The film industry that I am a part of creates and builds dreams. Building dreams is super important for a lot of people, because real life is very imperfect and often not to our expectations. So building a dream, i.e., making a movie, a film, a commercial etc, is an opportunity to rectify what we do not find satisfying in real life.
Having worked in the styling and art direction department of this industry for a long time, it is a given that we have to make things look good. It does not matter if in real life no home looks as neat, or no person looks as glamorous, no family look as happy all the time, the only thing that matters is we sell a dream (or a lie, if we are super honest), and that has to look immaculate.
What is not real/true does require a lot of manpower upkeep (maintenance) and thank you for that there is then the flourishing of our industry, the jobs and the need for us crew. Working in different departments of this industry, almost never is the talent casted/recruited for a luxury job actually living such a said lifestyle. Almost never is the quality of the food styled actually the food served on the table in a restaurant. Almost never is what the talent wearing their daily style of clothing in real life etc. But our industry has an incessant need/mission to make what is not real into what we see, full of the excitement and stimulation knowing it is "new" and "different" from our mediocre life.
We long and crave for such stimulation in moving pictures, whether it is online, in the big screen, in the television etc., as we crave for this stimulation in daily life. The film industry not only fulfils this craving, we live it. We live a gap in real life to the work we do, but do we ever question if this is normal?
Deeply blessed that recently we worked on a production from scratch, this commercial is about family. Every scene directed touches the heart, especially because it is rare to display such warmth in the the Asian culture. We are so touched by the sweetness and intimacy of the film's scenes, but does this intimacy only remains on screen? The question that came to me was: how am I living my relationships with my family and loved ones?
During this production, being aware of all the tightness in timeline, as well as unending conversations with every one of the crew, client and artists~I was deeply aware that all these relationships will impact upon the LIVED quality of the final commercial film we will produce. It was simply not enough, if we produced a commercial with the best acting and flawless art direction and camera work. Yes all of that is important. However, for any film that is produced by our company/crew, it cannot remain in the superficiality of just creating a dream.
What does that even mean?
Apart from all the pre-production that has to go on~creating a storyboard, script, styling, art direction, photography mood and feel and gathering a crew that would simplest move rather than hold back, whilst deepening with every single one of the crew members within the time frame to bring this "dream" into reality on set as well as during the post production, is just the very basic.
Not to mention attending to each and every unexpected drama you can imagine, and simply just getting on with it with no complain, no blame, no withdrawal but all the expression needed in communication, and the willingness to just move. From the futility of controlling deadlines to holding another and all others to their equal responsibility in the project, observing the reactions and making needed adjustments or simply just observing deeper~~I am in AWE that we have come this far, not me, but the whole group, in walking the steps to not remain in the falseness of selling a lie, all our relationships were asked to be looked at and upgraded. No we are not perfect in this, but the mountains climbed and the great wall of China trekked BEHIND what you see as the final product, a 60s or less commercial, do we know how much has actually been moved?
A dream is far from just what is pretty and unrealistic. A dream only has power when it is lived every step, returning to what we know is a deeper intimacy with people and relationships. Then this film/commercial/advertising will be truly felt as powerful from its LIVINGNESS of everyone involved. Thank you for another amazing opportunity to grow in all aspects in work and life.
Photos: Suki Tse