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  • Writer's pictureJinx Chin

Visit Western Australia!

I worked on a short web film for Singapore Airlines recently, as part of their Visit Western Australia campaign. It was pretty interesting how I got this gig. I actually got a Whatsapp message from one of their producers asking me if I happened to have music in my own library of a particular style. She had actually gotten my number from one of my other composer friends. I didn't happen to have anything in my "orphan" music folder (Music folder containing music pieces that were rejected by clients or ended up not being used in previous projects) that fit their requirement unfortunately. Since she was only looking for pre-produced music, given their tight deadline (aren't they all?), that was that.

A few days later I messaged her with an idea, which was for me to produce bespoke music for their project. As it happened, she wasn't able to find any pre-produced music that fit the video they were producing, so it was a match, of sorts. This was when I found out that the company I was to produce music for is Grim Film, one of Malaysia's most well-known video production companies, part of a new wave of young talented content creators that have a massive following due to their popular YouTube videos. In addition to doing their own content, they also produce commercials for corporate clients as well.

This particular project required me to produce music that would appeal to the demographic that the video was targeting; young, urban professionals in Singapore. The idea was to promote Western Australia as great holiday destination choice. The concept of the commercial not for it to look like a commercial, but more like a short movie, with an actual storyline, and the commercial aspect of the video is just merely suggested within the story. This is becoming the style of commercials that go on the web nowadays. The longer the video, the softer the sell.

I was Australia during the whole process of this project, while the rest of the production teams were in Malaysia. A Skype call with the producer and the director of photography of the production gave me the parameters of what the music should sound like, along with a temp track (music that's chosen by the director that kind of fits the feel that the director wants to achieve for the video). My job was to write music that gives the same feel for the video and complements the images, while accentuating certain parts of the video specified by the director.

Working on the music with my trusty cashew nut snack by my side

After producing the music, there were some adjustments to be made and all communication between the production team and myself were done through Whatsapp. Sometimes the producer would actually record herself relaying her and director's comments on the music which helped me a lot because, I would replay her message again and again to make sure I got the adjustments done right. It definitely was a great experience working with Grim Film because they were very concise with their comments and requirements, and were very focused on getting the best effect for the video. The fun thing about this is, the whole process took place without me having met anyone in the company in person.

When I came to Kuala Lumpur, I visited Grim Film and finally met my clients in person. It was really a treat to meet them finally, and I was quite in awe of how humble they are, despite their immense success. Aside from their lovely hospitality, I was quite impressed with their collection of collectable toys as well! I also got a chance to check out a trailer for a series they are pitching to TV networks, and it looks rather awesome.

It is quite amazing that nowadays, one doesn't even need to meet up in person for creative projects to be done, and the fast-paced world of advertising has sped up even more, thanks to better broadband services. It is also getting even more evident to me, that the advertising industry has been turned on its ear, where large corporate ad agencies of yore are now having to do away with their old industry practices (that's the subject of another blog entry!) and having to compete with smaller production companies for the same projects. The playing field has been disrupted by a combination of new technologies and talent (also the subject of another blog post!) and it is really interesting how I now have to find my place in this new environment.

Since I am increasingly based more in Australia now, I guess I have run out of excuses not to visit this new continent I am about to call Western I come!

To find out more about Western Australia click here.

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