For the sake of

As a media student, I had to fulfil a work attachment in order to successfully graduate. As an international student, I found it fairly difficult to find and secure myself a position in media production. This was after god-knows-how-many attempts via e-mail and phone calls to acquire an entry-level position in the media industry; most of them were even unpaid. This provided me good insight on the industry and its level of competitiveness. After many failed attempts, I finally managed to secure a position with a production company called Pea Tree Productions. I was so grateful and pleased that someone had finally decided to accept my CV, but at the same time extremely nervous because this would mean that I am about to be working on a professional set. A close friend once told me, “If you don’t have professional experience, you don’t have professional experience. Period.” So, the thought of working on a set as a production assistant, or any other role really, thrills me because I will finally be able to acquire professional experience.


Being the inexperienced final year student that I am, I did not know what to expect on my first day. I was a walking time bomb; I was bound to make mistakes, but just did not know when, or whatever magnitude it will be. All the thoughts that were going through my head included the number of people that I will be working with, who I will be working with, but the most concerning one was whether I would enjoy myself while working there. I entered an office building on William Street, nervously rehearsing my introduction. I was so engrossed that I did not even realise that I had already arrived at the 8th floor. The moment I stepped out of the lift, a woman who I presumed to be the production manager asked me, “Hi Bryan, can you help us with the equipment?” I was surprised that I did not even have chance to introduce myself, and I suppose that introductions were too overrated. From then on I realised that this was the beginning of my role as camera assistant/production assistant, and I have to stop worrying about making mistakes. Mistakes will be made, the important thing is that I learn from it. This is what it feels like to be on a no-nonsense work environment.


Fix-Her-Up is about a disgraced talk back radio host come renovator that tries to fix the love lives of her co-workers and clients, and is set to air on Channel 31. On some occasions, I will be running around and helping out each of the departments, be it keeping the set clean and tidy, distributing call sheets, to getting coffees. It was all very tiring but in the end, invaluable. The series ran a 2-camera set-up. I had the chance to operate the camera for 1 episode, and it was thrilling. From the assistant’s point of view, operating a Sony PMW-F3 did not seem tough, but when it came down to the real deal, it was fairly challenging. But for the most part, I was in charge of focus pulling, setting up and moving cameras, and assisting the director of photography.


Initially, a work placement to me was nothing but a mere hurdle that I had to see to if I wanted to graduate. I even saw it as a nuisance and I was honestly frustrated that I had to deal with it. It did not take me long to understand that experience, especially in this field, is pivotal. So, the only thing that I really wanted out of a work placement is just ‘experience’. Now, the problem here is I did not set a specific target for the sort of ‘experience’ I wanted to gain. I therefore set out to the vast abyss that is the Internet in search of the criteria of ‘experience’ I was looking for but to no avail. On black and white, my title was ‘Camera Assistant’, but I knew that the amount of experience I gain is entirely up to my attitude while on set, and what I do to further enhance my experience and make it worthwhile. I even went out of my way to create a list to outline my personal goals and objectives:

  • Maintain constant awareness of what is happening on set
  • Further improve technical skills (focus pulling, cinematography, getting familiar with different equipment and set-ups)
  • Get a feel of how everything else works (other departments: transportation, catering)
  • Expand network

Though it is a short list, I would like to believe that I have accomplished most of them. The only thing that I feel like I did less of was not being proactive enough. Due to long and continuous shooting days, I constantly found myself exhausted by mid-day, and I could not spare what is left of me to converse, if I wanted to maintain a good working attitude for the rest of the day.. I guess this could fall under the ‘Expand Network’ bullet point, but I felt like I should have tried to engage in more conversations with the crew, as all of them had more experience than me. Their advice and having them talk about their experiences will definitely benefit me one way or another. I also did not expect that shooting locations would have been so far apart from each other. One day I would be in an office building close to Flinders, the next day I would be at Glen Waverly, shooting outdoors under irrational Melbourne weather. Sometimes I wish I actually listened to my mother and bring a cap.


The most exciting thing I got to do on set was probably having the utmost privilege of yelling “Quiet on set!”. Not to mention the glorious slating as well. Apart from that, I also learned a lot of interesting things:

  • The director wants coffee. IMMEDIATELY go and get one.
  • Grips need time cards. GO and get a stack.
  • I should dress APPROPRIATELY, not to impress.
  • Crew call is NEVER going to be ‘as stated’
  • ANNOUNCE my mistakes

All of these seem to tell me to always prepare for bad things, and it is true. Film is organised chaos, from everything in front of the screen to behind the screen. Shoots almost never go according to plan (refer bullet point number 4 above). In fact, nothing ever goes according to plan. Somehow, elementary mistakes like forgetting to press the record button will happen. The tyres of the transportation vehicle will have a puncture. And at some point, a crucial prop will break on its own. At least, I have experienced my share of bad luck, and now have note-to-self(s) to remind me to take the necessary precaution and always, ALWAYS double-check.


Of course, being on the set is not all pure bad luck and mistakes. I have met a few production assistants on set who are younger than me, have been on many more professional sets, and worked in so many other productions. Some of them wanted to one day produce and possibly direct their own feature, some of them are already happy and wanted to be in the position that they are in. This astounds me, because why not go for positions that are much higher and more lucrative? This might sound cliché but what they told me was they wanted to do something that they are passionate about, and that is to be a production runner. To be fair, they were really good at their jobs. Come to think of it, the reason that they are good at their jobs is because they are experienced, and know what should be done next, and what should not.


I would like to say I know how to properly operate a digital cinema camera, but the director told me that no one in this industry fully understands how something operates, that’s why there are so many different roles on a set. Producing something requires a budget. The most expensive thing in any production budget is surprisingly not equipment or props, but people. I did my own math; Say I needed a 25-man crew for my film, and pay them each minimum wage, which is $17 per hour, for twenty days. That would cost approximately a hundred thousand dollars, if they were to work 12-hour days. All this still does not include catering, transportation, and any other production costs. That figure obviously put me down a little, but it still will not stop me from making my own movie. As an aspiring cinematographer, working alongside all these creative minds for two weeks has definitely broadened my knowledge. Without their guidance, I would not have been able to work my way through a hectic yet fun shoot without making a megaton of mistakes, and making a fool out of myself. With that said, I would say this work attachment has given me invaluable experience in terms of professional development.



Probably the most productive one and a half hours this semester.

I, along with James, placed 2 NX70 cameras around the venue, one that captures the entire seminar (wide-angle), and one that focuses on the guests and our host, Ned. We also manned 2 DSLRs to capture additional angles. I captured stills of the seminar.

11222940_10153255632456715_8856925291823186908_o(From left) Sarah Stone, Sophie Draper, Nick Pearce, and Ned.

We started off the seminar with Nick from Homeless of Melbourne, who co-founded the organisation with friends Robbie Gillies and Marcus Crook, who was with us during the seminar. They stock high quality first-hand clothes while distributing the profits to local homeless services.


This question posted by Alois makes a fair point. Some things are easier said than done. Nick emphasised the importance of social media as it is a tool with immense influence and reach. Homeless of Melbourne stems from a social media initiative, and now has a reach of 27.5 thousand people on Facebook.

Uber was developed and marketed as a smartphone app that allows users to use it as an alternative to taxis. The emergence of smartphones and social media apps propagated the business to a global level.


Sophie talked about how to acquire and maintain a job in such an industry. Amongst the massive pool of social media apps and businesses which share similar models, it is the motivation and drive that distinguishes the regular apps and those that of the caliber of Uber.

With both of our guests speaking mainly on the business aspect of social media, we had Sarah Stone as our final guest to speak about creating a career in social media.

Sarah spoke of creating content purely out of personal interest, and it is entirely up to her audience whether they like it or not. She also said that she does not compromise on creative integrity, and not catering to specific audiences. A fair point to be mentioned, because Sarah says that Youtube channels that are about food, or gaming, generates a lot more revenue compared to her own.

I concur with Sarah’s view on not making creative compromises just to cater to a wider audience. Just like our seminar series, we were focusing more on creating a seminar that would potentially give more clarity on how to acquire a career in social media.

Overall, I think what brought about what I think of is a successful seminar, is a cohesive and dynamic group. The roles were established relevantly early and we had clear group goals and objectives. Disputes and questions were resolved within the Facebook group, if not face-to-face meetings. Having Mark in the loop was also very helpful in overall group productivity. Even though a career in social media isn’t my first option, it is an interesting field to work in.



We had several meetings to discuss the details of the seminar and to further establish our goals and motivations. Me and James brainstormed some ideas for our promo video. Our main inspiration came from the 2010 film ‘The Social Network’.

We were particularly drawn to the introduction of the trailer, as its style is somewhat like what we had in mind. We then proceeded to shoot multiple clips of social media sites, including ‘HoMies’, Uber, and Youtube. James then compiled those clips and worked up a promo vid.

I was told that we had a pre-booked set of recording equipment that we’re supposed to use in recording the seminar. The equipment included 2 NX70 cameras, some lapel mics, tripods, and a standard seminar kit. What troubled me the most was that a mixer was also in the list.

Acquiring clean audio was probably the task that we were most worried about. Me, James, and Azim all worked on the technical side, and we approached the tech staff at building 9 for instructions on how to work the mixer. I personally did some research on how to operate the mixer, just so we would have a proper sound system and there would be no (less) technical problems on the day. It was then decided by the group that we should all have a meeting and head to the seminar venue to get a gist of the surroundings and atmosphere. I took the liberty of taking behind the scenes photos.





We then worked out how to operate the desktop, monitors, and the lighting as we planned to show videos. We also intend to utilise social media to further promote our seminar, mainly Twitter. The hashtag #SocialSeminar will be used by both us and the audience to ask questions or post anything related to the seminar. All was ready.



Is The Dream Real?

Missed week 2, get put into International Jobs, appeal, get Social Media.

Film would be my first choice, but Social Media worked out well for me.

The overarching theme was ‘Epic Adventure’.

The dream is real.

My group mates are sensational. It was only week 3 when I realised that so much has been done for the upcoming seminar (week 5), and at the same time so much more to be done. When I joined Bec had already written up the concept behind our seminar, and Imogen assigned roles afterwards. I suggested to the group that we invite at least 1 Youtuber as Youtube’s reach is phenomenal, and it would give us another perspective towards building a career in social media. It is not to be forgotten that we, as seminar organisers, are also participants and it is important that we enjoy the process and learn something from this experience.

It was decided (had to be) by week 4 that our title will be “In(ternet)ception” and our guests are,

1. Marcus Crook & Nick Pearce from Homeless of Melbourne a.k.a “HoMies”

2. Sophie Draper from Uber

3. Sarah Stone, Youtuber

Since I am more familiar with the technical side of things, I teamed up with James to be in charge of the video and audio department. Our job includes creating promo videos and recording the entire seminar. Given the amount of time that we had, I think we were on the right track and were in good shape.


[The Story Lab] Is It Tomorrow Yet?

Here it is. The End(?)

Let’s all agree to disagree, that The Story Lab has been (mostly) about transmedia. Transmedia is important, don’t get me wrong. It has and will be, a crucial element to storytelling. Such examples include a post I wrote earlier in this course, the Matrix franchise, The Dark Knight’s marketing strategy, etc. What I am trying to say is, the concept of transmedia is easily grasped, but it isn’t the same in terms of application.

I only came to realise that there was so much more planning required to transmedia storytelling in the later stages of our preproduction. It was then too late for us, to implement any sort of strategy to execute a successful transmedia story. Thus, the transmedia element in our final project, which was a Facebook page, merely acted as an entry point for our viewers, and it did not contribute much to the narrative as much as we hoped it would.

Tl;dr: More practical, less theory.


[The Story Lab] Not Your Average Sunday

The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realises she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.

I stumbled upon this particular video on Vimeo. Being a sci-fi fan myself, I think that Sundays has set a new benchmark for most proof-of-concept shorts out there, like Leviathan. (which is also amazing, don’t get me wrong) With a budget of just over 50k USD, Sundays has successfully set the path for what I think would be an amazing feature film.

[The Story Lab] Story Synopsis… Draft or Not

We recently finalised the script for our final project. Jamie has been working on this relentlessly and it is safe to say that we are all happy with the outcome and the direction that this is headed.

The time is six in the morning and the sound of an alarm goes off. The ringing and buzzing sound fills the room as KEITH, in his mid forties and overweight, stares at the ceiling, ignoring his ringing alarm. His hand slowly reaches for the alarm and turns it off. Keith sets the alarm at this time so that he can get some exercise. He stares in thin air for a few seconds and ponder the possibility of getting out of bed, but he finally snaps out of it and goes back to sleep

Keith is making breakfast to get ready for work. After he indulges in a breakfast composed of fried eggs he fights the temptation to make more but eventually loses his will power. Keith is now in the shower with water cascading over his back as he hangs his head down. He then moves to groom himself but since he is displeased with his appearance he has a sorrow expression on his face.

Keith in now at his cubicle talking on the phone. Keith has worked as telemarketer for the last sixteen years of his life at The Foil People. He repeats the line given to him over and over again and has to deal with repeated abuse from people that do not want to be called.

Keith walks into the company tearoom. There he finds BRENDA, a recent employee at this company and always with a warm smile. Keith opts to sit at the corner of the table instead of next to Brenda. As he opens his candy bar, RYAN, a health freak that pushes his lifestyle onto others enters the tearoom. There Ryan starts to lecture Keith about his poor health to which Keith insulted Ryan numerous time in his head but opted to contain these feeling of animosity towards him.

Ryan felt that the conversation was not going to bear fruit so he asked Keith to up to the roof with him as a gesture of good faith. The mention of the room brings up fantasies in Keith’s head about him edging closer and closer to the edge until he falls down. This makes Keith panic so he declines Ryan’s offer. Ryan walks out of the team room rejected as he is soon followed by Keith. Brenda witnesses all this and starts to wonder about Keith’s odd behaviour.

The shift in over so Keith walks out of the office building and suddenly gets tapped on the shoulder. He frantically turns around to find it was Brenda. She asks him if he was able to give her a ride home since the trains in her line weren’t running for a couple of hours. He timidly agrees to take her so they walk to his car.

Upon their arrival at her house she gets out of his car. After she apologises for any inconveniences, she asks him about his irregular behaviour in the tea room. Keith is put off by this line of questioning so Brenda garbs his arm to his surprise. She admits that she may not know him very well so she doesn’t get the full picture but she expresses her desire to get to know him better. This causes Keith to smile as she thanks him again for the ride and sends off.

Keith’s love for videogames and junk food are at full display as he is playing on the couch with an empty bag of chips and an empty pizza box for company. While still playing images of his exchange with Brenda flood his mind. He pauses the game and reflects back on his life and if there was any chance for him to escape his tedious reality.

Keith suddenly jumps off the couch and heads for the exit. Once outside he starts to jog. With new found determination, he is able to attempt to change his life. Keith has hopes for tomorrow, hopes that he has given up on for many years as he continues to jog into the sunset.

[The Story Lab] Statement

Our project is very much a linear story of an introvert who seems to be on the brink of insanity, as he is portrayed to be constantly playing out scenarios in his mind along with his incessant monologues and dark jokes.  Just when he thinks that his self-esteem has hit a record low, he stumbles upon a fellow female coworker who finally becomes a reason for him to be optimistic about life.

My role in this project would be to visualise and carry out the narrative in such a way that it is both aesthetic and relatable to our audience. The transmedia element of this project would be the main character’s Facebook profile, as well as the Facebook page of the company that he works for. These elements further emphasise the dark undertones in the film, where all these supposedly motivational posts on the company Facebook page have a more reversed effect on the main character.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.18.47 pm

The general theme revolves around escapism, humor, and hope. We would want to give the impression that the main character (Keith) often wanders off in his own imagination and has constant monologues, therefore giving the film a feeling where reality is off-kilter. Therefore, the color style that we would implement in our film is a greenish/bluish filter that provides a somewhat ambiguous and ingenuous undertone.  A large part of the film will be dismal and gloomy and the mood will lift up progressively.  A scene in David Fincher’s “Fight Club” where Edward Norton is shown contemplating accurately depicts the tone that we wish to convey in our film.

2Image credit: Fight Club – 20th Century Fox

1Image credit: Fight Club – 20th Century Fox

There are some movies that have applied a greenish filter for scenes that were slightly dark and grim. Timur Bekmambetov’s “Wanted” share some similar themes, where the character exhibits escapism in the form of consuming anxiety pills, and the scenes that follow compliment it with it’s dark humor. The color tone of this office scene is comparable to our film where it shows monotonous work and workplace relationships.

3Image credit: Wanted – Universal Pictures

4Image credit: Wanted – Universal Pictures

The Wachowski’s Matrix (a.k.a one of the greenest movies ever made) would also be a good example here. Their use of a greenish and bluish tint throughout the entire Matrix trilogy was so that the audience could distinct which was reality and which was the Matrix. (bluish for reality, greenish for the Matrix)

9Image credit: The Matrix – Warner Bros

10Image credit: The Matrix – Warner Bros

The mood of the film lightens up as it approaches the end, and it will have a warmer tone to it as to accommodate the theme of hope, where the main character finds his love interest and finally finds something to be optimistic about.

6Image credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – 20th Century Fox

5Image credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – 20th Century Fox

8Image credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – 20th Century Fox



[The Story Lab] Case Study: How I Met Your Mother

I have written about transmedia in my previous post.
In this post, however, I would like to implement Henry Jenkin’s interpretation of it here as I think I have a better understanding of it now as I had previously. It is, as follows:
the art of telling one story over multiple media, where each medium is making a unique contribution to the whole.

At the heart of transmedia storytelling, lies imaginative universes that are governed by their own rules. (Giovagnoli, 2011) ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is a world that employs transmedia elements that has, over the years, ensured the show’s relevancy in modern pop culture. These elements kept the show interesting both on and off-air for audiences, which adheres to the core goal of transmedia storytelling – to create a compelling story. (Phillips, 2012) Even as attention spans are shortening and media consumption is fragmenting, fans are still willing to participate and immerse themselves in this storyworld, and even extend it through their contributions.

HIMYM became increasingly transmedia in it’s aesthetic, and in such it allowed viewers to view it not as a linear narrative, but a multi-platform immersive experience. Characters in the show would occasionally mention websites, made-up holidays, and even have their own products, like the infamous “Playbook“. Fans can actually purchase these tie-in books, which are all penned by Barney Stinson. Like most transmedia elements, all these pieces contribute to the narrative at some point, one way or another. For example, Barney is the promiscuous bachelor who proudly upholds “The Bro Code“, and also bears the identity of the prodigal Lorenzo Von Matterhorn. Another example is the occasional mentions of Robin Sparkle in the narrative. The character’s backstory involves music videos that she made when she was a Canadian pop star:

According to Giovagnoli, one of the four essential guidelines to rouse audience participation is to provide a clear explanation of the relationships among the different media, suggesting descriptive areas and expressions that can be shared by the audience. The Slapbet Countdown, for example, engages the audience in a real-time countdown towards one of the many major events that will occur in the story.  The Twitter account of Barney Stinson, is another prominent element that contributes to the narrative, and also acts as a link between the media involved in the project:

According to Christy Dena, the Australian pioneer of cross-media studies, said that a project with many different media platforms, also offers many entry points for the audience. Jenkins argues that each franchise entry needs to be self-contained and the viewer does not have to have knowledge of the film or story to understand them. I, however, coincide with Giovagnoli, where he says that an audience should not reach a story’s primary point of entry in an unsuspecting way, but rather by consciously moving towards it.

HIMYM, in my opinion, has perfectly executed its narrative in terms of slowly expanding different elements, all without affecting the story’s fundamental moments of navigation.




Giovagnoli, Max. (2011). ‘Chapter 2: Plan Transmedia.’ In Transmedia Storytelling: Imagery, shapes and techniques, pp. 34-54. Halifax, Canada: ETC Press.

Phillips, Andrea. (2012). ‘Creating Transmedia: An Interview with Andrea Phillips (Part Two)’ Available at Accessed 13th March 2015

Jenkins, Henry (2006) Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: NYU Press. Pp. 95-6.