No slave to technology
Award-winning actor and director Bront Palarae shares with Amalina Kamal his love and affliction with technology.
HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY HELPED IN THE GROWTH OF FILM-MAKING?
Production work (pre, during and post) has definitely been made much easier and moved at a faster pace. Casting calls are less tedious – I can send tapes/recordings over WeTransfer (a Cloud-based computer file transfer service) and video-shoot things on my gadget without having to use a professional camera.
Apart from that, thanks to Internet technology, I have also gained some attention from abroad and received offers for collaboration.
Going digital has also benefited young minds going into the field to explore groundbreaking pursuits in creative arts. Multimedia University (MMU) and The One Academy in particular have been churning out good graduates.
While the developments have overall been great, there are still two sides to every coin. I think the bane for the people involved in actually keeping the film industry alive today is our fight against free file-sharing services where illegal downloading is concerned. Protecting the market in today’s age is a huge challenge.
IN YOUR OPINION, HAS TECHNOLOGY BEEN FULLY UTILISED BY THE LOCAL INDUSTRY?
There is still more room for improvement. I would honestly say that we still have a long way to go if we want to reach the same quality as Hollywood which places a lot of importance on research and innovation.
That is why you get to see such well-made productions as Avatar, Life Of Pi and Jungle Book.
Having said that, we are going in the right direction as more movies are being produced lately with improved cinematic experiences. The question now is whether or not we can keep the frequency and quality consistent.
WHAT IS ACTUALLY NEEDED BY LOCAL PRODUCTIONS TO SUCCEED IN THE DIGITAL AGE?
Attitude. Having the willingness (enthusiasm) to move forward is simply the only way to help local productions reach greater heights.
I think directors are not so much of a problem here because as far as we are concerned, we would love to have big studios and producers to entrust us with projects (and budgets) that incorporate some form of technological development which in the end would help the industry go far.
There are plenty of creative young talents who are eager to join in on the pursuit already. Whether or not these kids are crazy enough to do independent work (bootstrapping) or we have enough resources to “go big” (either locally or beyond our shores) – it’s just a matter of putting things into motion.
CAN YOU RECALL THE TIME TECHNOLOGY TOOK YOU BY SURPRISE?
I think it’s when the world was introduced to Tesla’s fully autonomous car. I think the fact that technological advancement and the nature of it is so rapid that I’m left feeling stunned trying to understand it all.
I have this wait-and-see kind of stance, anticipating the next tech breakthrough but also secretly wishing for the world to not turn us into digital zombies. I’m not anti-tech at all but if mankind is in jeopardy of becoming lazy then that is where I draw the line.
HOW SHOULD WE VIEW THE RIGHT USE OF TECHNOLOGY THEN?
It should empower and not enslave us. Being a father, it makes me even more concerned with how our children are raised. They don’t need to be fed with smartphones 24/7 as how are they going to learn how to interact with the real world?