SHOOT IT! 哪里出问题？is a Singapore-produced tv program, aired on Channel U every Tuesday 8PM and it introduces little known places or national monuments in Singapore to encourage Singaporeans to discover and learn more about heritage and culture. In each episode, two teams will work separately to explore a few places or structures of historical significance. Upon gathering sufficient background information about the locations or monuments, they will set a series of questions to challenge the rival team. This info-educational programme is designed to encourage an appreciation of Singapore’s rich culture and heritage by delivering the information in an entertaining game show format.
By the time you’re reading this, the episode I participated in would have been aired already (on July 2) and I hope you’ve caught it on telly. If you haven’t, you can watch it online (link will be provided at the end of this post, for your viewing pleasure). Here are some behind-the-scene photos taken during my three days of filming. Wait WHAT? Yes, I filmed for three days – the first two days being outdoors segment, then the third was inside the studio. To say it wasn’t exhausting would be a lie but it was a rewarding experience for me. Kinda like going on a guided tour and learning about all these obscure facts.
For those who doesn’t know that I speak Chinese, why yes I actually do. But here’s the thing: I thought I was pretty fluent then I realized during the filming that my proficiency sucks big time. Everyone, including the crew, was conversing in Chinese and I understood just about 85%. It quickly became a one way street. I could understand what’s being said (with a bit of processing lag) but if I was to use the same vocabulary in a complete sentence, that proficiency dramatically went down to like 20%-ish.
I was partnered up with Lee Teng, a Singaporean tv personality and after working with him for two days, I admire him for his professionalism. Firstly, I think it’s not a simple feat to memorize a loose script (any script, but this one was a Chinese script!) and he had to ad lib along freestyle. Secondly, he carried the responsibility of maintaining the momentum throughout filming which included interviewing the “experts” whom we visited and gently herding them back to topic of discussion whenever they diverted off to a tangent. In our case, as was aired on tv, the experts were the old Chinese puppet master, the young employee at the soy sauce factory and the National Parks manager. When the manager from National Parks was explaining bits and bobs found inside Fort Canning Park during our guided tour, I was like, O_O!!! Especially when she was sharing the background story involving the The Flagstaff and the Time Ball, entirely in Chinese. Holy friggin’ moly! Those were lots of big words yo. Eeeps, I was gonna be so dead in this game show.
In a way I was relieved my role was mostly nodding in agreement to whatever the others were saying, coz frankly by the time I processed it in my head and understood what they were talking about, these people were already like five or six sentences ahead of my inner translation engine. So yeah, in case you’re wondering why I didn’t say much in the show that’s because my brain was too slow to catch up.
After two days of filming outdoors, I was in the studio to film the actual game show portion and competed against another team. This part of the show was filmed in one continuous take and without any rehearsal or script, which was VERY CHALLENGING for me personally. In the studio, everyone got to watch the edited outdoors segment for the first time – both mine and the opposing team’s. I must admit that I totally went O_O when I was listening to the conversations. I was already having a hard time understanding the expert for our team, and I had to doubly strain my ears and dial up my alertness to understand the expert for the opposing team. Dude, the Chinese was damn advanced man!!! By the time the trivia questions were asked in real time with the camera rolling, I was panicking inside and thought, “Oh shit, what’s the question again?”.
I wasn’t quite sure if I had fully understood any of the questions. Let alone trying to come up with a logical answer! If there weren’t multiple cameras pointing at me and recording simultaneously, you’d have seen me with my mouth gaping open. I had to think in English, then figure out how to convey my thoughts in proper Chinese. That was difficult. This wasn’t just a game show, it was a Chinese language edumacation bootcamp for me! Hahaha.
I’d never been involved with this sort of in-studio filming before so it was like a field trip for me seeing the backdrop setup, the multiple cameras, the lighting, etc. (Heh, my usual art director syndrome. 职业病！ ) As you can imagine, for every show we watch on tv, there’s a lot going on off-stage. There’s the cameramen, the director, the assistants, the content writers, the producers, the sound guys, and other production staff that we never ever see in front of the camera but they all had to be there in order to make this happen. I truly appreciate and respect all these dedicated crew members that work so hard to bring entertainment to the masses. Working for television ain’t an easy job and there’s gotta be teamwork between on camera and off camera people.
To director Jacky, content producer Weiliang and everyone at Wa Wa Pictures: Thank you very much for having me on the show. I had a fantastic time and learned quite a fair bit. Awesomeness.
All in all, it was a great experience and I had fun – despite my slight linguistic handicap. After all, how often does one get to be on tv and also obtain a first hand look at how tv production crew work, right? Their job isn’t anywhere close to the glamour of the tv personalities they film, but without these people there won’t be an entertaining tv show. I personally don’t watch a lot of tv (or any tv at all as I’m perpetually glued to the internet it seems), but the tv programs that I normally enjoy watching are the cooking, home-decorating and style-related ones. Haha, predictable much? I also like watching Taiwanese dramas and entertainment shows. Would I want to be on Chinese tv again? HELLS YEAH! :D :D :D But first, I need to watch more Taiwanese dramas and speak Chinese more often, brush up on my sentence structure and vocabulary etc. *sniggers*
Here’s the link to the episode of SHOOT IT! 哪里出问题 which I’m in. It’s a game show after all so I hope you’re rooting for ME. Otherwise… *KBISHHH!!!* }:P
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