filmmaker by day, waitress by night

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Braulio gets credit for the title of the post, & so I decided I would honour the great @zupanssi by putting up a beautiful picture taken during the shoot last month.

Now that I have finished my producing things for the day, I can finally work on updating my blog before heading to the sister’s 21st birthday party, then to the restaurant to work. Writing has become something of a therapy for me. Last I wrote I mentioned something about an interview – & I got the job!!! I have already started working at the Korean fried chicken restaurant last weekend, & I am having loads of fun, to my surprise. It can get busy – I’ve already experienced pukes & drunk people, & the apron is cramping my style a little bit, but the work environment is lovely. & I’ve come to realise I do enjoy serving people.

So I basically work on my film things in the day then work at the restaurant at night. By night, I really mean I work from 7pm until 2/3am so I really only get home at about 5am, then I would be out of the house by 9am & off to do producing things. If I have time, I sneak in a little nap before I head to the restaurant. Some friends/family have expressed concerns about my health because I obviously have not been getting enough rest, but please be assured that I will take care of my body & get enough rest once this Sunday’s production is over. This weekend is probably the craziest it can get since call time is 7am tomorrow & I’m working the night shift so I’ll be running purely on coffee & enthusiasm for the next 24 hours or so. (Also, if anybody has lobang for paid jobs as production assistants I’d love to come on board to gain experience!)

“Why work so hard?” I found myself having to answer this question a lot – not just to people but also to myself. To be completely honest, at the beginning I wanted to find more work as a way to keep myself occupied & distract me from the loneliness/emptiness/sadness/confusion I was feeling. That said, I read an article that a friend had shared on Facebook & it changed my life. Not super dramatically, but it helped me get a better outlook of life & it helped me heal. So now, I can say for sure that I am working hard because I want to, because I want to make money & be financially independent, while still making films because I see hope that the film industry in Singapore has the potential to be better.

The article was originally written in Mandarin, & I’ve decided to translate it here for a dear friend of mine who has been feeling what I felt two weeks ago (@babe this one is for you <3), & for anyone out there who needs some sort of direction in life, or anyone facing a quarter-life crisis. Also because the translation feature on Google Chrome sucks.

the original title: reality quotes for 20’s
how (I feel) it should have been written: 10 realest things every 20-somethings should know

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& here is a completely unrelated picture because every listicle must have at least one random instagram-worthy photograph

Ok, on a serious note, here goes the article (+ some personal inputs):

I turn 22 in almost exactly a month. Though I have yet to graduate from college, taking a leave of absence from school is equivalent to putting myself into the working world, & taking on everything that comes with it – being independent & being responsible for myself. I think part of growing up is to realise we are all accountable for our own lives, & that we dictate our own futures.

人生没有如果,只有后果和结果。
如果你不会玩生活,生活就把你玩了。

An English translation does not do justice to the above phrase from the article, but here is a loose translation: There are no ‘ifs’ in life, only consequences & results. If you can’t play with the cards life deals you, then life will play you. Here are 10 things every 20-something should know:

1. It doesn’t matter whether you’re single, or happily in love. If you have someone to be with, then love with all your heart. If you’re alone, then take good care of yourself. – when I read this, I realised I needed to take better care of myself. Alot of us don’t love ourselves enough, & if we can’t love ourselves, how can we love/care for others?

2. Your time as a 20-something should be used to gain independence (esp. financially), not to rid yourself of loneliness. Devote more time to your studies/work, so you are constantly improving & trying to be better versions of yourself, instead of finding yourself in someone else.

3. Focus less on wanting to find love, & more on making friends. You’ll come to realise friendships withstand the test of time more so than relationships.

4. Learn to be truthful to yourself, & to be responsible for your feelings. If you like someone, then go for it; if not, then don’t lead them on.

5. It’s ok to care about how you look. It’s not being superficial. Look good, feel good aye?

6. Learn to save money for the future – not just for rainy days. If you’re still able to live comfortably after not generating an income for three consecutive months, it’s a good start.

7. Making friends should be a genuine connection & not a forced interaction. Be real. If you guys can’t click then don’t force it la, nothing good will come out of it.

8. Learn to be alone, & enjoy being alone.

9. If you’re not able to sort out your present priorities & enjoy life now, then put a temporary halt to chasing bigger dreams & learn to live in the moment.

10. Don’t fall into the jadedness that is so prevalent in our society. Us 20-somethings should live like 20-somethings. We’re too young to be jaded. We should face life with enthusiasm, positive energy, & to keep chasing dreams. Hope is the strongest source of motivation, & we need to have hope. I’ve met so many young people who are so jaded already & we’ve still got more than half our lives to live.

What’s life without love, without some pain, without laughter? & so this was how I got my life together & I am now enjoying myself working. Ok, my Chinese-to-English translation may not be the best, but I tried, & I sincerely hope it encourages some people out there. I’m excited for what’s to come in the next 24 hours, & I’m positive tomorrow’s shoot will go well!!!!!!!!

Signing off with happy vibes: Tomorrow will definitely be a better day. (-:

xoxo, Weishi.

P.S. Chicken Up has a 50% off all alcohol drinks for NUS students don’t say I bojio uh!

 

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To fresh beginnings, & chasing dreams

Five months have passed since I’ve written on my personal blog. The last time I wrote a blog post I was living in a basement in Washington DC on holiday with my then-boyfriend, and preparing to work on my very first film set.

A lot has changed in the last 5 months. Most importantly, this:

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i.e. I chopped off my locks & coloured whatever remained. Also horrible horrible tan lines. HAHAH. I kid. About the change. That was not the most important change. A lot of other more important things happened, so I haven’t had the time to sit down & properly write about all of that. It is heartening to know that people still read my blog and care about what I’m up to, and for that I am thankful. I thought I would return to my world of writing with stories of my chasing dreams. Haha. In a nutshell (with pictures because yay who doesn’t love pictures):

1. Finished conquering NYC with my lovely partner-in-crime Seemin

I never thought it would’ve been possible for us to reunite anywhere beyond Asia, let alone in NYC. This happened on a whim & I couldn’t think of a better way to conclude my exchange in NYC. People always find it hard to believe we only met 2 years ago, but finding this woman led me to discover things about myself & showed me a way to be successful doing what you like. @henn.drawn has become something of a household name & I’m so so happy for this one. Next stop: LA…?

2. Got to produce an advanced short film (that was set in WWII – super cool) while I was still in the United States

To be honest, I don’t know what came over me to volunteer myself for such an ambitious project considering I have never ever produced anything in my life. Being a film producer wasn’t even something I had considered doing. I also don’t know what my director Ryo was thinking, having someone with zero experience produce his film, but I’m glad he put his faith in me because this was quite an experience. Things that happened on set were not things classes at Tisch would have prepared me for, & I learnt so much over the course of 10 days.

It was 10 days of intermittent doses of torture, & a whole lot of stress, but amidst all the chaos there were some rewarding moments and if I could do it all over again I would. This was my first set, and this will always have a special place in my heart.

3. Took a leave of absence from school to do what I want to do in life

Nothing worth fighting for comes easy – this is something I’ve always lived by, so I figured it would be worthwhile if I took time off of school & dedicated it to do what I want to pursue in life. Coming back from NYC made me realise how much I enjoy filmmaking, & I now know for sure this is something I will continue to do.

4. Got to be a back model for the very first time thanks to Seemz!!!

A tad bit amused I’ve put this in my list of “cool things that have happened within the last 5 months” but I was so honoured to have been Seemz’s human canvas, & so happy this lady’s art continues to inspire so many.

A collaboration between NYX Cosmetics & Henn.Drawn:

Also because I really like this picture:

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5. Met up with long-lost friends

Always immensely thankful to catch up with friends who have stuck by me & seen me through my brace face / horrible bangs / bad hairdos / failed fashion – i.e. puberty.

6. Spent a month in Malaysia working as a producer & AD for a commercial (& i spent a week before that on a location scout around Malaysia)

Words cannot express how much i’ve learnt and grown over the course of the two months spent on this project. This will also have a special place in my heart because (1) it would be my first AD experience (for people who don’t know film – that’s short for Assistant Director), (2) it was shot in and around Malaysia – i.e. forbidden territory ’cause “not safe”, (3) i worked alongside lovely people for a month, (4) i’ve discovered my hidden language abilities – saya boleh cakap melayu sekarang. (ok i don’t really know if that was phrased right but i’ve realised i can somehow converse a little bit in melayu?! looking back, i think i picked it up from my ahmah, who was fluent in melayu & hokkien)

Doing this has pushed me so much & so far beyond my boundaries. It was 25 days of non-stop work. As with all kinds of work, it came with stress & problems & mistakes & people & sleepless nights & being yelled at & some tears, but at the end of the day, I truly enjoyed the month of madness. (My instagram feed only displays the fun/good side of filmmaking ok it is a curated gallery of beautiful pictures it does not reflect reality at all.)

I can go on & on about the production, but I’d rather not. Not here at least, so if you wanna hear stories meet with me in real life haha.

7. Worked with amazing talented passionate individuals who inspire me to want to be better at what I wanna do

Filmmaking is a collaborative project that is only possible with an entire kampung. The thing i really miss the most after we wrapped would be the people i got to work with. After all, we saw each other every single day for at least 15 hours a day so…

8. Explored new territories around Malaysia – like a whole lot

I never got the time to take pictures of all the locations we went to, but Malaysia is really beautiful. I will be returning to Penang end of the year to attend the cousin’s wedding, & I absolutely cannot wait to go to Jalan Pantai to have coconut ice cream & properly appreciate the crafts/performances/stalls.

Concluding my update with my faaave crew photo:

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first crew photo at Raaju’s Strawberry Farm, Cameron Highlands. so happy because we wrapped early that day hahaha

So #6, #7, & #8 are basically referring to the same production but we just wrapped over a week ago so I am still recovering from the withdrawal. What I’ve learnt over the course of the month is the importance of having grit, of being street smart and needing to work hard. Again, nothing worth fighting for comes easy so hard work is the minimum requirement to meet if we want to achieve anything. Grit is something I never thought about, but I realise being able to power through incredibly challenging times & not give up is super important. I chanced upon a TED Talk video & Angela Duckworth was delivering a speech about grit & how it influences how much a person accomplishes. It became something I thought about a lot & strived to do. Also interesting is this article that talks about the 5 characteristics of grit.

This opportunity has also shown me how important but underrated being street smart is. It is being situationally aware, being able to trust your gut feelings about people/other matters, thereby being able to deal with whatever problems that come your way. Producing on film sets is a lot about solving problems, & i’m so glad my parents in some way pushed me to broaden my horizons (for lack of better words) & gain experiences that would not have been available if I had just stayed in Singapore & just focused on my studies. I’m not saying being book smart is bad or unimportant, but being street smart is something so valuable especially if we want to make it in the working world. So go try something new, & exciting, & have fun beyond school!

Ok, but I am going back to school next year because I have not graduated. Haha. (@mother if you’re reading this, I am reassuring you that I will go back to school eventually & graduate.) So what’s next for me after such an exciting one-month abroad – WORK WORK WORK WERK WERK. I am going for an interview tomorrow, & if all goes well I will be working at a Korean restaurant basically to make money because I can’t fuel my dreams solely with passion. I need money to live. So in the day I work on my film things, & in the evenings/nights I work at the restaurant. Film wise, I have some projects lined up, & I am so excited to keep on doing what I love.

until next time, xoxo, weishi.