Tuan Direktor

I found this when I was procrastinating surfing the net for ideas for Victorian names. Why Victorian steam punk names? For a project my brother and I are currently working on, not as Eizwan have feared, for earmarking interesting names to name our as-yet-to-be-conceived (thank you for asking, you nosy parkers) child. But yes, it sure brought back memories of the day I wrote the script.

I wrote the script around late 2008. Times were hard and at that point in my life, I needed money desperately and living the life of an(a) artist/writer was well, to be frank, not paying very well. Late 2008 was the stock market crash that rivaled the Great Depression and to put it bluntly, money was in short supply everywhere. People were losing jobs and contracts and freelance work seemed to dry up.

But I was offered a job. It was very lucrative but I did not want it. Money does not seem to motivate me much (although I have to say, the thought of being able to pay for my bills made it somewhat tempting). But mostly, I was miserable that I had to give up what I loved doing so desperately so that I could pay bills.

Real life. It sucks.

And so, the script was born.

Although, today’s entry is not about that depressing time. In a funny way, as the way my life usually does, it worked out. Not to go into too much detail about how it worked out but let’s just say, I resigned, found myself in India and ended up lying through my teeth to a bunch of people saying that I was a famous theatre producer in Malaysia and that if you treated us badly i.e. by not returning us to our hotel, all you wannabe Bollywood actors and dancers never get a chance to make it big in Malaysia. And you know how huge the market is in Malaysia? Huge.

Yeah, the things we do so that we could return to my hotel safely after being taken to some God knows which part of Bombay as part of an elaborate con.

Since then, I’ve been focusing back on my writing. I’ve actually done paid written creative work, which is all good and dandy. But…here’s the thing. I’ve always known that to be better at writing, I need to do other things other than writing. During the NanoWrimo I came across an advice which suggested that all writers need to do everything, take different classes other than just writing classes to improve their writing. Take acting class to improve dialogue and people’s reaction. Take directing classes to improve how a story unfolds. Take shooting lessons if your story has guns involved and the most you know about guns is that time when you went to Vietnam and you decided to shoot using an old communist rifle, and the nice Vietnamese soldier manning the rifle booth eventually gives up on your inability to take aim and tells you in stilted English, “Oh, just shoot anywhere.”

When my sister decided that the life of respectability i.e. being a psychologist (but it’s not a real science!) is for her, she had to drop out of the course that she originally signed up for. But there was no refund for the course and since the course had already been paid for, somehow, in my dad’s brain, it made sense that Adlina took over the course from her sister. You know, Hani is filmmaker, therefore creative. Adlina is writer, therefore creative. Substitution somehow results in, Adlina is writer, therefore filmmaker.

(Well actually, correct substitution would be Hani is filmaker therefore Adlina is writer, but let’s not nitpick)

The thing is, I know that this would be a brilliant course for me. If I want to write better screenplays, I better have an idea how to direct and edit. If I want to come across as being serious in my craft, I should take more courses outside and mingle with people in the industry.

But dammit, I’m a writer. I hunker in front of my pc throughout the day. I play with words, I read. I don’t actually ask for weird things to happen. It just happens. Writing is the perfect profession for me a hermit like me. It means dealing less with people. I don’t like people. That’s why I’m the writer and not the psychologist.

And yet…I know that to achieve my dreams, it means going against my grain, doing things I’m terrified of. If I’m being honest with myself, I’m terrified that I agreed to do this course. I’m going out of my depth, I worry I would not know how to handle people creatively, or if I would be creative enough in the first place.

I have 16 days to overcome this worry. In the meantime, I’ll just have to suffer the nightmares, read Mamet’s “On Directing Film” – basically do an Asian thing and cram as much as possible so that I would not drop dead the first day of class.

Because come November, there’s no stopping that plane. The ticket has been bought, the accommodation has been sorted and I even have a mini-trip to Belgium planned.

Come November, Adlina will take a mini-course in London for directing. Now it’s time for me to get my directing hat on.

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6 comments on “Tuan Direktor

  1. This sounds daunting, but I think it sounds like a good idea, and I think you’ll surprise yourself when it comes to how much you enjoy it. I think editing is another side of storytelling and I’m sure directing will be too.

    Also, if you’re in London we should definitely try to meet up again! It was so much fun seeing you the last time! x

    • Adlina says:

      I hope so too! I’m trying to look forward to it as much as possible, although the enthusiasm seems to be a long time coming. There’s a lot more panic on this end.

      And yes! We must meet up! I was hoping to message you before I go. I’ll be there between the 4th November up to the 5th December. Hopefully it won’t be too short and we’ll get to go to some of the cafes you’ve been talking about!

  2. YkK says:

    Aiyah! You ah… now you got me really curious abt what she wanted to tell her sister… cis! :p

    • Adlina says:

      Lol! There was a change in the dialogue that resulted in what she wanted to say to her sister being a little unclear. What she was supposed to say was that they’ve started to perform in really kampung areas and hopefully one day, they’ll make it to London i.e. they’ve been performing in crappy places for all these years….

      Hopefully, that should tell you what she really wanted to say.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Suggest read Judith Weston’s “Directing Actors”. There are other books too but you’ll hardly have the time.

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