文︰黃勺嫚，影像無國界導師 | Text: Wong Cheuk-man, Teaching Artist of All About Us
英譯︰黃澄楓 | English Translation: Janice Wong
剛開始的時侯，我曾擔心大家會因種族、文化、語言、年齡不同，而無法溝通。想到電影製作要求高度的合作精神，讓我更擔心各種差異會令我們無法合作。可是，在第一個訓練營中，已看到他們懂得分工合作，讓各人發揮所長，同時互補不足。穩重冷靜的Jackey 和組織能力強的Manh 主要負責導演及攝影工作，喜歡攝影但沒有經驗的Fardin則從旁協助。心思縝密、情感豐富的Bryan負責編劇和做演員。細心的Sami、愛化妝的Madhavi和愛音樂藝術的Marcus則負責美術道具。外表嚴肅但表演滑稽的Jonathan負責做演員。充滿怪點子的Ahmed周不時就各方面提意見。我發現所謂因有文化差異便合作不來，是「大人」才有的恐懼。
在第一個訓練營中，我記得有一個鏡頭是用Stop Motion 拍攝字母轉動，Ahmed提議字母從一包薯片旋轉狀地爬出來。當下我的反應是太複雜、太花時間。但大家也喜歡Ahmed的建議，所以我們還是按著他的想法來拍，結果大家也很滿意。我才發現他們很純粹，喜歡拍什麼便直接去拍，而「大人」則太成熟，太懂得去考慮時間和資源的問題，往往卻限制了自己或別人去做真正喜歡的事情。
在第二個訓練營中，我們要用三十六小時製作一段短片。我們原笑說不如用一小時拍完，然後用餘下的時間去玩「狼人」。結果，大家還是同樣認真拍攝。當然，去到第二個訓練營，大家開始出現疲態，加上製作時間短促，偶爾也曝露了真性情。但到了後期製作，大家仍然齊心協力完成。Jackey 深夜在找聲效、討論片名，Manh剪接到早上六時，Marcus 到了早上七時還在錄音樂，直至最後一分鐘Bryan和我還在瘋狂上字幕。放映當日，放我們組的作品時，因器材問題，放出來是黑矇矇一片，什麼也看不到。當時，他們有點激動，甚至質問我為什麼不要求終止放映。然而，我看見他們因放映的聲畫效果不好而激動的表情，一直暗喜，忘了處理器材的問題。對了，在乎自己的作品就會如此激動。幸好，最後也解決了放映的問題，而短片重放一次才能安撫這群小伙子。
This is my first time being a Teaching Artist of All About Us. My group of form 4 and 5 students came from many ethnicities: Marcus, Bryan and Jonathan from the Philippines, Sami, Madhavi and Jackey from Nepal, Mahn from Vietnam, Ahmed from Pakistan, Fardin from Bangladesh, Student Mentor Corn from Hong Kong , and me who is half Thai. We are probably the most diverse group.
At first, I was worried. I was afraid the different ethnicities, cultures, languages and ages would become barriers in communication, threatening the high team spirit that filmmaking requires. However, during our first training camp, everyone collaborated well. They let their talents shine and made up where others fell short. Jackey the Calm and Manh the Organised took helm of directing and shooting, while the Interested yet Inexperienced Fardin helped from the side. Bryan was careful and sensitive, so he was in charge of the script and acting. Thoughtful Sami, beauty guru Madhavi and music art lover Marcus handled the props. Serious-looking yet humorous Jonathan was also an actor. Ahmed and his whimsical mind helped by sharing thoughts throughout the production. To them, cultural diversity isn’t a roadblock – it is a fear only we adults are vulnerable to.
In the first camp, we used stop motion to create spinning alphabets. Ahmed suggested making the letters crawl out of a bag of chips, which I thought was too complicated and time-consuming. However, everyone loved his idea. So we made it happen, and it was incredibly satisfying. Their goals are pure: they film what they want to film. Contrarily, adults are often stuck on issues like time and resources, holding us back from pursuing what we truly like.
In our second camp, we had only 36 hours to create a short film. We joked about allocating one hour to the film, then the rest playing Werewolf. But when it came down to business, everyone was serious. The group was obviously worn out by the second camp, and the tight schedule put everyone under stress. Still, they were determined to finish it all together, even post production. Jackey stayed up looking for audio effects and coming up with a title. Manh edited till 6 in the morning while Marcus recorded the soundtrack till 7. Me and Bryan worked tirelessly on subtitles until the last minute. On the day of showing, our group ran into some technical difficulties. Instead of showing their hard work, the screen was pitch black. They panicked, asking why I didn’t stop the viewing. In fact, I was too proud of them – they panicked because they cared about their work – so proud I forgot about the situation. Luckily, the issue was fixed soon. We replayed their film, and they were finally happy.
During the two camps in preparation of their 10-minute short film, they all refused to write a romance at first. In the end, they made a love story about two boys. It wasn’t planned – the two leads just happened to be boys, and the story wrote itself. I feigned doubt, asking if the theme was too sensitive. Without hesitation, they told me gender was irrelevant in a story about love. They once again proved adults were too obsessed with labels and definitions. During the production, there were days we stayed on campus till 10 at night and came back at 7 in the morning. We spent afternoons filming on buses, then moving on to indoor scenes. They were exhausted, of course, but nobody gave up. They took turns on set, making sure everyone got a chance to rest. At the end, Marcus and Bryan even asked their classmate Claire to write the theme song and soundtrack. I will always remember the first time they heard their own voices and music from the edited film. They didn’t expect to be moved by their own story. Some were holding back tears, and others were already crying. They realised what mattered wasn’t whether this piece was professional or not – it moved them, and that was good enough.
I’m so lucky to meet them. I never thought I would get to spend time with a group of ethnic minority students. We shared noodles at Tam Jai, went to Ocean Park and played guitar on the balcony of a Filipino family. They aren’t just ‘minority’ – they are young, aspiring souls with dreams and things they love and hate. In retrospect, I was just like them when I first dabbled in film production at 16 or 17. My title may be Teaching Artist but we are more like friends. They remind me of the innocent passion I felt at the beginning – and that’s the most important in anything we do.