Prose, poetry and prattle: some published, and some ... well, not yet.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Movie Musicals

Dear Mr Vernon,

We were the four students from MDIS who did the street interview with you and Mr Rohaizat and Mr Dan Myer in the Esplanade Mall last Sunday (6th Jan 2008).

We would like to thank you for your time and assistance in helping us with the brief interview. Due to your relevant expertise for our assignment, would it be possible if you could further help us with a few more in-depth questions?

If you could assist us, we have attached the questions to this email for your kind perusal. We hope to get in touch with Mr Rohaizat and Mr Myer as well, and were hoping if you could pass along their contacts to us.

Sincere appreciation for your kind help and inputs. We eagerly await for your reply.

Best Regards,

Charlene Poo
Ivan Wee
Xiao Shuyun
Julianatasha Salleh

V A Emuang to charlene, Ivan, j_natasha88, jerlaine2505, Xiao

show details 01:50 (8 minutes ago)

Gosh why did just four simple questions have to be appended via a MS-WORD document?
If I had known I would have answered them earlier. :-)

Does that sound like a great excuse for handing this in two days late?

Sorry for the delay.

Peace - V


1. How long have you been in the Arts industry?

Forever. I graduated with an BA (English) degree and my major was Theatre Arts - in 1984. So - you do the math. :-)

2. What do you think about the evolution of musical films over the years?

Musical films? Presume you mean 'movie musicals' as per the genre you asked us about two Sundays ago. Well it has evolved with movie-making technology. And so special effects is as much a part of the narrative, or influences narrative. Music has become, even more so,dramatic atmosphere and emotional soundscape, in addition to just melodies upon which a lyricist may hang plot and character, a la traditional stage musicals.

3. What are the driving forces behind a successful/effective musical film?

Always - plot and character. The story. What is t'he story'. Always. Of course the things that make a movie a movie musical such as the music, choreography, singing, singers, etc ... that's a given. But eventually, it's the story. How it makes great people look humble - or humble people look great.

4. Do you think that musical films contribute to social values?

Behind every story is a moral. All art is contributive, constructive ... but only to a mind that allows it to do as such. That is a call made by the reader/viewer, but would be influenced by other external factors. Art education, media, marketing and promotion. The movie musical, like any artform, which encourages empathy, contributes to the social value of 'empathy' - perhaps the most fundamental and under-rated of all social values.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Incommunicado's ideal

I just unearthed this article which appeared in the 4th October 2005 issue of the New Sunday Times, in a column entitled "My perfect weekend". I was interviewed by Intan Maizura.

Livewire arts activist and marketing communications consultant, Vernon Adrian Emuang is hard to pin down but INTAN MAIZURA manages to halt him for a tete-a-tete.


FOR THOSE OF US NOT IN THE Arts circle, the name Vernon Adrian Emuang, 44, might probably elicit a `blur' reaction. Others may remember him for his wacky turns as Jeffrey Ong's sidekick eons ago on the now defunct TV3 IT offering, Cyberwave. But that's not to say he's been dormant. This lively Sarawakian just does not know the meaning of the word `stop', furiously and actively working behind the scenes, on a number of projects. He is presently involved in KL Sing-Song 2005, the first ever regional singer/ songwriter conference and workshop in Malaysia, which incidentally is produced by his own company of eight years, Artsee Networks.

"I was also recently involved in Yasmin Ahmad's Sepet, helping to negotiate and secure sponsorship for the premiere as I believed a lot in the film - it's a powerful film in a very sweet way. I wanted to support it so when I discovered it was going to be released, I got very excited and came on board," explains Vernon.

He has also been busy helping out RTM with voice-overs and scripts for a documentary series called Malaysian Food Discovery, of which there are going to be 26 episodes in all. "I don't go out on the shoots but I do go through the footages. And then I write the script and subsequently do the voice-overs."

It's been a long time since he has had any breaks, let alone a weekend off but Vernon definitely knows what'll make his weekend perfect.

"It would be one where nothing has been planned and I am in a foreign place, where nobody speaks English so I can't really communicate normally with anybody and everybody is a stranger. Of course, I would have at my disposal enough money for a decent meal and to probably catch a bus or taxi somewhere, anywhere.

"It would be one of those days where I'd wake up to a bright sunny morning, in another place that I'm not used to. Maybe Tokyo, Paris, Canberra - I'm a city person! It's not familiar but neither is it completely strange. I'd just walk out onto the streets where I'd have to use my wits to get around, but the people are friendly, of course.

"I'd start off by looking for a decent breakfast which would have to include bacon and eggs - I don't know why - and lots of fruit. I'd then look for interesting cultural and art places to head for, like a gallery or something. Nothing would be planned; I prefer to stumble into things because I get enough of having to keep to schedule when I'm at work!

"In fact, that's how I stumbled into the Picasso Museum in Paris and the Louvre, also in the city. A saxophone player who was playing inside this cavernous porch - basically the portal of a castle - caught my attention. The sound was amazing and I just stood there for half an hour just listening. I didn't know where I was really and after half an hour decided to move on. I moved out of the portal into this courtyard, which was huge and barren with just sand. I thought, 'Oh, this is interesting, it's a castle'. The next thing I knew, I walked into this area with all these pyramids. It was the Louvre. I still remember this moment.

"Looking for deodorant in Tokyo was also exciting. I still remember it because it was quite an adventure looking for it. My bags went missing on a flight to Tokyo where I was supposed to meet some clients on the day I arrived. I had to resort to using sign language. Every time I asked for deodorant, they kept pointing me to the most expensive perfumes! "I've had that kind of experience before and it's quite refreshing because you're challenged a little and you have to slow down to communicate, so you have to slow everything down to understand what's going on.

"When I was growing up, weekends meant church in the morning with my parents, then a family breakfast. That was fun. We'd trundle off to the Section 14 market (in Petaling Jaya) and buy stuff - all the hawker food and then come back and the whole dining table would be scattered with hawker food still in their wrappers. We'd have to forage through them to find what we wanted. I also used to do a lot of things with my brothers (I don't have sisters), whether it was cleaning the house, or helping my mum with the baking.

"A perfect weekend could be with my family whose company I enjoy, or it could be alone or even with friends. I guess as long as there's no set programme, it would be perfect. Wake up, have breakfast, do anything that comes to mind and just let things move along. Unrushed, unplanned, and where surprises just keep popping up.

"If I can go to bed that night thinking, 'oooh, what a great day and it wasn't even planned', I would have had a great weekend. I just love that whole idea of serendipity with all the happy accidents that happen."