This motion picture is brought to you by- wait, there isn’t any motion picture. Just… a picture.

Hi, I’m Ruo Ling. I wanted to be a movie director at some point in my life, but somehow I ended up being a different kind of director here in C27: a Junior Art Director.

But anyway, in my free time, I still pretend that I direct movies—by making fake movies stills.

How It All Started

It all started since… I honestly don’t know when it started. My love for movies, photography, colours, and jotting down conversation (both imaginary and real) all started at different times. They just somehow converge in this lil’ project of mine.

Hong Kong Stories was done on a whim.

I was texting my friend one day while editing photos that were taken in Hong Kong and because I’m always imagining myself in action/thriller movies I asked her to throw me some typical Hong Kong gangster movie lines. I only used her lines for fun in the end though. When I was finally done with my photos, I decided to put all my angsty thoughts in instead.

Inspiration

The secret, my dear, is to overthink.

I went to Hong Kong with the only friend a close friend who could put up with all the weird, deep sh*t going on in my head. Observing fast-paced Hong Kong led to questions like where are we going exactly, with all this endless pursuit for… what??? Is life really… worth living? Are we humans, or are we dancers robots?

And that’s how Hong Kong Stories came about.

The series got pretty good responses online. So half a year later, I thought: it’s time to do a sequel.

Hong Kong Stories didn’t start with a theme. It was only when I looked back, I realised: oh f*ck, I have some kind of existential crisis going on here.

So, when I decided to make sequels, I also decided that each city should have its own theme.

But why was the sequel set in Kuala Lumpur ah?

Long-story-short-version: I didn’t have money to travel lah obviously. ?

Grandmother-story-version: During that period I was closely following this piece of news, observing Malaysian reactions towards it. Conclusion? People are hypocritical. We’re only as good as the world allows us to be, right? It made me overthink: are we born bad, or do we become bad? If we’re a little of both good and bad, then isn’t morality just a big grey area? Why do we even bother?

The Malaysian Way

Every time I do a personal project, I try to inject some Malaysian elements into it. So, when GIFs and images with subtitles are on trend, of course I gotta use them as the Malaysian element because we are the OGs of reading multiple subtitles.

The lines I had in my mind are actually in Cantonese, because if you think carefully – movies screened in Malaysia don’t usually have English subtitles unless they’re in languages other than English.

But just because I know these languages, it doesn’t make things easier. I would have some good Cantonese lines but then it’s too long in English, or the BM is either too formal or too bahasa pasar. Ah, and interjections… interjections work differently for different languages.

The truth is, being trilingual doesn’t make one superior.

The Icing On The Cake

The last magic trick to making the photos look all “cinematic” is to crop them into cinema aspect ratios and then add black bars at the top and bottom of the photo before adding in the subtitles using uninteresting fonts like Arial. That’s the icing on the cake.

So, that’s all for the behind-the-scenes of these fake movies. Hopefully I’ll replenish my travel funds soon, so that the next city story akan datang.

And… cut!

The views expressed by the authors on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of C27, our CEO, the management, the fish in our fish tank, and/or all the awesome people within the agency. The content and opinions shared are the personal views of the author so please don’t sue us.

…or the author.