Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Professional" Email Etiquette

I'm frustrated with a certain organisation with regards to a certain application I had applied. Of course to protect MYSELF (not the organisation, I'm sorry to say), I shall not disclose the name of the organisation although I know some of my close friends and classmates/ friends would probably know which one I'm referring to.

You see, I applied for this thing, let's call it "ABC" (again to protect MYSELF) in May, and because it is almost August, I need to know the status of it so that I can do some contingency planning. Well this organisation never come back to me at all until now, although 1 of my classmate already knew her status. So I sent them an email on Monday afternoon through their general email account (I thought it might be better not to send to the personal email of the staff members for enquiries), asking if the results of "ABC" in general are out already. Note that I did not ask about MY own result. Then I waited, and that's where the agony started. Days passed and now half a working week has passed and still no news from them. Seriously, does it take a lot of time to reply "Yes, the results are out" or "I'm sorry, you still have to wait"? It's not even rocket science question or something of top confidentiality! Of course, they might be busy at their desk, but I'm sure at least with an automated "out-of-office" or "we'll-get-back-to-you-shortly" reply email might make them look more professional right? And to think they're part of a government body.

In desperation and frustration I've sent the exact same email this morning to 2 of the staff members, whom I had corresponded on this issue before, and see if they would respond. If they don't, then maybe I'll be convinced that there's no living beings in their office.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"High School Musical" Junior

It was only about 2 weeks ago that "Believe" had ended its run, and immediately I jumped into "High School Musical" Junior as a set and costume designer. Yes, it's that hit musical by Disney, but since the cast now comprised mainly of local primary school kids instead of teenage or adult actors, we went for the condensed "junior" version which is tailored to suit the technical capabilities of young performers and educational institutes. Of course, I didn't do up the costumes and set in barely 2 weeks. I was roped into this production a few months back, but I was too preoccupied with "Believe" back then, hence my main focus was on that musical, and toggle back and forth as and when needed. It was only after "Believe" closes that I can spend my entire energy into "High School Musical".

Working on this production is a huge challenge. Other than clashing with "Believe", the issue of how to transform these kids into convincing teenagers (with my set and costumes, of course) and yet not becoming too "matured" for their peers and their parents to enjoy is the primary concern. And then there's also venue constraints like limited wing and rear stage space for set parking and having only 2 flybars for scenery, and a budget that is not exactly a lot. Not forgetting also that "High School Musical" is such a hit that it became a tremendous stress trying to make justice to the musical when coming up with a set design. Fortunately, my design for the set turned out rather well on stage, and I'm rather satisfied. However, I can't say the same for my costumes, but I will just leave them for my subsequent posts.

In the meanwhile, I shall just post some of the random shots taken during bump-in.

One whole lorry of set flats!

From a two-tier steps...

... and then a wall with a door frame...

... and it progressed on...

... to the final complete set!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Believe" The Musical

The youth musical I've been working on for the past 7 months finally closed last weekend after 2 performances. This musical was titled "Believe" and has a plot that centers around problems faced by youths in present-day Singapore. It revolves around the life of a 14 year-old "problem kid" who managed to turn over a new leaf and got transferred to the Express stream through the help of his probation officer.

This musical is not exactly a big-scale production, but not that easy to design. With a limited budget and having a wide number of scenes ranging from LAN game shop to police headquarters and old Chinese cemetery, I had to revise my designs over and over again until a balance between artistic, aesthetic and practicality is achieved.

For the final design, I decided not to employ realistic representations of the various scenes due to budget constraints, and focussed more on creating a symbolic inner world of these "problem kids" on stage. With that, I came up with a relatively simple set consisting of two 60cm high runways that intersected each other and spanned across the entire stage, and a 1.4m high platform flushed with the intersection point of the two runways. The crossed runways is an abstraction and visualisation of crossed paths of which these youths had to make decisions as to what they want to do and where they want to go. The raised platform, on the other hand, is to suggest blindspots and bumps in life, and at the same time create more heights on an otherwise relatively plain stage. These set pieces remained permanent throughout the musical, and addition and removal of various furniture and set pieces will give a suggestion of locality.

I managed to design the set within the budget limit, and thank goodness everything went rather smoothly for my set. If I have had bigger budget, I could have a better designed set, as like what some of my friends and colleagues had commented, the stage looked a bit too bare. However, with my available budget for this production, I can only say I've done my best, and I'm rather satisfied with the outcome, just that the cross pattern marked out by the crossed runways didn't come out prominently due to the shallow slope of the auditorium.