Image credit: Songs & Stories

In the age of information, the way we tell and share stories continue to evolve at a rapid pace.

Enter Songs & Stories, a joint-initiative between singer-songwriter Juwita Suwito and novelist-author Gina Yap Lai Yoong (PSSST! We also wrote a feature on Gina last year).

Heavily relying on social media – primarily Facebook – as a platform to share their stories, the duo have experimented telling stories about their journey throughout Malaysia in the form of short Facebook documentaries, photo essays, and posts.

With the aim of the initiative is to discover inspiration in everyday people and places throughout Malaysia, last year the pair have produced ‘The Kinabalu Call’ – a series of videos on the restoration of Mount Kinabalu following the earthquake it experienced in June 2015.

All episodes were posted onto Facebook with the full version then uploaded onto Youtube. The best part about the initiative is that everyone has fun!

“Songs & Stories has always been about story gathering in a spontaneous road-trip style, which means nothing is scripted and every production decision is made on-the-go. Any production crew will tell you that this makes the entire process even more challenging than usual, especially in post-production,” Gina says.

She adds that the challenge starts during post-production as that’s when she has to crack her head on how to ensure each episode is presentable and kept below five-minutes.

“Every story has a beginning, climax and an end. It’s the same with #WarisanSandakan. Story-scripting happened after the footages have been shot. I call it the reverse-production way of doing things.”

This time for their upcoming series #WarisanSandakan, Juwita and Gina are not alone. They’ve managed to rope in music advocate and conservationist Jennifer Thompson as well as singer and host Zamil Idris for their initiative.

Featuring Sandakan Heritage Trail, Rugby as the trailblazing sport in Sabah and an array of world-class conservation work happening in Sandakan (the Sepilok rainforest and the Turtle Islands Park), shooting for the series took place in November last year.

Gina reveals that most of the videos were shot and edited on her phone though her post production prowess proves otherwise.

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Social media savvy story tellers Gina Yap Lai Yoong (left) and Juwita Suwito also make good marketeers too!

The response has been pretty awesome so far, according to Juwita and Gina. The first episode of the #WarisanSandakan has received a whopping 18,000 views!

“We were surprised by the overwhelming response. We knew that not many Malaysians know about Sandakan, some even asked where Sandakan was when we told them we would be gathering stories there.

Presenting these stories on our platform is our way of introducing the beauty of Malaysia to fellow Malaysians so that we will come to love our country more,” Juwita, who also behaves as the executive producer for the series adds.

With more and more creatives gradually turning to the social media to release their projects (check out Doghouse 73 Pictures’ KL24 Zombies which was released on Youtube recently) story telling in Malaysia is evolving!

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