When it comes to spreading the Dharma, His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche never runs out of ideas. Creative when it comes to answering people’s contemporary needs, Rinpoche emulates the deeds of the Buddha who used 84,000 ways to spread His teachings to benefit all. Thus Rinpoche spreads the Dharma using unconventional and effective ways to touch those who are supposedly unreachable.
Recently, Rinpoche was inspired to produce a series of greeting cards featuring Kechara members. What makes this set of greeting cards so different to those available? Well, have you ever heard of a Buddhist organisation producing greeting cards to spread the Dharma…funky greeting cards, at that? Almost shocking, huh?
Rinpoche conceptualised the whole project, from identifying suitable models for the different shots, to the setting, clothing and location of each scene being shot, as well as the captions for the different cards.
Production manager Ooi Beng Kooi said, “To produce greeting cards is unusual for a Buddhist organisation, but the purpose of Rinpoche doing this is to spread the Dharma in a different way.”
“We produced the cards to show that we are different, to use different methods to show the power of acceptance that can be found in the Dharma and Kechara,” added Beng Kooi, who is also one of Rinpoche’s personal assistants. As production manager, Beng Kooi followed the production team to every location to oversee and direct the entire production.
This project took two and half months to complete and involved a total of 50 models, ranging from 5 years old to 70 years old. From behind the scenes, working to make it all happen, were another 20 people who did the planning, photography, producing and so on. Some of this stellar behind-the-scenes cast include professional photographers Darren Loke and Dwayne Foong, our in-house producer Han Siew Fong, make-up artist Bryan Ho and fashion advisor Ethan Chu.
Shoot locations ranged from studios to Boathouse Restaurant, from Broga Hill in Semenyih to Putra University of Malaysia, to Bukit Jalil Park and a random waterfall!
Some days, talents and crews were awake as early as 4 in the morning right until 2am the following day, just to ensure that the shots taken were perfect. “It’s tiring, but actually it also helped the people to get together and work together. Everyone’s support was necessary to make such long days go smoothly,” said Art Director Cynthia Lee.
A project like this not only involved physical endurance, but required a lot of patience as well, with some shot involving more than 30 crew members and talents at the same time. For assistant producer Jace Chong, who is experienced in television productions, this project was challenging in terms of coordinating so many talents and crew members who lacked experience in the field.
Jace was responsible for scouting shooting locations, coordinating talent and crew, as well as controlling the timing, and providing food and beverages for everyone…she was basically responsible for making the productions as comfortable and smooth-flowing as possible.
“I am happy to have the shots taken just perfectly as Rinpoche conceptualised it,” said Jace who is always enthusiastic when it comes to helping Rinpoche spread the Dharma in the creative ways that he does.
The greeting cards project comprises of three series titled Cool Kecharians, Kecharian Life and Kecharian Pets. They will all be available in time for you to pick up a set by Wesak Day…the perfect way for you to celebrate Buddha’s birthday in this contemporary way!