The Pursuit of Happiness

happiness

The United States Declaration of Independence has an oft quoted line – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It’s misunderstood by a lot of people. Your happiness is not guaranteed…the sentence is supposed to give you the basic unalienable human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (emphasis mine).

What is happiness? Well, it depends on the individual but it is your right to seek your own happiness. To me, happiness is a state of mind where you’re content with everything in your life.

flying

Happiness is something money cannot buy. A lot of people are unhappy about their financial situation but I believe that’s an unnecessary worry. The Chinese has a proverb that goes “Money is something that you can always earn back when you lose it”. There’s another phrase that goes “There will be water if God wills it” but that comes from the less reputable and more modern Dark Tower series of books by Stephen King. ;)

roman bath

Happiness is a state of mind that I always try to strive for. I’m happy when I’m doing the things I like such as travelling. It enriches me and makes me a more understanding and better person when I meet new people and learn about new cultures. I’m even happier when I’m spending quality time with loved ones – friends, family, my girlfriend.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget about the simple things in life that lifts your mood:

  • Finding a parking space as soon as you enter a full car park
  • The smell of freshly cut grass
  • Laughing at corny jokes
  • Having a baby smile at you
  • A fellow commuter stopping to let you drive out of a particularly busy exit
  • Waking up and realizing it’s the weekend so you can sleep in
  • Watching a sweet TVC that makes you smile

These are all little things which makes yout day just that little bit brighter. It has a cumulative effect and happiness is highly contagious – it’s like laughter. It’s meant to be shared. :)

I watched the Cadbury TVC and repeated it twice coz it was just so sweet. I found it adorable – the simple sweet joy (pun not intended) that permeates the entire commercial. It has all the elements done right – the humor, the camaraderie of neighborhood love, and a dash of romance.

resort

I took it upon myself to make a video similar to that. I was in Miri, Sarawak at that time to help my girlfriend move her stuff to KL. We spent a weekend in the Marriott Resort and Spa in Miri. It’s located right on the beach by the South China Sea and we booked a chalet facing the pool and sea.

You just need to open the sliding glass door to get out. There’s a balcony which is less than 10 meters from the pool – it’s almost like having a pool right at your doorstep!

view

I thought up the idea of having a series of unfortunate events much like the original TVC. The entire video was shot over a period of 2 days. I didn’t have a professional videographer so I had to think of how to get the scenes right.

I also wanted a “happy” vibe so everything is shot in daylight – it’s bright and sunny with no indoor scenes except the initial phone call. I’ll go through the more interesting bits to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the video. :)

The splash

tripod

The first mishap you see (the one where I exit the house just to get splashed by a wayward neighbor’s dirty mop water) is done using a tripod. The one holding the bucket is…*drumroll*…Jeanie herself. The bucket was too heavy for her and we had to do two takes. I ended up changing coz the first splash totally failed – she went into the scene, propelled by the momentum and weight of the bucket of water.

We filled it with less water in the second take. I didn’t want to use up the rapidly dwindling backpack of attire I brought along. :x

The car not being able to start

You’ll see the same car in the next scene so I did an extreme close up so you won’t see the make, model or color of the car. :)

The accident scene

car

This one wasn’t too hard to do. It only required the two of us to pull it off. I filmed Jeanie driving towards me. I told her to put her foot on the gas and not worry about hitting me.

After that part was filmed, I passed the camera to her and she filmed me being caught like a deer in the headlights as the car (apparently) came barreling down on me.

The next scene was me twitching on the car bonnet after being “hit”. It took some video transitions to make it look comically realistic (without actually hitting me with the car).

It was originally longer but I thought the bit where I ended up wandering about dazed after being hit was a little too much so I cut it from the editing board. You can watch the full original scene here:

I spent a lot of time editing the videos – it’s a good learning process but it took me the better part of 3 days of almost continuous tweaking to get the timing and synchronization right. I’m a newbie in video production, thus the learning curve.

The sea

beach

This is one of the scenes that I took out of the video as I thought it won’t contribute much to it. The beach walk also had to be sped up 4x so it won’t drag on.

The underwater scene

underwater

This is a bit of a retrofit. It was meant to be all fluff – a cool video taken underwater. I have a waterproof digicam and I figured it would be nifty to take a video underwater. I knew it won’t make much sense since I appear with my shirt on in the next scene…until I saw someone being escorted out by security.

pool

The Marriott has a strict policy – only guests are allowed to use the resort facilities and The Proverbial Light Bulb (TM) came on. It shall be the scene where I evade the guards! smirk

I put that in the caption (used the Confucius angle), and the rest, as they say, is history.

The end scene

people

After all those trials and tribulations, we finally shot the last scene beside the pool. There’s this comfy sofa and we enlisted the help of a kind lady from France who was more than obliged to help us film this scene. The inter-cuts you see at the end is filmed by us – I did her and she did me.

The chocolate

cadbury old

I swear this was the hardest part of the video – we went to several different shops in Miri but none of them had Cadbury Dairy Milk. They have others – the ones with nuts, Old Gold, and others…but not the original. It took us 2 hours before we stumbled upon a shop that sells it. I bought 5 x 75 gram bars.

cadbury new

I then realized that it was the old packaging when I chanced upon a shop with the new packaging. I bought more of it and re-shot some of the scenes again. I have a lot of chocolate now but I love Cadbury Dairy Milk so it’s all good. :D

cadbury dairy milk

We actually did share it – there were a couple of kids running around in the resort and I passed them several bars. I thought their parents would balk – candy from strangers and all that, but they thanked us for it and one even bought us drinks from the poolside bar.

poolside

The kids loved it. One of them came up to me and she showed me her toy – a launcher she was playing with beside the pool that launches a baby dinosaur up into the air by pumping air into the tube. That was the highlight of doing the video – sharing the Cadbury chocolate and seeing the little ones enjoying it by the pool during their holiday. :)

Here’s my masterpiece:

What do you think?

Do you need a dose of happiness? Join the Cadbury Facebook page and get some! :)

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22 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Happiness

  1. lol omg your vid is so funny. that bucket of water splashing on you made my day.
    how many times did you have to record that? thanks for a laugh in the morning. i love slapstick humour. :-)

    • Heh! Thanks Kate! :)

      Well, it took several days to record the entire video and a bit longer to edit it (I’m not very good in video editing) – but the water splash scene ONLY took TWO TAKES. :D

      Pretty good, coz it requires a change of clothes (obviously) – so 2 takes was awesome. First take didn’t make it coz the bucket’s momentum propelled her forward and into the scene.

      Glad you like it Kate. :)

  2. Love your video! Funny that I came across your blog through the picture of your cartilage piercing- I actually just got one a few weeks ago. Out of curiosity, do you still have yours? Anyway, you’ve got great content on your blog. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Thanks Diana! :)

      I still have the cartilage piercing – tried to do an industrial by incorporating it and piercing another hole but it didn’t work out – one of them got infected and my ear swelled up.

      Thus I removed the industrial and now I have two cartilage piercings. Both are healed. :)

      Thanks for the kind comments Diana and thanks for watching! :D

    • Hello bro! It’s for a campaign they’re running – surf on over to their FB page for the details. :)

      It was fun doing the video, you know this one actually got me thinking about doing a full feature film – a dark and gritty one like Reqiuem for a Dream, but I don’t have the technical expertise to do it.

      I still want to try though. :)

  3. “To me, happiness is a state of mind where you’re content with everything in your life.” Couldn’t agree more…and I’m happy to say that I’m happy…. Hope you are too.

    • Hey, good to hear that Arthur! It’s always great to hear that people are happy and content. :)

      Well, I guess I am too. A couple of changes to be made here and there and I’ll be there.

      Cheers my friend! :D

  4. Hey HB,

    I have two comments:

    Firstly, you shameless corporate whore!

    Secondly, fuck that first comment. Man’s gotta eat and your vid was natural, raw and contained elements of wisdom and genuine insight.

    If I do one day re-locate to KL for a while as I plan to I am happy to collaborate on things like this with you and add some “polish” to your vision.

    Here’s some shamless promotion of my own.. I just posted a story you may find interesting “Meeting Jiggy Anna”. Now the situation is less volatile I’m free to start posting items regarding my time with the LTTE in Lanka!

    Have a great day

    Si

    Have a great day!

    • Haha! Thanks for the compliment mate!

      Yeah, I have an alternate version of this video that is even better IMHO (and probably yours too).

      That would be awesome! If you relocate to KL, let’s embark on a film project. I want to do a full length film, not commercialized (don’t want to compromise on scenes), something that would garner a cult following…like Reqiuem for a Dream.

      Hey, awesome! I’ll surf over in a while – would love to read your account of the LTTE. I didn’t spend enough time in Sri Lanka last time to really go up north. You have my respect on your work with them. :)

      You have an awesome day mate! :)

      • Mate, if I ever meet someone crazy enough to put up a budget (and I work for cheap) to fly me to KL to make sixthseal.com The Movie..I’d do it in a flash.

        A warts and all gurrellia style – documentary at first, but who knows.. ten years down the line It could be re-invented as the next “The Social Network”

        yes, I am crazy.. but deadly serious!

        Fight the Power!

        Keep checking my blog, it’s approaching the 2nd anniversary of GoSL’s “Liberation from Terrorism?!” and I’ll be posting more articles and videos as it approaches.

        • Awesome mate! Heh! That sounds really good. I haven’t got the budget yet, perhaps if I strike the lottery but even with relatively low budgets, I’ve seen some great new and advant garde (a bit of an overused term but I don’t know how else to describe it) films made locally.

          Cheers mate! I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your posts! :)

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with u on your take on the pursuit of happiness. I was having a discussion with some friends earlier and it seems like everyone is caught up in the rat race and hellbent on making tons of money just to buy a new 5 series or to satisfy whatever materialistic whims they might have at that time. I gave my 2 cents worth about how one should just step back every once in a while to enjoy the little things in life (which doesnt cost a dime) i.e. like going for a walk in the park and appreciating nature, they called me a hippie!! Oh well, to each his own I guess.

    • Indeed! I feel very strongly about that – wasting the best years of your life in the rat race just to make a small fortune (and spend it on big ticket items as you mentioned) doesn’t seem like much of a life to me…seems more like a “who’s got the largest” competition to me.

      Well, for what it’s worth, I’m totally with you. The little things in life is what matters and as long as you’re happy, don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise, my friend. :)

  6. Don’t worry, be happy!! If i’m not mistaken there was survey made by a group of scientists mentioned that eating chocolate can really make us happy and increase or boost the needs of intimation with your love ones.. I think that is Cadbury’s all about!!

    • Yeah you’re right! It’s the phenethylamine that chocolate contains that does that – it releases endorphins so you feel good (and happy).

      Damn, why didn’t I think of that when I was writing the post. Heh! This is right up my alley, I should have thought of that.

      Yup, it’s the PEA that makes us happy when we eat chocolate, and that’s what makes this a great tagline. It’s what Cadbury is all about alright.

      Thanks Aisyah! :)

    • Hello Mary! Heh! Yeah, I actually went around quite a bit in Miri. Stayed at the Marriot Resort (where most of this was shot – it’s quite a nice place), visited a couple of waterfalls and parks e.g. Latak waterfall and ate a lot of food and got to know some of the gf’s friends. :)

      How have you been doing lately?

  7. The pic of you underwater, that you used as the thumb on FB, looks like the Nirvana (another word for happiness) album cover, without the fish-hook/money ;)

    • Yeah that’s exactly the look that I was going for! :D

      I didn’t have USD on me though – the album is Nevermind and it features the baby floating underwater trying to get at the dollar bill. I love Nirvana.

      …and you’re the only one who got the Nirvana-happiness nod. That was really an obscure reference but if anyone would get it, it’s you. :)

      Have a great weekend! :)

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