fifth december twenty-seventeen;
We finally wrapped production three days ago, & I have some time this evening before my movie, so I thought I would spend this time wisely to do something for myself – i.e. writing about my special day. I turned 22 only a week ago & i feel like I’ve already aged a whole lot.
Possibly everything to do with this production I was on. This year’s birthday was just like any other birthdays; it was just another day, & I basically spent it working on the film. In hindsight, yea there would have been things I’d love to do on my birthday (like spending time with friends & drinking & not working) but I am reminded that I am fortunate enough to be able to work on something I love & that made it special for me.
So the day started out pretty ordinary – I got up thinking “today will be awesome”. I made sure to dress up because I believe in “look good, feel good”. I was feeling adventurous so I tried to go for a subtle smokey eye but I failed. & so, with barely any eyeshadow on & 5 outfit changes later, I left home & headed to work. We had a photoshoot at Botanic Gardens & Sembawang park which brought back memories of when I was working as an extra for a Mediacorp TV series. Those were the days when I thought being an extra was the coolest thing I could ever do because I could be on TV. Until I saw the scene air one day, where I played a prostitute & prayed that clip would disappear forever.
My afternoon was spent working on the film, & I was really just looking forward to spending my evening with Kranz, away from work, away from the stress. I expected to have to work since principal photography would begin the next day, so all I really wanted was a couple of hours to have fun. I remember I used to shun from the idea of having my birthday celebrated – I hated the attention & every year I get reminded of how little I have achieved. Last year was no different. So, I decided, instead of moping, I would do something about it. Within the last year, I have done so many things I’m so proud of. I finally feel I’ve done myself some justice (for lack of a better word), as a 22-year-old fighting to fulfil my dreams & to live a meaningful life. Sure I’ve met with a whole lot of failures & challenges along the way, but I’m proud of the person I am today.
Most significant is the discovery of my love for filmmaking. This time last year, I was still that person who had no idea what to do with her life, & I was wondering what I could do to help society/people/someone. I know now for sure that this is what I want to do with my life, that film is a powerful beautiful art, & that this is a possible career path even in a place like Singapore. I have never been so sure about anything before this. Within the 6 months after my exchange in NYC, I’ve worked on 4 sets as a producer/AD (3 short films, & a commercial), & I am excited for more to come in 2018. This is what dreams should look like. It’s not the perfect, smooth-sailing, idealised version that everyone speaks of; it’s the drive that keeps you going, it’s sleepless nights, occasional tears, a lot a lot of hard work, some sacrifices, sheer determination, it’s picking yourself up again & again after tumbling down the hill, it’s a fight.
This aside, I celebrated my birthday with someone special – someone I am immensely grateful for. KRANZ, my facebook wife, who readily accepted my request to crash at her place when I had late wrap times & ridiculously early call times at Sembawang (which is a 30 mins drive away from my home). This woman waited at the restaurant for an hour, drinking Moscato alone, while I was running around Tanjong Pagar looking for a heart-shaped, matcha cake. I have to write about this because it made for a memorable birthday.
Here goes the story: It was 9.14pm. I got a text saying the prop cake (which would be used in the scene the next day) had not been bought. I had a 30-minute window (before shops would close) to look for this very specific type of cake in Tanjong Pagar – the only cake store I knew existed was Cake Spade. I am someone who would do anything & everything within my capability to solve a problem, & so I spent an hour running around the entire Tanjong Pagar area. An hour of searching led me to find a $48 matcha cake at 100AM. We made do with that one.
I remember walking back to the restaurant completely exhausted & overwhelmed with emotions I ended up crying. Haha, great way to end my birthday aye? I was upset I couldn’t devote my full attention & time to Kranz, & I was honestly quite upset with myself for not being able to switch off the phone & ignore work for a bit. Eventually we finished that bottle of moscato & proceeded to Chicken Up for more drinks on a whim so our night together ended beautifully.
Amidst all of this, my family has been supportive of my filmmaking journey & for that I am grateful. As with any parents in Singapore, they had their reservations when I returned from NYC & insisted on taking a year off school to pursue filmmaking. But seeing my family take time to be a part of this film I was doing (as cameo, or bringing us crafties while we were in the middle of nowhere) made me realise how much they care about me & my dreams. It’s these little things that showed me I’m not fighting this battle (for lack of better word) alone. I don’t express my appreciation & love for my family enough, so this is me making a note to do so.
I obviously took longer than I should to finish writing this, so I’m now at the airport with my homes jetsetting to Langkawi in a couple of hours.
ending off with happy thoughts of the beach, the sand, & the sun. Happy holidays everybody!