I have always been obsessed with story. To me, everybody has a story that is waiting to be told. So what is the best way to describe the story?
I admire many filmmakers in the world but the one who strikes me the most are those who can tell the story in an interesting and creative way. In RICE, filmmaking is our craft. Every filmmakers are the craftsmen. We have been training through time and hardship with lots of practicing. So as these craftsmen in our series – The Last Craftsmen.
As a Producer and Writer, the important thing is looking for a character. A good one…with a story that many people want to hear. Then, I remembered about how I used to be excited every time I heard stories about the old Saigon.
The good old days before the modernization comes, there were a lot of artisans in Saigon. They created and made the products with their passion and dedication with their own hands. These beautiful crafts will soon to be disappeared in the near future if no one inherits. Some are already gone, there were only a few left in the city.
Working with the researcher, I have manage to do the short list of the last craftsmen in Saigon. The process for researching and finding the story were quiet extensive yet fascinating. We had to do the research, talk to people around. Once we found the character, we need to understand all the aspects in his story in order to find the angle for the series. We spent time with them, talked with their family, their children and observed the works.
If you listen to the sound design in feature films, you will notice that there will be many layers needed to build the tension and to deliver the mood. It is the same for the story.
I portrayed the craftsmen and their crafts through many layers – their crafts, their philosophy, their worry towards the modernization and their love for the arts. I think this helps to paint the big picture and the viewers can see many different aspects of their lives. Moreover, it needs the balance between the climax and the serenity as it is a song melody. Harmoniously and emotionally.
It is always good when sometimes, I can get out of the office and meet many people. I enjoy talking to them, listening to their stories and joining in the process of filming. It is an amazing opportunity for me to see the making of traditional crafts made by the last artisans in Saigon. It is also a responsibility to deliver the best quality series that can reach to many people. These craftsmen will be well known and be more appreciated by the public. Therefore, the story continues and it remains in the heart of those who loved.