It isn’t every day that a Malaysian wins a Disney short film contest. In conjunction with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney launched its Star Wars Go Rogue short film contest back in October 2016. Robin Tan, a lecturer at the Faculty of Communication at HELP University was utterly surprised when he was informed that his entry, “The Last Transmission”, was selected as the winner in the Southeast Asia category and was awarded an all-expenses paid trip to San Francisco, USA.
The highlights of the trip was a visit to the famous Rancho Obi-Wan, a nonprofit museum that houses the world’s largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia and to the LucasFilm headquarters, where a short press interview was held for the winners of the short film competition, followed by a special screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
According to Robin, who served as producer, editor and props master for the short film, the production process was an incredibly tough one, as they were given less than 3 weeks to write the script, gather the cast, shoot, and edit the film. He was editing right up to the last moment before the deadline and had to use many techniques he had never used before. The full version of the winning entry can be viewed on this link, https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8Yoa0qW5CCuTWxwajF2V01HSU0
Currently, Robin lectures Communication students in a variety of subjects, including Introduction to Film, Intercultural Communication, and Sociology. He also actively engages his students to create short films and videos, and also encouraged them to join film competitions, both local and international. He is the lecturer advisor for the Creative Productions Society and actively work with Bob at the university to bring greater learning experiences to the students.
Mohd Azhar, or “Bob”, as he is fondly known by both his peers and students, has spent the last 24 years in the broadcast industry working in both the technical and creative side of video production. As a Studio Manager and Tutor at the Faculty, he teaches Multimedia Design, Creative Media Design and Broadcast and New Media. He feels that teaching is not about classroom learning, but motivating his students to produce their best works outside the classroom.
When I first met Bob at the HELP Media Studio, he was busy teaching his students new film making techniques. Just next door, three other students were broadcasting in the HELP Radio Studio, created for the purpose of giving students a hands-on experience of working in a radio station.
Sean Michael Steven, 21, Aamir Khan Dalwai, 17, and George Simak, 23, the latter two international student, are currently pursuing their studies at HELP’s Faculty of Communication and all three agreed that they thoroughly enjoyed Bob’s classes as he had a down-to-earth approach to teaching.
According the Faculty’s Dean, Dr Khairuddin Othman, the aim was to instill in its graduates an understanding of the process and practice of mass communication and the ability to exploit the tools available. He said that we live in an environment where more than 70 percent of adult Malaysians watch TV programs every day, and 56 percent of us are online for more than 24 hours a week.
The Faculty of Communication staff were all chosen based on their academic performance as well as working experiences. This allows students to tap into their knowledge of the industry allowing them to be successful in the various fields including video production, radio, journalism, social media, advertising, and public relations.
Industry leaders are also brought in on a regular basis to give talks and workshops. Among them, are Datuk Jake Abdullah, CEO of Astro Radio; Rafiq Ridzuan, Planning Director of BBDO Malaysia; and Professor Julian Knowles of Macquarie University
Dr Khairuddin feels that a communication specialist can find employment in various fields, including human resource, advertising, public relations, publication, research and development, sales and marketing as well as broadcasting.
To offer the students a wider range of choices and specializations, the Faculty of Communication at HELP University offers majors Marketing Communication, Public Relations and Media Studies, for their Bachelor’s Degree Program and also a Diploma in Communication. Those who complete the Diploma can gain entry into the Bachelor’s Degree Programme’s second year, with exemptions for the first year subjects saving them more than RM20,000.
For more information, the Faculty of Communication can be reached at Wisma HELP, tel; +03-2711 2000 or visit www.help.edu.my