I got to know Soh Ching through Heng Leun who had done theatre workshop with senior citizens at the Drama Box. He gave me some contacts after I told him what I was looking for. I picked Soh Ching after the audition because she said "it's like my story". In the initial script, Void Deck has the biggest open space. Some people may not be able to grasp a not so concrete script. But the anxiety has pushed me to want to understand my character more. We met quite often before the shoot, we even had an "old place" to meet at Kreta Ayah Community Centre. She said her family is complicated and is unable to invite me over, thus she brought her clothes to the public toilet at the community centre and showed them to me when I had to choose what she is going to wear.
I never show her any script, it is all through verbal communication, I feel the trust is more important. My impression is she is someone with few words but her words are concrete and in her mind she will quietly take into account what the others had said. When she was young, her dream was to become a professional dancer. Now she lives by giving out pamphlets in the streets or MRT stations. When I told her I imagined her dancing in the HDB flats, she did not respond to my random ideas immediately. But the next time we met, she had already prepared some dance to show me.
I am happy to have made this short film, I feel I have made something for her. Her character and story had added a realistic touch to the film that was developed from a conceptual idea. I thus have a clear and simple direction, the next step is get on my feet and find the locations.
Void Deck has become the highlight of the film and the audiences seem to relate very well to the plight of the character. When we are editing it, my editor Bee Li and I sometimes laugh at ourselves as though we are seeing our bleak future too like the character. I don't know if it is the fear of having an unfulfilled dream or wanting to do something artistic that has no commercial value in a pragmatic society.