Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Adam Zainal had his first digital camera at the age of 11. After watching Cloverfield, he decided to emulate the extreme First Person Point of View shot with his digital camera.
Adam Zainal is a freelance film maker who curates independent short films. He also doubles as a Script Supervisor and Assistant Director. He was the Director of Osom: Jangan Kena Tangkap Sudah - a film about two child beggars who resorted to pickpocketing bystanders in order to run away from the captors. The short film was listed as one of the ten BMW Shorties Finalists in 2019.
What or who inspired you into directing films?
Initially, I had no plans on becoming a Director nor did I want to direct short films. When I joined Film School, I actually wanted to become an Editor. However, things changed when we were given an assignment to create our own story. Through that exercise, I realized that I had a passion for directing films and with the encouragement of my lecturers I decided to give directing a shot.
As a Director, do you rely heavily on your equipment or more on your creative input?
It is a mix of both. Some people can say they need not good equipment to shoot a good story but the truth is you need a bit of everything. Having great visuals helps the audience to connect with the story visually. Moreover, I have a personal work ethic in that if I plan to do something, I will do it well and finish strong.
What were some of the challenges you faced throughout your journey in directing?
As a Director, I admit that I lack self-discipline and I don’t have the best time-management skills. As a result, it takes a huge toll on the team that I work with. To that, I am grateful to be supported by a wonderful group of friends and crew. They also help me to see things in a new light and provide constructive feedback so that I can improve on my creative process.
Another challenge which I faced throughout my creative journey was the lack of budget. As you can imagine, filming a short film is not a cheap endeavour as we need to rent our equipment, gather our crew and assemble a cast. In that sense, I am lucky to have supportive parents who support my filming career and they contribute financially to the production of some of my short films.
Where do you usually source your inspiration to direct?
My main source of inspiration comes from listening to conversations with people. They can be conversations with my friends or family. You will be surprised to know that the good story you are finding might just be hiding in between those conversations that they are having. That was how I found my inspiration for Kantoi which is about the dangers of gossiping and Osom: Jangan Kena Tangkap Sudah which was about the struggles of 2 child beggars who resorted to pickpocketing.
Another source of inspiration comes from listening to ‘experimental’ music. I find that certain tunes and music have the ability to get my creative juices to flow and it also helps me to visualise certain scenes in my head.
I have a personal work ethic in that if I plan to do something, I will do it well and finish strong.
What is next for Adam Zainal?
As of now, I am working on my next submission for this year’s BMW Shortie Competition. Usually, I set out to film one short film each year and I have been doing that since 2016. I try not to be too ambitious as I wanted to soak in and enjoy the creative and collaborative process of making short films with my friends. Since I am a freelancer, I have the ability to pick the kind of script which I want to film - hopefully I would be able to create more authentic stories which have not been told.
Who are the local Creative Crushes that inspire you?
Abidah (@4dibeetle) and Lizzie (@lizziezany) are my local Creative Crush because they each have their own unique art styles. As an artist, they both have the ability to bring out the depth of a character in their artwork. Lizzie was also my Storyboard Artist for a couple of my short film projects. Lizzie was the Storyboard Artist for a couple of my short films. She has the ability to bring out the depth of a character in her artwork.