The “Failing” of My “Great Idea”.

Few years ago, I was surfing the internet one day, and came across this picture:


And I laughed like there’s no tomorrow.
“This is fucking brilliant!”, I said to myself. The reason why I said that it’s because I believed that the creator of this is using comedy or humour as a weapon to make a powerful statement. He even got The Huffing Post to talk about it.
So I spam-messaged this picture to my friends, and I shared it numerous times on Facebook (as many other internet users usually do). I even got interesting conversations and arguments about it with my friends. Then, I simply carry on with my life.
And that is till recently,it naturally re-surfaced from the back of my mind when I was thinking of an idea to poke fun at gendered marketing for my Creative Proposal project for one of my class.
“Okay, so instead of making of fun of how they market stuff for boys, what if we make fun of how they market stuff for girls as well! Oh! What if… We reversed the gender roles! Yeah, that will funny! Haha!”, I told myself, slowly building the confidence to this “great idea” of mine.
I did some research, trying to find the perfect vehicle for my “great idea” and walla, the perfect candidates for it:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Video Games, YES! It’s perfect! These games are totally the polar opposite of one another! This is going to be good! It’s going to be funny, haha!”I told to myself while doing a small victory dance in my small, cramped up studio apartment.
So I’ve done the proposal, came up with contigency plans just in case I have to downscope my idea and finally, I submitted it. The facilitators/lecturers feedback about it was positive.
“There’s no reason to stop this train! IT’S GOING FULL SPEED AHEAD! CHOO CHOO!”, I boast to myself and to my friends. I was pretty confident that it’s going to come out good at the end.
And that is, until I actually executed the plan. This is what I came up with at the end:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mind you, the artwork wasn’t originally mine, I simply piece it or “collage it” together (with some editing and masking to some of the original files) with Photoshop.
Now, do you notice anything wrong with it?

Yeap, that’s right. “Where is the humour?”

I showed this to my friends and the facilitators and the responses I got from them are at best, lukewarm. And I don’t blame them. They were expecting funny pieces or funny “something” from me. And these “something” aren’t funny at all.
I think long and hard about this and there are two conclusions that came into mind:
  1. I lack the ability, skill and time to pull off the desired effect like what Kevin Bolk did with his work (the Avengers’ reversed gender pose) and;
  2. This topic is no longer funny to me.
This blog here is mainly about the second conclusion.
So why is this topic is no longer funny to me? It’s simply because this topic (regarding to gendered marketing) is starting to become personal to me, and I’m getting tired of it. I changed from an outsider who observe and laugh at what is happening, to a person who is fighting for a cause.
“What is that cause you’re fighting for” you say? Simple; I want better, and stronger representation of women in entertainment media, such as video games. I want a world where my future daughter can come back home from highschool and play a game that look like this:


“But Fedya, haven’t you notice it? Female representations in video games are getting better and better. And Fedya, like you us male gamers want it as well!
Yes, I know. But the scale is still noticable. It is still male dominated.  And we must not stop fighting for it. The keyword here is “STRONGER representation of women”.
There’s an article regarding to “Gender Breakdown of Games Showcased at E3 2016” are there some points made about it that I honestly think, going against what Feminist Frequency is actually fighting for.
No offence to Carolyn Petit and her article, but I believed the problem does not lie as to whether or not there are more games with “violent-oriented” mechanics than “none-violent mechanics. But on what end of spectrum are the female characters in those games. I believed by having those games with women as their protagonist, it would tip the scale much more to their favor.
Alright, I don’t want to go off-tangent with my rant. But bottomline, my project has “failed” in becoming a humour piece that I intended for it to be. Instead, it became a reflective piece to my own conscience. And I would like to share that with you, the reader of this blog. Have a nice day. Fedya out.
p.s. Gamers, play a game with strong female characters like Beyond Good and Evil, or play as Saryn or Valkyr in Warframe. Creators, write/create/design female characters that is a force to be reckon with. Okay, I’m officially out.


Links to resources/artwork used for the “failed” piece:



References for the blog:




Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 4: Dev Diary, Dev Diary, Dev Diary

Week 10 – The Non-stop filming of “Dev Diary” and Writing

I’m incredibly exhausted. I am so exhausted that, I have skipped last week blogging about what I’ve done. But, the things I’ve been doing last week, are the same thing I’ve been doing this week. So, without the further ado,

Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m on the editing process as of this moment for their first dev diary. I’ve got all of the footage I need, so all I need to do it piecing it together. For now, they are still working on their game, and they’re been spending countless hours polishing the look and the feel of the game. For now, I’m just going to work with what I have and put artworks and prototype in-game footage as placeholders till they’re happy to give a footage of their game. Same goes for their game trailer as well.


2. The Wisp- Corporate Video/Trailer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just last Saturday, I have finished filming all of the footage I needed to build the corporate video. Really really happy with the footage I have shot myself. Sometimes I forgot that camera are camera and I don’t need to overthink it when I need to film some stuff. Also, my idea for showing game developers in a different light starts to come to its fruition. This will definitely show them in a different light. Anyway, on to the editing process.


3. Incapacitor – Mockumentary-style Dev Diaries

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last Thursday, I have finished [Team Redacted] official 1st dev diary. Sadly, we couldn’t go through filming it ala mockumentary style, as I stated before. But the stuff we got is still great. Their games are looking and feeling better by the way. I’m still awaiting their approval for their mockumentary edit which I have finished editing. Other than that, onto the editing their first official dev diary.


4. Invader From The Deep – Commercial – NEW GAME PROJECT COMMERCIAL


Okay, okay. Hear me out. I just got moved to a different project from the same game developer. And the reason why it’s because the next game that they’re making will be a lot more bigger than the game they’re currently developing for their final game. What that means? I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand what they mean by that, but they want me on board in it. And I am. Moving on.


5. Hand of Rogues – Copywriter


Mobile Arcade, the team that I’m in an currently writing for are busy coming up with a strong concept of a card game. In the mean time, the project leader is asking us to read the GDD document of the game. It is not fully finished yet, and like I said, they are working hard on finalising the concept of it. No writings for me yet as of now.


5. Iris – Writer


20 pages in and I’m now writing for the next area of the game, right after the boss fight. I don’t want to say that In underestimate the amount of writing that I have to do for this game, but I kind of did. Since I’m a very open writer, I asked the team to give me feedback of what I’ve written so far. I color-coded my response to the team’s feedback about it. More about it the next few days.
There’s more writing that needs to be done before we reach Week 12, and it’s coming up pretty soon. I need to figure out a way to writer faster for Iris, because normal script format is not (completely) ideal when you’re design a narrative for a small (yet quite) RPG game like this.


Final Thoughts

“Busy busy busy” is all I have to say for this week’s blog. Tips for someone who is something as maniacal as me; Drink more coffee, and sleep a couple of times for a few hours in a day, to get “enough” rest for your body. Anyway, till next time.

Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 3: Tool for Writing for Games & Dev Diaries!

Week 8 – Meeting with Christy Dena, Experience Game Writer/Narrative Designer


This week, I had a meeting with the Games Department Coordinator of SAE Brisbane, Christy Dena about writing for games. She’s a well-accomplished writer-director-designer in games, films, digital theatre etc. Basically she’s the right person to talk to, about writing for games. And what a meeting it was. She gave me many tips and resources I could use to write for games. There is too many to cover in this blog, so I’ll try my best to sum up her tips:

1. Spreadsheet is My Best Friend


This is the one that I cherished the most. Maybe to many senior game writers and game developers, this is nothing new. But to me, it’s the one I’ve been wanting to know the most. Yes, I’ve googled and did research about writing for games. With the help of Adrian Forest, one of the Game Design lecturer in SAE Brisbane, I know and understand a lot about writing for games.
But the answer are too many to choose from. There seems to be no right or wrong answer when writing for games. And I know, deep inside the games development, there must be a unified format to write for games. There must a tool that many game writers lean on more when writing for games. And that tool is, a simple spreadsheet.
“But why spreadsheet, Fedya?”, some of you asked. Simple, it’s a tool or format where game programmers and designers can understand what you’re trying to write. During the course of time in games development, they have multiple spreadsheets that they used to communicate within their team, and it’s no strange that copywriter/writer/narrative designer of the team using the same tool as well (example above).

2. Be flexible in writing for games.

One thing that I have to realised and REALLY, REALLY REALISED is that, games have iterations. And they change throughout the development. Most of the time, it doesn’t even look anything like the its iteration when it reached beta. And most of the time, it is better that way. Sometimes, the designers and developers have massive ambitions in creating a game with robust mechanics, animations, visuals etc, and it had to be scaled down.
Bottomline, They have kill their darlings,  and you as a game writer/narrative designer, should do the same thing. So as a game writer, I have to be prepared to change my writings, in accordance to the games that I’m writing for, at any point in time. This is to make sure in order to make sure that my writings stay cohesive with the game that is being developed. And that is really important, when you’re writing for games!

3. Limit your writings. Write as succinct as you can. Especially for “dialogues”.


Unlike my blogs, it is the utmost important rule to write as little as possible, when writing for games. Films do have similar rule, but in games, the word counts is a lot lesser than that. How many RPG games or adventure games that you play that makes you feel like the dialogues are taking FOREVER to finish? See, that’s what I want to avoid when I am writing for games, or when I’m writing dialogues for games.
So that’s pretty much it. Onwards to weekly updates of the projects:


Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So yesterday (12th November, 2016), with the help of my good buddy, Julian, I filmed 2/3 of the 2nd Dev Diary for NeonKnight. Why 2/3 of the dev diary? Because one of the programmers couldn’t made it to the filming session due to scheduling conflict. But other than that, I am really happy with the audio, lighting, eyeline as well as the interview being recorded.  Editing process will begin this week, by Julian.
As for the rest of the dev diaries, it will be recorded tomorrow (14th November, 2016), again, with the help of Julian. And that editing process will also begin this week. Since we filmed the dev diary above in The Void, the real challenge is to make sure we can make the background, at least as good as it. Though it’s just a minor problem, really.
As for the trailer, I am still waiting for the recorded footage by the developers. It will probably be done by next week. Looking forwards to editing it.


2. The Wisp – Corporate Video


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

TIPS WHEN FILMING UNDER A HOT SUN: Bring sunscreen and water bottles! It was really when we were filming this last Thursday (10th November, 2016). The sun wasn’t kind to us. But the game developers of The Wisp toughen up, and stay strong throughout the rest of their interviews. It may seem like I’m doing another dev diaries and technically, it kind feels like it it s going to be a dev diary. But, the idea is to show a different side of them, as game developers.
So far, we’ve recorded 1/3 of the footage we needed to piece it together. The other shots will be capturing them doing stuff other than them sitting in front of a computer. Again, with my friend, we’ll be filming the rest of it throughout this week and the next. The next recording will commence on this Tuesday (15th November, 2016) and This Friday (18th of February, 2016). And on that time, we will bring umbrellas and waterbottles and sunscreens and whatnot! Watch out, sun! You’re going down!


3. Incapacitor – Mockumentary-style Dev Diaries


We only had three hours (or four) to filming this (video above. NOTE: it’s a rough assembly) and we did it. The lighting was rough, but the good thing is that, we’re doing a mockumentary-flavored dev diary. So it is (somewhat) forgiven if the lighting is bad. Sadly, Julian (my cinematographer, also my best friend) didn’t have a proper shoulder rig to work with. Now that I think of it, he could use a tripod and make it a monopo-I’m digressing, point is we still get the message across.
As a director to this mockumentary, Ben and Che, the two of the six developers working on Incapacitor, are really great to work with. They’re not shy being in front of camera at all, which is great. Sadly, both of them, along with the rest of the crew are too busy for me to write a more elobarte mockumentary-flavored dev diaries(final script here). So, we settle with just this, and the rest will be a more casual dev diary with Ben, being the MC through the videos.
The next dev diary will be recorded this Thursday(17th November, 2016).


4. Invader From The Deep (working title) – Commercial



I didn’t have enough time to do much on this project, since I am busy with the rest of it. Will catch up to it next week. The assets for the “tower” enemies in the game are almost done. Now, I just need to find good production designer/costumer to help making it look as cheap yet good-looking as it can be.


5. Hand of Rogues (working title) – Copywriter/Commercial



Not much to be done for this project yet. But I need to make sure I am prepared for it, when it happens. So, I’m planning to play Munchkin (the game where they want my writings to have similar tone) with my friends to see what makes Munchkin funny-yet-witty writings, work.
Also, I think I need to look at another funny card games, so that I don’t fall into the trap of having a writing tone, too similar to that of Munchkin. I need to respect myself more as a writer, to write something more original and unique!

6. Iris – Lead Writer



See, the reason why I’ve been asking around about writing for games or the process of it, is because I want to know how to write better for this game. I understand that the game is a story-driven game (aka Narrative game). But, it doesn’t mean it is easy. I have (probably) all of the freedom to write a narrative within Iris to my advantage. The script (or story arc) for this world will be done within this. Will update this section once I finished it.
Also, how awesome is that character design? That’s Dox, our lead protagonist of Iris.


Final Thoughts

Things are getting more and more hectic as weeks gone by. I need to stay focus and scale down some of my ambitions within all of these projects. Better to have really really good small things, than big mediocre things, right?

Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 2: Writing For Games & Crunching Times.

Week 7 – Study Week


This week is study week for us. Meaning, there will be no classes on this week. And the game design design students are hard at work, especially this week. I got a chance to  really sit down and get to know and talk about their projects and what they’re doing. It’s “crunch time” for them. But it also means “crunch time” for me.
I also got a chance to sit down and talk with one of the lecturers about writing for games. Basically, in this talk, he leveled with me about the reality about writing for games. He said that writing for games is different than design narrative for the game? Writing for games are essentially doing descriptions texts, dialogues, hint and tips, and every other copywriting needed for the game.
To be completely honest, I truly know what I’m getting on. And frankly, I don’t mind doing those type of writings. Even though I got a chance to write the narrative for Iris, I don’t really expect at the time to be design narratives within the game. We all have to start somewhere. All I seek, is experiences in working with games.


Projects Updates:

1. NeonKnight – Dev Diaries/Trailer



The first recordings of their dev diaries have sound issues. Turns out, the sound were recorded through the lapel mics that I have put on them, but rather through the camera built-in mics. It sounded terrible, so unfortunately we had to re-shoot it. On this Saturday (12th November, 2016), We’re filming the 2nd part of the dev diary, followed by re-shoot of the first part of the dev diary on the following Monday (14th of November, 2016).
I’m really glad at this point that the team were kind enough to let re-shoot their interviews. They’re super open about. Other than that, I had to edit a trailer together for their game. I still have to wait for them to finish their games before I can do it that. In the mean time, I’ll just focus on their dev diaries


2. The Wisp – Corporate



So, the game developers behind The Wisp and I have come out with a cool idea in regards to their corporate. Instead of filming them behind video game backgrounds and computers, the idea is to not just film them in a different background, but also show a different side to them as game developers.
The idea is still the same; which is breaking the stigma of what people think about game developers or gamers, but the way we approached it is different. The idea that inspire me to do this is this video:
Of course I’m not copying the whole format, but I really like the approach to the interview. It’s very candid, very playful, but it has a strong message. The production of this corporate video is starting tomorrow (7th of November, 2016).


3. Incapacitor – Mockumentary-style Dev Diaries



This the other team I have finalised of ways I am approaching their dev diaries. Since the team love comedies, I decided to make a mockumentary-style of their development diary videos. The team behind Incapacitor are keen to do it, as well as acting in their mockumentary. And I’m glad that they do.
The way I’m personally approaching this is to not make them memorise a script, but rather giving them hyper-exaggeration of their characters, and the situations they’re in. With that information they will improvise it. Of course there will be written outlines (and script) that will act as a guidance, just in case if it didn’t work out as expected.
Of course, this will not purely be a mockumentary. First and foremost, they are development diaries, where they are talking about the game that they’re currently working on. But we’re mockumentary (or comedy) as the vehicle to deliver it.
The production for the first video begins this Thursday (10th of November, 2016).


4. Invader From The Deep (working title) – Commercial


What I wanted to do this week, is to keep on working on the script (link to the script here), scouting a location, and do pre-vis of it. But I couldn’t do it this week, due to other commitments. The team behind Invader From The Deep are still working on their art asset. So this upcoming week, I’m planning to do pre-vis with my cinematographer at a park, somewhere in Brisbane.


5. Hand of Rogues (working title) – Copywriter/Commercial



As I have stated on last week blog, MOBILE ARCADE, the team behind Hand of Rogues are currently in the pre-production stage of the development. They are working on the mechanics, dynamics, designs as well as the tools and resources to development the card game.
In the mean time, there is still not much writing to be done yet. So I’m on standy-mode and once the production begins, I’ll be writing all of the card descriptions and flavor texts in the game.
The project lead asked me if I can do a commercial for them. And I said yes. However it will not be in production till next trimester. More stuff for the demo reel!
Also, I would like to point to point out that Game Design students love their Discord/Slack, which is pretty cool!


6. Iris – Lead Writer


Me and the project/creative lead of the project, Jake have map out some outlines for the narrative arc within the game.  The way that we going to work together right now, is that he’ll come up with the backstories of the game’s world, characters and its enemies and I will flesh them out and design a narrative within the game. The idea is to have a Protagonist with a more active motivation and reason to go through the end of the game.
So far Dox(The Protagonist) found out that the world that he is (Vae) is going to end. The robots (no name for them yet) are currently building a huge ark-like ship to ship all of the living creatures in this planet (except for them and humans) to another planet. His motivation right now, is to make sure his robot dog (Blind) is in that Ark-like ship. How is going to get there, by travelling through The Palatium (the capital city of Vae) and fight robots that are stopping him to meet with the leader of the robots, Omnes Videntes.
As of now, I’m mind-mapping the story arc to get a clear vision of how the story in the game would flow. The rough draft of the story will be done within next week.


Final Thoughts

Wow. It’s going to be a pretty busy week for me. And it’s going to get busier by the week. I can do this. I’ve been through busier projects than this. Just need a lot of coffee this week.

Chronicles of A Third World Storyteller – Episode 1: Into The World of Video Games.

Major Project Pitch

This week (specifically last Monday), I pitched a project that I am personally want to work on as my Major Project (for my final trimester), to my facilitator (Stephen Lance) and to the rest of the class.
Initially I was thinking about pitching a short film idea that I’m been stewing for a while. It’s about an all-female pro-wrestling group called “The Diving Angels”, and they are planning to pull a major heist in a bank in order to save their beloved trainer who is dying from an incurable sickness. The idea is that, they want acquire a lot of money (from the bank), to purchase something from the black market; a magical ring from a lost city that is said to cure any sort of disease and sickness.
It’s pretty absurd, I know. But I have faith in it.  It was fresh and somewhat unique. I have a good film crew behind me, and I have a list of actors (who became close friends with me) that I would like them to be in. All is well.
That is, till something just clicked in me; I’m on my 2nd last trimester, I love video games, and I haven’t done any collaboration work whatsoever, with game students in my institute.
So, I dropped the aforementioned short film idea that I had on the side, and I decided to pitch something else. Something that has never been done before by the film students in my course. And that is, a demo reel and a portfolio showcasing my collaborations with game design students in their projects as not just a filmmaker, but as a writer and a storyteller.
More details about my projects and my plan can found in this link. Without further ado:


Projects I’ve participated in:

1. NeonKnight



NeonKnight is a 2D action platfomer sets in medieval science fiction world. You, the player is one of the older generations of Neonknight. And you’re destroying all of the newer NeonKnights, because you can. It’s a fast-paced action game, where you’ll be slashing and dashing your way through the enemies. Think a “Super Mario” game, but with high-speed sword actions.

Role in the Project: “Development Diary” Videos(Three Parts)

I’ll be producing, directing and editing three development diaries videos of the game developers behind the game. In each of those videos, they’ll be talking about different aspects of their game, which will be “Design”, “Combat” and the “Overall Development”.


I have  finished recording their first “Design” development diary video yesterday (31st October 2016). The screenshots below are the results of that. Working the developers behind NeonKnight was fantastic. They’re very relax and calm during the interview whilst being recorded. No problem there, at all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What is a problem however, is the lack of crew during this production. Two of the people that were supposed to help me with filming the dev diary, cancelled on helping me at the very last minute. So I had to do everything on own. As a result of that, it has cost me 30 points due to returning the gear late. You live, and you learn.
The world of NeonKnight has a lot of different bold, neon-ish colors that smash with each other, so I tried my best to capture the essence of their game in my lighting setups. I also set up different frame and lighting for each member of the development group, just to keep it interesting. One of the footage had to re-colored to balance it out with the rest unfortunately, due to time constraint.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that I got great footage in the can. It is now in the editing process at the moment. Won’t probably take too long to edit it, and show them the rough cut. This dev diary will be completed before the end of my current semester.


2. The Wisp



The Wisp is a procedural-generated (levels that ) 2D stealth action game. In this game, you’ll be playing as an ethereal entity that is separated from its physical body. You are now on mission to find it. You must navigate through the levels by sneaking around the enemies, or use your unique ability to possess the enemies and use their weapons back at them. “The best weapon against an enemy, is another enemy”.

Role in the Project: Corporate Video

I’ll be producing, directing and editing a simple corporate video about the game, as well as the people behind it. The idea that I’ve agreed with The Wisp developers is to put “human face” on the people behind the game, as well as breaking the stigma or stereotype of game developers.
Ashley, the project lead behind the game, feels this is necessary for the team, since games development is a small circle. So, they need portray themselves as game developers that “play” well with other. And videos about themselves and the game they’re working on, might just do the trick.


This project is still in its early pre-production. They’re trying to find time between their projects to let me film them throughout the project. So far, the idea is to have a slice-of-life style of each member of this project, talking about themselves, their backgrounds as well as their games. I’m currently working on the outline and a rough AV script of their corporate video at the moment. Possibly, the corporate video will be completed before the end of my current trimester.


3. Incapacitor



Incapacitor is a procedural-generated first-person shooter sets in dystopian retro futuristic world. In this world,  all source of energy have been harnessed and redirected to the tower in the middle of this world main capital. This makes the human ceast to exist, except you, The Hero And you want revenge. So you go to tower and start blasting away all of the enemies, level by level.

Roles in the Project: Visual Consultant / Development Diary Videos

Like NeonKnight, I’ll be producing development diary videos of this game. Team [REDACTED], the game developers behind the Incapacitor still thinking of ways they want to it be filmed. Since the previous dev diary emphasis of neon-ish, bold colors style of lighting, my idea is to do something different than that. Something probably more comedic, since the team behind it enjoy element of comedies in their work.
Apart from that, I’m also the visual consultant in their game. I’ll be helping the game developers with the look and style of the Incapacitor. So far, they’re very keen on having their game to have retro-futuristic 80s, look.The reason behind the look is to cater the game to the gamer who grow up in the 80s, as well as young gamers who are into certain stylised 80s-inspired aesthetic. Possibly, the dev diaries will be completed before the end of my current trimester.


DEV DIARIES – So far, they’ve still thinking of ways and tones they want to have for their dev diaries. I am thinking of including comedic elements in their games, since the team behind it loves comedies in their works.
VISUAL CONSULTANT – Since the game quite in its early development stage, there are still not much to be done for me. But the development will pick up its pace pretty soon, and I can be of a service to them.


4. Invader From The Deep (working title)



Invaders From The Deep is a reversed-tower defense. “tower defense” games are basically games that involved you protecting either your base or a target by building tower alongside the path of the enemies (aka “creeps”) , who are coming to destroy you said base and target. In Invader From The Deep, you’ll controlling the creeps instead.

Roles in the Project: Commercial

For this game, I’ll be doing a 30 seconds commercial. The idea is to hyper-exaggerate  a daily or a life activity by implementing the game mechanics or elements, within the close-to-reality “story world” of the commercial. A best example of such commericial would be many Japanese game commercials such as Segata Sanshiro commercial series for Sega Saturn, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 and the one I’ll be directly taking reference from, Devil May Cry for Sony Playstation 2:
All of these game commercials are pretty old. So, i want to bring back the same spirit they all have, for Invader From The Deep.


I’ve already shown the script (link to the script here), to the developers of Invader From The Deep and they liked it. But I can’t get it fully locked-in since they’re still locking down the creeps art as well the towers that will be in the game. What I’m doing while I’m waiting for that, is to keep on working on the script, scouting a location, and keep doing pre-vis of it on my spare time. This commercial will be completed before the end of my current trimester.


5. Hand of Rogues (working title)



Hand of Rogues is a procedural-generated, dungeon crawling, turn-based card-collecting game. This means, you only have one life, to play through the whole game. And if you die at any point of the game, you lose everything, and have to start all over again. Your only objectives in the game are to collect the cards that will “power” you up, as you traverse down through the never-ending dungeon. 

Roles in the Project: Copywriter

For Hand of Rogues, I’ll writing description, as well as the flavor texts of all of the cards in the game. There will roughly 100 cards to be written. The style of writing will be in tongue-in-cheek, something that is similar to another non-digital dedicated card deck game, called Munchkin (examples below of the writings on the cards).



MOBILE ARCADE, the team behind Hand of Rogues are currently in the pre-production stage of the development. They are working on the mechanics, dynamics, designs as well as the tools and resources to development the card game. There is still not much writing to be done yet. Although I’ve spoken to the team and they said that the software I’ll be to do the writings will be a any spreadsheet sofware e.g. Google Spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel etc.


6. Iris



(Note: please take this description with a grain of salt. The story as well as the gameplay isn’t finalised yet.)
 is a story-driven, turn-based, role-playing video game (or RPG) that is set in a dystopian, Orwellian world (basically  a world where the humans are under constant 24 hour surveillance). The robots called The Palatiels  rule the world, and human were driven out of their own capital city, called the Palatium. Humans now reside in the slums area, called Scrapyard and monitored 24 hours by the robots. You the player, are from the Scrapyard. You cared about nothing else but yourself and your robot dog. That is, until your dog ran away. You believed that your dog went to the Palatiem, and that is where your journey begins. 

Role in the Project: Lead and Dialogue Writer

For this game, I’ll be writing the story of the game, as well as the dialogues in it. I didn’t originally write the story. However Jake, would like me to flesh the story out with him, as a person coming from the storytelling mediums. I’ll be working closely with the team behind this game, to shape the world and the narrative arc of IRIS. This will be a very new experience for since, as a writer. However, I am taking the advantage of the game’s linear storytelling and work it to my writing process.


Sclera, the team behind Iris are still working of the game mechanics and dynamics of the game. They have certain ideas that will like to implement within the game e.g. the dog character being a support character in the game. So I have to take that into account when I’m fleshing out the story. Jake, also have a lot of backstories of the game, so I’m looking into that together with him tomorrow (2nd November, 2016). I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited for this.


Final Thoughts

Yeah, so that’s pretty much it. I have a lot of projects I’ve involved and I think I’m pretty set in this current trimester. It will be a pretty tiring trimester, no doubt. But as usual, I’ll give 110 percent to all of them. Because like Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Acting MASTER CLASS or How I Stop Worrying About My Looks and Love The Performance


Okay, it might be a suprise to many, but I have done acting before. When I heard that there’s going to be a master class in acting, my heart leaped out of my chest and started to do the Asereje dance (that’s a 2002 reference. Dear Lord, that was more than 10 years ago). I was really looking forward to having the class because of two MAIN reasons:

  1. I get to exercise my acting muscles again. It has been a while.
  2. I get to learn a different principles of acting by Simon Woods, who is a practitioner of Suzuki Actor Training Method. What does that mean? I don’t know. Looked it up on the internet didn’t find much about it, other than it was developed by renown theatre director named Tadashi Suzuki. And that’s why I’m looking forward to it.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

Q: What was the most challenging part of the masterclass and why?

This may sound presumptious, but I know to a lot of people, the hardest thing to do is the exercise where you have to mirror the movements of the person in front of you while answering questions, but it wasn’t for me.

There is this exercise in the class where we were required to lie down on the floor and think of nothing. We have “metaphysically transport” ourselves to a different plane of existence. The purpose that particular exercise is basically another take of Bruce Lee’s “be water my friend” philosophy, which means stay calm and think of nothing.

And it was hard because, I am by nature, a restless guy. And doing nothing makes my mind race and heart so fast that it kicks my anxieties into full gear. It felt horrible.

The first time when we did the exercise,

as I lie down on the floor,

as I felt the cold floor on my back,

as I closed my eyes slowly and slowed down my breathing,

I realised that I have so many things to do in oh-so little time. I panicked for a while.

Then I heard Simon’s voice guiding us. And that was a Godsend. I can finally focus at something. It went smoother thereafter.

I used to meditate a lot to calm my nerves and myself, but I have been slacking off lately, just because I wanted to use that time to do something else instead. That exercise was in a weirdly way, a wake up call for me to get back into meditating.


Q: Do you feel you have gained a new Insight? Explain.

Absolutely. If there’s something that I really value a lot as a fantastic insight, it is this;

‘Acting is more than just “acting”‘

Yes it sounds meta, but this is what I’m trying to get at;

You know that feeling when you watch a scene in a movie and there’s this scene that hooked you in so hard emotionally, that it stays in your mind for a couple of days?

See, that’s what I meant by acting is more than just “acting”. Actors need to not realised that they’re performing. They need to convinced and tell themselves that they are that character in that scene. It’s easier said than done, to be honest.

It would be a blatant lie to say that I have not realised about this. But the way Simon Woods approached this understanding is superb. He filled the gaps to whatever understanding I had about it.

For example, he said that actors have to exist within two realms at the same time; the first one being the realm of the story world, where he or she is the character, and the second one being the realm of the production world (aka Real Word), because he or she needs to listen to the directions given by the director.

Wow, I have never thought of it, that way. This gave me a better appreciation and understanding of what actors have to go through when they’re performing.

Like Oh My God, did you know that Leslie Nelson acted in a more serious roles before he went to do more comedic stuff. I love that man so much. R.I.P, Mr. Nelson.


Q: How would you apply the knowledge you have learned to your own directing style?

As much as I’m a fan of following production schedules because I respect everyone’s time, I’m also a fan of working with actors to achieve the level of performance they’re satisfied with, because I respect the craft that they’re bringing to the table.

But after going through the Master Class with Simon Woods, I have realised that if I want my film to reached another level, I need to understand that no matter how many rehearsals you’ve done with your actors prior to shooting days, you as a director need to know when is the time to direct your actors and when is the time when you don’t have to.

Bottomline, Trusting Your Actors.

Back in the class, we watched a documentary of a movie called “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. We were shown a specific part of the documentary of how Martin Sheen “get into” his character. It was brutal. It was mesmerising. It was REAL. See, in that scene, Francis Ford Coppola trusted Martin Sheen and let his actor “took over”. That trust between actor and director, is something I need to learn developing with the actors for my film.

Link below if you want to see what part in the documentary of what I was talking about:


To not regurgitate what I’ve already said, I learned a lot for what is a short Acting Master Class by Simon Woods. It was fantastic, and I am hoping to have another Acting Master Class with him in the future.

생일 축하합니다 (saeng-il chukha-hamnida), Park Chan-wook.

Not many know of you over here, but in Asia and Europe, you are a commercially successful and critically well-respected filmmaker.

I have been looking up to you as a filmmaker since the day I started filmmaking. You,  Joon-ho Bong and Kim Ji-woon. That was 10 years ago. Geez, how time flies.


Some have called me shallow, and many have called me weird for adoring your films. Oh well, cup of coffee in the big time.

Your films have always been THE FILMS I go back to from time and time. And when I do, I always learned something new.


I really can’t wait to see your new film, The Handmaiden. This time, you’re adapting it from a novel called Fingersmith.

I wonder if it’s going to its own direction, just like what you did with Oldboy. Please don’t stop making films even the screen quota issues you’ve been dealing with recently.


Just as I was giving up on everything else in the world, your films have forged a crazy, adventurous pathway for me. I hope to see you in the future and just shake your hands and say,

“Thank you, for pulling me into your worlds”.

Producing an Experimental Film in 6 hours

Cinematic Techniques – You have been given the opportunity to investigate form, technique and expression of Experimental Cinema/Avant Garde. Critically reflect in a 1000 word blog post and address the following themes in your discussion:
  1. What was the most difficult part about the assignment for you and why? (200 words)
  2. What part of the creative process in Experimental Cinema do you think you have a new appreciation and understanding for? (200 words)
  3. How do you think you can use this new insight you have gain in your own style of filmmaking? (200 words)
  4. Explain some of the creative/artistic choices you made in your project (200 words)
  5. How do you think your group could’ve improved on this project? (200 words)


Q: What was the most difficult part about the assignment for you and why?

The most difficult part about the assignment for me, is to unwoven or to deconstruct my mind that has been set to produce and narrate within the spectrum of conventional storytelling methods that throughout the years I’ve been trained and taught to do. I’m not a big fan of 3 Act structure, but I can respect and understand why it is there, because it has logical/methodical structure that has proven from time to time that is still what the general consensus believe to be the, the best way to tell a story through film or movie.

The reason I brought that up is because, my initial thought was going beyond 3 Act structure and tapping into Trulby’s 22 steps or 5 or 6 or 7 Act structure or even a Greek Tragedy story structure.

Jodorowsky experiments by combining grotesgue and Christianity imageries in this film – The Holy Mountain (1979)

I was wrong.

What I failed to understand during the briefing few days ago is that, it is basically an exercise of tapping into the rawest concept or form of storytelling, such as:

  • What emotion do you want the audience to feel, when they see your film?
  • Do you want them to feel anything?
  • Do you want them to feel everything?
  • How about  making them feel nothing?
  • Do you even want to make that film for an audience?
  • Why not make that film for yourself?
  • Do you even need structure to tell a story?
  • Can you tell a story without any structure?
  • Can you tell a storyless story?

These are some of the questions that I have to answer before, during and after the production. And to find the answers (or something that is close to it), was the most difficult part of this assignment.

Late 70s was quite an interesting time for experimental films – Eraserhead (1977)

Q: What part of the creative process in Experimental Cinema do you think you have a new appreciation and understanding for?

It takes an incredible amount of time, effort and skill when you’re trying to make an experimental film with your crew, and you trying your gosh darnest to make them understand what you’re trying to convey in it. Back in 2011, I made an experimental film back in Malaysia called “The Deal”.

The basic premise of this film is basically the personas within a person made a deal to divide the days of their lives in order to stop getting into each other’s way. When I look back at it, I realise that I have spent more time trying to get my team and the actors in it, to understand the whole point of the story.

And they still do not understand what is the whole point of the story.

It takes more than just obvious signs and symbols to propel your story forward. This imagery isn’t so obvious to everyone when it is in the pre-pre-production phase – The Deal (2011)

I am actually quite lucky to be able to work with an actress (who is also my friend) back in Malaysia that has an amazing ability to understand what I want, in terms of performance. She managed to pull it off, despite having trouble understanding the story.

To explain something succinctly is a skill that I believe all filmmakers need to own in their filmmaking arsenal, especially during the pre-pre-production session. But, it is not an easy skill to acquire. It becomes even more crucial or integral part of your filmmaking ethos when you’re developing or producing an experimental film.

This is because it requires an unorthodox yet familiar context to hook your crew members and your actors into this “world” you want to “cinematically” realise, meaning you need to explain to them in a way anybody can collectively understand what you’re trying to convey.

Sounds easy, but it is quite hard to pull off. And that is part of creative process that I recently and deeply appreciate, especially in producing an experimental film.

Q: How do you think you can use this new insight you have gain in your own style of filmmaking?

Old Works
A collection of my old works. During those time, I have the tendency to clutter the screen with movements in all directions, with the exception of the one in the middle – Collection of Fedya’s Works (2009 – 2013)

Comparing my old works and my new ones, I’ve realised that I have completely abandoned experimenting with storytelling and visuals, and completely devoted myself into structured story-development and meaningful shots.

I’m uncertain when the shift of style happened, but I do know that I missed experimenting. I missed bush-bashing through the Bush of Conventional Methods of Filmmaking with my Kafkaesque Vehicle.

I used to be ashamed of my old works and always deemed them to be “bad”, just because not many understand what I was trying to convey. And also because of that, I felt like I was doing something wrong and completely missing the point that I was still trying to find my own “voice” in those experimental works.

I am not completely shunning down what I’ve done in recent times. I love what I have accomplished and done. My “touch” is still there, but it’s time for me to get back on the Road of Experimentation and try new things – Ramona (2015)

In this trimester, I plan to get back to experiment with styles as I did years ago, but with more thoughts and planning ahead. In this trimester, I will not only inspire my fellow emerging practitioners to produce my film, but to also be able to make them understand the point of it all. In this trimester, I will not care (much) about breaking the established rules, but care more on establishing my own rules, my own style of filmmaking ad infinitum.

I need to be the Creative Creature that I once was.

Q: Explain some of the creative/artistic choices you made in your project.

In this assignment or project, we have given a task to produce and edit our experimental film within six hours.

During the group discussion, the initial idea is to do a simple test of overloading our senses while being “attacked” with a barrage of questions. In conjuction to that, we agreed to focus on our eyes and then slowly “collaged” ourselves into a being or form and juxtapose it with random “human” videos to see what will came out of it.

During the production however (and this is might sound counter-productive and counter-intuitive), I took a step and let everyone else drive it forward. Two reasons why I did so:

  1. I want to see what everyone is capable of and,
  2. I want to see what happens if I do so.

It is safe to say, that I only do the heavy lifting in the group, plus minorly planning/gaffing/cam-opping during the production day.

When we were in the production, we as a group (minus Levi and Daniel who were working on another project on that day) were experimenting with overloading visual/audio stimuli using a video (with sound) while asking each other, personal and hard questions. During the visual stimuli test, it seems like nothing came out of it, and the main reason is that, we were concentrating on looking directly at the camera, and not at the screen. We “aced” the test, unfortunately.

The second test we did, have more interesting results. This time, we punched in closer to each other’s eyes and play the audio of the video straight into our ear (with headphones to avoid polluting our own on-set audio recording). The results are we became a bit more erratic and “unbalance” when being questioned.

At post production, we hit a stump. We got all of the footage, and we didn’t know what to do with it. Luckily for us, Hayden Rossiter are very familiar with experimental editing and decided to form something out of it, instinctively. Once we got that gear going, I slow-dripped (albeit minorly) a somewhat of a thread of a story to Rossiter as he edits it.

This is what we came up with in the end:

Bottomline, I give my input where I feel it is needed and step away when I feel it is needed. All in the name of experimenting. Not just with the production itself, but with my own working methods.

Q: How do you think your group could’ve improved on this project?

Suffice to say that it isn’t perfect. But I love the end result. We were given only 6 hours to produce this (plus another two hours) to complete. Not patting ourselves on the back or anything, but overall, I think my group members have done really well together to come up with this.

If I do have to nitpick, it would have to be the shots itself. Some of it are not fully centered and we moved too much in those shots. Due to that, some of the extreme close-ups of the eyes felt a bit disjointed in comparison to the rest.

Another thing that I would to nitpick is the focus issues. Some of the shots are not properly focused and the attention is drawn to the nose instead of the eyes. I am actually disappointed at myself for not noticing it sooner.

Here's to Looking at You, SAE KIDS.gif
Unlike this movie, don’t go with Victor. Stay with me, Team! – (Casablanca, 1942)

Again, these are just minor nitpicks. Plus, we only have 6 hours, and it is unrealistic for me to expect a polish AAA quality production out of that.

Overall, my feeling for this project and my group members are nothing but positive. I am completely motivated and happy to be working with them throughout this trimester. I have never produce/direct/EXPERIMENT with a film this bizarre or strange with a group of people that shares the same experimental desires as I do.

“Tumour On His Humour” Post-Mortem

Context: Here is your final blog post for the trimester:
You have received, lecturer, industry, and public feedback on your work. Complete the following:
  1. Summarise the audience’s feedback for your documentary production
  2. Did you agree with the feedback, and why?
  3. Did you think the feedback was valid?
  4. Has the feedback changed your own views on your documentary?
  5. Outline some possible creative/technical solutions to 2 elements of critical feedback received.

My Work – Tumour On His Humour

1. Feedback – It Was Great!

The feedback was unanimously positive.

Industry Panel

They enjoy the journey of Rhys, his life and taking care his mother and his son, while being told by one of his close friend Kerri. Each panels has something that they like on the documentary. One of them really like the coverage and the other like the story or the journey of Rhys. They also enjoyed the comedy bits of the documentary.

Although there a few things they wished that I could’ve done to documentary. One of the panels wanted to see the mother’s interview and the other wanted it to be colour-graded.


The audience feedback, which were my classmates’ was great too. They were surprised that it has gotten really well since the last cut they’ve watched.


The lecturers were happy with it as well. It felt like the finished product feels more alive than the last cut they’ve watched. Although they suggested me to revisit the edit to make it a whole lot better.

2. I Agree With Them 100%

Positive feedbacks aside, I do agree with some criticisms they have for the film.

Needs Rhys’ Mother Interview

Throughout the production, my crew and I have been trying our utmost best to do an interview with Rhys’ mother. But due to complication of her health and the time-restraints, we were unable to do so. I firmly believe that if I have the mother’s interview in the can, the story would become a lot stronger. This is because the story essentially has always been about a son who uses humour as a coping mechanism to his mother’s disease. And by not having that interview in the can, it somewhat hurt the story that I’m trying to tell.

Needs Colour Grading

Due to catching up deadlines, my editor and I are unable to do much with color grading, since we’re trying to get the edit as tight as we could. Watching it now, the footage were a bit blue-ish and flat. It could really use color-grading to make the image stands out more. Plus, it has comedy and uplifiting feelings to it. The color has to be warmer to match the story’s tone.

Revisit The Edit

I highly, highly agree with this feedback. I feel like like the pacing could be tweaked more, to give a better of space and time for the story. Other than that, the story also could be string a lot better than it is now.

3. The Feedback that I’ve Got Was Extremely Valid

Thank you again everyone, for the feedback. Will keep working on this doco during the trimester break. Will continue to be better.

“So when you know when things are going perfectly right and you don’t really need to improve, think back the days of powdered stock(hard times). Put the shit up yourself, because there’s no one here to find a way to do that for you. Do it yourself.”

– Gordon Ramsay

4. Changed Views About Documentary Directors

Back in Malaysia. I used to do a lot of D.O.P work for documentaries. While it is fun, I always have this slight disappointment(and sometimes anger) for directors that I’ve worked over the years.

Now that I’m in their shoes, I am actually disappointed at myself for failing to understand what they’ve gone through to do their documentaries. It’s a very hard position to be on. The more personal it gets, the more all sorts of ethical manners you have to juggle with.

To all of the documentary directors that I’ve worked with back in Malaysia, I sincere apologise for not understanding your situations. I would love to work all of you again when I’m back In Malaysia.

5. More Research & Planning, And Better Time Organization

Better Time Organization

What really caught me off guard as being a director of a documentary, is the nature of it. As I’m more used to a more controlled production environments, I didn’t bother to go the extra mile of meticulously plan and organizing the production. It ended up hurting me in the long run.

More Research & Planning

This is also linked to point I made above. If I did more research & planning, I could’ve organize the time better. For example, Rhys has trouble speaking up when being recorded on camera. But, when he is talking to Kerri, despite the fact he is being recorded or not, he speaks up.

If I knew that Rhys will let go of his guard of being filmed if he is talking to Kerri due to their professional relationship as actors, I would’ve structured my story and my planning to include more of Kerri in the production. Even though I know they have worked together, I take it is and didn’t use that to my advantage.

TWO Documentaries That Influenced My Documentary Idea

Question: Name two documentary productions (and their directors) who have directly influenced your documentary idea this trimester. Explain how they have influenced you, is it their approach to the subject, interview style, story structure, or art direction etc.

My Documentary Idea – Carney Complex


My idea for my documentary is about Rhys’ life and his mother, who has an extremely rare disease called Carney Complex. The idea is to show his life and struggles that he has taking care of his mother.

1. Bill Cunningham New York (2010) – Richard Press

Coverage Style

The coverage of Bill Cunningham at his work. Constantly on his feet and constantly moving (Bill Cunningham, 2010)

As stated above, the coverage plan shows Bill Cunningham always on the move and on his feet. My subject matter Rhys, is also always on the move, taking care of his sick mother and his son. The reason why I chose to do a similar coverage for my subject matter is because I want to capture and show that his daily life is restless, and that he is always on the go. He rarely gets a break. But when he does, he is uncomfortable, pretty much like Richard Press’s coverage of Bill Cunningham. This style of coverage is perfect for capturing his daily, chaotic routine.

Interview Style

The interview coverage is showing each individual and their lifestyle at their own respective places (Bill Cunningham, 2010)

While it may seem to the naked eyes that it is just a standard interview coverage, people who are around Bill’s life has a more lavish, je ne sais quoi-esque framing that shows who they are, their lifestyles and what they do, in comparison to Bill’s contrasting work/living condition and lifestyle.

Rhys’ home. (Fedya, 2016)

Basically my idea for the interview is to also show the contrasting lifestyle that my subject matter Rhys is having, in comparison to his friends, relatives, etc through the interviews coverage. That way, this contrast would capture his chaotic life while sub-consciously condensed many information of the subject matter’s and the other interviewees lifestyles and living conditions.

2. That’s Not Funny (2014) – Mike Celestino

Politically Filtered Humour

Screenshot from the documentary (That’s Not Funny, 2014)

Initially my idea was just to only cover Rhys’ life and his struggles on taking care of his sick mother. As time went by, I began to notice that he kept of making jokes about his mother’s disease and condition. Whenever he gets the chance. In fact, he even made fun of his own mental health issues and his relationship issues.

I’ve been friends with Rhys for more than a year now, and at first I felt very uncomfortable whenever he does that. Till I watched “That’s Not Funny”. Mike Celestino, who is the director and also the narrator of the documentary slowly goes up the chain of comedy material, ranging from slapstick comedy to something as sensitive as picture above. He discussed about the comedians behind those humours, their usages and the conflicts that they have caused by it. After watching it and as times goes by, I slowly starting to realise that the reason why Rhys is joking and making fun of his life, is because that is his own way of coping with it.

Instead of just simply documenting his chaotic and restless life, I chose to also add how he uses humour to deal with it.