Monday, May 19, 2008

A Post About Nothing

Since I last updated, we have 7 scripts done and have 3 more to complete by the end of the week. Getting a freelancer to write for a new series is hard, especially because he has no idea what the world is like and what we're trying to achieve. We end up having to rip his entire script apart and basically almost redo the whole thing from scratch. And he's probably paid more than us too. Fuck.

Rehearsals start on Tuesday. I have no idea what the hell we're going to do, because it seems that most of the actors can't make it to the sessions. What's the fucking point of holding them, then?

One thing though, the kids will probably be there. That's going to be very useful at least, to get them to enjoy each other's company and build up some form of camaraderie between them.

Meanwhile, I went batshit insane at the sales this week and spent close to S$700 in two days. Someone asked me how I could afford to buy so much stuff. Simple, it's a four-letter word - "debt". Hey, if FCUK is discounting by 50% or more (hell, I got a shirt for S$24!), I'm there. And I do love my new Braun Buffel satchel.

One more day of rest before the next round on Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update, Finally

It's been over three months (!) since I last blogged.

I never intended to get so far behind, but shit just kept happening, and happening, and happening. So I guess I'll try to get quickly through most of it, so at least those who give a damn can keep up.

I moved out of my old house at the end of February, sadly, so the days of hanging out on the back porch enjoying a glass of booze and smoking a cigarette are over. I moved into a tiny flat in Toa Payoh with an ex-colleague, and had tons of trouble just fitting everything I owned into it. Those of you who've been to my old place can probably guess as much.

Its previous occupants were an old couple, and let's just say that they were filthy, filthy people. It took us weeks to get the place reasonably clean, and while it's now livable, I'm still far from satisfied. Also, I'm a procrastinator, so even after 3 months, I'm not completely unpacked. I still have trouble finding where stuff is, which annoys the fuck out of me. And we still haven't had our housewarming yet.

Oh, and the rent is actually not much cheaper than the old place. Just imagine: two years ago, a two-storey house could be had for S$1,900 a month. Now I can only get a tiny three-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh for S$1,700 monthly. I just fucking love Singapore - capitalism and free market economics at its best. Rent control? Never heard of it. Who cares about these unmarried people who refuse to be part of a family unit anyway? They don't produce children, and so are of no use at all to the country.

On the work front, last year's comedy is over, and in fact the final episode just aired tonight. A new boss came in, who's also a writer, which is good news because it feels like I finally have someone who can appreciate all the work I do and knows how hard it is.

The best news is that I have a new series that I co-created coming up, for which I'm frantically churning out scripts for. I have a co-writer, and we work well together, coming up with caffeine and cigarette-fueled insanity on a daily basis. We now have 6 episodes down, and 4 to go. Not too bad for a little over three weeks' work.

It's a comedy set in a secondary school, and the scripts are by far the most ambitious I've written for local TV. The rule of thumb seems to be that we don't put anything out we don't find funny ourselves, and because we're so shorthanded, most of the writing is done by us. And that's perfectly fine, because it gives us the chance to build this new world which is interconnected in so many ways, it makes us giddy.

I think it's has probably the fastest pace of any local-made comedy thus far, which is a result of watching seasons of Arrested Development back-to-back. We've also borrowed that show's love of flashbacks and liberally inserted tons of cutaway jokes. If they don't get cut from the show, it'll be tons of fun.

The sad thing is that as usual for the local TV monopoly, we're working on a shoestring budget, and we've been told to scale things down a lot. And I suspect I'm getting too emotionally connected to the scripts since the production period has been so intense, because I felt really hurt at script meetings. This hasn't happened in a long time because I've learnt to distance myself from my work. Still, I don't want to do that until all the scripts are out, because I'm afraid not caring will make me a lesser writer.

But damn, are we working at a breakneck pace. Today, for example, was a marathon writing session which went from 11 am to 10 pm, and we managed to write one and a half scripts, around 40 pages, maybe. It's exhausting, and I don't even know how much coffee I've downed. I've gotten to recognize all the staff that work at the coffee place we write in, and I'm sure they recognize us as well.

I'm also concentrating more on writing because I want to distance myself from the other elements. I tried to care about things like casting, but found myself more and more angry when I didn't seem to have a voice at all (for my friends in the US, yes, that's how the Singapore TV industry works - we don't give a fuck about the creator if they don't have powerful job titles). The people in charge of the channel seem more interested in casting in the lead role someone they'd like to fuck as opposed to, oh, someone who could actually portray the character best. Sitting in those meetings makes me want to scratch my eyes out and stab pencils in my ears. It also doesn't help that the person who has the final say in everything gets distracted by a fucking hummingbird outside his window during a meeting. The hummingbird wasn't actually fucking, but you get what I mean.

I've put in so much for this show I desperately need it to be a success. So that I can show every single one of the fuckwits at HR how much they're underpaying me. So that at the end of my bond, I can walk up to the CEO and say, "Fuck you very much". So that I can have tons more credits on IMDb (haha). So that I can finally say, after all these years at this fuckup of a company, that I have something I'm proud of.

So please, watch it. Watch every single episode of it. And write in to say how much you fucking love it and how it's the best fucking local comedy, like, ever. It debuts on National Day, right after the parade, so you have no excuse.

Also, if I don't get that promotion and pay raise I want in June, I'm fucking going on strike. No two ways about it. Even though I'll be striking on my own.

Dammit, I never meant to get so angry when I started on this post.