Associate Producer, Field Trip USA, 2009
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Multimedia
Many of the shows run by 8TV are live, so you have to be prepared for eventualities such as guests for shows calling in five or three hours before the start of the show to tell you they can’t make it.
Revving Up Reality
Written by By Catalina Rembuyan
Three months after joining 8TV as an editor, Hendra Wardi, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology alumnus, was promoted to the position of associate producer. His recent project which he worked on as co-producer, Field Trip USA, won the prize of Favourite TV Show at the recent SHOUT! Awards. Catalina Rembuyan chats with this happy-go-lucky film maestro to learn more about the challenges of working on reality TV and the value of living life with joy.
Many of the shows run by 8TV are live, so you have to be prepared for unexpected eventualities such as guests for shows calling in five or three hours before the start of the show to tell you they can’t make it.
Hendra Wardi is elated. Winning an industry award is one thing, but winning an award decided by popular vote has a different value – you know that not only is your brainchild up to industry standards, it is a commercial success as well. Hendra is the co-producer of Field Trip USA, a show that he was assigned to produce by their client, Antarabudaya Malaysia (AFS) that was running an exchange programme for Malaysian students to study for six months in the United States in collaboration with the American embassy.
Although Field Trip USA was designed to correct the misconceptions of others about the country ever since the September 11 incident, Hendra explains that their client gave them a lot of freedom to explore and discover the country and had no intention of censoring them. When Field Trip USA won the SHOUT! Awards for Favourite TV Show, it was an affirmation of the quality and likeability of the end product.
It was also nominated for Fresh TV Show and Favourite TV Host, and Hendra and his co-producer had another show that they had worked on which was nominated for Favourite TV Show, One in a Million: Season 2. Beating One in a Million: Season 2 for Favourite TV Show was an achievement as the show had a team of around twenty working behind the scenes, whereas Field Trip USA has only three: the two co-producers and the host.
Hendra finds his greatest inspiration among directors like JJ Abrams and wizards behind animated comedies like Seth McFarlane and the creators of South Park. His sense of light-heartedness and fun was perfectly in line with the spirit of 8TV, where Hendra was hired as a film editor immediately after graduating with his degree from Limkokwing University and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology respective. A recipient of the Best in Computer Graphics Award by Limkokwing University in 2004 and the Highly Commended title from Asian Television Awards in 2006, he was promoted from editor to assistant producer in just three months since working there.
As an assistant producer, Hendra had to balance the needs of the client, the television station, their sponsors, the government and the viewing public. Working behind the scenes of top-rated television shows like Reel Review, One in a Million, Latte @ 8, 8TV Quickie, and auditioning contestants at the first level for the Malaysian edition of So You Think You Can Dance, he had to be prepared for any last-minute problems that may turn up and hamper the smooth running of a show.
When I was in the States filming for Field Trip USA, I met someone who gave me this advice: work like you don’t need the money and dance like nobody’s watching. I thought that was pretty good advice and I pretty much follow it
“Many of the shows run by 8TV are live, so you have to be prepared for unexpected eventualities such as guests for shows calling in five or three hours before the start of the show to tell you they can’t make it. We once had to go into damage control after our company was banned from broadcasting live for several months due to an incident on a live concert when an artiste stripped off his shirt on stage.”
Despite fully enjoying his years at 8TV, Hendra has decided that after three years of working there in production, it was time to move on to greater ventures. It was for that reason that he shifted to the Content Creation Centre at Limkokwing University, where he would have the opportunity to work on a greater variety of productions than the ones that he had gotten familiar with on 8TV.
“Most of 8TV’s in-house productions are reality TV programmes and competitions. I want to expand my capabilities, build my portfolio and gain more experience by working on different kinds of productions.”
“I consider winning the SHOUT! Award as a milestone in my career. My next step is to go on winning awards at a regional level,” explained Hendra. For Hendra winning, losing, excelling and learning is not something that is to be too stressed about: your work life should be something that you consider fun.
“When I was in the States filming for Field Trip USA, I met someone who gave me this advice: work like you don’t need the money and dance like nobody’s watching. I thought that was pretty good advice and I pretty much follow it,” he concluded.