Arifin Putra shares with DA MAN about his award-winning mini-series, new podcast and life in the pandemic during an exclusive photoshoot using the new OPPO RENO4 PRO.
While certainly no stranger to professional photo shoots in his realm of work, Arifin Putra was definitely quite new to the idea of having his photos taken for a proper photo shoot using a smartphone camera, in this case the new OPPO Reno4 Pro, for a special collaboration with DA MAN. “It’s a pretty unique experience, because usually the photographers have to bring a big camera and a lot of lenses and lighting equipment. Now, to see the photographer out of their comfort zone using a smartphone camera and how they adapt to that is also interesting,” explains the German-born actor. “And the best part is, aside to the photoshoot process itself is faster than before due to the fact that they don’t have to change the lenses, the result and quality of the image is still great.” This time around, on his first appearance in the cover of DA MAN, Putra shares about life amid the continuing pandemic, his projects outside of the movie industry and more.
DA MAN: Hi, Arifin! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. With the world still in semi-quarantine, how are you doing these days?
Arifin Putra: Hi! I’m doing okay; still sane and healthy, just counting my blessings.
DA: The pandemic has basically upended everybody’s lives. How about you and your work, though? Do you still have any exciting projects coming up?
AP: Well, the movie industry at the moment is quite in limbo. We don’t really know what’s going to happen, how long this will last and what the future will look like. To top it off, theaters are still closed as well. We don’t know when they will open, and even if they do, they will probably open at only 50-percent capacity. And then, you don’t know when or if people would come in. So, there are definitely still a lot of question marks… Outside of this industry, strangely, during the pandemic, I actually co-founded a content creation company and we have many projects on our own. One of them is with my dear friend Mike Lewis. We created a podcast and we will do more in the future.
DA: We learned that one of your projects, the award-winning mini-series “DBS Sparks,” is currently airing. How excited are you right about this one and what does this project mean to you?
AP: Very excited, because I can take a part in this international group. DBS is a Singaporean bank, and the production team is from Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the cast members came from India, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia. On top of that, with this mini-series, I can fulfill one of my dreams. I want to be a borderless actor. I can be an actor in any country and collaborate with anyone.
DA: Moreover, can we start next with how you got involved in “DBS Sparks”? How did you end up being cast for this one?
AP: First of all, DBS’ team wanted a character that comes from Indonesia. They requested an Indonesian actor who can speak Indonesian. And then, the casting director got my management’s contact and I went to a super detailed casting process. Long story short, I was sent to Hong Kong for the shooting process. The funny thing is, once arrived on set, I was just realized that I’m completely on my own down there. That was the first time, the first project, where I don’t know anyone. [laughs]
DA: For any of our readers still unfamiliar with the show, can you give us a brief rundown of “DBS Sparks”? If we’re not mistaken, it was actually inspired by true stories, right?
AP: “DBS Sparks” is a mini web-series about a group of young and dynamic DBS bankers who partner up with the community to address some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of the day, and challenge the status quo and go above and beyond when solving unusual client challenges. Uniquely, they took the case study from their own clients. For instance, there’s a social enterprise who needs help with strategy and so on. They took this and gave it a touch of drama as needed for the series.
DA: You play as Hendra Susanto. Can you tell us more about this character of yours?
AP: Hendra Susanto is a new character that comes from Jakarta. He’s very passionate. He cares about his friends and his environment. But, as we may already know, to make the story even more interesting, there’s always some drama element like love, jealousy, despite the main focus being to help and solve unusual client challenges.
DA: Did you have to go through any kind of special preparations or training before filming “DBS Sparks?”
AP: Definitely. I need to learn about financial terms, the pronunciation of those terms, why are we doing this as a banker, or why do we need this and that, etc.
DA: Speaking of which, is there anything about this character that you somehow identify with?
AP: He’s not fully aware about his surroundings, in terms of the situation and condition surrounding love. True story. [Smiles]. He genuinely wants to help and he’s sincere. As cheesy as it sounds, I can identify myself in all of that.
DA: In a nutshell, what is it like being part of this series?
AP: The interesting part with this web series is that you become part of a bigger family. Because, there are a lot of times when you started something you always say “we’re family now” but once the shooting is over that family somehow abruptly ends. But not with this one. It has been going on for so long, and we’ve become a family. We also checked in with each other throughout this pandemic to ask about each other’s well-being.
DA: Moving on to another project of yours, this year you’re set to appear in a podcast called “Add to Watchlist.” Can you tell us a bit about how you ended up creating this podcast with Mike Lewis?
AP: It basically started with a “what do I do now?” question during the pandemic. In this particularly uncertain and difficult time, I talked with several of my friends, and one of them wanted to create a new company. Long story short, I co-founded this content creator company with my friend. It’s called Cinemaheads. My partner then contacted Mike Lewis because he also wants to help us in this project. After that, we decided to create a podcast, because it can be done in our own home.
DA: What can the average listener expect from this podcast?
AP: Think about whether it’s worth your time to spend several minutes or hours to scroll through the abundance of movies or web series in streaming services right now. It may get a little tiring for some people. So, that’s exactly the part where we want to help you guys with. In short, “Add to Watchlist” is a show where two friends or more discuss movies or series and decide whether it is worthy to add to your watchlist or not.
DA: What, would you say, is the number-one reason to hear “Add to Watchlist”?
AP: My kind of favorite films or series is different with Lewis’. So more than a couple times that our conversation turned into heated arguments, but in a good way. [Laughs] We’re not experts, but we know what kind of series or movies that answer the “is it worth it?” questions we get while scrolling. But then again, you may agree with us or be completely against us, and that’s fine. There’s no right and wrong. We just like to watch movies and we want to share the excitement for something that is good, and we want to give constructive criticism as well.
DA: What are some of your fondest memories so far from working with Mike Lewis in this podcast?
AP: Fondest memories with him? Nothing. [Laughs] There’s a lot actually, since we always ended up together in several movies or projects outside of the movie industry. One thing I can remember right now, he has this ability where he can talk to anyone, and he can make anyone talk. Even if you’re a shy or introvert person, he always finds a way. But yeah, his Indonesian is messed up and he knows it. [Laughs]
DA: Moving on to more personal stuff, how do you keep yourself positive during these hard times?
AP: What hard times? [Laughs]. In this pandemic, I think no one knew what to do, everyone was angry with the situation and didn’t know how to interact with other people if they need to stay at home. In short, I think everyone in the whole wide world was confused, stressed and it’s a very scary place. And I felt like that, too. I think everyone went through that phase. Until one day I realized that this is something that I can’t control, and I can’t do anything about it. Basically, I just focus on what I can. There’s no point in stressing out. Just don’t worry about things that you can’t control. Because as long as you do the best that you can do, everything will be fine. Eventually. So, I stepped outside for a moment to regain my composure, and after that, I basically asked myself: What do I have to do and what can I do next? Should I stay or switch industries? Or is it the right time to learn some new skills? All of these questions made me pursue a couple of projects outside the movie industry. From dealing with a sustainable, circular economy, mentoring a few start-ups, and founding a small impact investment fund. So, yeah, I’ll still focus on the movie industry while looking for opportunities outside of it as well.
DA: What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
AP: I have learned that I can get stressed a lot. Very quickly. [Laughs] I have learned that I am overthinking things, I can see what is a hoax and what is real, and ultimately, I have learned negative things about me. And I think this is actually good, because I can turn those negative things into positive ones.
DA: What do you usually do at home during the pandemic? How do you spend your time?
AP: Like pretty much everyone else, I watch streaming videos at home. But for me, personally, I prefer to watch it through my phone while sleeping on the sofa. So, normally I use my OPPO Reno4 Pro, because it fits nicely in my hand. To top it off, its visual smoothness with the 90Hz refresh rate is amazing and I really enjoy the smoother scrolling. On the other hand, during my lunch or dinner break, fast charging is just what I need. So, I just put my phone on charge, and it’s back at 100-percent in just 36 minutes thanks to the 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 Flash Charging. So, after my break, I can go back to binge-watching again.
DA: What do you miss most about your life before the pandemic?
AP: What do I miss the most? The importance of human interaction. After several months self-isolation, it’s pretty weird for me to re-learn how to interact with other humans. Should I shake his or her hand? Should I give them a hug? What about physical distancing? How far away and for how long is safe? And so on…
DA: Lots of people express regret about taking things for granted before the global crisis. Is there anything from your pre-pandemic life that you feel you took for granted?
AP: Wow, this is a tough question. At the moment I can’t find the right answer. But I think yes, there are a lot of things that we took for granted before, but for me it’s not about regret. I think it’s actually somewhat of a good thing, to a certain extent and as controversial as that sounds. It was good that we took it for granted before, and now we realize how precious it is to have social interaction…
DA: On that note, are there things that you might appreciate more after the pandemic ends?
AP: I experience moments of realization of how lucky I am for all that I have, like my health, family and friends. I’m still breathing, I’m still alive, I will appreciate that obviously with thanks to God almighty. I will appreciate more the people that are close to me, they will become closer. On the other hand, the people who were not so close before, maybe they will slowly drift away. Going forward, I think people would be a lot more selective about who they call friends and close associates. I think birthday parties would become a lot more intimate, weddings could be a lot smaller than before. And when it comes to work, right now, any work you get you appreciate. To top it off, we always have to believe, despite the pandemic, there’s always an opportunity. We just need to find what that opportunity is. And before you do that, you need to calm yourself first. Once you’re calm, your eyes and ears will open, and then you will find a lot of opportunities. In short, it’s mind over matter.
THE FASHION SHOOT IS DONE USING OPPO RENO4 PRO
FASHION DIRECTOR Brad Homes
PHOTOGRAPHY Thomas Danes
PROJECT COORDINATOR Peter Zewet
STYLING ASSISTANT Lintang Hutami
HAIR & GROOMING Barberia Indonesia & Arimbi
CHANDELIER & CHAIR PETALS FLAIR @petals.flair
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