Sunday, November 11, 2012

Film Production in Asia

This years film season is about to open, and in some cases already has. 

In S.E. Asia, the optimal time for international film pre-production is through the Xmas period and shooting invariably starts early in the new year. It doesn't rain (supposedly) and it isn't hot (relatively). Of course for Asians, this period is of no consequence, because you know, Buddha. For us white people it becomes slightly more problematic. Not that Jebus and the big dude in the sky with the beard has any bearing on my life, because I consider myself relatively Atheistic with hopefully a somewhat spiritual bent. But in a Western culture, the Julian Calendar effects our families lives for the most part. Because over there (the ephemeral "Organised West"), they celebrate Xmas and the birth of a Zombie, revolving their festivities around a jolly fat man dressed in red (that Coke helped resurrect), breaking and entering peoples houses through a chimney. Yay. 

This is the one time of the year I can work pretty solidly for about 4-7 months. On usually two to four projects. But it comes at the cost of Familial Piety. Not that I don't think I haven't done some of my fair share of that, this year, with funerals and family visits etc. But this time for me to work, it means I have to do that at the cost of spending time with my husband's family. I'm not entirely happy about it, but if I let my contacts in film and TV die, it becomes a lot harder to be continuously employed or remembered over this season. And generally being on one project, means others follow. 

There is also the fact that I actually like feeling productive and that my labour does have some monetary value (albeit about a quarter of the price or less, of a lower scale paid union member in a developed country). It adds to this weird sense of self esteem that I can barely muster for myself otherwise. Monetary value and productivity. If I'm not doing something, then I am worth nothing. Don't ask me how that works, it's just a hardwire that went wrong somewhere in my brain. 

This year I have a few projects going on not entirely relating to film: the vintage clothing stuff, learning the language of the country I reside in (yeah, still), exercising, working on my own film project, They kind of make me happy, and feel productive, but none are remunerative. Yet. 

I should be grateful for the state of employment, but I know what is coming. Long uncompensated hours of over time. Micro-politics of petty people, who have a notorious lack of what westerners like to call "logic". Bad food. And another "attempt of filmmaking" that I couldn't care less if it goes on my CV or not (preferably not in most cases). Working over the seasonal period everyone else is spending with their families. So it becomes a slight quandry as people age and time gets away from us. 

It's one of those situations where I wont like myself either way, because the choices come at an expense or lack of involvement in something. Yet, I should still be grateful regardless. Dammit, be more grateful.