Lights, camera… fiction!

Va Sonyka / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A Graphic and Communication Design graduate from Royal University of Fine Arts, Pao Makara (2nd left)emphasises that knowledge of design can be applied to film-making as well, depending on how well students can link their knowledge to work.

Makara making his journey from novels to script-writing for films

MODERN day cinematography has attracted many young talents to streamline their creativity towards the bright lights of the big screen. The support from audiences throughout the country has become a catalyst in pushing young writers to devote more time and energy towards this work-in-progress of the film sector.

One of these young writers include Pao Makara, the novelist of a popular short story collection in a book entitled ‘Hai Ae!’. Despite being a film novice, the talented novelist has spent many years learning and improving his creativity skills for script writing in the direction of a director.

“It was in Grade 4 that I started writing stories. But back then I only wrote dialogue between actors. When I got to Grade 7, I started understanding novels and continued writing them until I graduated from high school. By the end of high school, I had finished 18 novels both long and short,” said the 25-year-old who is now a script writer at Hang Meas Production, a leading music and film production house in the country.

The fact is Makara owes his success to the many years of building a strong writing portfolio in his early career. Before he could achieve one of his life goals today, Makara has gone through many self-taught lessons and challenges that helped him boost his own knowledge.

Asked what method he employs in order to transform his career from novelist to director, different genre in the same creative field, he said: “I know I love this job (writing), therefore I always read books on how to write novels, history of Khmer literature to understand its evolution over the years and also read famous French literature and analysis by Vandy Kaonn (a renowned Khmer history and literature analyst and author).”

Most of the novels he wrote when he was in high school have been given to Makara’s own friends to read for free. It was not until 2013 that Makara started releasing two of his novels online on the website

He recalled, even though he got his byline attached to his online novels, there was still little to no traction. He noticed that not so many people read either his novels or even novels of other authors.

That’s why he is seeking more opportunity to expose his art to the public, he said. Makara has since taken part in various writing competitions organised by local film productions.

“I can say that the competitions influenced my writing skills, especially since they trained all candidates on how to write movie scripts during the competition. Then I got another chance to learn script-writing through a job as a script writer. I also learnt from instructions made by supervisors such as Neang Sotheary and Kham Phouri.”

From a mere self-taught novelist, to becoming an assistant to a director, and to a script writer, Makara still keeps moving from one level to another to learn more about filming jobs.

His work experience makes him believe: “If we keep standing at only one place, we will see the world as very small. Actually the same goes… if we work at a place, we will see that our current job is great enough. I want to keep changing workplaces from one to another so that I can see how much more knowledge and skills are needed for me to achieve my dream.”

Currently, Makara is testing the waters as a director by dabbling in music videos. He believes this would come to great benefit for him especially in achieving his big goal in life — to become an outstanding director in Cambodia.

At the same time, Makara has just finished writing a new novel entitled ‘Meun Ek,’ which is expected to be published this December.

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