Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stories to Tell

So I sat down with some friends to develop some movie and TV ideas.

Apparently, some of my friends like movies that have some sort of gimmick to it.

Story in a story in a story and they're happy.

Insert a twist and they like it.

Cheepork has his fixation on chick flicks. I mean, he calls me a fag for my love of musicals, but a guy who digs chick flicks?

Next step is chicks with dicks.

Me? I watched gimmicky movies all my life. Narratives that went backwards. Unreliable narrators. Twists up the wazoo.

The first three movies I worked on last year are all action-adventure, epic types. And even more stuff I got lined up this year are all in the realm of the fantastic. Most are commissioned work.

It is a fantastic learning experience. I see how things work, and know what a key grip is. A gopher.

The absence of unions or guilds among creative people, which could have protected their rights.

So anyway, for my own movie projects, I want to do simple, straightforward stories.

Woody Allen instead of Takashi Miike. Wong Kar-Wai instead of Spielberg.

The psychedelic Hideaki Anno instead of post-punk Masamune Shirow.

Gainax, not Gonzo.

Grave of the Fireflies instead of Spirited Away.

I don't like M Night Shyamalan's movies. Because too much hinge on the twist. The big pay-off. Shyamalan's movies are too gimicky.

I want to do something like Mighty Aphrodite. Mr Holland's Opus. Big Fish without the CGI.

No special effects. No wires. Nothing.

Problem is, it might not make money.

The highest-grossing movie in Malaysia was Transformers, which was almost 80% special effects and CGI.

Like it or not, the maths, the commercial aspect does come into play.

Some friends tell me to make art films.

The problem with art films is that they belong in a museum, and they're priceless. In the sense that you can't put a price to it because no one will buy it, and not many will pay to see it.

I see the challenge for my generation of wannabe Malaysian filmmakers would be to marry off artistic integrity while pandering to the audience. And their RM10.

To find the balance.

It is a universal thing which has been going on everywhere, for almost forever.

But in Malaysia's film scene, it seems to have just been possible a number of years ago.

When 'artsy-ish' films or the Malaysian new age are shown side by side with established money-churners.

And it has just been demonstrated that it is possible for Malaysian films to make more than 7.5 million.

If Miramax buys your film, they could pay you a chunk of money. But it has to be good. Good enough for the international market.

I dunno. I will continue to propose stuff to various places and avenues. Many, many stories.

Hopefully, one day I will get the money to do a story about my father. After doing that movie, I can just die.

For now, though, I got my movies to do. It's my job.