Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Beautiful Journey: Part 1

Over the course of publishing up to promoting this book, I've learnt a lot of things. To a very large extend, it can really be a turn off, as everything is new and with such a steep learning curve.

However, although there were tough times, but, there were more good to it. From pre-production to actual production and up to the marketings aspects have given such a good insight to a few industries - not only batik, but also fashion, modeling, publishing, and promotions.

Here, in this 4 part series, I would like to share the first part of pre-production.

I remember driving around Malacca to find the suitable location for the shoot. As I wanted to give this book a wholesome view on Malaysia, I thought Malacca with its multi racial & rich history would be the perfect place. So, I drove around the outskirts of the town, looking for 'perfect' homes - especially the kampung house (Malay traditional house). This was the hardest to find; while the others like the colonial building and the Peranakan homes were relatively easier - partly because they are less, hence I only need to walk along the streets of both Hereen & Jonker Street. The search include seeing a few owners of the houses/ restaurants with thematic backgrounds for the shoot.

Then came the discussions with the designers. That was rather interesting - as here came an 'unknown' in the industry having to table a meeting with the big names of the industry! Although there were butterflies in the stomach, but I'm glad to have chaired that meeting. Actually, I'm quite glad to see that some of them believed and trusted me from the first start, through my faxes, and willing to come for the meetings. For those who couldn't make it for the meeting, I went to meet them personally in their high - end boutiques. That was the start for me to the world of high - end fashion.

Looking back, I sometimes wonder how did the designers find/see me during the first meeting with them - me sharing my vision of the book and giving them a timeline for their designs :) And in a way, to do that was like doing the impossible. Up to now, being able to get the designers is still strongly holds my 'Impossible Is Noting' philosophy :)

The first problem arose when one of the designers pulled out last minute, by not sending me the clothes the day of collection - which was 1 day before the shoot. In fact, this designer who because of his limit number of designs even asked the rest to reduce their designs for submission. Too bad that designer is now not in the book... when I bumped into him after the book was out, what a shock he had on how the book came out to be, which was way beyond his expectations!

In the midst of securing the designers, the search continues for the models. As I wanted this book to represent Malaysia, hence I wanted models with truly Asian/ Malaysian features. I remembered meeting a few models in an event prior, and called them up. There were also 1 model whom I looked up using the internet. At last I managed to find 4 girl models, just enough to have the variations to the designs & for the book.

However, again, there was a horror part when one of the models pulled out just the day before the shoot. Imagine, I had 1 designer pulling out and now the model... and I was busy collecting the rest of the designs, my hands were full... and my mind blurred! Luckily, the model had her friend later to replace her to the very last minute. It's really too bad this model couldn't be part of this book too, though I must say her replacement was better than her - in personality and looks :)

I also had to assemble the team - make-up artistes; lighting and most importantly the photographer. Asking around and getting contacts, I managed to find 2 make-up artistes who usually do for drama productions.

As for the photographer, I've spoken to eM.K. to showcase his works and be part of the team. I'm glad he did, and we actually went through lots of books & magazines to sort out the kind of pictures (& feel) to the ones we are going to take. I remember he mentioning that this was going to be a big task on his part too, and he wasn't sure if he could meet the mark. But I've seen his pictures before and had full confidence that his pictures will turn out fine.

The collection of the clothes by the designers the day before the shoot was another big hassle - as there were like hundreds of clothes to fit into the car. And each set (eg. dress, earings, necklace, skirt) was worth up to thousands of ringgits! And I was in charge of any damage or loss. Luckily nothing happened throughout, as we had a tight control... and we managed to bring all the clothes down to Malacca with the whole car boot full, including the back seats!

The pre-production may seem like quite a big hassle (it was!), but it was very fun and truly an amazing journey for me. I've always mentioned that it was like co-ordinating a mini movie... and learning all the ropes in such a short period of time :) This gave me confidence in my next step and of course my other works.

Next: A Beautiful Journey: Photoshoot Day 1


Evenstar said...

Q, this is very interesting. You were actually involved in every stage of the book production. Its englighting to know that even you were nervous in the first instance at approaching the high end fashion designers. But the wise ones were able to see the potential for their own label. Good work

Quachee said...

Hey evenstar, thanks for yr comments. Ya, guess those who came in were quite wise, as we continue to promote them :)