Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!

 

It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it.

 

[Chronesthesia] is fantastically presented with a multitude of frankly spectacular match-cut sequences, the tension they create heightened even further by an excellent soundtrack. The writing is superb, with a lot of good humour, well-done interconnecting storylines, and a bunch of really clever recurring motifs that blew my mind – Fish and Swallow review

 

Having the film premiere in Wellington, the city in which it’s filmed, was a special honour. Myself, Simeon, Kelly and Steve were all in attendance, as well as Phil Burton and Conor Cameron, the geniuses behind the sound and music respectively. A large amount of the cast were there also, including New Zealand’s current star Julian Dennison.

 

Julian Dennison Chronesthesia

Julian Dennison posted a pic of him at the Chronesthesia prem with the hashtag #thebestfilmever – a big call

 

Chronesthesia is a thoroughly enjoyable movie and a big success for not only New Zealand cinema at large but also local independent filmmaking.

 

Special thanks go to Paramount cinema for hosting us. We packed out the lobby beforehand and staff members stayed working for an extra three hours so we could all hang out partying afterward.

 

Hayden Weal Michelle Ny Chronesthesia Premiere

Michelle Ny (Sophia) and Hayden J. Weal (Dan) at the Chronesthesia premiere

 

In the day leading up to the premiere, I didn’t feel nervous at all. It was a strange feeling knowing a bunch of family and friends and strangers would be watching 90 minutes of me on screen, in a story I’d written, directed, edited and produced with a small amount of crew. Simeon wasn’t nervous either, just excited. I don’t know whether this is because we were confident about how it was going to play or being overwhelmed with the event itself.

 

I couldn’t fault this movie. For a film created with no budget, it blew my socks off! Can’t wait to see what these guys do next.

 

Simeon Duncombe, Hayden J. Weal

Director of Photography Simeon Duncombe and director Hayden J. Weal (photo courtesy of The Residents)

 

The next day, me and Simeon had interviews lined up. The press tour! I love it, I could talk about myself and our work for hours, so I was in heaven. The Residents did an especially in-depth interview with us about our background. I kept checking twitter, keen to see what people thought. And they loved it!

 

tweets

 

The fantastic response after the premiere spurred me on. The team we’ve assembled has continued to grow throughout the making of Chronesthesia and I can’t wait to work with everybody again on future projects.

 

Also, I made a vlog about the premiere.

 

 

Read The Residents blog piece

Read The Stuff article

Read The Fish and Swallow review

 

#ChronoMovie #HJWBTS

More Behind the Scenes

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

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Happy Man with Projector Flare

Travelling for Post Production Meetings (VIDEO)

 

Travelling for meetings

 

 

What a time to have moved away from Wellington! Have a couple of meetings scheduled? It’s no longer a scooter ride, now it’s a nine and a half hour overnight bus then a hire car to come back up. On the other hand, absence makes the heart grow and grow and grow, so when me and Simeon catch up it’s like seeing a long lost lover.

 

Simeon Love

How could you not love him?

 

Things are really starting to heat up in the post production train. Simeon has been working on the visual effects in the film, in particular the climax sequence (which has 50% of the film’s effects). I’ve been having meetings with various producers and filmmakers about the current cut, finding out what works and what’s not quite hitting.

 

Here’s an awesome video about my latest trip down to Wellington:

 

 

 

The biggest issue with the film right now is the dense plot. Most people can tell what’s going on character-wise, but because it’s a twisty, turny time travel plot, some of the important plot points and clues are being missed, while others are obvious. It turns out we are gonna have to do some pickups. We’re scheduling them for early in the New Year.

 

Pickups means I’ll have to cut my hair and don the Dan costume again. Get back into the character. However, Michelle Ny now resides in Auckland, Nova is a year old and it’s noticeable, Shane Rangi is overseas, Cohen is busy as heck, which means the pickups will feature myself and possibly a new member of cast, or one of the supporting cast.

 

HJWBTS

 

More BTS

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Read More
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Read More
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Silhouette Hayden camera with Nova sunset

Delivery Deadline Looming!

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New Team Members and a Locked Cut (VIDEOS)

  New Team Members?     As we progress from the editing stage through to the REAL POST PRODUCTION world of colour, visual effects, sound, music, marketing and promo, we need more people. More power. More genius. Which leads us to these new team members: Welcome to our new producers Kelly Kilgour and Steve Barr. Welcome […]

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Esther Lees, Abby Damen in bar for tv show Wonderland

Directing Girls in Underwear

Wonderland Teaser

 

 

As I mentioned, I’ve been directing ladies in underwear. The last couple of days have included me watching a monitor, scrutinising performance, having to ignore said underwear.

 

While I’m balls deep in post production for my feature film (currently called Chronesthesia but that very may well change soon), I’ve taken a sidestep to concentrate on another project. It’s called Wonderland and it’s written and produced by Casey Whelan and Steve Barr. Casey and Steve have found major success in their recent feature film Born to Dance which has made over $1 million locally since its release a couple of weeks ago.

 

Casey Whelan, writer, producer, set builder, prop buyer, wardrobe co-ordinator, catering... I could go on

Casey Whelan, writer, producer, set builder, prop buyer, wardrobe co-ordinator, catering… I could go on

 

I don’t want to say too much about the actual show Wonderland as it’s still top secret, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The premise is about a young girl who decides to try on high class escorting as a means of making money, does incredibly well through it, and the various trials and tribulations that come with it.

 

In the leading role is Abby Damen, from Dick Off and Blind Date fame.

 

We did a three day shoot (one day on location and two days in a studio with built sets) with a very enthusiastic and generous cast and crew. Lots of laughs were had and while the tone of the teaser is very comedic, there is also some very sexy content involved. The ladies wore beautiful lingerie and wore it well. We had an actress spanking an actor for six minutes straight, and I am now the lucky holder of about half an hour’s worth of close up male orgasm faces. It’s horrific.

 

Wonderland, Brandon Te Moananui

Brandon Te Moananui, our director of photography, cameoing as ‘cumming man’.

 

It’s time to edit. I’m actually only writing this post because I’ve finished logging all the footage and I want to screen it for Casey before starting the official cut. She’s on her way from the studio now. I’d love to post some more pictures, but they have to go through clearance first.

 

I wish I could run through the whole crew and the reasons they’re amazing, as they worked hard and fast without complaint. I tip my hat to you all.

 

Updates to come.

Other blog posts

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

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Waiheke Island

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Hayden J. Weal in front of computer editing

European Editing Suite

Post Production Abroad

 

With all the shooting in the can (well, excluding potential pick-ups), it’s time to start what I find the most daunting task of all: editing.

 

As you can see above, I have a Marty McFly figurine from Back to the Future. This was given to me by my Secret Santa at work (Sam McSweeney – legend) and will travel around Europe guiding me through tough editing decisions.

 

SPECS

With 15 hours of footage, 137 scenes, a dozen or so characters, multiple storylines and even timescapes, the first cut will be a very large slog. I’ve almost completed an assembly using every scene and every line that we shot, so we can see how much story we have and what can go. Thanks to editing as we were shooting, a large chunk of the story is already there on the timeline.

 

NERD TIME

I’m cutting using FCPX on a 13″ MacBook Pro with 16gb RAM for ultra speedy video processing, and I’m working with a 2TB hard drive that holds all the footage’s transcoded proxy media. We have three separate backups of the media full res in Wellington, and from here I can send back EDLs, XMLs, and full Library files for Simeon to set up test screenings.

 

For now, check out this epic editing suite I’ve scored. Many late nights spent huddled over this desk drinking cheap dirty Prague coffee.

 

 

#HJWBTS

Check out more Behind the Scenes

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
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We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
Steve Barr, Hayden J. Weal, Simeon Duncombe, Kelly Kilgour, Conor Cameron

Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

Read More
Castlepoint feature image

Shooting on Location at Castlepoint

Castlepoint! Finally!

 

 

 

Something I was looking forward to throughout the whole shoot was us going to Castlepoint. It’s a fun sequence for the characters and I’ve been wanting to film something at Castlepoint for years now. It’s a gorgeous place and there’s something mystical about it. With a long flat beach extending out to a massive peak called Castle Rock, a lagoon with smashing frothing waves, and New Zealand’s second oldest lighthouse standing at the end of a treacherous rocky walk, it feels like another world.

 

But first, let’s do a recap of the last couple of weeks shooting.

 

YOGA, COLLEEN AND CUBA DUPA

 

Check out us filming with a yoga class, Colleen Cleary as Eve, and us amongst 20,000+ people at Cuba Dupa, the Wellington city festival.

 

 

Cool huh? I thought so.

 

Last weekend we shot with Cohen Holloway, a Wellington based actor well known for his constant shenanigans and wicked wit. As well as being hilarious (remember him as the embarrassed computer nerd checking out porn in Eagle vs. Shark and Shogun’s friend in Boy), Cohen blew people outta the water with his performance in Until Proven Innocent. He’s one of those names that when people ask who’s in the film and I say ‘Cohen Holloway’, they say ‘Really? Wow…’

 

COHEN HOLLOWAY

 

Here’s Cohen and us after shooting a long, emotionally and physically draining scene with lots of improv and some grappling on a wooden floor. Wait for the film to see more. Special thanks to Ike Hamon, stunt co-ordinator, for his expertise.

 

Cohen Holloway HJW

We didn’t take any other photos, our minds were on task all day

 

We had our final day with Nick Blake as Richard. Scored some great weather as we walked through the beautiful town belt over Mt. Victoria and rocked three pages of dialogue. An absolute pro and gentlemen, Nick will probably be in everything I ever make.

 

Nick Blake Hayden J. Weal

Nick, Abby and Simeon hanging in the mild sun

 

Castlepoint time!

Here are some photos and a video about the trip. We shot twelve scenes and ten pages in two days. Special thanks to Abby Damen, Amber Varde and Orion Holder-Monk for preparing food, baking pies, cleaning up after us, and the amazing support and company.

Here’s the whole trip in a three minute video.

 

 

Here’s Michelle standing at the view of our cute batch we stayed in

Michelle Ny, Castlepoint

Moody clouds like that make for great footage

 

Here’s Simeon in 100km winds by the second oldest lighthouse in New Zealand.

Simeon Duncombe HJW

The camera is steady, though. Rock solid arms.

 

Later, Simeon roughed up for his cameo as Fisherman.

 

Simeon Duncombe Fisherman

It’s hard to make somebody who spends time taking care of himself look rough, but the ladies managed it

 

And here are some wonderful photos Michelle Ny took that capture the feeling of the place. Beautiful place. Go check it out.

 

HJW HJW

HJW

Taking refuge from the wind behind the rocks

HJW

HJW

HJW taking in the atmosphere

Wandering for a shot

Wandering for a shot

 

After the trip, I felt that same kind of loss you feel after finishing binge-watching a season of your favourite show. Which I think is a mark of a good time had. The footage looks fantastic and I’m excited about editing it.

 

Thanks to all involved. Now we have eight scenes remaining. EIGHT SCENES OUT OF ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN. That’s something to be proud of. Let’s finish this film!

 

#HJWBTS

More Behind the Scenes

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Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
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We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
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To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
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PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
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Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
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CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

Read More

Scheduling a Feature Film Part 2

As you may have seen on Scheduling a Feature Film, there are approximately 140 scenes in our movie.

That’s a lot.

 

Now what?

Now we print the scene breakdowns out, cut them up into little pieces, highlight the scenes with special cast members, and organise them into locations. I blu tacked them onto my bedroom wall (with a lot of help from my phenomenal life mate Abby Damen) and it gives us a visual idea of the film’s pieces.

That's a lot of scenes...

That’s a lot of scenes…

For a little while there, I panicked. I gotta be honest, that is a LOT of scenes. The pink highlighter is for our leading lady, the blue for an older male character, a sort of father figure if you like, the green is Grant Roa’s character, and the yellow for an exciting cast member I’ll introduce you too later.

 

As we shoot the scenes, I plan to move the scenes down onto another sheet of paper, then once they’re in the can and uploaded and safely backed up, I’ll move the scenes to a lower piece of paper. It’ll work like one of those machines in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, seeing the ingredients flow down through a funnel and into a delicious re-organized pile on the ground ready to eat.

 

25 scenes already shot!

25 scenes already shot!

 

As you can see, we can already shot 25 scenes. All starring only me. We plan to get all of the fiddly little scenes out of the way before we focus on the emotional dialogue scenes with other cast members. That’ll mean we’re in the swing of things and can attack coverage and camera angles with confidence and momentum.

 

CASTING NEWS

To make matters even more exciting, let me please introduce you to a new cast member.

This is Nua Finau, Wellington based actor and filmmaker.

 

Nua Finau NZ actor

Nua Finau | charismatic, loveable, on board

 

Nua’s on board! He plays Jared, the workmate of our leading character Dan. We are privileged and stoked to have him and will be sure to grab some stills when we first have him on set. He starred in kiwi road trip web series Road Trip by KHF Media this year and is a busy man. I was introduced to Nua a long time ago by my friend and collaborator Andy Campion who was driving him on a show called Paradise Cafe.

 

Ooh, apart from all this exciting scheduling and shooting, I’ve been doing some location scouting! But I’ll show you that later.

 

Hope you dig the updates. Please subscribe for my sporadic and irregular HJW newsletter.

 

More Behind the Scenes Posts

Chronesthesia Love and Time Travel Shanghai International Film Festival

Shanghai International Film Festival - Chrono selected!

Chronesthesia got into Shanghai!   We first got the email in February, 2017. I was in the South Island on a voluntary tour of primary schools for a charity organisation called Duffy Books in Homes. “Congratulations!” it started. “Chronesthesia has been selected for the 20th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival.” In the body of the […]

Read More
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Securing an International Sales Agent

We got an international sales agent!     How ridiculous is that? Chronesthesia is now being represented internationally by WPE, operating out of the United States of America, selling around the world. As many territories as possible, as much money as possible, getting seen as far and wide as possible.   Hold up – what’s […]

Read More
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Releasing in Cinemas

To play in cinemas   Completing a feature film under the age of thirty. That made me feel pretty damn good. Sometimes I wake up and remember it, in the same way that you often wake up and remember it’s a Saturday, and I feel fuzzy. And warm. And inspired to do more.   But […]

Read More
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Chronesthesia Premiere!

PREMIERE!   It’s been a long road and a lot of work. Chronesthesia played to a sold out cinema audience as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival on Friday 29th July 2016. The positive response and reviews we’ve been receiving have made every single minute of hard work on the film worth it. […]

Read More
Hayden J. Weal holding Chronesthesia hard drive

Chronesthesia, our first feature, is Finished!

Finished?     Yes, completely finished. Visual effects: check. Colour grading: check. Sound: check. Score: check.   Weird, weird feeling. Early last week I took the final finished film into a cinema and tested it all the way through. It was a great experience watching what we made out of nothing. A year ago we […]

Read More
NZIFF selected Chronesthesia premiere

Big Announcement - Chrono has a Premiere!

CHRONO HAS A PREMIERE!!   Big news dropped today. Chronesthesia has a premiere. It’s playing for the first time in the world in the city is was shot in – Wellington, New Zealand.   We are stoked to be screening on the big screen, obviously, and Wellington at the NZIFF (New Zealand International Film Festival) […]

Read More

First Day Shooting!

HOLY CRAP WE’RE SHOOTING ALREADY!

It’s the fifth day of the year and why not start now? Me and Simeon met up yesterday for a big talk about scheduling and how we are going to manage the shoot. We thought we’d start with something small, something easy, and we decided we’d start on the shower scenes. That’s right – there are shower scenes in the film.

 

I arrived at Simeon’s and walked into the bathroom where the camera sat atop a tripod facing the open shower. I stripped off and we talked about the scene. As I stepped inside the shower, I could feel electricity in the air. This was it. We did a couple of rehearsals, then Simeon hit the little red button. Visual information sped through the lens, into the chip, and saved itself onto the memory card.

 

First shot. Shower scene. Oh yeah.

First shot. Shower scene. Oh yeah.

 

We used an amazing slating app that Simeon sourced and uses on his iPad mini. You key in the scene, slate and take number, then hold it up to the lens. Apparently, there’s a way you can sync the metadata directly into the clips when you import to Final Cut Pro X preisvergleich viagra generika. Wild.

 

The shoot took just over an hour, and we got three scenes in the can. We’ll shoot more on Wednesday then do the import and that’s where things are gonna get really interesting. It’s imperative we have a clean and efficient post production workflow. Setting up the events, projects and keywords will be where the master plan comes together.

 

Three scenes out of 140 done. 3/8s of a page out of 95. As a percentage, we’ve shot .375% of the film.

OH MY GOD.

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Scheduling a Feature Film

Time to breakdown

 

So what happens when the script is in good enough shape to move forward?

It’s at draft four and there are still many changes yet to make to improve it, but we’re at a comfortable stage where all the major building blocks are in place. The characters won’t change, the settings won’t change, the major props and costumes, make-up and ideas for big shots won’t change. So… it’s time to get the ball rolling.

 

This past week I’ve contacted a lot of people about helping. Actually, the amazing thing about putting the test online meant that people saw it. A few really talented people who I met throughout my time on The Hobbit contacted me and offered their help FOR FREE. This is no small deal and I’m gonna take up each and every one of them.

 

Also, in the time passed since my last post, me and my team went to Auckland to attend the NZ Film Awards. Abby won a table of ten thanks for her Best Actress win for Dick Off in this year’s 48hour Film Comp. While there, I met a couple of huge Kiwi heroes of mine, including Neil Finn of Crowded House (we share small-town hometown Te Awamutu) and Gerard Johnstone, director of fantastic NZ horror comedy Housebound, which I reviewed this year on this website.

 

 

NZ Film Awards Auckland

L to R: Courtney Abbot, Elle Bryant, Andy Campion, Abby Damen, HJW, Jamie Lawrence, Simeon Duncombe, Sophie Wilson

 

A big win to come out of that night was the fact I ran into Cohen Holloway, a mightily talented and accomplished NZ actor. I’d emailed him the script hoping he’d play one of the very important characters and had received no reply. However, in the flesh, Cohen said he’d love to jump aboard. So I’m gonna hold him to that. Plus, it’s in type on the internet now, Cohen, so it’s really real.

 

I’ve also met with Producer Kelly Kilgour many times to discuss script, shooting logistics, locations, casting, funding, and business plans for the future. Currently, the business plan is to get the film in the can so I can start editing!

 

The next step in pre production is

SCHEDULING

 

Scheduling feature film

Look at it all! Gorgeous and satisfying

 

That’s my scheduling software. Pages. That’s right, the free application that comes on MacBook Pros. It works a treat because all you need is a table.

As you can see, each row is a bit of information about a scene that I will shoot. The way I’ve set it out as simple:

 

Scene # | Interior/Exterior | Time of Day | Setting | Location (so many missing!) | Characters | Description | Page Count

 

I’m gonna fill out all the info about every scene in the film, then cut them out, rearrange, and I’ll have a really good idea how long each actor and location is needed. What I don’t have in this is the props or specialist costume and make-up needs. I’ve reasoned that because the film is so small and I haven’t written in many specialist props of make-up needs, I’m listing them in the description cell.

 

Once I’ve cut them out and rearranged them all, I’m going to blu tack them to my bedroom wall and start organising them into Shoot Days. That way, I can see exactly what I need to shoot on every Shoot Day. I’ll meet with Director of Photography Simeon Duncombe and together we’ll ascertain how long we need to shoot each scene based on the page count and plan accordingly.

 

Boom. Scheduling. Piece of cake. It’s weirdly therapeutic and relaxing actually, and it’s illuminated a couple of pacing issues I wouldn’t have found until the edit, such as “Ooh, there’s too many long scenes at once, we need some short montage shots or something,” and “Ooh, this character disappears for three scenes but TWENTY pages, that’s too long.”

 

Oh, and here’s a picture of Cohen. As well as being super talented and intelligent, he’s hilarious, sexy and easygoing.

This is Cohen Holloway, gorgeous kiwi actor, on the Sundance festival red carpet in 2011

This is Cohen Holloway, gorgeous kiwi actor, on the Sundance festival red carpet in 2011

 

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Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 7/7

 

LAST DAY

 

With the Auckland crew gone, me and Dan remained. It was time to hang up the Mentor tags and head home.

 

Travelling debris. Stubs of boardings passes and info packs.

Travelling debris. Stubs of boardings passes and info packs. Which do I need to keep?

 

Last day | 9:15am

I’m at breakfast reading and I never want to leave. It’s perfect. Better still, a pack of Greek families seem to have checked in bringing with them cute daughters with dark features and shapely bodies that aren’t hidden by long flowing sheets of dress. I’ve managed fruit and coffee but that’s all. I’m doubting my ability to eat proper solids yet. Don’t know where Dan is but the rest of the crew got on the plane safely. I don’t have long left in this country and I’ll miss it.

 

4:37pm

The whole day has gone by! Okay I’ll list it quickly. I’m currently on the KLIA Ekspres with Dan and we’re heading to the airport. Our time in KL is at its end. I ate breakfast and took a lot of time and read plenty of my fantastic book. Then I went to my room and packed. Then I sat by the pool, swam, read by the pool and drank a watermelon juice. At noon I checked out and the concierge tucked away my bags so I could explore the city for my remaining four hours before meeting Dan. He had work to do all morning – poor sap. But he enjoyed it!

 

 

I guess because of the crowds, a lot of Malaysians who reside in the city don't care about personal bubbles

I guess because of the crowds, a lot of Malaysians who reside in the city don’t care about personal bubbles

 

I walked around the mall for an hour, digging the chilly aircon, then bought a ticket for Mr. Peabody and Sherman. A movie! I spent some of my last day in KL in a cold darkened room with kids watching an animated film. And it was awesome. Before the film though I shelled out for a massive Mexican meal of chicken quesadillas and a coke light. So delicious. Read more of my book. A dream solo day really. After the film, feeling emotional due to a sweet family film in my hungover vulnerable state, I walked back to the hotel and sat in the lobby with Dan until a taxi picked us up and took us an interesting way through the city to avoid traffic and dropped us at Sentral station. On the day we’re leaving, I find I’m finally used to the money and ticket system.

 

5:40pm

MASSIVE lines at the airport security. Me and Dan are hungry. Have picked a line each to see who wins. It’s like betting on which pebble will spiral down the drain first. Zero control – zero stakes – zero reason why not.

 

Long airport lines

 

7:04pm

Got to the airport and waited in the long lines (I won the first and Dan won the second) and had some French sandwiches. Getting ready to board and standing in front of the most obnoxious Aussie couple and I felt my blood pressure spike immediately. I needed to breath deep. If they’re near me on the plane I’m gonna lose it.

 

Wednesday 7:17am AUS time/4:17am Malaysia time/10:17am NZ time

Arrived in Melbourne and swapped my SIM card back. We got lucky and weren’t near any annoying Aussies on the plane. Such a blessed relief as waiting in the lines before boarding was next level. Good gosh, some of them had no respect. Obnoxious bastards making jokes about the missing MH370 plane. Didn’t sleep much. Watched Silver Linings Playbook again.

 

coffee, Melbourne airport, Dan Slevin

Shouted by Dan (thanks mate), it was savoured as we watched plans taxi the tarmac

 

8:26am

Having a coffee shouted by Dan in a lovely cafe overlooking Melbourne’s never ending flatness. Orange light is pouring in and I’d call it officially daytime. The wifi is shit. Dan popped me on his personal hotspot for a second so I could txt Abby and the crew. Realised I forgot my house key and nobody is home. Fantastic. But here’s the thing about having considerate and caring friends: these things tend to get worked out.

 

 

Wellington Airport

One more photo, then let’s go home.

 

3:45pm

Caleb put a key in the power box for me. Just landed in Wellington to a flurry of txts and emails and whatsapps. Missing the trip already.
It is finished.

 

 

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Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 5/7

It’s time to do Kuala Lumpur!

 

 

With the 48hour film festival being completed, I leave Kuching and make my way to Kuala Lumpur to join the other NZers where we cease to ‘work’, instead spending our time traveling and enjoying Malaysia.

 

11:19am
I have been notified, while I was enjoying a grande hazelnut latte from Starbucks (in Paddy’s honour – my father) with the lecturers, that my flight to KL has been postponed by an hour and a half. I have to check out of the hotel at noon and don’t need to be at the airport until 3p.m. so Aliff is gonna grab me and we’ll have lunch to wile the time away. I’m not feeling tired at all; I’m hitting that second or third or tenth wind.

 

Guilty expensive pleasure

Guilty expensive pleasure

 

12:22pm
One shower later and I’m ready to go! Saying a teary farewell to my room here and will miss Kuching. It feels like I hardly got to explore it at all! Mingled with my sadness is an excitement to rejoin the group in KL. I can’t wait to hear about their experiences with their 48hour teams. I wish we had a behind the scenes crew with us. Yusry is waiting for me downstairs so it’s time to go to the airport now!

 

Free food and luxury. I don't really fit in with my messy hair, stubble and sneakers

Free food and luxury. I don’t really fit in with my messy hair, stubble and sneakers

 

3:09pm
I have been sitting in the gold lounge happy as a pig in shit. I’m reading my book, a cup of strong coffee and selection of tasty chocolate treats next to me, and a call will soon emit from the loud speaker when it’s time for me to board. Easy as that. I checked in here at the airport then Aliff picked me up.
We went to a small restaurant cramped in between a sweaty carpark and a noisy motorway. We enjoyed a delicious local dish made of noodles, beef and egg. After which I was very full by this point and struggling to stay alert so allowed myself the privilege on slipping into a stupor on the way back to the airport. Now I’m here. Cosy and comfortable. I’ll be in KL soon.

 

To prove it happened

To prove it happened

 

6:32pmtaxi
I have arrived in Kuala Lumpur! I’ve taken the KLIA Ekspres from the airport to Sentral Station. I found myself getting infuriated by even the slightest noise, like the overweight man who kept hocking phlegm into his mouth and swallowing it. Anyway, having finally arrived, I’m currently in a 35 ringgit ticket premiere teksi ride, sitting in rush hour watching the meter rise. Darn, this was to be my beer money.

 

10:38pm
Turns out the taxi only cost 38 ringgit! Cheap as considering the time we spent in traffic. To better that, Dan bought the beers in the mezzanine bar anyway! Legend! Not to self: I must repay him somehow. I got to the hotel, checked in fast without any problems, then made my way to my room. On the 28th fucking floor. The hotel is 29 floors high, and I’m rocking floor 28. A smoking room, so it stinks of cancer-causing tar, but holy shit the view.
I dumped my gear, lamenting my phone’s newly depleted battery, and ran down to meet Anna, Johnny and Dan in the bar. We had a couple of drinks and caught up and I haven’t laughed so much for a long time. What a classic crew of people! So lucky to have them here and to be a part of the group. We swapped stories and Johnny sounds like he got a raw deal with his teams, poor guy, but dealt really well and they even have to films to show for it!

 

Checking in is sometimes the best bit. Lovely staff.

Checking in is sometimes the best bit. Lovely staff.

 

After beers we went for a walk to a gigantic mall and had a cheap dinner. 10pm came around fast, meaning the mall closed, so we came back and all agreed to call it a night. It’s been an exhausting few days but tomorrow is a free day with no strings. We’re meeting at 8am for breakfast together. Too excited to sleep. The hotel is incredible.

 

Saturday 6:52am
I’ve woken up instantly alert so I’ve stayed up. I have plenty of time so I’m txting Abby and looking out the window until breakfast time. This place is awesome.

 

View from my hotel room

View from my hotel room

8:03am
I’m sitting at breakfast. I’ve eaten a big bowl of fruit and a coffee and am waiting on the others, regretting not bringing my book down. I don’t know if I’ll finish the current novel I’m ready as I’ve already read it. I’ll go shopping for one today, there’s gotta be a decent second hand book shop around right? Stay tuned. View from my room as the sun comes up is spectacular and I’m feeling very very honoured to be here. Johnny just arrived for breakfast yay!

Aw, a student put me on Instagram!

Aw, a student put me on Instagram!

3:18pm
What a day! We are doing KL. I started off with a magical breakfast of fruit and omelettes in the hotel and laughed and chatted with the team. Then we all got together in Johnny’s room and watched the 48hour films! They all exceeded our expectations and lots of laughs were had. Dan joined us and told us their judging decisions which were as we expected. My teams got best actress and that’s it. We all went for a walk in the stifling hot streets, grabbed lunch, then had a swim. We’re currently lying in the sun together and listening to music. I really wanna go get another book so I have another piece of literature to associate with the trip.

 

5:25pm
My battery is running low as we’re heading to Batu Caves in a large taxi. I’m sitting in the boot as I’m the youngest and smallest.

8:09pm
Woohoo, the Batu caves were a whole lot of fun and we caught up with Aidee’s teammates and had dinner. My hip is killing me and my battery is low so I will not bore you with the–

 

Aidee Walker, Batu Caves

Aidee Walker at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

 

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Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 4/7

In Post Three, we left the teams at noon with just under twenty four hours to go until the end of the 48hour competition. Things are heating up. Emotions are running high while hours of sleep are running low.

 

Wednesday | 4:32pm

The edits are coming along fine but the editors have a severe lack of things to do. They are currently sitting around making tiny tweaks on their small amount of footage, waiting for the rest of the crew to shoot something so they can edit more. I’m gonna head back to the hotel at 5pm as I’m getting a little sick of hearing Jerry the editor scratch his hair and body (these things happen when you’re in a small room with one other person for a prolonged period of time) then I’ll come back with Aliff around 9-10pm and stay until morning. It’s gonna be uncomfortable but I’ll manage.

editor sleeps kuching 48hours

Crew members need sleep. 48hour film festival can be detrimental to one’s health

Earlier, I went for a fantastic poo. But sadly – it pains me to relive this -no toilet paper. There isn’t any toilet paper in the whole university despite its 20,000 students. So, I crouched on the soaking wet toilet seat (as the douche next to it must be regularly used) and proceeded to shit all over the back of the seat on accident, not being used to the angle. Only one of two nuggets landed on the seat so I washed them back into the bowl with the douche, the fact dawning on me that this is possibly why the seat was so wet in the first place. Now I wish I at least photographed them as evidence like a national geographic journalist capturing the trials of a traveller aboard.

Afterward, I tried to ignore the fact that the cleaner was in the bathroom and would’ve seen my poo still in the toilet, as the fucking thing didn’t flush either. It sat there, as pathetic as the foreigner it recently escaped from. I hurried back to the cinematography building with a sweaty, shitty arse and a longing for the creature comforts I’m used to.
Hours later when I couldn’t bare the itchiness a second longer, I requested some tissues and excused myself for a well deserved, long awaited wipe.

 

7:50pm

Had a fifteen minute sleep in my hotel room. Strangely, today is the first time I haven’t fallen asleep on the way back from the university in Yusef’s hot car. Usually the heat, fatigue and winding roads drags me into a slumber quick smart but not today. Today I was wide awake the whole trip, txting and whatsapping and restless.

After my nap, I woke up and sat on my phone then read with a coffee. I’m waiting for Aliff to pick me up now. We planned to have a big dinner together but he has cancelled this as Team Skywar are still filming and he wants to be there for it. I have rushed out to grab a bite to eat before the final fourteen hours of the competition whack me over the face.

Cats Kuching

Cats everywhere in Kuching. Just everywhere.

I’m the only diner on the top floor of this restaurant next door to the hotel. It smells faintly of human poo – maybe that’s why. That, and the stray cats vying for food.

 

10:28pm

We are crammed in Aliff’s office, crowding around a table with four MacBooks on it. Two teams editing their films side by side, it’s beautiful really. The editing assistants source music and sound while the editors try to put together their masterpieces. I watch, gnawing my fist at their toddler-like pace. No, that’s rough – I’m letting the lack of sleep get to me. I have to remember that for them, this experience is exciting and new. They’re funny. They still call me Mr. Hayden which I secretly love because it makes me feel like a grown up and that I have something to offer the world that isn’t merely a childlike naïvety, the thing I’m most praised for.

We all gathered for the final stretch in Aliff's office. Two teams, four MacBooks, and a whole lotta brotherhood

We all gathered for the final stretch in Aliff’s office. Two teams, four MacBooks, and a whole lotta brotherhood

We are officially in our last quarter, time-wise. Aliff is pressuring Skywar to reshoot shots and I’m not in a place to argue. There are conversations regarding colour grades, sound design, all sorts. It’s heavenly. Exactly my nerdy kind of scene.

 

Thursday | 1:10am

The intervening hour and a half was spent shooting for the crew, and eating for us. Me, Aliff, Chong and Justin went out and got a cheap spicy feed from a surprisingly busy outdoor market. We sat and drank hot milky bubbly tea and slurped our noodles with shellfish and jalapeños, discussing the differences between NZ food and Malaysian food.

malaysian food

Delicious, spicy, juicy Malaysian food and wonderful company.

The plan was to get a Starbucks coffee after, my shout, as they’d never had one before, but midnight ticked over while we sat there and we watched the lights go out. I promised them one in the morning as they are quite expensive and considered a superfluous luxury. Now I’m settling in for a small nap while the editors edit their new footage. Both teams have completed their shooting. Good times!

 

5:48am

The edits are basically locked, sound, music and colour grade being the chief concentration these last couple of hours. Of course, the lecturers have taken control, leaning over their students and prying the keyboard to change what they feel needs to be changed which I can imagine to be infuriating for the students but they don’t say anything.

I slept on the hard floor and am feeling more tired and fatigued than usual. It’s almost welcomed as I felt I wasn’t putting in enough effort before, but now I am. I went through Skywar’s edit with the assistant editor while the editor scratched himself in his sleep on the floor and made small tweaks to sound to clean it up, always taking care to check and explain to the assistant editor so she understood I wasn’t cleaving into her work unduly. This was a lengthy process as explaining these edits to a friend would have taken time, but to someone who speak English as a second language? Despite this, we got there.

Is there a more satisfying feeling?

Is there a more satisfying feeling? The exporting!

I haven’t watched a full cut of Xpress’s film yet because they are constantly bent over two laptops working furiously at it and I don’t want to interrupt, but will have to soon.

Aliff really wants to use copyrighted music so I’ve had to explain that it would render their team disqualified. He finds this unfair. He wants to use the song Killing Me Softly.

Time is ticking away. We have four hours to complete the challenge.

 

10:08am

We have crossed the finish line with roaring success!! Everyone clapped and we all took a whole bunch of photos to celebrate. For that glorious moment, everyone forgets how much they smell and itch and ache. We are all filmmakers! And the films are surely Oscar worthy!

Success! Celebration!

Success! Celebration!

Both teams completed and exported their films with a healthy amount of time to spare. Time for Starbucks then back to the hotel for a lengthy shower.

 

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Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 3/7

48hours malaysia begins!

In March 2014, 4 kiwi filmmakers were shipped to Malaysia to mentor a group of universities through Malaysia’s first ever 48hour filmmaking competition as part of NZ week. See Part 1 and Part 2.

When we left, I was in the depths of University Sarawak in Kuching, the small island about an hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur. The students were assembled. Two teams. All facing me and a projector screen with a countdown on it.

 

Kuching University Sarawak 48hours

Two film crews gather, twitching and nervous but excited

 

Wednesday 10:54am

Announcement of the start went down an absolute treat! The teams (Skywar and Xpress) clapped and laughed and cheered when they were awarded their numbers and assigned genres. They gasped when Dan made the rules clear even though I’d spend the last day explaining these…

Team Skywar got Thriller and Team Xpress got Road Movie. As soon as we said goodbye to Dan and the KL teams, they hurried off to start brainstorming. Aliff the head lecturer and most accomplished English speaker expressed his many concerns, he seems to be letting the pressure get to him after almost an hour.

The students have not settled on ideas yet. They’re sitting in big circles in their beautiful air conditioned atrium plotting and discussing. I feel confident for them.

 

Team Skywar (top left) and Team Xpress (bottom right) brainstorm their ideas

Team Skywar (top left) and Team Xpress (bottom right) brainstorm their ideas

 

12:18pm

The pressure is not getting to them. The writers are writing, the directors are prepping, art department and camera are getting gear ready, and I’m wandering between the two groups asking if they need help. Which they don’t. I am tethered to this massive university though, and walking around in the sweltering heat is exhausting. I’d love lunch or a coffee but I’m not sure it’s quite that easy. They have a fruit stall … oh it’s on the other side of the lake, about thirty fives minutes walk. Aliff is still panicky but I’m sure he’ll calm down once he realises the students are onto it. He feels responsible for everything they do.

 

The rules.

The rules.

 

4:17pm

The students are killing it! We have two interesting and well thought through scripts. They both aim to turnover their first shot at 5pm. I went for a walk through the university and almost collapsed from the humidity so sat by the lake and read my book for a while. I tell ya, I prefer this ‘mentoring’ to competing. So far I’m impressed by the students initiative and hope they can keep up their energy and amiability with one another. Wondering why I haven’t had the urge to do a shit yet as I had a big greasy breakfast and lunch. I need fruit juice and coffee.

 

7:08pm

We’ve decided to take a break. Aliff agreed that we’d both go home and let the students work their magic then return around 8pm to see how they’re going. In that time, I’ve hit the gym for an average workout, sweated it up in the sauna, put my phone on charge for the third time today and went out to the most popular seafood restaurant in Kuching called Top Spot. I’m really living the high life. I had chilli king prawns with rice and vegetables and a watermelon and orange freshly squeezed juice. The entire experience cost 40 ringgit, the equivalent of NZD$13. Amazing. Now I’m stocking up on coffee so I can stay up late with these teams!!

 

Top Spot Kuching

The incredible spread of Top Spot in Kuching boggled my mind because I could afford it – a world first

 

10:47pm

Team Skywar are shooting their first scene. Team Xpress are shooting their third. The footage looks amazing and the leading lady in Skywar’s film, Kalai, is gorgeous. Put a static shot of her on the screen for seven minutes just smiling and looking at the screen and I’d be happy. Aliff is panicking more than the students which is creating a really nice juxtaposition as he is looking casual in shorts and a tight tee. Compared to their ideal time plan, hey are behind which is to be expected, and I’m seeing a lot of time being wasted by the usual pitfalls (arguments) but if they get enough footage to edit with they’ll be able to make up for it with sound and music.

 

Kalai, the beauty of Skywar's horror film

Kalai, the beauty of Skywar’s horror film

 

Thursday 12:23am

Team Xpress are doing okay. Not a lot of communication in either teams which is always the way with beginners. I’m tired and starting to feel gross as I’ve been sweating all day but Aliff insists we stick around for shooting despite the students not asking us anything and their general indifference to our presence.

 

Team Xpress's lighting setup

Team Xpress’s lighting setup

 

12:47am

Back with Team Skywar and they’re starting to fade. People are slumped on desks, lying on the ground, sitting on the floor leaning against the walls, falling asleep. They have four shots remaining in this scene so I’ve suggested they send their post production team home to sleep, and consider shooting their final scene tomorrow while the editing is happening. Most of my suggestions are falling on ears that are untrained in English.

 

Around take 40, the tears came due to emotional fatigue

Around take 40, the tears came due to emotional fatigue

 

4:09am

We are still shooting. Oh yes. I am still here. Eighteen hours into the competition. We’re shooting in a tunnel with a light and everybody is in remarkably good spirits considering. It’s raining too.

 

4am

4am

 

5:54am

Back at hotel for a three hour nap then breakfast then back to set. The world is spinning.

 

Coffee. Fruit. Happiness.

Coffee. Fruit. Happiness.

11:56am

Woke up at 9am and had a rushed blurry shower then hurried down a breakfast before my pickup with Yusry. At the uni I found Jerry editing Skywar’s film in the upstairs editing room. He has assembled all seven shots they’ve filmed – perfect. I helped him lay atmos in and a couple of sound effects. Because he doesn’t understand English very well, and I speak no Malay, this was a very fun exercise.

 

Editing with a foreign language speaker. I really felt for him.

Editing with a foreign language speaker. I really felt for him.

Aliff turned up and put in his thoughts. He emphasised the bad lighting and awkward angles instead of commenting on the edit and I got a bit annoyed by this. What’s the point in lamenting what’s been done? Despite lacking footage and story, it’s a cool little film that we can make effective with sound effects and creepy music. Saffwan, the AD of Xpress, sent me a picture of them shooting. They’ve written their film with night and day scenes so they have something to do today. Very clever. I look forward to seeing their edit. I have an overwhelming feeling of deep appreciation for my collaborators back in NZ. I txt the guys and told them that no matter how frustrating it is editing with each other, I now have the experience of editing with a non-English speaking amateur student. Communication is so key.

 

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Kuching waterfront

Malaysia and the Mentors – Part 2/7

Malaysia Part 2 of 7: Meeting the Students

Last time we caught up in Malaysia Part 1, it was mid-morning, I was crouching on a toilet in the Kuala Lumpur airport ready to board my Malaysia Air flight to the beautiful island of Kuching. I knew I’d be mentoring a handful of film students through their first 48hour filmmaking competition and that the language barrier would perhaps be a hurdle. But there’s no way I could’ve anticipated the depth I’d lose myself in.

From KL to Kuching, leaving the group to fly solo

From KL to Kuching, leaving the group to fly solo

 

March 17th – Monday – 2:03pm

I am off the plane. I have traveled through customs and immigration without understanding a word of any signs or dialogue. I am in a car that has been boxed in, sweltering hot in the back seat, and have thankfully met the wonderful young men who know where to take me so I can check into a hotel and dump my bags and relax.

 

Malaysia airport

Kuala Lumpur airport – bigger than Wellington

 

5:32pm

Hayden J. Weal in a taxi

“How many students are there, I’ve been told around ten.”
“Forty.”
“…”

So…the lovely men who drove me here kindly informed me that I’ll be lecturing for six hours to forty students tomorrow. Jumping Christ. I could talk about filmmaking for six years, no worries, in English, but apparently the language barrier in Kuching is significantly higher than in Kuala Lumpur. Which leaves me with no idea how to go about it. But right now, after thirty hours of traveling, I don’t really want to think about it. So I took this photo to remember how I felt.

 

 

I checked into the hotel that I’m staying at. It’s waterside. It’s called the Hilton… hahahaha. Five stars and very nice of course. I came up to my room, got on the wifi, had a nice long shower and set about trying to find my way around. First things first, I was running outta battery so had to find an adaptor. My good friend Caleb had offered me one but I forgot about it. I also forgot briefs. That’s right. Ten days and one pair of briefs.

 

Hilton hotel Kuching

Showered and admiring the views

 

I washed all my stinky clothes in the basin, hung them up on the makeshift clothesline in the shower, then explored. The waterfront here is beautiful. Colours everywhere, a murky brown river flows down the length of the city and a great big golden-spired event centre type building stands proudly among the trees over the bank. I walked in the stifling heat, loving every second, bought a skanky little chicken kebab for about $1.20 and a cheap orange juice and kept walking, stopping into shops. The trinkets on offer seem to be the same crap from Thailand and Bali except more expensive. I didn’t buy any.

 

Kuching waterfront

I got a local to take this for me. They were friendly and played my iPhone like a violin

 

I got back to the hotel and scored an adaptor from reception, hit the gym (after having to don my pink socks and dressy shoes as covered footwear is compulsory) then rocked a swim in the pool that they have here, because they have a pool, filled with water and the temperature is perfect for swimming. I’m currently sitting naked at my luxuriously large and ornate wooden desk pretending to be professional.

 

6:13pm

Possibly living the coolest life ever. I’m sitting in an open air restaurant overlooking the river and it’s pouring with rain around me. I have a watermelon juice and my dinner is to be coconut prawn curry. I’m surrounded by couples or groups of friends. I am the only sole diner. After this I’m going to walk along the boardwalk back to hotel and make some notes about what I’ll talk about tomorrow.

 

Kuching boardwalk

Aw little boats and fairy lights and a stormy sky

 

Tuesday 4:03am

I fell asleep some time between 9 and 9:30pm without writing anything down. I must’ve drifted off because I’ve just woken up, naked save for a book slumped on my chest, and all the lights are on. Either I drifted off or a hotel worker is playing games with me. The loudest thunder I have had the pleasure of hearing in my life is shaking my room. Absolutely gorgeous. Bright flashes on white announce the lightning then seconds later big giants fight in the sky.

 

7:36am

I got up at 6am and answered txts from Abby, my girlfriend. She’s stressed at work. Then I checked twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatsapp and skype, showered hunched over (like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation) and dressed, staring out at the sheets of rain that made the view of the swimming pool look like a painting. Also, I’m really confused by all the cat statues. I haven’t mentioned that yet. They’re at every intersection. And these aren’t little statuettes or ornaments, these are great big looming concrete canine cliques.

 

Kuching cats

Placed at every intersection in Kuching are cat statues. There’s a cat museum too.

 

Me and Dan Skyped about the day and he reiterated the important of leaving political comments out of the films, particularly about the disappearance of MH370. I was to be strict on this.
I’m at the breakfast buffet with my book, lounging and sighing after overeating, and gulping the strong coffee despite the laxative effect it’s surely to shortly have.

 

8:19am

After waiting in the lobby for 20 minutes, the coffee’s taken effect. Instead of waiting for our scheduled break time, I had to fast track it. I’m currently sitting in a warm stall (even the seat’s warm!) hoping the Unimas (Kuching university) representative doesn’t show up while I’m here. I told the bellboy where I would be so all should be well. Stay tuned.

 

8:33am

As predicted, I came out of the toilet to a waiting driver. Am en route to university now.

 

On my way to Unimas, significantly lighter

On my way to Unimas, significantly lighter. Yusry the driver always has a smile ready for me

 

11:12am

Lecture’s going very well. As expected, the students don’t understand most of what I say but we have some helpful translators who clarify things when it gets too confusing, which is often.

 

Kuching Unimas

Head film tutor Aliff and I in Unimas

 

I have set them up into teams to do a directing activity, they are to make a scene with the constructs I’ve given them (one character tries to get a secret out of another) and they’ll perform them for us soon, and the class will give suggestions how to make the scene better. The timid students are already having a hard time, especially the girls. I showed them all Hot Rob and was greeted with applause and smiling faces, taking snaps on their phones as I was speaking. I feel like a rockstar.

 

Hot Rob Malaysia

Hot Rob plays to students in Kuching Unimas, Malaysia!

 

7:51pm

Wow, long day. The lecturing was great. After class they all wanted photos with me which took about ten minutes. They seemed to want every possible combination: me with them, me with their friends, me with them and their friends, me with them and their friends but on the other side, etc. was a lot of fun. Then Aliff took me to the mall and his crew shouted me a massive lunch of Malaysian food. So good! After that we went to a phone shop and I scored a SIM card. I am now on the system.

 

Kuching Unimas students

I’m always happiest surrounded by female film fans

 

The second half of the day’s educating was significantly more challenging. I talked about 48hour filmmaking for the first hour. Pitfalls, rules, ideas, tips, team spirit … Then I seemed to run out of steam. The students were dead silent the entire class, sometimes giving me a slight tip of the head to let me know they could hear me, but for the most part I felt like I was talking to a wall. Or seventy walls. Made of eyes and Islamic headgear. However, we powered on and made the most of if – I showed them Timelanders – nothing. No response whatsoever. After we finished I was driven home by Yusry and fell asleep the entire hour long drive, exhausted from non-stop talking.
Back the hotel I went to the gym, swam, then walked to the waterfront. I caught a 50c boat across the river and am now sitting in an open air food court. Each eatery has their own space where a garage door opens up revealing a cramped space full of cooking gear and a smiling family. A designated number and a specialty food is painted above each stall. I have ordered a nasi goreng Sarawak from one place and a watermelon and orange juice from the neighbouring lady. Very excited. Kids playing with cats surround me as I wait at a brightly coloured picnic table.

 

Sarawak food

Cheap, open air, friendly, colourful – Sarawak, Kuching rocks

 

Wednesday 7:00am

Dinner was lovely, although underwhelming considering I ate the local specialty dish. It was very soupy. However, the watermelon and orange juice was incredible so I got a second for the walk back for the jaw-dropping price of NZ50c. I wandered back to the hotel and retired early, about 8:30pm, and read with a coffee lying naked on my bed with the curtains open and air conditioning at the perfect naked temperature.

I woke up at 6:30am, the thought like a lightning bolt – 48HOUR FILMMAKING MALAYSIA BEGINS TODAY. Time to shower, take my sweet time over breakfast and enjoy the hour long drive to university where the film students await.

 

9:19am

48hour filmmaking Malaysia

The countdown to the first ever 48hour filmmaking competition Malaysia begins

Forty minutes until the competition begins. We have a mac set up with Skype directly to Dan and the team in KL. It’s being projected onto the big screen with nice loud sound. Students are starting to file in now and you can feel the nervous energy in the air. When I asked if they were ready they all said YES MR HAYDEN nice and loud. The most confident they’ve been since I met them. I wonder how that confidence will keep over the next two days…

 

Malaysia 48hours

Skype setup to Dan Slevin and co in Kuala Lumpur – we are ready. Countdown begins now.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3

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