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  • Writer's pictureMichael Chen

My First Time - as a Producer

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

Lately, I have been coming into contact with younger hopefuls who are interested in the TV & Film industry. They ask questions like, "How do I get involved?", "Can you make a living as an Actor, Producer, etc?" or "How did you end up doing what you are doing?"

These may seem to be simple questions to answer. But any current practitioner in the industry, reading this, you know, the answer is anything but 'simple'.

So this is the beginning of a series of posts where I've decided to share about my own personal journey of how I became a Producer, doing what I do today at Iron Hill Media (IHM) and also, will lead up to a program I'm going to start under IHM that I am currently calling #TheIHMIncubator (to be updated). More on this later. For now, let me get back to the title of this post -

This is the first movie I've ever produced. It's an indie movie and it's not perfect by any means. But I will forever be proud to be associated with the project. Without doing this, I am very confident in saying that I would not be where I am today.

Here's a youtube comment from the trailer:

*Hattasan Kerek : "Aku suka lepas abis tgk citer ni...great job to producer & everyone making this movie...this is really happend in *our community our lives/lifes (sorry english aku teruk)...Mula2 start movie...aku tgk demm this is extreme...n isu azan...great job guys..!! Brenda dah membuatkan kita realize n menyedarkan semua orang...there is no issue antara agama di Malaysia sebelum ni...n nowadays its happend...why??!! Itu kt kene yg extreme n akui mmg sukar diterima oleh kelompok manusia biasa...but to whom did see on the details of this movie...they learn a lot...! Good job... "Nora bagi 4 bintang..!!"

Here are a couple of other reviews : "Time Out KL - Cuak" and by Tony Teh

My story of how CUAK came about (the abbreviated version) :

I was working with Kakiseni (circa 2010) and eventually dipped my feet into Garang Pictures as well, both founded by the inspiring Low Ngai Yuen and Ee Lai Cheng. They knew of my passion and all the ideas of projects I had wanted to do and had enough faith in me to give me the opportunities to bring my ideas to life. I do not think I can ever express enough thanks for that. So here it is for public online record, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you. I hope on some level, I have deserved the faith you’ve given me.

Ngai Yuen allowed me to attempt to start a movement within Garang Pictures itself. Something Khai (Co-Founder of Garang Pictures) & I coined as Garang Indie Pictures. It was through this entity where CUAK would come to life. Through Garang Indie, I had big dreams of wanting to revolutionize the Malaysian entertainment industry, one indie project at a time. While I feel proud of CUAK and the small wins I’ve attained in the process. In retrospect, I realise now more than ever, that I was not equipped to do that. I should have broke down my goal into smaller bite-sized achievable goals, and worked my way through there. Alas, the naivety of youth. I digress. Despite that failure, I am still fighting the good fight today. Still believing that we have the stories and capability to create shows that can travel and inspire the world. 'Local for Global' as they say. This is still my mission.

The other people to thank for my Cuak experience:

At the risk of making this sound like some kind of Oscar award acceptance speech, I have to elaborate on and add on a few more people here :

  • Khairil M Bahar : An awesome Director, a good friend and the real creative driving force behind CUAK. I was asked about who is a big influence on my work? I said it has to be Khai. Before I met him, I didn’t know how to bring my ideas to life. I think the only reason I have the audacity to call myself a Producer today is because of him.

  • The Directors ,Tony Pietra Arjuna, Manesh Nesaratnam, Lim Benji & Shamaine Othman and the amazing cast from Ghafir Akbar, Dawn Cheong, Qahar Aqilah, Iedil Putra, Ash Nair, Gavin Yap, Patrick Teoh, Kuah Jen Han, Bernie Chan, Diong Chae Lian, Ani Juliana Ibrahim, Tony Eusoff, Craig Fong, Corinne Adrienne, Marina Tan, Amelia Chen & Bennij Ly - These people have all gone beyond the call of duty of what is expected from any of them in their capacities as Directors and Actors. For that, I can have nothing but my utmost respect for them.

To anyone I may not have mentioned in this post, like the amazing group of media (from different mediums & platforms), bloggers, friends (some of whom I haven’t seen in years), my previous colleagues (holla at Kakiseni, Garang Pictures, Capri Comm & Fearless),and at Nuffnang and of course, it goes without saying that my wife, Anrie is always there for me - Y'all rock socks.

I'll end this post with this excerpt from a video that was shot way back then to promote the movie -

Thank you for reading this. And stay tuned for my next post about my journey as I lead up to the announcement about #TheIHMIncubator.

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