Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Saturday, September 29, 2012

More divine intervention.

Just got back from offline edit for the TV Hari Raya Haji drama. Frankly, when I first saw the scenes lined up, and it was 63 mins - I didn't know if I can do it well, if the story will make it. Many scenes to cut, because we must fit the given transmission time of 43 mins (1 hour, then must give time for CB. (CB is commercial break.. I know.. when I first heard it, I thought it sounded a bit vulgar too.) Anyhow.. after 2 nights (no.. didn't work whole night.. i meant I worked on the edit only after office hours, abt 3 hrs a night), it was still 56mins.

Then on the 3rd night, I assured myself we must do some brutal editing. CUT scenes! Yes, even though we spent hours on certain scenes for set up and many takes.. but if it has to go, it has to go. It turned out to be a good exercise. Cause when you're forced to shorten the scenes and number of scenes, you'll pick only really relevant ones and therefore omit all draggy and not so relevant scenes.

Today, at the end of 4 evenings and a day (hmm.. that makes a good title), we've finally finished the offline version - final offline cut - 43 mins, WITH credit roll song that I like so much! The song which also came from Divine intervention. How?

After first few days editing, I was still looking and thinking of a good song to end the movie with. Problem is, I don't listen to many songs. We don't have the budget to pay big artists for songs. I was still looking.

Then, out of the blue, really, Adzim, who writes and performs his own songs with his band 'Disember' wrote on my FB wall, asking me how I was. We chatted and I remember he has some songs, so I asked him if he has one that is quite relevant to the story I'm doing. Lo and behold, he does. I listened to it and immediately KNEW I want to use that song. Disember is also still unknown, in the industry, and they are of course excited to be featured in a telemovie. Alhamdulillah, so we're using their lovely song. Now, I'm so excited about the ending mostly because of that song!

Truly, it really was a Divine intervention.. I mean, why did he contact me for no clear reason, right at the point when I was looking for a song? Subhanallah. Really.

A few other things that are to me, quite miraculous, are
- the sudden ability to get a well known Malaysian actor for this telemovie, to be directed by this first-time-tv-drama director. Sudden I say, because he was contacted and confirmed only about a week before shoot.
- He only came for a day for shoot - that's all. That afternoon, we had to shoot a picnic scene outdoor. While we were taking our break, dark clouds began to form above us. It looked set to rain. The cameraman has also gathered his equipment in case it rains. It was already nearly 5pm and we only had that specific time to shoot that scene. If it rains, I don't know how and where and when we can cover this scene. I prayed real hard for Allah SWT to help me get this over with. Then, subhanallah walhamdulillah, the clouds passed and it became sunny again with nice evening rays. We quickly prepared and shot the scene.
- For the ending scene, after the lead gets into a cab and is driven off, suddenly 'extras' start coming out of nowhere, crossing the road and van passed by, making it look like 'life goes on' y'know. It's really the effect I want. Subhanallah. :p

Of course, this whole string of events, falling into place is itself, also masyaAllah.

Having said all these... it's not over yet. We still have to show the offline telemovie to the station for acceptance. And then there is still the online, and the airing. Then, finally we'll see if the audience likes it, and if they can draw a lesson or inspiration from it (that is the ultimate aim).

May Allah help us in doing good. Aamiin.


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

integrated within a universal plan

It seems like it was only a few months ago (actually it was last year), that I was sharing a story idea I had about a Hari Raya Haji telemovie.
At that point, I had no idea, how possible it could be to produce for TV. I was also contemplating a short film for this. I was really feeling sincere about wanting to share this story with a lot of people out there, a lesson we can draw from the story of Nabi Ibrahim A.S. and Siti Hajar.

Then, subhanallah, how Allah SWT answers silent prayers and unsaid wants. A couple of months later, a TV producer whom I was introduced to earlier, asked if I would like to submit a story for... Hari Raya Haji to Suria (Singapore Malay TV Channel). Gave it a shot. I submitted without placing too much hope. Mind you, I had no experience in directing a full TV drama. So far it's only short films. But of course, there must be a 'first time' right? A few months later, I received the news, our story was short-listed.

Next the producer invited me to go do the pitch at Suria, to the station's decision makers. Alhamdulillah, I guess we did a good pitch. Few weeks later, we were told, our story was accepted for production.

Now, yet few months after, we have now prepared the plot and did the script. And tomorrow is the shoot!!

I want to tell you more about the production itself, but let's wait till it's done and perhaps near the telecast date. I mean, we still don't know right.. anything can happen... masyaAllah. Tawakkaltu a'lallah. I hope something good and pure comes out from this, that more goodness is spread through this project.

Now, I'm just thinking about how this whole thing has developed, with Divine intervention - alhamdulillah. This reminds me of Asad's words :
"The religious human being knows that whatever happens to him and within him, can never be the result of a blind play, of forces without consciousness and purpose. He believes it to be the outcome of God Conscious will alone, and therefore, organically integrated within a universal plan." Allahu Akbar.