Notes for Ghost Episode 1For those of you who have not seen the program yet, 8TV has been generous enough to put up episodes on their website. This is a Good Thing, and I am grateful to whomever in 8TV it was who came up with this policy. (Incidentally, because I am currently out of the country, even I haven't had a chance to see it on Malaysian TV yet!)
Well, I know there were some people out there who liked reading the notes I did for Realiti, so I'll try to do the same for Ghost. However, because I was not as involved in this show, they'll be a little more sketchy, and more from the point of the viewer - less insight, more outside.
The number one thing I worry about when I first saw the pilot was: Is it clear enough? Is it clear what is happening in the episode, and does it unambiguously set up what is going to happen in the rest of the series? A very clever man once said that if your third act doesn't work, the problem is in the first act. Similarly, if you can't relate what happens in the final episode with what happens in the first... well, damnit, we should have rewrote the first.
Or at least make it clearer. So, the notes below are spoilers which explain what's going on in the episode.
- The story opens on Eza, who is rushing for dinner. She's dressed up to the nines, and is excited.
- It should be immediately clear that this is Eza's story. It was always meant to be about how she reacts to what's going on around her hopefully the audience can see how she changes from the first episode to the last. Having said that, she's not the protagonist - not for the most part anyway.
- Notice The Sweet Escape playing in the background. For the first time (as far as I know), Popiah Pictures managed to get licensing for western pop music for their shows. Actually, if you go back to previous series, some of the incidental music actually is sampled from other stuff - although you'd have to be a pedantic fan to actually be able to pick it up.
- In this episode: The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani; Clumsy by Fergie; Realize by Colbie Caillat; Apologize by OneRepublic.
- In her rush, Eza meets Zack Imran, famous movie star. He's cool. She's flustered. He just came out of the women's toilet. But the lady inside the Ladies claims there was nobody in there.
- Now, I don't know if it's clear that Zack Imran is a famous actor. An early draft had established this very early on showing him acting in a film, but I said that it was an unnecessary scene. Words I regret? A little.
- Eza is rushing to have dinner with her boyfriend, Adzam, but in contrast to her excitement, he seems a little distant. Finally, it comes out. He's breaking up with her. Eza is devastated.
- In the original script, the breakup was scripted. The final version is much better, leaving things unsaid. However, we do miss several things: That tonight was their fifth anniversary of being together, and that Adzam felt that Eza dreamt of being something more than she was, but didn't do much about it (you're meant to get that from the if-that-was-Zack-why-didn't-you-say-hi part of the conversation).
- As mentioned in her interview with The Star, Cheryl was not the first choice for this role. However, having seen her in the rushes, she definitely brings something to it that the other actresses would not have. This scene is a prime example. There's crying, as in calling up tears; and then there's crying of the pain-wrenching sort that only the loss of someone or something valuable can inspire. And, by jove, in this scene, she has even me welling up.
- Notice that the actors really eat. Ping is a stickler for things like that. If there's eating in the scene, then there will be food in the mouth, and chewing througout. This can actually be harder on the actors than you may think.
- In her despair, she gets distracted by a breakup SMS from Adzam, almost hits a car, and then swerves straight... into?... Zack Imran. He's acting strangely, and he asks her to help him.
- This was one of the problematic scenes, and Ping had written many versions of it. One reason it was hard was because we kept changing how Zack Imran died. The other reason was how to give Eza a reason to let this man into his car.
- I think I was the one who suggested that Zack already realised that something was wrong, but he didn't want to admit it. Otherwise, I thought it would be quite strange for someone to not notice that his hand kept passing through things.
- Yes, the car dips a little when Zack (a ghost) sits in it. Whenever you work with fantasy-type things, you get to write the rules of how it works. Here's one such rule: Ghosts actually affect the world around them, but do so unconsciously. It's when they want to deliberately interact with physical objects that things become difficult. Don't like it? Tough.
- We tried to explain to Ping (more than once), that just because the ringtone on your phone is Mr. Lonely, it doesn't mean that people hear that when they are calling you. But, yes, you could set both of them to be the same, I guess.
- Eza tries to drive Zack back, but the guard won't let them in. Instead she takes him back to her place, where they make small talk and she asks Zack to stay over.
- Censor Board Alert! According to some guidelines, it seems you're not allowed to show a man and a woman together in a closed room. But Zack is a ghost, so maybe it's okay...? Even better, there isn't actually a door between the living room and Eza's bedroom - it's just a curtain of beads.
- Eza's wishboard was Ping's idea, but I thought it was underused. To me, it demonstrates that Eza is a dreamer who wants to be more than she is, but she just doesn't have the gumption/determination/guts to make more of it. So, my idea was that as the series progresses, they start using the wishboard as a noticeboard, with photos of suspects and clues on it. Now, this reality takes over the Eza's fantasies, and her dreamboard does finally reflect what she wants and is going through. Unfortunately, another good idea not used...
- Eza wakes up and gleefully tells her best friend Julie that she brought Zack Imran back home. However, she is shocked when she finds out that the news is reporting that Zack died in a car accident. They rush over to the hospital, just in time to catch Zack's manager, Jimmy, make the announcement that Zack is truly dead. Then who spent the night at Eza's place...? Eza is shocked to find that Zack is really a ghost, and that only she can see him. She runs away. He chases her. Special effects ensue.
- Finally, after more than fifteen minutes of show, we get our first special effects shot. No, it's not the van running through Zack, it was the camera that was pointing at Zack, but showing not-Zack. I think they had a green-screen on the original shot, and then pasted a fake video over the monitor screen. But it's so subtle, I think people might miss it.
- What about the puffs of smoke when the van hits Zack? Yeah, I liked it too. However, I wish he hadn't turned around, so you had him babbling, and then the van running through him without him immediately realising it.
- Recognise the hospital? Here's a game for you all: try to figure out if you can find all the locations used in Ghost that was also used in Realiti.
- Exposition time. Jimmy says: Zack was at an AIDS awareness dinner, then Jimmy left him, and that was the last he saw of Zack. Incidentally, Jimmy becomes the sole proprieter of Zack Enterprises Sdn Bhd, and a whole bucket-load of cash. We also realise that Zack knew all the while that something was wrong when he first met Eza, and was trying to hide it from her.
- The voice singing that haunting song in the background when the clips are playing is Chelsia Ng. She also sings the theme tune.
- Zack pops by. He tries to convince Eza that he was murdered, and that Eza must help him.
- This is where the first act ends, two commercial breaks in. This is why I feel the first episode is a little slow. But there's a lot of explaining to do.
- Originally, Eza did a lot more soul-searching before she decided to help Zack. However, Ping wanted there to be some action that moved forward the mystery of Zack's death in episode one, so all that "will she, won't she" stuff got thrown out.
- There was also a scene of a bomoh coming by trying to exorcise a ghost, with a very unimpressed Zack looking on.
- Eza drops by Jimmy's place. She unsuccesfully tries to convince Jimmy that Zack was murdered. Jimmy is skeptical. With Zack's help, Eza points out that she knows a lot. When Eza insists it can't have been Zack driving the car, Jimmy shows Eza a security video showing Zack staggering back to his car.
- Apart from location, Ghost also shares a host of actors with Realiti. Not only do Naz Rahman, Reefa, and Radhi Khalid return to work with Popiah Pictures, both Cheryl and Kin Wah (who appears in the next episode) were original choices on Realiti and who both appeared in the unaired pilot showreel for that show. Debutantes are Carmen Soo, Razif Hashim, Yasmin and Nas-T. There are actually links between those actors and Popiah, but I shan't bore you with the details...
- Eza tells Zack that she won't help him any more. Zack tries to convince her to do otherwise, and only the threat of being a perpetual peeping tom is what turns Eza around. Zack points out a discrepency in the security video. Somebody faked it.
- For all those of you that noticed that Zack leans on chairs, makes footsteps that tap and sit in chairs that squeak... I refer you to the Ghost rule I outlined above.
- The original idea for the eating-in-front-of-Zack scene had him telling Eza what kind of food he loved to eat, and then because she was angry with him, she makes that very same dish and eats it in front of him.
- More exposition on Eza and her (ex-)boyfriend. And then, we meet Ameesh, the hotel security guard on duty the night Zack Imran died. He denies he knows anything about that night. But he has Zack's handphone. Or at least one with the same ringtone.
- Again, we don't quite get the idea how long Eza and Adzam have been going out with each other, and what a big shock it was for her. I wish now we established a little more about their relationship.
- Eza realises that the guard has a CD - hopefully the real video of the night Zack died - and he wants to sell it to somebody mysterious. Unfortunately, she gets caught trying to steal the CD by the security guard.
- The scene is a little longer than I would like, but it all works out okay.
- The guard drives a tied-up Eza to an abandoned warehouse, where he threatens her. Finally, Zack manages to make himself touch things and rescues Eza. And they get the CD too, to boot.
- Is it clear that Zack finally gets the will to move objects because Eza's life is in danger? I hope so. The only thing about this, is that Zack suddenly finds it easy to move things. I wanted him to still struggle a little, and then get better with each episode.
- It seems Cheryl was quite terrified of the drill being near her face, so that's not really acting you see!
- Actually, quite a well done scene. It's not easy to film action, and everything here makes sense, so that's good.
- The dynamic duo finally get to watch the VCD, and they see somebody putting Zack's body in the boot of the car. Unfortunately the CD is damaged, and you can't really make out who the bad guy is.
- The mysterious buyer is quite upset that the security guard lost the video. The guard gets fired for his incompetence.
- There's actually a very amusing story about the fire scene that involves a fire extinguisher that doesn't quite work, and a director who is reluctant to say 'cut', but I'll save that for another time...
- Don't try to figure out who the mysterious buyer is by measuring body dimensions, looking at hands, etc. The actor that plays the mysterious buyer in this scene is not the same actor that plays the actual character in the series who is the mysterious buyer (did you get that?).
However (and this is important), Ghost is not one of these shows where all the clues have been laid out before hand and viewers will be able to figure out whodidit straight away. There are a lot of stories to tell, and although there are a few things you can guess at, there are also herrings of the red (or at least pinkish) variety. In fact, anyone who can even guess at the actual murder before episode 7 or 8 is possibly psychic or has inside knowledge of Ping's brain.
"Ghosts actually affect the world around them, but do so unconsciously. It's when they want to deliberately interact with physical objects that things become difficult."
OK. I'll accept that.
OK. I'll accept that.
hi!m a big fan of the series.i really love the intro song.plz give me some details.n i cant access to the past episodes..is there any way i can get the whole series?thnx!Post a Comment