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Bugs, Boat, Bond: Our documentary project in Sarawak

Make friends with the bugs, hop on a boat, talk to villagers and laugh a lot. That’s just one way to get a good story on film and that’s what Year 3 students from our Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media (DTVM) got to do from 12 to 15 June 2012.

The entire Year 3 cohort spent four days and three nights in Sarawak, Malaysia, for a filming project. The 43 students and five lecturers were there to complete a documentary assignment under the module called "On-Location Production".

The project's aim is for students to learn how to come up with a compelling story in an unfamiliar environment, within a short time. It’s exactly what professional documentary producers have to do, as part of their job. In DTVM, students are trained to produce what media professionals do. That’s why, instead of examinations, they get to travel and produce a documentary.

Sarawak's natural beauty astounded our city-slicker

The students were split into six groups and they had a choice of three destinations – a fishing village called Kampung Buntal, the Sarawak Cultural Village and another village at the foot of the majestic Santubong mountain called Kampung Santubong.

The students spent many hours under the hot sun to interview the villagers, film their daily lives, attend briefings, discover myths and legends and along the way, have a lot of fun.

Interviewing and filming the friendly villagers

The visuals were stunning, the sound-bites enlightening and the whole experience, simply exhilarating. It was a lot of hard work and at times, waiting for the right shot or interview was excruciatingly difficult. But at the end of the trip, everyone felt that they had learnt so much and had fun while at it.

This also had to do with the fact that we stayed in the middle of the rainforest. We woke up to the sound of birds and occasionally, entertained a couple of visits from the friendly neighbours such as the lizard and small bugs. We also played beach games and squeezed in some shopping.

It was nice to leave the mobile phone aside and just concentrate on our work, one another and the beauty around us. 

For more of our adventures, find us on Facebook.