“if you are not going to make a picture, no one else will.” This is a quote by Gregory Crewdson that I’ve learned from a documentary featuring him during his process of making his photograph. There’s no single object in his photo that was not a decision.
I watched his documentary as part of my learning process. I was on an internship. Our vision was to create a musical that could feature Cambodian as well as our arts at a more creative level in a one hour long film. Me and my 8 Liger friends were down at a Battambang province, locates in the Northwest part of Cambodia. 6 months straight of our school time was dedicated to the project. We watched a bunch of films, analyzed, meditated to further understand the process as well as key concepts within film. The internship was offered by the Human Agency, which is a media company that create videos for advertising with bases in California and Japan. It was my great pleasure to work with their processional crews including their cinematographer, musician/podcast, screen writer and documentary person.
The time was crazy short. We had a bit over a month to finish our whole filming process with a breakdown of 38 scenes. Each of us wrote a scene and directed them ourselves with the support from the Human Agency crews. My main role was to film the process of us making the film since it mainly done by us kids age 15 – 17, anyone could easily find me holding a camera taking pictures of videos of people.
It was a real work. We sometimes woke up at 3 in the morning, or went to bed till 5 in the morning just because we need to keep shooting. It’s not like a one-take thing where we only need one time to capture the moment we are looking for. It was even more challenging to keep control of the performers since they are older and that they are professional circus performers/dancers. Filming wasn’t just about making sure we got everything we need, but it’s also about being cheerful and supportive with the team members. Beyond that, it was really challenging for us since we didn’t just have to deal with the work from the internship, but also have to keep on practicing math and literacy that our teachers from school gave, so we could still know what’s going on at school. Teamwork was also full of disagreements, so of course we also had to deal with our dramas along the way, which was quite emotional. We also had to deal with quick decision relating to the change in plan, which could sometimes turn us really frustrating.
I’m truly proud of the whole team that have put in a lot of work and time into trying to turn our imaginations to live. We are in our post-production process right now and I am really looking forward to seeing the product that could come out of it.
Thank you Ryan for offering this amazing opportunity and thanks to your crews for teaching us. I’ve had so little experience with camera work and filming in general. Now, I am confident to hold a camera and film anything at anytime and I know what to do if I want to bring something that I have in mind to become real. The memories we made as a team with the Phare students and the Human Agency team are unforgettable and uncountable.
I am currently in an exploration that is mainly focusing on creating surveys that will not create bias answer when we ask our questions. So far, we’ve been working on creating questions relating to different sections: education, health, and loans. We went down to Kampong Speu on the 1st of March just to get some more information relating to how we can make sure our survey fits with the people there. We went there again on the 4th to interview villagers for a whole day and we got a sample size 105 people, which is a fairly good amount comparing to a population size of around 300. I learned a lot from the survey. To me, it isn’t just a project to collect data, but I can feel the difficulties of Cambodians who are living in those villages in Kampong Speu. Due to money, children are quitting school. Due to money, some of the families only spend 50 cents in a day for foods. I found the information helpful and our team will soon do a data analysis relating to the answers that we’ve collected. The data will be helpful for Camkids, an organization down there, to help to find donors to help to improve the village’s condition.
On Sunday, 23th of October, 2016 I volunteered my weekend time to go out biking. It was a 45 kilometers of bike. Though it was hot under the sun and it was a long way, but I am glad to do it.
On the 19th of October, 2016, there were two speakers from the Green Camp, Bali came to our school to talk about Green Camp. At Green Camp, they built their school with bamboos structure and besides, they also teach their students to live with nature and to love nature. Two of their students used to talk in TEDTalk about anti-plastic and that it’s so amazing because they’ve talked to their government and that they agreed to be plastic bags free in 2018.
I was invited to be in this group, where we put songs and our day in life conversation combined together. I just feel like I never feel bored of producing video at all, which means I was having so much fun in the team. It also can practice with my pronunciation because I have to speak clearly, so the audience can read my lips. Moreover, English is my second language, so I should make sure that my pronunciation is understandable.
On the 30th of April, 2016 most of the students from Liger all went to the Olympic Stadium to play basketball at against students from other schools. I was in a team with 3 of my other friends. Before the game, we only got to practice the basketball one hour each morning, so it was about 5-6 hours. In this amount of time, we couldn’t get our skill to be stronger. But anyway, we still happy to play. My team named Flash and we played well with each other, the thing is we never win the game. Besides, in the semi-final to find the 3th place, we actually won and we go to the third place. So my team was awarded by the Extrajoss company for the 3rd place.
On the 13th of January, 2016 there was a huge event at Liger Learning Center. Many of the ministers of education and school directors attended Liger to listen to student presentations to get an idea of our unique school. I did a presentation about Project-Based Learning (PBL) where we gave some examples of PBL that can be practiced at the government schools in Cambodia. Our intention was to get people interesting in PBL and we succeeded in our goal because someone from the department of teacher training was so interested in our project that he even requested us to prepare to share our presentation with other teachers. I have never presented to high level people like that before, so it was a great honor for me.