Apply reverse engineering, says filmmaker to Curtin Sarawak students

Chong and students pose for group photo following his talk.

Chong and students pose for group photo following his talk.

MIRI: Deconstruct and use reverse engineering in scriptwriting is what Malaysian filmmaker Gary Chong advised students of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) in a talk entitled Dynamics of Screen Writing: Adapt and Connect he gave at the university recently.

Chong is the founder of garychong studio, a cinematic production house in Kuala Lumpur that emphasises Out of the box perspectives.

In the talk attended by 40 students from the Department of Media, Culture and Communication of the Faculty of Humanities, Chong spoke of the changing landscape of media and how media content travels and multiplies through new media. Also present was media and communication lecturer Ngu Ik Ying.

He gave the students tips on how to create impactful ideas, adding that ideas are the most powerful currency in the world. He said to get a good idea and achieve the desired outcome, scriptwriters should deconstruct and apply the reverse engineering method.

He also emphasised the importance of knowing ones audience and their demographics, saying that in order to engage the ‘Web 2.0’ audience, it is not only about telling stories that scriptwriters like, but also what the audience likes.

It is similar to scriptwriting assignments you might get where your lecturer may not like or understand your idea, so you have to integrate components that you like with what he or she likes, said Chong.

He gave an example of how he would advise his corporate clients to break their target population into a few categories and avoid the one-formula-serves-all method. He would then produce corporate videos targeting different groups with their particular viewing habits, consequently meeting the clients’ needs and maximising the messages they want to convey.

Chong remarked that the film industry is a demand and supply game where supply is the ideas and filmmakers have to tailor their concepts or writing to the clients demands. Visual references such as images and photos in script proposals, he added, are a must to help clients understand the ideas.

Chong ended his talk by encouraging the students to consider starting their careers in Kuala Lumpur as there are ample opportunities for young filmmakers there. He also urged them to start honing their filmmaking skills now, with whatever equipment or gadgets they have, and upload them on social media like YouTube.

Chongs work has gained much recognition, including a nomination for the Anugerah Gemilang Cipta Award at the 24th Malaysian Film Festival. His works include several short films, commercials and corporate videos for clients such as Berjaya, IOI Group, Chevrolet and Alliance Bank.

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website (, its Facebook page (Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia), Twitter profile (curtinsarawak), YouTube channel (CurtinUniSarawak) or Instagram (curtinsarawak).

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