Setting film-makers up for success with My Little Props Hospital
My Little Props Hospital, Singapore's first and only commercial hospital film set, offers a controlled environment and fewer constraints
In a time when hospitals in Singapore are out of bounds for film shoots amid the Covid-19 pandemic, productions are turning to a mock-up hospital for a lifeline.
Enter Singapore's first and only commercial hospital film set, My Little Props Hospital, which was co-founded by local production designer and art director Junior Foong and opened in January.
Spanning 4,252 sq ft and located in Kaki Bukit, it mimics a real hospital environment complete with wards, a waiting area, hospital beds and medical equipment.
Mr Foong, 33, said it offers film-makers a controlled environment to work at late into the night, that is also set apart from public space where disturbances and uncertainty can arise.
He told The New Paper: "My partners and I realised when renting locations from hospitals that there are certain limitations and rules when shooting there. It is also difficult getting hospital permits for filming.
"There are constraints to creative control - designing wards and corridors - as the building belongs to someone else."
Since its opening, My Little Props Hospital has been used for Channel 5, Channel 8, Vasantham and Suria drama series, CNA docudramas as well as TV commercials.
Since phase two of Singapore's reopening, there have been two shoots related to Covid-19 for a government agency done there.
Mr Foong said: "Initially, the pandemic did affect our business a little, when only one to two shoots were allowed to continue during the circuit breaker.
"However, it also had a positive effect on the uptick in demand, as hospitals and clinics were off limits for film productions, which is fortunate for us because that meant we would be able to survive through the pandemic and continue providing the place for our friends in the film industry."
Mr Foong, who has worked on films such as Ah Boys To Men 3 and HBO series Invisible Stories, has been in the local film industry for 14 years.
My Little Props Hospital's renovations and equipment cost a total of $48,000, with some of the smaller props such as stethoscopes, tables and files taken from Mr Foong's existing 5,000-strong props collection, which he houses in a warehouse in Yishun.
Mr Foong hopes he can gather enough funds to build an operating theatre.
The team's next goal?
A police station set and even a sci-fi set.
He said: "I want to encourage local film-makers to be more ambitious and scriptwriters to have the confidence to write in hospital scenes without worrying about resources."