Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Talking in Circles?

Yeap, I'm using that question mark right there in a tongue-in-cheek manner, mirroring how lazy tabloid journalist morons use 'em to create sensational headlines while at the same time covering their asses from potential backlash. Alright, screw that. Let's give it another shot.

Talking in Circles

Much better.

Anyway, I'm writing this as a some-sort-of-response to the statement released by the new FINAS chairperson; his take about why Malaysian films are selling like turdcakes:
Puncanya adalah skrip yang merapu-rapu.
It's all because the scripts are nonsensical.
- Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib
FINAS Chairperson
When you hear a statement like that from someone that high above in the organisation, it's worth asking if he's aware how things actually work in the industry. Even if he doesn't, it's no discredit to him and I won't say anything disparaging about it - a pilot's aim is to get the plane to the destination, but he/she can't always be expected to know how the baggage handlers are doing.

But, I will say this. Statements like that do reflect his understanding of the scene. For starters, it's not common practice for screenwriters to develop spec scripts and sell them to studios. Ten to fifteen years ago, I used to think that's how it works, but no. Writers are often hired hands and have little-to-no control over the content (unless they make it big and can afford to serve as producer and director as well).

You see, I've said it before that when it comes to jobs like accounting, management, etc., people tend to trust that they know how to do their jobs and leave 'em alone. When it comes to creative work, however, suddenly everybody from producer to caterer think they have a better idea. Of course, everybody have ideas and a good idea can come from anyone.

It's the very reason why creativity is such a fun place to be. It's not math where things are absolute: 1+1 must always equal to 2. But in the creative world, 1+1 can also equal to 3, and the fun comes from figuring out how.

The big 'but' however is Kim Kardashian how to make them work and it's only at this juncture when they would say to writers, "Here, you figure it out," or "What did I hire you for?" Okay, but how are you supposed to make a cool working car out of fancy parts that don't necessarily go together? You can't, but you do the best that you can anyway though the results are always... well, the current string of misses.

Of course, I'm not absolving screenwriters altogether because Razak Mohaideen and Mamat Khalid.

Their words, not mine.
Point I'm trying to make is, our films are not doing well for a multitude of reasons and to narrow it down to scripts suggests that his vision might be narrow as well. You can dismiss what is said if it comes from a casual movie-goer. But for it to come from the chairperson of FINAS is quite worrisome.

Recently we are pleasantly surprised by the super-enjoyable Polis EVO doing exceptionally well at the box-office (RM 8 million in 11 days and counting). Now, there will be studio heads who'd mistakenly think that the success is due to main leads' popularity, or that there's a trend in the audiences' genre of choice.

I won't go in depth about it, but let's just say that we don't have to look far back to see that both genre and main leads have had waaayyy more misses than hits in the past three years. Polis EVO is doing well not just because of a solid script, but also because of the things I've said in February 2014; after the success of The Journey.

Now, I must stress that I'm no oracle. I'm not even that smart. It's just that I watch films more than I talk about them, so it's not entirely implausible that I'm on to something. Or maybe not.

I'm not the Chairperson of FINAS. What do I know?

1 comment:

farizghazali said...

"When it comes to creative work, however, suddenly everybody from producer to caterer think they have a better idea."

My argument all this while. You put it nicely. I'm gonna quote this everywhere.. Ha!

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