Rushing a project

This is a project we just completed for a client.The team had only one week to rush out the project. The video footages was provided by our client and our job scope involved creating the animation to be overlayed onto it. It was an interesting project and it’s always “fun” to rush a project to see it to completion.

ATF 2010

The Asia Television Forum is the last ‘major’ international content market of the year.  It feels like an after party of MIPCOM, which was just under two months ago.

Taking up two halls of the Suntec Convention Centre, it’s not a big footprint in terms real estate, and quite frankly the traffic’s been pretty low for the last two years. I can’t imagine the statistic increasing this year, once the organiser releases the attendee numbers (even though I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow they did ‘go up’). I’ve been at the last seven ATFs, and this is certainly the quietest one I’ve seen.

Being held in Singapore, naturally we try to have some sort of a presence. This means taking up a ‘stall space’ under the Singapore Pavilion. It’s a nice setup this year, although for all practical purposes, not very conducive for meetings. We felt like salesmen at a cosmetic booth most of the time.

ATF is largely recognised as an ‘Asia-centric’ market, where buyers tend to come from the region, but there is still a fair amount of international presence. I suppose there are worse places to visit than Singapore for a last business trip of the year.

The generally lighter traffic means we tend to have fewer meetings than the usual overseas markets. Or maybe because it’s held on ‘home ground’, we take it a little easier, and really just try to meet the key people and spend more time talking instead of having back-to-back 30-minute ‘speed dating’ sessions.

Personally, I find ATF is one too many market for the year. With the traffic being so light, it only serves to strengthen that belief. Either the organiser seriously look at a revamp or ways to bring in the buyers and exhibitors, it’s hard to see numbers improving as long the economy continues to tread water.

There are larger macro-factors involved as well, with Asia being such a fragmented market and license fees looking like pocket change that one hopes adds up to something decent. As such some may feel ATF isn’t worth attending, since most of the buyers do show up at the MIPs anyway.

At the same time, every dollar of license fee counts in this business these days, so a sale is still a sale – even if it’s one that puts just a touch of icing on another tough year in this wonderful, frustrating, dysfunctional and bizarre industry that is TV production.

See you at ATF 2011 I guess.

Monsoon Season

View from office

December sneaked in like a silent kitten, but here in Singapore, the unmistakable sign that the year end is fast approaching is undoubtedly the thunderstorms that pelt the island almost each afternoon, courtesy of the Northeast Monsoon.

Now, it rains pretty much all year round in Singapore so we’re generally an umbrella-friendly bunch . But monsoon rain is something else. If the perennial afternoon rain we get is a pick-up truck, then monsoon rain is a 10-ton wrecker.

Indeed, we often experience our version of the 4 seasons in a single day – warm mornings, scorching mid-days, cool and windy afternoons as the clouds gather, and cold evenings after a few hours of unrelenting downpour. To qualify, ‘cold’ here really hovers around 24-26 degree Celsius.

A few weeks ago, Lisa Henson from the Jim Henson Company dropped in for a visit. After lunch we drove her to her next appointment, and the sky opened up and poured like it’s from a bucket. It’s not easy driving in one of these downpours I can tell you. Visibility is pretty much limited to 10-15 metres ahead, the rain pelts the car and windscreen like it’s trying to beat you into submission, and add to all that the general pandemonium that’s happening outside – flooded roads, roaring winds, flashes of lights from vehicles that you can’t quite tell if they’re 10 or 50 metres ahead…anyway, you get the idea.

It was apparent that Lisa’s never been in weather like that. She was visibly a mix of excitement, awe, and probably genuine concern – that her life could well be in the hands of a driver who kept looking back at her reaction to the weather through the rear view mirror instead of looking at the road ahead. Meantime the other two gentlemen in the car – Choon Meng and Chi Kong – just joked away like two kids experiencing an automatic car wash for the first time.

I’m glad to report that we got Lisa safely to her destination, and she’s even be on the email since. The ordeal appears over for Ms Henson.

Let’s see how the weather holds up for next week’s Asia TV Forum. Could have a few surprises in store for some unsuspecting overseas guests not used to torrential downpours.

A blast from the past

This is Nanoboy in pixel form .We were developing a Nanoboy mobile game prototype and this was the era WELL BEFORE before the age of the iPhone.

Nanoboy Comic – Coming Soon!

A work in progress on the Nanoboy comic book we are currently working on.

Nanoboy in Lego world

This is how Nanoboy would look like in Lego world

HP ForeFront 2010 – KL

I was invited to HP’s regional event in KL – HP ForeFront 2010, mainly because Scrawl has been quite a good customer of HP’s. In our recent foray in 3D, we chose to use HP workstations as our main workhorse.

The stage is set

The event was held in Westin Hotel, and HP kindly put us up in the same hotel too. Nice hotel with a good spread for breakfast.

The workstations were nothing new, as we already have been using them for the past year. I must say that we had some initial problems with the workstations and Maya 2009, but it was eventually solved by HP’s support team.

Sweet notebooks

One of the things that caught my eye was their mobile workstation, featuring all the high end stuff, and more importantly in our world, an IPS (in-plane switching) monitor, for industry standard, colour accurate rendition. I just wonder how much battery it’ll suck up when you’re on the road doing “normal” stuff like email and word documents.

The idea of having a colour accurate professional-grade monitor on the road is sweet though…

Liquid cooled for whisper quiet operation

Ok, this is where it gets geeky. See the pipes leading to a storeage tank where the HP logo is? These are the cooling units for the 2 CPUs in the PC. This ensures whisper quiet operation as you won’t get fans blowing at full force when you’re doing serious graphic work. Cool.

Parting gift

The big prize at the lucky draw at the end of the event was a EliteBook, but of course, I didn’t have such luck. The last time I won something at a lucky draw was a lady’s handbag.

While it was expected that I won’t walk away with the big prize, it was unexpected to walk into my hotel room and find a parting gift sitting on my bed – an OSIM eye massager, complete with a personalised velvet bag holder for it. Very thoughtful. HP played a good host to the whole event, and I am glad that I chose HP.

Happy Halloween

That’s not a mask of Bella. It’s actually her.


Apparently there was a PINK day in the studio recently. Need to work on our internal communications, guys… Or maybe no one wanted to see me in pink (which would be understandable).


It’s a funny feeling in the stomach when talking about food in Cannes. Let’s get this straight – food here, for the most part, is always good if not fantastic. Walk into any self-respecting restaurants (complete with rude waiters), and chances are you’ll have a great meal – and a slightly charred wallet. A dinner could easily set you back 40-50 euros (with dessert and maybe a glass of wine, or a bottle of sparkling water), while a decent working lunch tend to hover around 25-30 euros at least. There are cheaper options that are not necessarily terrible, but still it’s a far, far cry from the S$5 lunch we are used to back home on a daily basis.

But it’s pointless to compare food prices here. Frankly I’d pay top dollar for some decent Chinese food in Cannes, and there really isn’t any. There’s maybe like, one restaurant that serves up some decent Chinese fare, but it’s nothing that’d blow the mind of a born and bred Singaporean Chinese brought up on old-school Tze Cha and authentic Hong Kong dim sum.

What you end up having for meals is mostly standard western fare, and the unavoidable pastas and pizzas. Again, they are usually very good, but still – it ain’t the same as home food. Too much gluten, I reckon.

What I do really appreciate are the morning breakfasts, sitting in a little cafe or on the street in the crisp morning air, chomping on sumptuous pastries and perfectly baked croissants, and washing it all down with freshly squeezed OJ and a satisfying cup of coffee that kicks you in for the day ahead. Breakfast is always my favourite part of the day here.

Many Asians I know at the market always bring along instant cup noodles. Some even have them as meals religiously, not being used to western food. I’ve never done that, only because I’ve stopped eating instant noodles for years (it’s poison, people!). When push comes to shove, there’s always the Golden Arches to fall back on. It’s still the quickest and cheapest ticket around for a meal, and you always know what you’re getting.

And it’s true what Vincent says in Pulp Fiction – the French dip their fries in mayonnaise instead of ketchup.