I learned to be happy with what I have: Shane Pow

His first time filming an entire series abroad, Shane tells us more about going swimming with tunas in freezing waters and almost getting knocked off his feet by the wind

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

Photos: Joanna Goh
Video: Philip Ang, Charlene Chong


As the most 'experienced actor on the set of The Distance Between, director of the Toggle Originals series Loh Woon Woon tells us Shane Pow’s dependability is what sets him apart from his peers because she can always “trust” him to give her what she needs, take after take. In between takes he may joke around with his co-stars Chantalle Ng and Richie Koh, but when the camera starts rolling, he morphs into a serious and stoic Warren at the snap of a finger.

Before the start of this project, the 28-year-old was doing a five-week acting course at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, and had hoped to showcase his newly-gained skills in his first acting project after his studying stint. When Toggle caught up with Shane on set in Queensland, Australia, during the last leg of their six-week production trip, the crew of 30 was tired but otherwise eager to share the fruits of their hard work.

Travelling with a video editor was a huge bonus, said Shane, during an interview with Toggle, as they were able to check their shots as and when it is being edited so that they could improve their acting deliveries – and the show at the same time.

“You don’t have the luxury of doing this in Singapore—or to discuss things with the editor or director in such specificity. So we talk shop even at night and discuss how to improve the end product.”

Their dedication to putting on a good show doesn’t stop at that, and the actors have learned how to not let the cold bother them – even if they had to film without their jackets at 8 degrees Celsius. “You could see our breaths coming out from our mouth, but at the end of the day I think it’s worth it… we’ve seen some playbacks and the scenery is really beautiful, and I think this approach is refreshing,” he added.

(Continued on next page: What was one thing they looked forward to doing at the end of work every day?)

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

Filming in Australia, the most livable city in the world, has its perks and cons, we learned. When they are filming in the suburbs and the work day ends late, most shops, including supermarkets and mini-marts, are closed--and they get deprived of their biggest luxury on set, which is to go grocery shopping every day. “Sometimes we don’t even have the chance to buy instant noodles (chuckles) but we’ve learned how to be happy with what we have on this trip.”

They’ve also mastered the art of sleeping on-the-go, said Shane, “as long as there’s a place to rest.”

“Everyone knocks out after 10 minutes on the bus. The toughest time we had was going from Adelaide to Queensland. The night before we filmed till 7pm and after our dinner we had to move our luggage to the hotel and move our luggage down again at 1.30am as we had to reach the airport at 3am to catch our 6am flight.

We had a lot of equipment and needed to leave for the airport early too, so when we all got on the plane everyone knocked out. When we arrived at Queensland, we started filming immediately till 6pm and went back to our hotel to rest immediately after dinner.”

Acting is anything but easy.

Shane looks back on his filming experiences and explains why he spent a large chunk of time holed up in his room during the second-half of the trip.

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

TOGGLE: Tell us about your most memorable scene during this production trip.
Shane: There are many memorable scenes this journey – it’s my first time filming an entire series overseas, and Australia is very scenic and has very grand locations. One of the scenes took place in South Australia at a place called Admirals Arch (Cape du Coredic) on Kangaroo Island which was filled with very beautiful stalactites, and I almost got blown away because the wind was very strong that day. Chantalle and I had a scene there and our characters were supposed to be deep in conversation but the wind was blowing so strongly I couldn’t hear what she was saying and she couldn’t hear what I was saying too.

In another scene, the three of us were at Seal Bay with a lot of seals and sea lions and the same thing happened – it was too windy, we filmed and it started to rain so we had to take cover. It also suddenly rained when we were filming the quad biking scene, and we had to find shelter. The crew took the emergency blankets to shield us. All these are very memorable.

Tell us some of the first-time experiences you had on set.
There were many firsts for me, this was my first time swimming with the tunas. They are so big, and we had to feed the tunas in one scene and I was a little scared because we had to swim with them in the sea. The are really big and swim fast and we had to feed them with tiny fishes. You can’t see the fish but you will feel a rough bite and they’d swim away quickly. It was freezing too! The waters was below 10 degrees.

How long did you spend filming the tuna feeding scene?
We filmed it for about three hours? Prior to that we had some other scenes to shoot, like scouting out other forms of sea life like abalones etc. We even met a dog shark – it’s very cute and would flip over so that you can give it a belly rub. But it was very cold and they were afraid we’d catch a cold; so they covered us in blankets when we got up. It was really cold.


Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

What were some challenges you faced in this drama?
Apart from filming, it is very tiring moving from one location to another. The most we spent at any one site was four days and some places we just spend one night there. We film and move our luggage every night from the bus. It’s very tiring, plus we get up before dawn every day. We might wake up at 4am and shoot all the way till night before we call it a day… It’s tough but everyone gave their all for this show.

So what did you miss most about being away from home?
My family, my girlfriend and my dog… my mum’s cooking and my girlfriend’s… everything I guess. Although we are filming every day, when you’re on your own and the skies turn dark at 5pm, you start counting down the days till you go home.

We heard you’ve been hiding in your room doing video calls with your girlfriend Kimberly Wang recently…
I think the both of us will try to video call each other as long as there’s a Wi-Fi connection (chuckles). Australia’s data is very expensive so as long as we have Wi-Fi—and most of the time it’s when we’re in hotels—[we’ll talk]. Plus we’re almost wrapping this project and we have some upcoming projects planned so it’s easier to talk over video, and it’s harder to type it out. So people might think I’m becoming more of a homebody lately, but there’s a reason for it lah! (Laughs)

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'
24 Oct 2018

Behind the scenes: Shane on the set of 'The Distance Between'

Watch The Distance Between on Toggle.

WATCH: Shane Pow sleeps with a stuffed animal in Australia...?

Related:
Richie Koh and his ‘frozen’ experience on set
Chantalle Ng tells us why co-star Shane Pow is 'boyfriend material'
First look at ‘The Distance Between’
Chantalle Ng’s mum Lin Meijiao won’t miss her when she’s away?
8 must-try Queensland experiences
5 places to get your breakfast fix in Queensland

Special thanks to Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland.

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