MDA initiatives and Fusionopolis

It’s tough to eke out an existence in Singapore. Yes…I meant existence and NOT living coz frankly speaking, there ain’t a lot of initiatives locally to support or encourage us. True…we should all just stand on our own two feet but really…any help would have been great.

According to eva…looks like what little help we had is gonna diminish in time to come. And soon. T.T

Today I decided to pay a visit to MDA(Media Development Authority) to thank them for the Media Education Scheme (which they don’t categorize as scholarship) as well as to inform them that my “commitment period” aka bond had finished.

The start of the conversation was unconventional. It was my rant of how difficult it was to reach the building. Firstly, Bouna Vista is not centrally located and the East-West bound trains are rather slow… Secondly, I had difficulty locating the shuttle bus stand. After waiting for 30-40mins, I ran out of patience and took a cab with another confused lady who was also heading to MDA. Apparently, the free shuttle buses stated on their website were non existent during off-peak times.

So finally we reached this “Fusionopolis” which is basically a rather large futuristic building. It looks impressive from far but…it’s just a building, no “polis”. And if you should make a trip down, you can also take bus 91 from Bouna Vista, it stops right outside the building and no, you don’t need to wait for 40mins like I did.

Cancellation of many MDA iniatives for individuals

Unfortunately, it is confirmed that the First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative has been canceled, along with many other schemes such as IGNITE (for comics), which didn’t even manage to ignite, and the Animation Grant.

It is rather disappointing as my friends and I had looked forward into polishing up our skills to vie for these initiatives. The current schemes that MDA have now, according to their website, are all catered towards the companies for “big” projects.

I personally have doubts about this move because everything starts small and it is through these small initiatives for individuals that we can develop our own home grown content. Now we can only approach big companies and publishers to see if they’re interested. It’ll be tough, because they won’t be obliged to work with Singaporeans, as they can always look for better materials from overseas.

A Conducive Environment to develop home grown stories and content

This brings about another interesting topic. We have lots of talents, in fact, many people, including some of our best students can draw and paint better than me. So why do we see so little work being published, animated and marketed?

The answer could be our weak storytelling skills. But hey, we have our Singapore Book Council who always organizes workshops sponsored by MDA. In fact, I had attended quite a number of them. So we have a good pool of inspiring writers and immense number of artists. But nobody is match making them except for the publishers who of course only work with established creators.

For comic book publishing, we need not just good writers and artists, but also editors who can help feedback about our work, know about the market trends and encourage us. However, such editors are rare, if not, non-existent in Singapore.

Reduction of budget

The declining number of MES recipients and the cancellation of initiatives can only mean one thing: Cut in budget. So if any diploma student is reading this and interested in getting funded for further studies, you better act fast before it’s gone! The deadline for this year is 31st March.

Concluding Statement

I’m really worried on how long the government can sustain the various schemes and if their direction is going to lead us to the holy grail. However, you’ll be darn sure that determined small fries like me will be constantly looking out for opportunities and work on our skills.

This post was first published on Eva’s blog.

2 thoughts on “MDA initiatives and Fusionopolis

  1. Pingback: Funding clock, ticking down « Moon's Revolution:

  2. Ugh! Figures. All that talk about “creative industries” and “let the arts flourish” was nothing more than lip service. They were never really interested in writing and illustrating in the first place – as far as they are concerned, all this stuff is (a) niche which means (b) it makes no money and (c) it doesn’t fit with the Great Singapore Mission of becoming a World-Class City. After all, world-classiness as interpreted by our high-ups means lots of futuristic shopping centres around Orchard Road, many big and prestigious firms making their homes in Shenton Way, and don’t forget skyrocketing housing prices…

    OK, I don’t have anything against futuristic shopping centres or big prestigious firms. But I’m sad that the government’s let the veneer of creativity drop so fast, as if it was worth nothing compared to all the rest. Does it really cost them so much to keep these small schemes going? Or are they so certain that niche sectors of the arts won’t thrive here? If so, they’ve made a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I can’t think of much more to say other than that they may well regret it some day. I don’t believe they are right to write the niche sectors off. To all the struggling writers and artists out there: keep going! Even if the government refuses to give you a hand, you still have two eyes, two hands and a brain to get over the wall with. It’s going to be that much harder without the help…but think of how much more satisfying it’ll be when you finally prove yourself against the odds they stacked up for you.

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