Well, to continue being alive is also an art. I suppose it's the most sublime art of all."
(Life and Nothing More; Abbas Kiarostami)
People in the film business say never to work with children or animals. I've done both. And plants too in fact.
But I started my working life as a quack. Lest you think I've been scamming salaries out of people, my first employment gig was being a Duck Tours guide in 2011. Skills gained an unshakeable sense of balance and sea legs on open-top double-decker buses, amphibious land-to-water vehicles and boats. I also learnt to wave unnecessarily to strangers at the waterfront and visited the Merlion too many times. At the same time, I was juggling editorial duties as co-editor of the online socio-cultural magazine, POSKOD.SG, on Singapore’s phenomena, people and places. I also started freelancing, with an early gig writing the audio script for the Gardens by the Bay tram tours prior to the attraction's opening.
In 2012, I took the leap and moved to neon-lit Hong Kong and into a tiny flat with near-reasonable rent. Along with that came the dive into the realm of science as I planned editorial calendars and wrote on medical science and tech breakthroughs for Global Health and Travel magazine – all while hiking many mountains on the weekends, attending Saturday Couchsurfing meetings and learning much about another city's politics and indie music scene.
I returned to my homeland to do some film work (here was when I encountered child and animal actors) and I did, but two concerns came to mind: (1) I itched to go back to editorial and writing - although I was already freelance writing alongside production work (2) the call of salaried employment and my bourgeois tendencies were too strong. I capitulated and I threw myself into creating B2C and B2B editorial and custom content for print and digital channels, including the crafting and curating of social media content. Bringing my experience in film and video over to the agency, my work also incorporated video scripting projects.
As Senior Writer at the creative content agency, I delved into content strategy within the very same job half a year later, finding further possible narratives for brands to cement their standing in the marketplace and gain brand equity. Happy clients include MetLife (Asia), Temasek Holdings, Mead Johnson, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Canon Singapore, Tourism Australia, Ascott, Eu Yan Sang, Great Eastern and Health Promotion Board Singapore and Kodak. I also participated in the odd office prank once in a while.
When my favourite director came a-knocking in 2017, I focused on being a production manager and performer for the upcoming feature, DEMONS, whilst freelancing. My freelance clients include the Asian Film Archive, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Edipresse Media (Hong Kong), Mongoose Publishing, ThinkFarm and NYLON Singapore. Freelancing has also allowed me to further indulge in Cinema - a life without which I cannot imagine.
I'm proud to refer to DEMONS (dir. Daniel Hui; prod. by 13 Little Pictures) as half my film, which premiered in Busan International Film Festival and recently screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Following the production of DEMONS, I headed to the set of A LAND IMAGINED (dir. Yeo Siew Hua; prod. by Akanga Film Asia) to horse around as Script Supervisor in 2017 and into the new year of 2018. To make film and art (or to contribute to its making) together and with people one loves is a tremendously beautiful thing not to be taken for granted.
It's 2019 now and I'm a science writer. But I haven't left Cinema by the wayside, if anyone's asking! ;)