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  • Writer's pictureyonasngaturi

Part & Parcel Documentary: Life and struggle of Singaporean bike messengers

Updated: Oct 13, 2019


TL;DR

Project Period: October 2015 to February 2016


Level: Diploma education


Project Description: We made a documentary which explores the life and struggles of young Singaporean bike messengers.


Role: Documentary editor


Skills: Pitching a documentary, video planning, transcribing, paper edit and Adobe Premiere Pro editing


Result: Documentary production module 'A' grade and submitted to the National Youth Film Awards 2016

  • Nominated for Best Editing in a Documentary Film

  • Won Best Camera Work in a Documentary Film and Best Documentary Film


Watch the documentary here. It is also available on streaming service, Hooq Singapore.


Summary

In 2015, we did a documentary film about the bike messenger scene in Singapore. The film called Part & Parcel showcases the different circumstances that have led bike messengers Elfie and Luqman into the bike messenger job.


As the editor of the documentary, I primarily pieced together the film during postproduction. I transcribed the interviews, selected appropriate B-roll clips, arrange the video clips and worked with the sound designer and directors to choose the correct assets for the film.


Besides getting an 'A' grade for our documentary production module, the film was submitted to the National Youth Film Awards 2016. We were nominated for Best Editing in a Documentary Film and won Best Camera Work in a Documentary Film and Best Documentary Film.


Part & Parcel is now streaming on Hooq Singapore.


Topic

We went for bike messengers as it was a relatively obscure mode of couriering packages and an unknown occupation in Singapore. There was a lot of ambiguity and misconception surrounding the job of a bike messenger. We sought to dispel it by following a group of bike messengers.


I've always recognised bicycle messengers as the "beavers" of Singapore's workforce, for their diligent and intense attitude behind daily endeavours. However, they are often misunderstood for being brash and unruly given the blue-collar nature of their jobs. Convinced that their experiences as messengers would yield heartwarming stories, we decided to document the lives of both Elfie and Luqman.

Quote from our director, Edward Koh.


Process

Even though I was the documentary editor, my contributions were not limited to the postproduction stage.


During preproduction I contributed to pitching the documentary to my lecturer and an industry expert.


We immersed ourselves in the bike messenger world by attending meetups and challenges they organise each weekend.


On set, I helped up in the production ensuring that the transport and the subjects were comfortable on camera.


It was my first time doing documentary filmmaking. I had to adapt and familiarise myself with a different editing style and workflow.


I transcribed the interviews, sifted for good footage and do a paper edit of the film which allowed the team to see how the documentary would flow in a written form.


I worked closely with the sound designer and directors to find good material to include in the film.


Takeaways

As it was my first experience in documentary production, I found it important to communicate with the directors to ensure that the edit I made is in line with the vision and to also understand what they want the film to look like.


There will be teething problems with every new experience. I had to find my own way to accept constructive criticism and improve upon my work.

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