Somewhere to Us – Home

How I approached the theme “Home” was through the way it connected 2 childhood friends and their journey home. In my short film “Somewhere To Us”, we follow Paul & Sam who are stuck waiting at the bus stop after a Halloween Party, this situation gives Paul a chance to tell Sam things he was previously not able to.

After the pitching process, I began working on my screenplay for a short film titled “Somewhere to Us” under the theme of “Home”.


Once that was done, I started the audition process. Firstly by posting an open casting call to invite actors & actresses to audition for the role of Paul & Sam in my short film.

I auditioned about 20 people in total for the roles, it was a long process but I finally managed to lock down on my talents, Shaun & Rebecca.

It was quite an interesting story as I almost didn’t call in Rebecca when she emailed her CV as I felt she didn’t look the part of the role I was going for. But in the end, she blew us away during the audition & was definitely a great choice for the role.

Some screengrabs from their audition clips.

Location recce & test shots

I went out at 2am on a weekday to recce the location. It was just outside of school & would be convenient for us to transport the cast & crew there during the shoot day. Also, it was relatively empty and had a big road in front it with little cars which were ideal for the shoot.

BTS from the location recce.

Test footage stills

We shot some test footage as well so I could try colour grading it after to see what picture profile would be the most ideal to shoot in for the low light conditions we were faced with.

Script read

I got the talents down again once more for a script read as well to let them try out the costumes for the shoot. The panda suit was kindly loaned to me by Kylen & I ordered the space suit online.

Shot list

As it got closer to the shoot date, I started work on the shot list & callsheet.

I had 2 shoot dates. 1 was the main overnight shoot & the other was a short scene that takes place in the early hours of the morning. I sent it to my cast & then came production day!


BTS shots of the production of “Somewhere To Us”

One of the main challenges on set was sound, as the roads had cars occasionally driving by even in the wee hours of the night. We had to pause in between takes to allow cars to pass before continuing.

To make things harder, there were a people doing sticking their heads out of a van that was doing joyrides around the road we were shooting on, also a couple of ah bengs who were fighting on the opposite side because their e-scooters broke down.

Another scene which was a challenge to shoot was the dance scene, as the first shot was a 1 take continous shot, we had to shift all our production stuff into the car which was driven far behind to be hidden from the set. Also, cars were driving by, and safety for my cast & crew was an important thing to be wary of.

All These Sleepness Nights (2016)

The way we shot the dance scene was inspired by this Polish film called “All These Sleepness Nights” recommended to me by a friend just before we began production. I showed it to my DP and it was through that how we planned & choreographed that single take first shot.

But all in all, we got the shots we needed and wrapped on time!


Some stills from the film

Keeping to the duration of the assignment was a challenge as the film had a lot of dialogue and silent moments that I wanted to keep to create the sense of awkwardness between the 2 characters.

But thankfully, with the feedback from friends & Nicole, I trimmed out dialogue that didn’t move the story forward & still allowed some leeway for the awkward silences in between, while still keeping the rhythm & pace I wanted for this film.

Even before the shoot began, I already had a song planned in mind to use for the dance scene, we actually even had the people who came to audition dance to that song. I initially reached out to a composer whom I’ve worked with previously to try to recreate a similar tune of that song. But due to my own budget constraints, I reached out to the band & their manager via email & they were kind enough to allow me permission to use the song in the film! And with that, we shot the scene while playing that song in the background so the actors could feel the mood & tune of that song in the location itself.

I Don’t Know You – The Marias was used for the dance scene

Also for the end-credits music, I reached out to another band who also allowed me the usage of their song. It was quite a fortunate outcome as I couldn’t have imagined using another song for these 2 scenes. And the lyrics of these 2 songs do provide a sense of meaning for the story between the 2 characters as well.

We’re Not Just Friends – Parks, Squares and Alleys for the ending scene.

I was happy with the way the film turned out & in particular the pivotal dance scene between the 2 characters!

Final Thoughts

It was a challenging lead up to the production of this film as I was stuck with coming up with an idea even before the pitch.

Initially, I didn’t want to do a romantic-dramedy type film again as it was something I did enjoy doing but have done before. I was trying to go for something different instead of something so conversation-driven. Personally, I felt the addition of other elements in the film helped to make it more distinct and different from just your usual romantic-comedy & I was happy with the result.

With the support of my friends who provided me with so much feedback & encouragement along the way, it allowed me to push through & create this film that I am happy with.

Concepts of Digital Imaging Project 4 – “Trash”

Final Video:

Password: a

Final gif:

Artist Statement/Concept

Being born in the 90s, I fall under the generational demographic otherwise known as the millennial. There are many personality traits of our group of people, ranging from the positive to negative.

When I set out to create this image, I was hoping to explore the negative side of my own experience as a millennial. Negative traits such as self-entitlement, arrogance, thinking we know how to run the world and being sheltered from reality are some of the traits I felt that I embodied in my personality as a millennial. To put it simply, I or we are considered trash, I used trash to represent this as we are useless, just thrown on to the ground as we lay to waste & do nothing with our own lives. At least that’s the negative stereotype that came with the title.

As you can see in my image, I have strewn a trash bag on to myself as I lie down in the vastness of this empty beach lying there asleep or ‘doing nothing’.

That was the concept when creating the original image, as this assignment was to create a moving image, it was a good opportunity to push the concept further and make the image more dynamic. I did this by adding other empty plastic bags floating in the wind. They move slowly as this is representative of this sedentariness I want to capture in my image as I am lying down asleep. The plastic bags are empty, representative of millennial stereotype as just being airheads and seemingly being able to hold a lot of things but are in actual fact just completely empty.

Technical Decisions 

Before I started the animation process, I broke down the image into 2 parts, creating a separate layer of just myself and another of just the background. I had to use the clone stamp tool to paint in the background to recreate it after I removed myself from it.

Background layer

Me layer

Afterward, I added 3 separate layers of empty plastic bags PNG files on top of the image so that I can use this for the animation process during After Effects. Breaking down the plastic bags into separate layers makes it easier during the animation process as they are all in individual layers.

The first thing after dragging the Photoshop file into After Effects was to create a new camera and enabling the depth of field settings to create a sense of perspective in the image.

After enabling 3D on my layers, the next thing I did was to move the position of my plastic bag layers, as I wanted them to be in the foreground of the image and out of focus, I moved them closer to the camera, but locking the camera’s focal point on my image and background plane.

I started by animating the camera to move forward, this helped to create a sense of depth and movement as it moved past my plastic bag layers and closer to me.

Next, to make the plastic bags have the floating effect I wanted, I used the puppet tool to create points on the layer, I then key framed the position of the points as the camera tracks in, I animated it to look like it’s floating in the air. This was done for all 3 plastic bag layers.

The movement was close to what I wanted for this gif, but I realised something was a bit off, and that was the sky was too still as everything else was moving.

What I did was to duplicate my background layer and do a quick rotoscope of the sky, with the sky as a new layer, I moved it behind my background plane and scaled it up to fit the image. I then just did a small position keyframe to move it as the image tracks in.

Just for minor details, I rotoscoped out the plastic on myself and created puppet points and key framed them as well to move back and forth to simulate the wind effect I was creating in my image.

Lastly, I used a curves adjustment as well as a hue/saturation adjustment on my plastic bag layers to blend the lighting of it into the image and change the colour of the plastic bag to a bit more of a dirty green colour.

And with that my final gif was created!

Artist references

1. Ronen Goldman

Ronen Goldman is an Artist and Conceptual Photographer based in Tel Aviv, Israel.  He specializes in creating “Photo-Dreams” – conceptually constructed photographs illustrating his various dream states. I was inspired by his compositions and framing, employing the use of objects that come into the foreground to create a sense of movement and depth in a still image.

2. Scorpion Dagger (aka James Kerr)

James Kerr, better known as Scorpion Dagger has created hundreds of GIFs that warp Renaissance artwork into a collection of surreal, irreverent animations. I was inspired by the subtleties he employs in his gifs, creating small and simple animations but yet are effective in terms of image-making.

3. Carl Burton

Carl Burton creates soothing and peaceful gifs to look at. The slow subtle movements he creates in his work definitely inspired me to employ this sense of calmness in my own image-making.