, we fashioned land from plasticine, we painted toy tractors and flavoured them to look more like authentic dirt and rust filled vehicles. Every once in a while we stopped to have a break and discuss directions we are heading, sometimes we scoured my animated film library for inspirations… As we worked, all the while we joked…talked about stuff (some dirty…cheng! cheng! cheng!) and I guess had fun…hard work isn’t all that bad.

So the journey has started….I am very… no freaking happy…I finally pulled myself away from trivial distractions and life’s sometimes stupid busy-ness and got started on t Frog Episode 2. To wie jie (who I jokingly call wicked) and hooi yee…my many and sincere thanks…and let’s hope that we follow this good start and finish a great film…

Frog : Episode 2 is self-financed meaning I am paying out of my own pocket. Cost include raw materials, technical equipments and expenses, petrol and transportation expenses, meals for crews and other miscellaneous cost. If excess money is raised, volunteer crew will be paid. Anyone else SERIOUSLY interested to contribute to this film…whether as a volunteer crew or to offer some financial help whether big or small do contact me at with the heading HELP FOR FROG FILM. Sponsorship welcomed whether in money or in kind - equipments. Credits can be arranged, while gratitude and thank you‘s’offered with all my heart. When done, I hope to sell the film on VCD with proceeds benefiting the Malaysian Nature Society or another environmental based charity(as yet arranged)


babyPup said...

well, if u eva need a puppy go jump and bark and frighten the frog, juz lemme know yar? ;)

dreamer idiot said...

Discovered your blog a few weeks back and knowing who you are (Keong in Sepet), decided to check your site out.

I really like this entry, as it gives me a glimpse into the creative process of making films or animations - something I am interested in, less as a creative artist, than a critic. Well, I hope you keep blogging on such projects...and some of the creative headaches/struggles too, if not for bloggers like me, for yourself, in a continual learning and exploration in creating a work of art. Too bad, I can't get involved though, as much I did like too. So, all the best then with your FROG project!

Anonymous said...

it's not the hardwork nor the want of glamour! Hardwork in something someone isn't truly interested (but only half-half) in, then wat's the point?
u shld know who this is

Hassan said...

did i just drop by a people that actually do stop animation..
and good luck on the project..



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Living Life to the full...I hope to live by the principle that success doesn't mean making a tonne of money though I am blessed that i do make a decent sum...but success equates to appreciateing all the God given wonder this world has to offer before my time is up...