As glamorous as it may seem, the team behind the cameras including the profile has it a lot different.
I am Joelyn, Operations Manager for Search Marketing and Training at Happy Marketer. Previously I was managing the finances of Happy Marketer, and now I am glad to be given an opportunity to move to a role of my interest.
This leads me to the main part of this blog where I share my experience of being a part of Channel News Asia (CNA)’s documentary called “We are Gen Z” that recently aired. Generation Z is widely known as the people born between the years 1996 – 2003. Being born in 1997, CNA approached me to be one of their profiles for this documentary and followed the behind-the-scenes of my life for almost 2 weeks.
Although I am a social media and drama enthusiast – after the shooting, I realised that being on television is not all roses and sunshine whether it was the time and effort that went into the pre-shoot preparations or the process of the shoot itself or the post-production editing before being aired.
3 weeks prior to the shoot, Senior Editor Allister from CNA was constantly in touch with me via calls and text messages and he sat down with me for a good 3 hours multiple times to better understand my life as a Gen Z. As the editor of the documentary, he had to ensure that the shooting goes as smoothly as possible and that they take the multiple permits required to portray my life.
From sports to my work to dance excluding my social life, I lead an exciting life. And to showcase all of this in the documentary, it had to be planned out properly with a time constraint of just 1 week. Check out the filming schedule below.
While it may not seem as packed, the late nights and early mornings made it seem a whole lot chaotic. Although, I must commend the teamwork as it was extraordinary. Filming does not just include the audio guy being with the cameraman, it includes the editor interviewing the profile who needs to communicate with both the cameraman and audio man on the direction of the filming. Allister had to clearly communicate with the cameraman on how he wanted things to be done so that they could produce the picture that was painted in their mind while the audio man had to stay alert every second to ensure that there was a high standard of the audio. Even the smallest of noises like cars outside the window, people coughing, phone ringing, or even when my necklace pendant hit against the mic, would affect the audio quality. The remarkable thing was that Allister always remembered whenever I had to re-enact the scene again, I will always ask “What did I say?”
Talking about the mic – for every shoot there was a mic that was attached to me. There was one instance where I was wearing a dress and there was not pockets to put the mic in so the mic had to be attached to my bra!
After my 1st day where I slowly got used to being in front of the camera, the next challenge was to head out and have more cameras pointing at me. I am not talking about the production crew’s camera; it’s the cameras of the passersby!
Fun fact – the one in front of the camera does not actually speak to the camera itself, instead we are speaking to the interviewer behind the camera. Then the camera is adjusted to the eye line to make it seem like we are speaking to the audience. With the restricted space we got for every location, Allister wasn’t able to sit behind the camera. So I started speaking to the camera handle itself, a piece of plastic! Hilarious isn’t it?
One thing I learnt when being in front of the camera: You have to be bold. While it may seem like you are boasting, that is actually what makes you look confident on television. You have to ignore the surrounding paparazzi and focus all of your attention towards yourself.
Due to the copyright rules, I had to ensure that I did not mention any brand names or wear clothes that were promoting any brand. Moreover, I also had to know what colours brings out the best in front of a camera, for example, bright clothes. This was a challenge for me because my closet was filled with neutral colours like black, white, grey and navy clothes.
Oh yes, did I mention that I had to repeat my sentences in front of the camera multiple times? Well, walking shoots and playing shoots was the same. How to get a perfect shot possible – Repeat your actions 5 to 10 times.
Alas, now that the filming is done, it seems like it is the end. Well, it might be over for one person and in this case – me the selected profile, but that’s definitely not the end for the filming crew. Allister and his team had to go through all of the footage and edit it to turn it into a presentable one on television. Imagine the amount of footage he has to look at – almost 4 SD cards per day!
The dance was the toughest challenge
Preparing for the shoot of my dance video in the midst of filming this documentary was not an easy task. Since part of my routine life consists of my dance class and dance with my group, MOAS – Allister wanted to document Gen Z‘s passion outside of work and how we pursue it. MOAS usually shoots dance covers for the YouTube channel. And it so happened that we were preparing to film a video that particular week. Of course, Allister wanted to leverage this opportunity and document the dance cover video shoot process – because let’s be honest, how often do you get this chance? So we went on a crash course of completing the song with multiple practices before beginning to shoot the actual dance cover video that went past 10pm.
The most awkward times
I usually do not have formal conversations with my parents about how my work is, so it was an awkward moment for me when this scene was being shot at home, and my parents were sitting around and watching me talk about it.
We had to re-enact the time when we were discussing on a certain investment decision, and because we usually speak in English and Mandarin at home, it was weird to be talking in English with them in front of the camera (of course when I say English, I really mean Singlish).
Sneak Peek – For the introduction or maybe the transition parts for the episode, I had to break out into random dances. The challenge? There was no music.
There were so many learning points from this whole experience. Apart from realising the hard work that goes into producing a documentary, this helped me improve my public speaking skills. Speaking in front of an audience is similar to speaking loudly in front of the camera in public with unknown strangers staring at you. And through this, I was able to build up my confidence to speak in front of an audience.
And……I always wanted to say: IT’S A WRAP!
Here’s the awesome crew!
More behind-the-scene photos for you! If you want to know more about how Generation Z people live their life, click on the following links!