Monday, 31 October 2011

Smile

This song has been sifting in and out of my mind since friday evening so I thought to share it with you all. Many of you might not know this but the original music for this song was written by the great entertainer, Charlie Chaplin in 1936 and it was used in his film 'Modern Times'.
Undeniable Genius.

Here's the beautiful original instrumental version.


The lyrics were written by two other guys and are simple but powerful. It never fails to make me feel waves of emotion when I sing the words to myself sometimes when I'm feeling down and out. Sometimes, a song really keeps me sane. 

It was first recorded with lyrics by one of my favourite singers, Nat King Cole. It's a perfect recording.


Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

It's also been covered by numerous other great artists and I've put videos of a couple of my favourites below

Michael Jackson
Judy Garland
Harry Connick, Jr.

Robert Downey, Jr. (betcha you didn't know the iron man could sing, the bass solo is what does it for me in this version)


So, If you're going through some tough times, nerves and uncertainty in life, that's the time you must smile and keep on trying. What's the use in crying, anyway? 
:)

Be Water, My Friend...

The martial arts legend speaks! I love the intensity and expressions he has when he talks. It's great for spoofs! There are 3 parts to it.







Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Museum of Horrors 2011

Hail, Stereo fiends! Yesterday, the "Life in Stereo" Team was invited by the good people behind the "Museum of Horrors" to experience what they had to offer. I guess they were pretty happy to hear that Mildred (the host of the Across the Universe segment on the podcast) picked their exhibition as her Halloween activity recommendation choice. I got the email and we made time to head down to SCAPE for what turned out to be a frightful good time.


Taken from their press release "The Museum of Horrors is Singapore’s biggest walk-in exhibition of classic Hollywood horror movie scenes and legendary horror folklore returns with all new monsters, new levels of terror and also debuts Asia’s 1st 3-D Creepy FunHouse, experienced with special 3-D glasses!"
Skulls! I am going to get me one of these for my collection.


I don't want to give too much away here and ruin the experience for those of you that decide to go but will let the pictures do the talking. There was a really good atmosphere, nice actors (super professional and knew not to go too far when patrons got too scared), I had a couple of good startles! There were plenty of nice dioramas to look at while the eerie soundscape sounds were playing in the background. It was a definite plus that photos were not an issue, no flash photography which is absolutely fair. The flashes would spoil the mood of the place, anyway. Think about this place like kind of a Horror Madame Tussaud's but with more fun. Given our lack of Horror events in Singapore. This might be a great start to something more in the future. I'd love to see that. Hell, I'd love to be a part of that. :)

One of the many creepy dioramas.
Scream! It's Ghostface!
A scary good time with Linda Blair!
Not quite the reaction she was expecting from us but I think it was a nice change from the screaming.
Horse Face, one of the characters from chinese myths and folklore.
Mildred's a definite candidate to be the bride of Chucky.

For me, Museum of Horrors definitely worth it's price tag. Ticket prices are the lowest in town at only $19 during off-peak season and at only $22 during the Halloween Weekend. A little hint to the fellas, this might be a good place for you to bring your girl for a Halloween date but don't get more freaked out than she does! Click here for details.

Here's me with Conrad, one of the organizers of the museum of Horrors. Good Job!

Podcast Episode 02: "Wicked Good"


Greetings Stereo Fiends!!!With Halloween creeping up in less than a week, Epidsode 2 of the 'Life In Stereo' Free Podcast is filled with Fright filled activities, books, movies and music for you to check out. Plus a very special interview with the genius behind feature films "A Month of Hungry Ghosts" and "Haunted Changi", Tony Kern. Click here to download or for the less tech savvy, instructions are below.

INSTRUCTIONS TO DOWNLOAD MY PODCAST
1) Go to my website www.jonleong.com
2) Click on 'Podcast'
3) Scroll down and click the episode you want
4) Let the podcast load up (This might take a couple of minutes depending on your connection, the show is more than an hour long so be patient)
 5) Click the "Play" button on the player after it's finished loading to Enjoy!

This is what the player looks like after it's loaded and playing. Click the 'downward facing' arrow at the right end to "Save as source" & you have the mp3 file for your ipod/ mp3 player! Easy? Easy.

NOW, At this point, you can either choose to continue streaming the podcast and listen to it online OR download it onto your computer as an mp3 file for future listening and also for transfer into your Ipods, mp3 players, thumb drives and whatnot!

1) To Stream it from your computer just click the play button as mentioned in step 5 (above)
2) To Download into your computer- Click the arrow pointing downwards at the right end of the Quicktime player bar. You should see an option that says "Save As Source". Click that and you can save the podcast anywhere you like on your computer. :)
If you face any problems, it's probably because I'm currently hosting my website on apple's mobile me service and my subscription will end next June. I have heard that sometimes mobile me gets a little bit slow and possibly problematic but changing hosting sites would mean lots of cash to hire web designers and web hosting server space. I'll deal with that next year, when I have to. Unless anyone out there has better ideas/ suggestions.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Early evil influences


One of my fondest memories of monsters, ghosts and phantoms came from a Disney Halloween special. It was definitely one of the influences for my love of rock n roll, metal, skulls, horror and dressing in black. Here are some of these videos. They're basically music montage videos with the horror theme. It's horror elements, animation and rock n roll! What's not to love? They're old videos so, watching them on a small screen looks better. FYI

"Monster Mash" from Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kicker five!

Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

"Sweet Dreams" by the Eurhythmics. God, I love this song!!!!


Stevie Wonder's masterpieces, "Superstition"


"Ghost Busters"! Ray Parker Jr



Saturday, 15 October 2011

Dead Time Stories

A really neat little piece of animation about a schizophrenic girl dealing with demons of the surburban neighborhood. Created by Michael Dougherty for MTV as an animated series but it never got off the ground. this is the pilot episode. It's kinda intense but man, I'd love to work on stuff like this!




Friday, 14 October 2011

Haunted retro "Twilight Zone" Rock!

It could be that Halloween is coming and although Singapore doesn't celebrate it, I'm getting all fueled by the music and media of the holiday and this song, "Twilight Zone" has been sifting in and out of my brain! It's a catchy one... Give it a go. These old rock and rollers- Golden Earring, will show you how it's done. Dance to it like no one's watching you.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Maquette Mania!

A 'maquette' is a fancy word for a scale model sculpture. My admiration and love for beautifully sculptured fantasy themed figures is no secret. I've been a lover of action figures from the animated world, film land and monster genre ever since I was a child. I can remember going to sleep with my toys laying on my pillow next to me. I have a rather small collection that I've amassed as I grew up. I plan to take some pictures of them and share them here. I think the sculptors, artists, puppet makers for films like Aliens, Predator, Dracula, and all the fantasy genre films have the one of the best jobs in the world. :)

Beautiful Sculpt of a Werewolf by industry veteran Steve Wang for Underworld: Evolution. He's a master! 


At the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention this year, I made a new friend, Chris (he teaches animation in Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore). It's great to meet people with similar interests and passions. I get to "geek out" immediately. We stayed in touch and one day, he gave me the opportunity to sit in a class on Maquette making by an industry pro! I know, right? Lucky me.

I've always been a bit of a sculpting enthusiast and I figured since I love the medium so much I should try my hand at it. Often times, when I try to do something I admire, I find new-found respect for the people that are great at it. Although, I must admit I'm not very good at it. I have made a couple of things here and there but I don't think they're really any good.  However, it's a nice quiet hobby for me and I try to work on it when I can. My most ambitious project was a Pegasus that I made last Christmas. I'm finding time to put Frankenstein's monster together but it's been half done for months, so little time...


Back to the maquette making class, our teacher for the day was Jai Mufizal. He is the art director for Ubisoft Games, Singapore. They've worked on games such as 'Assasins Creed' and other cool projects.
Beautiful Art from Assasin'c Creed.

The Class went really well. The goal of the day was to give us some pointers that the pros use to make their maquettes and I learned a whole bunch of useful, handy tips and tricks that I didn't know before, so maybe my sculpts will come out better next time. I also need to actually go out and buy some specific tools and more material. $$$, boring.  Well, I don't party so I guess this is a good use of money. Our hands on project for the day was to learn the basics of sculpting a realistic head. I've never dared to go "real" before so it was a really nice learning experience.

This male human head was what I came up with at the end of the class. His eyes look weird.
My human head sculpt is amateur stuff, wait till you see the work from Jai!

Jai's work is really well done, he told us that sculpting is his passion and he's been commissioned to do a few really nice projects for collectors and other enthusiasts. His day job as art director for ubisoft sounds pretty cool to me too.

Here's some of his work for your viewing pleasure. You comic book enthusiasts are sure to recognize some of these characters.








This piece won Jai a competition.




Check the detail of the scales on his armour!


Gotta love the detail.





Great stuff, huh?  You can see more of Jai's work on his deviant art profile

After the class, I looked around the animation classroom and there were maquettes made by students/ ex students of the animation course. Here's some of them.







At the end of the day, I took a picture with Chris and Jai. I wished there was more time for me to learn about anatomy and proportions but Oh well, it was already almost a full day class. Jai gave me the name of a book that he says is a great help to learning figure sculpting. I can't wait to place an order for it online. All in all, an Awesome day. Thanks Guys! Oh yeah, if after reading this you are inspired to take on animation as a course and get serious about this very cool media medium (say that five times quickly), I found the link to Lasalle's animation course here. If I were younger, I'd definitely save the money and enroll! Maybe it's not too late. We'll see.
Chris, me and Jai (L-R)