Thursday, October 24, 2013

Small Project, Big Takeaways

From left: Ms Olivia Yow, Jia Ying Community Services volunteers (in red shirt and white blouse), Alvin Choo, Abigail Jodie, Siti Haryani (me), Esmeraldo Intervalo, Li Tsen, Kerng Ngee, Mr Xavier and Mr Gurmit Singh
 On September 18, 2013, eight final-year Mass Media Management students including myself, were approached and tasked to film and edit a TV segment for the President’s Star Charity Donation Drive. This project was led by the School of Business Management lecturer, Ms Olivia Yow. When we were told about the project, we were ecstatic! What made it twice as exciting was the chance to work hand-in-hand with well-known MediaCorp artiste, Gurmit Singh.

The President’s Star Charity TV programme is an annual event held by MediaCorp to encourage Singaporeans to give back to society by donating to the less fortunate. It was first broadcast in 1994 and has helped many beneficiaries since. This year’s theme - It’s The Little Things - aimed to show the audience how “little things” can help make someone’s day.

In all, filming for the project took a total of six days. We went around Singapore, to the beneficiaries’ homes, to film Gurmit visiting them and presenting to them the donated items. It was heart-warming to see the beneficiaries happy and surprised by these simple acts of kindness. It taught me to be more thankful for I what have and to cherish it. It also opened my eyes to the hardship faced by low-income families.

The beneficiary who touched my heart the most was Mr Xavier (above).  Mr Xavier is a 78-year-old man who lives alone in his one-room flat. Heart-wrenchingly, he sleeps on a thin mattress laid on the floor every night as he lacks proper bedding. Through the many conversations I had with him, I realised that Mr Xavier is a very resilient and independent man, especially at his age. I am so moved by his bright outlook of life and the one thing etched in my mind is the look of pure happiness on his face when we surprised him with a bed as a gift.

Can you see us holding the Rotolights?
Undoubtedly, we also faced a few challenges along the way.  During filming, lighting was tricky to handle.  We had to try our very best to make sure that our shots did not turn out to be underexposed. Nonetheless, we managed to counter this problem in the end by using Rotolights (a LED lighting device) to illuminate both the area and people within the shot!
Alvin Choo at work
For post-production, a fellow group mate, Esmeraldo Intervalo, and myself were given the responsibility to piece all of the recorded shots together into a proper video. I always look forward to post-production as I truly enjoy the process. I am glad that through this project, I was able to showcase my skills, and give the beneficiaries the recognition they deserve. In turn, I produced a video that I am immensely proud of. The project could not have been completed without everyone’s hard work and effort.

On a personal note, the most interesting part of this project had to be attending the President’s Star Charity event itself. We got to see how the artistes, performers and crew worked hard behind the scenes to make this event a successful one. Seeing the beneficiaries attending the event reminded us of our hard work, and when our video was broadcast on TV, we knew that it was all worth it.

View our video here :)

This experience also gave me a very raw idea of what it was like to work with production in the media industry. I have no doubt that this experience will be useful in my portfolio. I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of this charity event, as well as to be given the opportunity to produce a video for LIVE broadcast on national television.

The project is a dream come true for any media student and I’m glad I was given the opportunity to work on it. I will definitely remember all of the lessons I've learnt from it.

By Siti Haryani, Year 3, Diploma in Mass Media Management

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Siti Haryani is a quiet dreamer who dreams to break the boundaries in conventional filmmaking and photography.

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