Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Before the year ends, what have I achieved?

Yes, boys and girls. Another year is coming to a close. Have you ever stop and recap the experiences you've been through or perhaps you're too preoccupied with the little little things in life?

As a tutor, I am proud of my last batch of Artiste Training Course students, whom upon completion, they were all ready to try their luck in the entertainment industry. I hope you've continue to keep in touch with me here, and share with me whatever problems you might encounter. I will try my best in answering your questions or just a listening ear.

As an actor cum director, I am glad that I've completed a bunch of films (some for TV, some aren't). Making those films really stretch my mind and ability as to how far I can go as an artiste. An artiste never stops learning.

Personally, I have come to be at peace with myself. I had stopped being hard on myself and give myself more credit. All my past students know how dedicated I am during class. Whenever I have my own shoots, it's always better to share the experience at real shooting locations. Of course some couldn't make it to those locations, but for those few who do, I'm sure you've made some new contacts for your future. If you want to share your thoughts about the year and what you've learned, kindly post your comments here.

Lastly, the most important thing I ever achieved for this year is getting to know all my students and share with them the best I could in pulling themselves together when faced with challenges. I love you all!
Until my next entry, I want to wish everyone here a MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another shoot this week! This Thursday26th November 8am

Location at section 17, Petaling Jaya. Time is 8.30am. Those who don't know how to go, can wait at LRT ASIA JAYA 8am. Please sms Mr.Liew your name and age first. The shoot is for TV drama series GENG BAS SEKOLAH.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Invitation to All (especially current & ex-students of Artiste Training Course)

There will be a shoot for a drama this SATURDAY at 3.30pm at SECTION 17 playground area. Everyone is invited to come and watch (especially my current & ex-students of Artiste Training Course). It will be a great opportunity for you to socialise and get to know the producer and director. Those interested can sms Mr.Liew.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Everybody needs a teacher!

A lot of people think they can just jump into any industry, especially artiste world, without any guidance whatsoever. They think all they need is their looks and talent. How wrong they are! As you can see in the picture, this famous director was my mentor. The time this picture was taken was way back in 2000, way before this film director directed any feature films (except for commercials of course & notice how different I look back then).

In a people-oriented industry, every aspiring artiste must break their idealistic view that only their looks and talents can take them far. It's virtually impossible! There are simply so many lessons one must learn in their journey towards becoming an established artiste. Note the word "established", not simply any fly-by-night artiste. Giving due credit, I cannot blame for this mentality of looks and talents alone can take you far. I see so many young artistes who appears on television. Fresh new faces that come and gone just as fast. What happen to them all?

There are moments when you shine. The secret is to keep on shining, even when the world no longer take notice of you. Take the time to learn. New knowledge leads to new possibilities. Artistes who strives to learn new knowledge are the ones that will continue to shine in their own way, even when the world no longer cares about them.

GET NEW IDEAS: Now, our Artiste Training Course is available for 1-on-1 personal class. After much interviewing with potential students, some are shy to perform in front of a group. For this, I decide to conduct personal classes according to potential student's schedule: MONDAY, WEDNESDAY or FRIDAY (time is flexible). Those interested, please sms/call Mr.Liew (after 1pm) at 012-2350091 to set apointment at section2, Wangsa Maju.(gather in front of V2 Cybercafe)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Being an Artiste is more than just performing...

It's also about how you handle the production crew. Recently I was invited to act in a telemovie. It's really quite awful the whole scenario. I came on time, but the transport were late for more than 2 hours. Then there was a change in location. Now, if you're a seasoned artiste like I am, you would use this waiting time to do other things: like reading your script or go to a cybercafe nearby to check for other castings. At the same time, remember to call on the transport person from time to time to see where he is.

Back to this production, I arrived on the apartment set and the assistant director came to me. This particular "guy" were very reserved and uncommunicative. A big no-no if you're in this industry. Sometimes I don't know why she is even hired for the job for her tomboy gangster attitude is awfully intimidating. An assistant director should be more accommodating to the talent and seek to communicate well. For this assistant director, she only likes to give orders, so the talents are expected to obey like dogs to a master. Sad scenario here in the local production team.

The assistant director kept on changing the way my script was supposed to be read, and at most times got me agitated by her indecisiveness. It may be because she doesn't like me because my profile doesn't suit what she wanted. But a professional has got to work with whom she got. She forgot that I was recommended for the job. As artistes, do not give in to such bad treatment. This is the most difficult time, one that you need to stand on your ground.

After some arduous moments shooting with her, it's time for us to wrap for another scene. Upon arrival of the new set, the assistant producer came to me and told me the reduction of the talent fees because of the apartment scene were not to the assistant director's satisfaction. Now, this should never happen to any respecting artistes, even if you are new. When you had agreed on the original payment sum, the producer must give you the exact same sum even if they're not happy with you. That's what we call professionalisme. If they don't, inform directly to the executive producer.

For this one, they even dare to show their ugly stripes and look threatening like gangsters. It got me pissed off for thinking they can treat talents any way they want. In the script, I was supposed to dance like a crazy moron because high on some drugs. When it came to that scene, I simply said no to the director. That got the assistant director really angry and he told the assistant producer about my refusal. I came head to head with both of them, unafraid and direct to the point. Finally, now I remembers again why so many talents doesn't feel motivated to be in this industry because of the plain childish attitude from some of this so-called "assistant directors and producers" (who are probably new and thinks they're in charge). They simply don't know how to treat talents as an equal!

That's why I always inform my talents that they need to go through a formal artiste training course. Not just to learn about the skills in performing arts, but more than that. The skill in handling unfair, ridiculous situations like mine, that is getting more rampant everyday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Would you rather stand behind the door?

It's true when your parents and friends tell you that it's risky being an actor or singer. There's no consistent income like what you'll get from a steady job. You attend a hundred castings, and only a few call you back. (even the call backs aren't a guarantee you clinch the job) You'll wait for months, even years before you truly can establish yourself as an artiste. You'll have to bear with different types of creative personalities (some can be extreme). Wait a minute, isn't this sounds similar to any other jobs?

You see, people who aspires to become real artistes ain't in it for the money. They are all there, committed and passionate, simply for one thing: the ART. Once you get your mind focused on that, you won't worry much about dealing with other people's overinflated egos (even your own) and be more comfortable and relax within yourself. Of course the first few steps in becoming an artiste are the hardest few steps. You'll certainly need some form of guidelines and knowledge to get you standing on your own two feet. Real artistes are not empty vessels, they are brimming with creativity and knowledge. They are those courageous few(even outlandish types), who are inspired to step into the limelight and claim their place in the world.

Or would you rather remain standing where you are... right behind the door?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"So I have the connections. But do you have the spark?"

Connections. This word came to my mind since last week, when an aspiring student asked me whether I've got any in the film industry. He was desperate to know what connections I could provide him upon enrollment in the Artiste Training Course. Then, I threw back a question to him "do you have the spark to start the connection?"

Many aspiring artistes tend to think that in order to break into the entertainment industry, you've got to have some connection with the people already in the industry. Yes, some connection with people you know may help, albeit very very little. In the course of my career, I have worked with some very good local film directors like Meor Shariman, Shuhaimi Baba and Kabir Bhatia. Do you think I have any connection with any of them when I started out? No. It was all based purely on my talent ingenuity. But aspiring artistes, you must bear in mind, do you have the goods to back you up when I finally present you with the so-called connection?

Look at it this way: the marketplace. In this scenario, you will have the product (that's you), the buyer (film producers, directors etc) and middleman. If I were the middleman with all the connections in the world, what benefit does it do for you if you don't have the knowledge to back up your product? The chap who raised the question of connection to me last week is looking for a quick way to fame by thinking of joining in our Artiste Training Course. Instead of asking for quick fame in our course, shouldn't he be more realistic and look inside himself and asked what he could offer? Adjusting your perception level is vital. That's really the core purpose of our Artiste Training Course: to uncover your hidden talent and keep your mind realistic.

About providing you with the contacts or connections, the chap who asked me this question should be less negative in his approach. He thought the entertainment industry is all about connections, hidden away beyond the reach of any normal aspiring artiste. Not true at all. I do send my students for special casting sessions, and why do you think I do that? Because that is the best time for you to create the so-called "connection". The chap asking me the connection question was probably thinking offers would pour on his lap without him taking any actions. But actions are required. Attend the castings and form the relationships.

Replace the ugly word "connection" to forming relationships. The chap who asked me the question positions himself as someone who is struggling. Why do you have to suffer this way when all it takes is a change in your thinking pattern? People in the entertainment industry are humans after all. If you show sincerity in forming good relationships, then you have it. I know it's hard to be friendly to people who doesn't want to know you. So what? Move on and get to know other people.

Like in any other industry when you're starting out, do not ask what you can get. Rather you should enquire: what you can offer. Selfish artistes who only think of themselves and always ask "what can I get?" is easily detected (they are usually rude, complains alot, demanding, easily frustrated and give up). And do you think their careers would last? Be a positive artiste and think of ways to contribute your talents. That way, a fresh new perspective will dawn on you. Before you can do that, you'll need to properly adjust your mental state in one that gives you fresh ideas and strategies in charting your talent. Here's where our Artiste Training Course can truly benefits you. Upon completion of the course, you will finally be able to create your own "connections", and not needing mine. And that's truly a rare talent artiste.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Importance of Being Media Free

Many of us aspires to become an artiste for various reasons: money, fame, popularity, recognition. A good artiste will question him or herself the source of where these reasons come about. In other words, "how do i come about to aspire to be an artiste?" Nobody who is born in this world automatically shouts "I want to be an artiste!".

It is through a complex life process that everyone goes through from childhood to adulthood. Through these series of life events, that eventually the seeds of desire are sown into our motivation. The pursuit in becoming an Artiste has to be deeply anchored into the reasons from "why?" Now, the most common reasons are usually heavily influenced by the media. For example, when we watch an actor acting out his role so heroically onscreen, we are inspired to do the same. The media is filled with these figures of glamour, that try to personify the definition of an artiste. But how wrong and even dangerous this definition can be.

What happen if your physical or looks do not match the requirements? Should you give up totally in becoming an artiste? Hence, it is very important advice I want to depart to all my fellow aspiring artiste friends here: try to stay away from the influence of the mainstream media as much as possible.

The mainstream media consists of television, cinema, radio and newspapers (even advertising). Be aware of what makes up your motivation in becoming an artiste. When your reasons in pursuing a specific artiste skill is clear (meaning not influenced by the mainstream media in any way), then the pursuit of your goals will be easier and clearer (not to mention you won't get disappointed that easily)

You should never let your definition of success be dictated by the mainstream media as it should be. Here's an idea: why can't you define your own success? Through our Artiste Training Course, you will discover how unconventional we are in instilling the various value disciplines of becoming an artiste to our students. Our approach is focused more on the individual's own capacity to grow into the skills of choice ( be it acting, TV presentation, modelling or singing) In other words, we nurture you to grow into your artiste self. We don't find the way for you, we let the way grow into you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boastfulness: A matter of what and why.

Boastfulness. A quality particularly rampant in our industry. Everybody does it. We boast about the beauty of our country. Car salesman boast the engine of their cars. Mothers boast about the success of their children in school. Women boast about their experiences, good and bad. Men boast about their achievements, extraordinary and sometimes really insignificant. Singers boast about the awards they won. Actors boast about the films they were in. And film directors boast about their international projects. For artistes, boastfulness transforms into self-promotion.

The reason people boasts differ. Some boasts to ace the job interview. To win the heart of a girl. And the worst reason of all: to show how good they are. Showing other how good you are in your job is not a bad thing. But the reason of it is to illicit some form of admiration or jealousy can be potentially dangerous. Now to all aspiring artistes here reading, I sincerely advise you to be careful of what you boasts. Doesn't mean you had starred in this number of commercials, you are already qualified for the job. I have students and talents who come for casting, showing me their certicates and "awards" in gaining the title of best actor in their school/college plays. But when in actual audition, this talent forgot his script and gave no portrayal of the character in any way at all. A little bit of SELF-DOUBT is good for you. And why?

Self-doubt automatically makes you THINK. To have different perspectives of what your capabilities really are. It also makes you open to other people's ideas. When you are boastful, your mind only works in one direction: relishing the joy of how superior you are towards others. It doesn't encourage you to cooperate and understand what the other party is saying. Some people boasts to hurt other people's reputation. And that is the worst form of boasting of all. Because it hides under the pretense of success. The sort of success preached in our fame-crazed media. And before you know it: the things you boast about doing suddenly becomes obsolete because of some drastic changes (beyond any human control like an act of God)such as death or loss of funds etc.

In conclusion, to boast what you had accomplished in the past is only good when you add a bit more self-examination in the way you present it (that's where our Artiste Training Course will help you). And to boast what you're going to achieve in the future should be anchored strongly with caution and humility because the future is not in our hands.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"You know exactly how I feel" ~ Nor

I love to bring all my students to special castings whenever there's a chance. Recently, I took a few of my students for a very popular malay drama casting. I got one particular student name Nor. She's a wonderful student and really take instructions well. Another one of my student, Zul came late, because he got lost, causing the whole group to be late for an hour. A good lesson for those of you who are joining in a group casting: ALWAYS BE ON TIME. I've already informed Zul ahead of time about where to meet, so that should able him to search for the place.

Upon arrival of the casting office, I met some of my ex-students, who have become working artistes in their own rights. One artiste name Mimi was there, and I was very happy to see how well she is and the work she's been doing. I've helped her clinch her first beauty product endorsement and now she's an artiste. We talked, and before leaving, she requested me to send her for commercial jobs if any. Will take note. The other talents I've met also come to me with similar requests: commercial jobs.

It got me thinking, what is the appeal of being in a TV commercial? One thing: the level of pay for a majority of commercial jobs at this time are not up to par. Secondly, it's extremely specific profile for any kind of commercial jobs, which means not everyone can be in commercial. Thirdly, the competition for commercial jobs are very stiff. Again, the ability of properly adjusting and matching your skill levels as an artiste to the industry needs is not yet present among the talents I met at the audition that day.

Before I send my student Nor for the recorded casting, I took her aside and coached her in her script. I understand she's very new (just into her 3rd week of class with me), and there's a lot of understanding involved in interpreting a script. Thank goodness, in that short time I managed to help her focus on understanding what the script demands. She was very happy with her audition. After the casting, I looked at her and advised her not to think about the audition anymore. What is done is done. I told her that her first audition with me should inspire her to go for more auditions in the future. She turned to me, smiled and said I knew exactly what she was feeling.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to lose weight mentally

It's all in your head! I have students who come to me with their insecurities about their bodies. Hey, who doesn't? I told them they should love their bodies as they were. Thank god more for giving a young body that still functions. Have you seen immobile elderly folks in the hospital?

Of course the demands of our artiste industry is such that you need to have a good body. Depending on which artiste field you want to venture, 70 percent of the time, you need to have a good looking body (for boys and girls). You'll be surprised too that some of the good-looking bodied talents come to me and say they look fat. I told them, IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD!

I also got other talents with more than proportionate body and they don't seem to complain at all. They are just happy the way they are. And that's a healthy attitude to have. But my advise to aspiring artistes in this group is: try to attain a more presentable body proportions if possible. It's a very physical world out there. First impressions are always on the whole body. For those on the plus-size, I advise them to straighten their spine and walk straight, so as to cover their other sides that is "overflowing".

Another tip I can give to those who wants to lose some weight is to wear your clothes A SIZE SMALLER. You may feel tight, but that really push a warning button in your head whenever you feel like going out to eat more fatty, fried foods. Especially your intimates (meaning your undies) because that clothing part is most attached to your waistline.

See, you don't have to resort to plastic surgery or such. And oops, one more point. Try to EXERCISE whenever possible. You don't have to jog up the hill or lift weights. The purpose of exercise to force you to take in LONG DEEP BREATHS. Becaue through that, you really burn those fats away. Just simply choose to walk instead of driving to your friend's place, unless it's very far. Drink plenty of water and cut down the smoking.

In conclusion, it's all in your head! When you choose to consciously lose weight and visualise a healthy body, naturally you will become. No fret...and take it easy. Here, now you know my secrets.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

People has got to KNOW YOU!

The life of an artiste is extremely dependent on KNOWLEDGE. Yes, a fact so many new and aspiring artistes deny. Knowledge in the arts. Knowledge in presenting yourself. Knowledge in acting. Knowledge in communication. In a nutshell, to jumpstart a career in artiste you'll simply have to learn.

Let's investigate why so many aspiring artistes don't want or failed to learn. I have to admit that in our industry, it is not nurturing by nature. NURTURANCE is a form of positive building and enhancing relationship with the person in achieving his/her goals in life. Now if you watch any current reality show, you will witness a majority of these so-called "mentors" or "judges" actually tears down the artiste's aspirations. Maybe they don't have good parents.

Another more important reason is because new artistes want to be known quickly, to be famous quickly and just thinking fame is a quick way to call themselves "artiste". Being famous is not bad a thing. A great thing, in fact! But how long do you think that will lasts? Remember: if you want to be known quickly, you'll be forgotten just as fast. Fame is a double edged sword. People will recognise you, doesn't mean they will like you. How are you going to handle that? Knowledge.

Once knowledge is with you, then your work really starts. And what is that one extreme important work? Getting people to KNOW you! Can you see the correlation now? KNOWLEDGE and KNOWING you? It comes from the same root word: KNOW. Hence, to be able to call yourself a true artiste, people has just got to pay attention to YOU! If not, you will cease to exist in the artiste world. Start now by getting the knowledge first. That will give you a strong foundation in dealing whatever circumstances in life as an artiste.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Becoming a Malaysian artiste is super "fun"!

Yes indeed. Firstly, to qualify yourself to be an artiste: be sure to come from a super clean family background. Better still, if one of your mother or father or any of your relatives is or used to be an artiste. Next, you need to possess the right looks: for the girl must be fair complexion, long lustrous hair and slim with round hips and boobies. For the guy, your tall height is a plus, your body muscular and hunky. Lastly, be sure your attitude is right and never ever get yourself caught in any controversy whatsoever! Be careful of who you date and make sure you're not caught in seclusion with the opposite sex. Or in this ultra conservative times (in Malaysia), the same sex! Don't go party late in night, got drunk and end up in a sex party. Or get your names printed on the tabloids everywhere. Don't divorce your husband or wife after you're an artiste, for fear of being called ungrateful or "sudah lupa diri". If anybody approaches you and he or she is a datuk/datin (someone with title), be sure to stay at minimal contact with that person. You don't want to be labelled as someone's anak ikan/artis simpanan (kept artiste). Always be courteous to the press, even when they asked you personal questions. All in all, just be nice to everyone else and not yourself.

Sounds tiresome isn't it? How many of us mortal folks here can decide where we come from? Especially our family background? Even more impossible is our physical attributes. So if you're a bit on the plus-size, you should forget your dream? Let me refute that claim "NO WAY!" I am telling you that YOU can be a great artiste just being who you are, despite your personal preference, be it your sexuality, your date, family background and physical attributes.

I assure you that with your talents alone you can go far. But before that, you need to discover what talents God has given you. No point saying "I want to be an artiste" but not knowing (with strong conviction and faith) what your real talents are. You need some form of guidance and outline in helping you venture into this super "fun" world we in Malaysia called "artiste". Hey, the good thing about joining us is: we have NO criteria whatsoever to accept you and help you in fulfilling your dream! At the least, along the way in learning to be an artiste, you'll truly experience the REAL fun we all had in our current artiste training sessions. So ready to put on your fun cap for Artiste Training Course?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eliminate the fear of being unpopular

Popularity breeds conformity. Conformity breeds dullness. Dullness makes an artiste boring. Worst, INVISIBLE!

You know when a popular artiste wears his hair in the archie way, everyone seems to follow the style? Soon, when everybody does it, it gets so common.

Another example: Ever been in a group when during a conversation, a person agrees on one point, everyone else is supposedly forced to agree on that point?

Have you guys watch the local awards show? People in the industry always say popularity is very important to an artiste's career. What do you think? (post your comments here, and let's debate) I do agree that popularity helps a LITTLE for the new artiste to jumpstart a career. But again, it does not guarantee quality. Soon, when you are chasing to be popular, you forget the meaning of your work.

This is another disease of our industry: the importance placed on popularity. Again how does one define popularity is up to anyone's guesses. What is popularity, according to an artiste's definition? Does it mean being on the cover of a magazine every month? Being talked about? Why no one ever thought the other side: unpopularity? Heck, even unpopular people are famous! Look at rock stars who are so against the mainstream like Kiss. Look at film directors who goes against the conventions in stylistics and story-telling, like Wong Kar Wai. Hey, unpopularity DOES has its value.

So for artistes out there who thinks they are not popular like their contemporaries, doubt not. You are just as deserving to be in the spotlight as they do. Only when you find what makes you unpopular. You have to own it and make it your own. That can be tricky and needs an outside opinion to help you identify that, mould it and makes it work for you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One of my successful students who made it on this month's cover magazine

She's determined and disciplined. And with proper training and education (that's what she's getting now with our Artiste Training Course) she now appears on the cover of magazine and is doing runway shows for event. She's not your typical model, but one that aspires to be. I decided to post her cover for this month's Marketplace magazine cover, as a great example of what a good education can do for any aspiring artistes. The fact is, you do need EDUCATION in one form in order to succeed in any field, especially in the artiste world.

A lot of students come and enquire me "What can I get from your course?". And I told them squarely the answer "An education. Full stop". A majority of these so-called "students" actually wants to get a job right away when they are deciding whether to take our Artiste Training Course. I have to be clear to you, I'm sorry, that's NOT going to happen so fast. Guys, artiste world is paved with heartaches. Don't think you can get a lucrative job right away upon joining our course. What we can offer you is an education and hopefully some wisdom you can use in toughening yourself in a harsh world out there. Yes, it's very harsh. You'll face all kinds of discrimations in terms of your looks and criticisms on your attitude and such. A little bit of success like gaining a cover for a magazine can help. After that, you still need more work.

An emotional journey, not many can endure...
An artiste life is extremely emotional, whether you like it or not. It's not so much about dealing with your emotions, rather, it's expressing it the best way you know how. And for that, you'll have to bear the labels people put on you. People who are non-artiste. It's because of these uneducated fools (oh, there's so many of them in our industry) who thinks they know everything. Feelings are complicated stuff, that sometimes an artiste just has to let it go out LOUD, in order to be heard. You keep the feelings inside, and you risk burning a hole in your heart and suffer in silence.

But an EDUCATION can help you see through all and helps you focus on the important stuff. And see the results from an education. My student here on the cover of a magazine! Truly priceless.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How to handle Rude Casting Directors

I received last minute casting calls thru my sms just yesterday. One for AmBank and the other for Digi. I quickly decide to bring my class students in the Artiste Training Course along to these casting sessions, so they would get a chance in these exclusive invitations too! I really care for all of them, and I'm sure they will testify to all the hard work I planned in setting them right for a career in the artiste world. It seems like bad timing, because almost ALL my students are either sick or went back hometown. Only Wardee managed to make it.

So we went to the first one for AmBank at Damansara Jaya, and the person in charge of the casting was very nice and cordial (a skinny Malay chap who calls every guy "bro") During the short brief, I tried to squeeze Wardee into the casting session, but he wasn't able to converse in Mandarin. I still insist on him to try, because I know there must be some role he could take on. I waited and opened my ears for any opportunity, and suddenly there was! There is a role for a guy opening the door. Quickly I suggested to the nice Malay chap, and he agrees.

After that, we went over to TTDI for the Digi casting. Comes this round big-sized Indian fella with a mustache and round belly who opens the door while giving both of us a disapproval look. In my heart, I knew instantly this guy is going to be trouble. When I went into the casting room, he showed me what sort of actions to do (basically is to act scared). The funny thing is, he didn't show me any storyboard. (By right, in any TV commercial casting, a professional casting director will show you the storyboard first) So I'm left wondering what the story is about. I continue to do as he said, and after each take, he shouted (to my amazement, no professional casting session got one who raised his voice at the talents, if they do dear talents, tell him to lower down), and said "Kris, I know you're a good actor, and I've seen you acted before! But this is not the way I want!" and some other rude remarks I couldn't remember, because I was focusing on the points of how to better the scene(which he didn't give me any). Unfortunately, he still gave me the same instructions of where to move. When the casting was over, I walked out from the room, and saw a row of other waiting talents looking at me, fearing of what could happen to them next. I wish I could tell them not to worry, for it is exactly what the rude casting director wanted them to feel: fear. So how do aspiring artistes handle such rude casting director?

For once, STEP UP YOUR COURAGE. Rude casting directors usually don't know how to conduct a good casting session. Don't give in to fear when they raised their voice. Speak up and asked him again what you should do to better the performance.

Secondly, DO THE BEST YOU KNOW HOW. Your performance in the casting is recorded, so your best is still needed even though the environment you're in is not encouraging. Always remember: the casting director is NOT the one approving which talent is to be selected. It's the producer, client and film director. If he insists on acting like he's the boss, remember his face and name for "future reference".

Thirdly, SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS ONLY IN YOUR PERFORMANCE, and leave it there afterwards. After the recording is done, and the casting director is still angry and emotional about you, you can only look him(or her) in the eye and ask him in a professional manner how you can better your performance. Stay emotionless for now, because it's not recorded. Remember you're an artiste, and you're way higher than to lower yourself in their state of rudeness.

Again, NOT all casting directors are as rude as the one I encountered at TTDI. Some are really nice and professional about it. But that studio in which the rude casting took place, seems to have plenty of rude and weird people around (Wardee and I saw a guy conducting an aura and energy channelling session with a group of teens there), so dear talents who is going there, be prepared. If those of you reading and had been to the castings I mentioned, do share your comments here, so we all can learn.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Find a hat that fits, dummy!

I've encountered many strange talents. I don't mean they look weird or come from outer space. From the outside, they all look perfectly decent and normal enough (which can be quite boring sometimes) I thought the interview is going well, until this particular talent opens his mouth. He said "I want to be a commercial model". Now, no slimy tentacles or viper snake shoot out from his mouth when he said this. It's just how he uttered his expectations.

I gave him a second look, and re-evaluates him again. I asked him if he has any other fields besides commercial talent, and he still insisted "I want to be a commercial model, ONLY!!" Now, you guys may think his intentions are noble enough, and persistent. But if you did have a chance to look at him like I have to, you will be surprised by his somewhat exaggerated dreams. I hate to crush people's dreams, because I do believe if you try hard enough, you might achieve it. But this guy's height was under 170cm, and his body was kinda skinny to the bones (not to mention his crops of adult acne all over his face! URGH!).

Now look, there is a lesson everyone here can take out from this situation. KNOW YOUR TALENTS. If you don't have the height, don't come to me and say you want to be a commercial model. I can't help you. I could only advise you to adjust your somewhat crazy expectations. Back to the poor guy, I gave him an option "Why don't you try ACTING?" Now that's a field almost everyone, regardless of their physical and age constraints can pursue. "But I don't like acting, I only want to be a commercial model" Here's what I mean by having an OPEN-MIND. Doesn't mean you try acting, your chances of becoming a commercial talent will slip away.

In fact, ACTING is a highly-developed and holistic set of skills, in which you need to acquire and learn even for existing models. The set of skills you need to learn are endless, but all of it you can use in your EVERYDAY life, both personal and professional. Skill sets like: articulation, self-presentation (during casting session), script interpretation, memory, recall, characterisation, body language and even modelling are just a few of the important subjects covered in our Artiste Training Course and essential in becoming a good actor. So why not learn acting?

That poor guy gave me an angry look, as if I am rejecting him. I told him not to be so narrow-minded, because the artiste world is the same, no matter what fields you choose to start from. And for him, it's good for him to start in acting, considering his angry expression was very well-presented. Then he began to settle down, and thanked me. As he walked out from the office, he gave me a swagger that further confirms my evaluation.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The ones not selected usually learns more...


The casting went fantastic! All the models who came showed great potential. But we can only select 6 models, and a lot of models turned up! Those who were not selected, please don't give up. Continue to try again. After a few rounds of catwalking tests and personal one-on-one interview, it's really hard to eliminate the models, because they ALL have great potential. The models who turned up came from various backgrounds: a majority are still studying, a few who just graduated and already working.

It's important for the so-called client and models to adjust their schedules accordingly and give ALL information beforehand (be transparent, no hiding any information). I was surprised that my ex-student who was organising this event for her music bands, did not try to set a meeting and talk with me before the casting session, to inform me about the impromptu photoshoot (next day after casting) and the press conference on Wednesday. All information MUST be made clear to me before a casting should take place! And what added the workload for me is her absence on the actual day of casting (so vital for her to be there to see the models and be familiar with them first instead of sending someone else to replace her), which leaves a number of the selected models confused about the location of her studio in Shah Alam the next day of photoshoot. In the end, I have to attend all my models' calls and that furthers the delay more. This will surely lead to a lot of silly blaming game, which I will not accept and waste my time with. I heard one of the bands came late for the photoshoot, delayed further by another late photographer which disrupts the whole schedule! (goodness gracious, more DRAMA!)

On a brighter note, I was so happy for the models because besides the runway shows, they will also be in a photo shoot with the indie bands (are they cool or dowdy, tell me fellow selected models? post your comments here), plus a press conference: good experience for the first-timers. After the announcement of which models were selected (they are: Joanna, Sasha, Nor Dayana, Amylia and Melanie), I brought those who didn't make the cut to the side and explained to them why they weren't selected. Some of them were eager to know about their mistakes, and that's a good attitude to have! It doesn't mean you didn't make it for this casting, you won't make it in the next one. TRY AGAIN. The purpose of casting is NOT clinching the job. Personally, I find those who didn't make it actually LEARNS more than those who do. Once you know your mistakes, you know you should immediately take ACTION to correct them. One way to do that can be taking an artiste training course. Everyone is different, therefore, don't feel defeated or any less good by comparing yourself with those who were selected. Your time will come. Keep trying, and learn how to better yourself. For those who were not selected, please STILL make yourself available and on stand-by. Who knows, maybe one of the selected girls didn't turn up, and you could replace her! Keep your faith, girls!

LATEST NEWS: One of the selected models didn't turn up on time and missed the photoshoot on Sunday. Now, one of the stand-by models shall be picked for the event. I wonder who will it be...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Attention to Aspiring FEMALE Models who is NOT tall & beautiful enough, casting this Saturday 23rd May, 12 noon

WARNING: I'm NOT looking for models who looks like in the picture. I understand NOT many people in this world looks like this. I myself looks normal enough, so why don't give normal-looking gals a chance to model as well? So you want to do the runway but don't know how? You think you're not tall or skinny enough, so what? Here in my blog, I am offering an opportunity to aspiring first-time "normal-looking" models a chance to trailblaze their dream. A new artiste first venturing into the entertainment industry needs experience. Without experience, nobody will ever know (or trust) your capabilities. Newcomers must take whatever is given, for the sake of building up a good portfolio. You cannot be choosy or demanding over pay. I remember when I first model, I did it for the sake of publicity even though I'm not paid for it. Who cares about the pay, when someone in the crowd watching it is a talent rep, film director or producer? The publicity is priceless. Specially for all FEMALE followers of this blog, I am now opening it to you. Casting is this Saturday 12noon at TAMAN AMAN, NEARBY LRT TAMAN PARAMOUNT. Those wanting to attend the casting, kindly POST a comment here or email to For students, you can simply reply with an sms.

You see, our criteria for models this show is very flexible. You don't have to be very tall or exremely beautiful. We are opening it now to you, the normal-looking gal who thinks she can NEVER makes it in the world of modelling. We are opening it now to you, the dejected model-wannabe who is not tall or beautiful by modelling standards. The fashion show will be on 11 June. Rehearsals are given, so you will learn how to walk properly on the catwalk. On the day of the show, make-up and hairdo is provided so you will look glamorous. By the way, we only need 6 girls. Model talent fees is minimal (meaning WE are PAYING YOU) and complimentary, up to our discretion. If you think you are a great model and deserves supermodel treatment, please DON'T attend the casting. You will be wasting our time and yours.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eliminate all friends who say you can't

I know the word "eliminate" is a tad harsh. But necessary! Eliminate here doesn't mean you kill or murder. It simply means cut off or minimise any form of communication. In your pursuit as an artiste, how many of us constantly find our dream being dragged down by our friends and even relatives' sinister remarks that always discourage us?
You're too short-la, cannot model.
You not handsome enough-la, who wants you?
Your English not good-la, how can?
You're too old, time to get marry, not chasing after silly dreams.

These remarks may not come in a loud manner, but in a very quiet and subconscious manner. It's sad that all these negative remarks come from our so-called "friends". Friends whom we trusted to be by our side and encourage us. Friends whom we thought would give us a word of encouragement. If they don't, ELIMINATE them from your Facebook, Twitter or handphone book number.

It is very harsh, but you cannot live your life as an Artiste, with these people hovering you once in awhile asking you out for "yamcha" (tea). They will only sap away your energy and leave you just like them: unambitious, negative and "boring". Some of these so-called friends are there to use you as their punching bag, a reflection of their poor selves. The more you mix with them, the lesser your determination in realising your dream. Eliminate all of them. If that leaves you with no friends at all, so be it. You become clearer and less clutter. Your horizons and objective become clearer and easier for you to set the next course of action. The life of an artiste can be lonely sometimes.

You as a future Artiste, needs to evaluate your friends again, and see who is encouraging you instead of pulling you down. There's simply no time to waste. After you had eliminated them, join a group that is supportive of your dream in becoming an Artiste. This group is extremely hard to find and rare. Like our Artiste Training Course group, we encourage each other in doing their best. We share information about any castings and tips. We also share with each other's problems in encountering any difficult situations. This way, you will only grow. And not as lonely without friends as you might think.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Who says you need to be a Top Model to do photoshoot? Look at my students.


A lot of people thinks that you can only be a top model to do photoshoots. Well, I am here to prove them all wrong. In my class trainings, I make sure each one of my students get the opportunity to do a photoshoot. Their profiles are kept at a reputable company with a large database of local and international clients.

That way, they are able to learn how to pose and model way ahead, even before they enter into real artiste work of their choice. It is important for every aspiring artiste to learn posing, because it helps them in their self-confidence. The students posing is Sharifah. The rest of the students who are waiting are also trained to be patient, while waiting for their turns. It's very similar with the real world of photoshoots. This way, every student get to exercise their mentality and discipline in coping with the real world of artiste.

The Most Valuable Gift an Artiste Possess (and it's NOT your looks and brains)

Very few people walking on the street are aware of this "gift". But if you are a true Artiste, you will know what this gift I am talking about. This gift is GIVEN to you on the day you were born. No, it's not your looks. This gift is extremely fair and generous, and every human being on this Earth is blessed with a fair amount. If you know how to use and master this gift, your life as an Artiste will be one full of beautiful experience and joy. But if not, you hate yourself for wasting this gift.

What on Earth am I talking about? OK, come closer. Let me whisper to your ear, so the answer does not escape in the air. Come closer, so I can tell you clearly what you have been missing all this while, worrying and fretting for nothing. This special gift I am talking about is time. Yes, time! It's a gift that you cannot touch but only feel its presence. If you don't use this gift, it will slip away without you knowing. Ever read the quote "how time flies in a blink of an eye?"

How old are you now? Is this the stage of life I saw myself 5 years ago? Have my dreams of becoming an artiste realised? Is this the life I am aspiring to live? Have I taken any actions in fulfilling this dream of mine? Time is a gift that requires YOU to take ACTION. Doesn't matter if your age is over 35 or under 18. NOW is the time to START. Forget about your past failures and regrets. (no progress can be achieved from dwelling in the negatives)
Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things. Jesse Jackson
Take an Artiste Training Course, start reigniting your passion for acting, modelling, TV presenting or singing at this moment. Request learning from someone who is experienced in helping you realise your dream. The years teach much which the days never know. Ralph Waldo Emerson There's a warning sign at the back of this gift box and it reads "Once the time is gone, you can never take it back"

*Below are some of my favourite quotes on time, and hopefully it'll inspire you to take action on your dreams of becoming an artiste.
They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol
Dost thou love life? Then waste not time; for time is the stuff that life is made of. Benjamin Franklin
Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived. Captain Jean Luc-Picard played by Patrick Stewart, from the film "Star Trek: Generations"
By labor we can find food and water, but all of our labor will not find for us another hour. Kenneth Patton

Monday, April 27, 2009

And the students perform....for a posh event!


These aspiring artistes are one of the most disciplined, talented and fun group I ever had. I foresee them to be resilient and strong, hopefully. They are: Wardee, Alysha, Melanie, Zul, Gina and Nur Shafiqah. Still under my tutelage and not even complete their course yet, they had already received an invitation to perform for a high-class event! I am extremely proud of them, for they did a great performance for an event held recently at an extremely posh restaurant in Sri Hartamas. What can I say more? I'm sure they don't think they did their best, but hey, to me, I felt you guys performed your best at the limited time given. If we were to have longer time for practise, I'm sure they could have done better. But the audience loved them anyway. KUDOS to you guys! Stay humble and patient, I'm sure more opportunities will come your way. And a special credit be given to Hanniz, the event planner. This is a group effort, and pray to God Almighty, we will be able to cooperate more in the future with. (Click above for a short video clip, for a little taste of these students performance)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Excuses Conquer You versus You Conquer Excuses

I am amazed at the large quantity of aspiring artistes who dreams of becoming one, but somehow lacked the "wisdom" when called to actually do something about it. One example, I emailed a potential candidate to come to my office for a casting session. Based on her profile, I see she possess some qualities that might suit what the client wants. In the email, she agrees to come and set the time with the office. But when the actual day of casting arrives, she gave the office a call and gave the excuse that she had to go back hometown for some "emergency". This situation prompts me to warns everyone reading, NOT to cancel any meeting set at the very last minute.

The least she could do is to inform the office in advance and not called in AFTER the set apointment. First, it gives her an extremely bad impression, Secondly, the client is not going to hire again, might even put her on a blacklist. Thirdly, this is the industry that loves to talk, and negative news spreads faster.

Sometimes I wonder why new talents let excuses conquer them. Simple excuses like stomachache, not enough sleep, family problems etc. It's different if the situation is life-threatening, which is VERY rare. The real problem here lies with the ATTITUDE. A lot of new talents thought just based on their looks and style, they can get away with anything. I'm sorry to tell you, an incident will hit you very soon to wake you up in our local entertainment industry. On a sympatehetic note, maybe the new talent has not take any form of training or courses that would inform them beforehand in handling unwanted situations as described earlier. Who knows with some learning and taking some course, a form of tangible understanding and DISCIPLINE might be instilled upon the new artiste? Or maybe new talents are just too plain LAZY to learn at all! That is for you to decide.

From my experience, a new talent who is lazy at learning is definitely lazy to even meet an appointment. A truly good artiste will learn to overcome these flimsy excuses. How? First, you need to IDENTIFY within yourself what is pulling you away. Then set a GOAL in your artiste life as to what you want to achieve. Lastly, you need to set a COMMITMENT to follow that apointment. All these 3 steps are simplified versions, because it actually takes more than that. A good talent artiste will try to see beyond just some quick fixes. There is no shortcut to clinching a job. Constant learning and having an open mind is a must in the life of an artiste. If not, you'll just let those unseen petty excuses to drown you in your own little world, and your dream as an artiste may not materialise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Diva-ism versus Professional-ism

Sometimes casting directors themselves are being called by production companies for castings. I was invited for a casting last week. I thought, my, thanks. Usually talents have to scour for castings and not the other way around. So when I went to this casting agent's office, I was surprised he told me that I was a diva. I mean, me, a diva? Then it hits me that when an artiste reaches a certain point in his/her career, some people in the industry will label you as a "diva". This label, in my opinion can be a compliment or a curse.

A diva simply means an artiste is acting on his/her higher state as compared to other people arounds him or her, demanding certain criteria for a project. Do bear in mind that aspiring artistes cannot demand as much as an experienced artiste. Now put that concept against another label more aptly titled "professionalisme", and it takes on a whole new meaning. Being a professional means having the courtesy to enquire details about a particular project and setting a proper time and place for a meeting or discussion. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of treatment most struggling artistes are experiencing, even more experienced artiste are not spared by this kind of treatment. I should place the "diva" attitude on the industry instead, because most directors or even producers don't even care about an artiste's well-being and suitability for the project.

If only everybody in the industry acts more professional. Then I can safely hope that there will be no more diva attitude. One cannot exists without the other. Until now, that casting agent who called me a "diva" has yet clarify the reason why he said so. But I believe it occurs during one of the shoots, when he offered to take me to the location and I text message him about him being late. Well, can he blame me for text messaging him if I'm on time and he's late? Is that a diva attitude? Hardly, more like a professional problem. Sometimes it feels more like the casting agent was more of a diva than me. Hence, all aspiring artistes here, which do you want to be? A diva? Or a professional?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reality Check No 1: Artiste World is full of Paradoxes

Definition of "Paradox": A paradox is a statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition; or, it can be an apparent contradiction that actually expresses a non-dual truth. The word paradox is often used interchangeably with contradiction. Often, mistakenly, it is used to describe situations that are ironic.

If you're an aspiring Artiste, be aware that paradox is apparent. If you're attending a casting session, and the criteria may fit your profile perfectly, do not expect you will be hired. A lot of the demands of the industry is simply paradoxical, mainly because the channels of communication is many. The film director wants a certain look for the lead actor, and communicated his thoughts to the producer. But the producer has other things in his mind, thus, adding a few more additional criteria for the lead actor.

When these so called criteria are expressed to the talent reps, it will eventually sound paradoxical, hence confusion to some. Paradox is indeed a confusion and dysfunctional wiring between the mind and the heart. Speaking from an artiste's point of view, you need to be always be YOURSELF. Because if you tries to fit in the criteria set by the producer or casting agent, very likely you will fail the audition. Nobody really knows exactly what they want. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. It could mean there's some form of open-ness in the casting process, and hey, you might stand a chance to clinch the role. Sometimes, I find it better to loosen the criteria set and leave it more open so I could find someone really interesting.

In artiste world, paradox you can turn into a good thing. Look at our own lives away from being an artiste. We want faster better convenience, yet do not want to pay a lot of money. We want our friends to accept who we are, but yet we randomly only pick friends with certain criteria. We dreams of becoming an artiste, yet sits on our back facing the computer screen without actually doing something concrete about realising the dream. We want to become an artiste, yet not thinking what happens next after achieving it. Same principle applies to the industry as well. Film directors hire actors who fit the stereotypes in their minds, but not taking heed of what the audience are actually feeling about local films and how it should change. Aspiring artiste getting ready to venture into the industry are thinking twice about the manic paradox maze lying ahead of them.

Again, not all is lost when these 2 things you bear in mind: be YOURSELF and be INTERESTING. Not everyone can know themselves honestly and get a proper perspective of themselves as an artiste. If you were to inspect and judge yourself, some form of bias is sure to taint the actual picture. Even to be an interesting artiste, you have to walk on the fine line of being an interesting artiste that evokes either a positive or worst, a negative rejection. A second party is needed to provide an objective and professional help in grooming the artiste's talent. One best way is take up an artiste training course. It sets you ready for a position that is stronger to tackle the many grey areas on what lies in the heads of producers and directors. Hopefully, with the proper education and training, it will get you through this paradoxical, hyper-competitive artiste world.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rule Number 1 When Becoming an Artiste: Be NOT afraid in making enemies

And the opposite is equally true. Do not be afraid to make friends ALSO. But most Malaysian artistes are more afraid in making enemies. And that could cause some deep insecurities to surface, which may result in our undoing. Especially when you're on set location shooting a film, commercial or anything. During this critical stage, an Artiste needs to be CLEAR, on guard and be aware of instructions given to move from one location to another, or act and gesture in certain ways for the camera. The pressure on location can sometimes leave some crew on location become extremely rude or uncaring.

As an Artiste, when encountering such "attitude", you should not be a puppet and just smile. Depending on the situation, sometimes you really need to speak out if you find it to unbearing. If you don't speak out, it might affects your performance later in front of the camera. The key here is COMMUNICATION. Now, also be aware of the things you want to communicate. If it doesn't affect you, please don't be a busy-body and stand up for others, because you don't know the full story. Try to focus on yourself and what you should do. This can be hard, because you're acting with other people as well. Sometimes people on set jokes, and you responded. But leave it just that. When it's time to work, meaning perform, you really need just do your part. That requires a form of internal discipline that can only be developed after years in the industry.

Even when you go casting, even when you don't intend in making any enemy, they do spring unknowing. Especially when you become famous, sometimes people dislike you for crazy reason. It all still comes to how strong you are as a person to face such adversary. Sometimes you have to "fight", but in a right way. Sometimes you have to speak your mind, but choose your words wisely and sparingly. Enemies and friends are no different really. They are people.

Remember to MAKE FRIENDS too. The waiting time on location can be very long. During this time, it's always cool to start a casual conversation. (but NOT gossip) Remember still that you're an Artiste. If you delve in gossiping others, the gossip-mongers may circle and you become the target too. It's different once you become an artiste. Show all the good, correct all the bad.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Happy Artiste is an Active Artiste.

Human beings are constantly doing things that please themselves. Know it or not, YOU are doing things that you think will bring you happiness in one way or another. YOU choose to be an artiste because YOU feel it is time you do something meaningful that could bring you recognition in any form (because all of us are fearful that nobody remembers us when we died, me included!) But in our daily pursuit of being an artiste, we need to constantly reminds ourselves what makes us truly HAPPY. This is because chasing after jobs is never going to guarantee us real happiness. I realised this point, because it's true that happiness lies in our ACTIONS, and never in the pursuit of a dream or ambition. The many simple acts we can do to help others can be devilishly satisfying. Below is what happiness means to me when I act:

I get to eat an extremely satisfying meal at an extremely cheap price!
I get a phone call requesting me to help a film director find talents for a big-budget local film!
I get to help an "ugly", most un-"commercial" look talent clinch his/her first job.
I get to do so many things in just an hour.
I get to combine what I love to do with what I can give to others.
I get to walk as fast as I could while carrying a bunch of stuff.
I get to connect one idea with another idea.
I get to "argue" with the foreign food vendors while not really understanding a word they said.
I get to buy a bunch of books at one visit, and taking my longest time reading it.
I get to watch a good film and being delighted by the meaning.
I get to interact with people younger than me and be enhanted by their innocence and extraordinary ideas.
I get to know a secret that nobody else knows.

And the list goes on, some I cannot put down. But you get the idea. It's all about our ACTIONS that give happiness. So don't sit on your butt, get up and do something, ANYTHING! Take a training course that makes you do stuff. Call up a friend and set a meeting for catching up. Or eat some foreign food just for the sake of trying new things.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

To be a Real Artiste, is simply to maintain an Open Mind

It doesn't mean you have to appear on TV every month.
It doesn't mean everybody has to love you.
It doesn't mean you have to be rich and beautiful.
Being a real Artiste, simply means you have an Open Mind consistently. And that's no easy task.

In the course of our teenage and adulthood, we have been filtered in our minds and psyche that there are certain things that are done in certain ways. Certainly we cannot blame ourselves for thinking in certain ways. But being AWARE that your thoughts are such pattern is the first step in cultivating an OPEN MIND. But why is an OPEN MIND so important?

One of the main reasons is because nearly everybody around us has a somewhat closed mind, or set principles in their way of thinking and living. So set and enshrined are their thoughts and principles, until they condemned and even threatened others to follow their way or otherwise. This is called the manic crazy-obsessive pattern that is prevalent in our local industry. The thoughts are set in a way that the person must be beautiful and intelligent in order to be an Artiste. Does an ugly and stupid person makes the story (referring to the TV show, film etc) even better? For example, how many people here loves "Ugly Betty"? Unlike in our country, you get all these glamorous and model-like actors gracing the screen. That's why when you switched on the TV, you'll be constantly experiencing the dejavu as though this story has been repeated many times, or the style of acting is so similar and cliche with the same themes repeated. Is there anything new anymore? It's not the looks or how high the IQ of that someone that draws audience to watch. It's how INTERESTING the talent can be.

Second important reason is because as an Artiste, your life is never the same like others. Either you're starting out or already has a reputation, having an Open Mind brings many possibilities. One afternoon, I was having my lunch and a boy whom has seen me on some commercials came up to me asked me why does my bag look similar to a lady's. Or when you walk on the streets and someone stopped you in your tracks and commented on your attitude on that particular show. How would you respond then? On the extreme side, there's even people who befriended you because you're an Artiste and simply for that reason, and not for friendship whatsoever. For aspiring Artistes who are starting out, you'll encounter many instances where you'll be out of work at long periods of time. An open-minded Artiste will take this time to improve him/herself in their skill sets. Or start writing a film. Or find other works related to the industry, not necessarily an artiste. The possibilities are endless. But on the other side, a close-minded artiste would blame the industry, or even sell themselves short by using their bodies in getting jobs. Again, being an Artiste is not about appearing on screen. If you cannot get others to give you an opportunity, why not create the opportunity yourself?

Lastly, having an Open Mind helps in your own personal life as well. You will not take yourself too seriously and let yourself grow at your own rate. You will not demand other people to follow your way of thinking, but respect and learn from others why they think and act differently from you. Many times we have to be aware of our own prejudices and judgements, because we all have them! Prejudices and judgements itself are not wrong, but rather serve as some form of precaution. And that's all it served. Don't let prejudices and judgements rule your life! Leaving space for open mind is extremely useful especially if you desires to be an Artiste. Only then you are able to accept new ideas and concepts. Only then you are able to feel happier in taking on challenges without fear or a fretful gloom on your face.

Lastly, an Open Mind is essential in making friends and forming a community that is diverse and creative in nature. Nobody can become an Artiste without the support from others. Finding artiste work is an exremely long process. Don't make it harder by having a close mind. You, who are reading this article is able to make CHANGE. You never know in the future when you become a film producer or director, always remember you have to cultivate an OPEN-MIND. Don't give in to your predecessor's set of beliefs and principles. Why not hire someone totally out-of-context as actors for your new film? Imagine what fresh perspectives that particularly "ugly" person can bring. Don't always do everything correctly or right, as perceived by others. There's no such thing as right, only that you gave into others' pressure to how you should hire a talent. That means you already let yourself conform to your group's pressure, rather than give yourself the chance to break new grounds. Your "WRONG" could be the only right medicine you need.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

When you hear the thunder, do you think it'll rain?

I was half-asleep in the afternoon when I heard the thunder. It was supposed a restful day for me, after a day of hectic shoot and travelling. But the thunder woke me up. The constant "growling" of the thunder also reminds me of the plans awaiting for me for the day. So I woke up and quickly got ready to do the list of important errands. I also remembered the bring the umbrella and wore a pair of crocs, so my sneakers won't get wet when it rains.

When I'm outside, I could see the clouds slowly gathering in the horizon. All this time, my head was latched on the idea that it will rain. As the day dragged to the end, not a single drop of rain still. That interesting day compelled me to write this entry and also reminds me of a lesson. How often do struggling out-of-work artistes felt like nothing in their career is happening. The seemingly silent phone makes them feel like they are going nowhere, not progressing one inch.

But if your effort is done, and the "seeds" are planted (meaning you've been hardworking in attending castings and communicating with the important people related to your career), something is bound to happen. Doesn't matter the past failures and mishaps you've had with whoever you know in the industry. Something is bound to happen when you keep your faith and strive on. The sky may look still. You may be holding your umbrella, hoping to open it when it does rain. But only a distant thunder is heard, and the ground is dry.

When I reached home late in the night, it finally rained.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Perfection is boring"

Recently, I watched American Idol and find the selection for the Top 36 to be exceptionally good mix. I also observed carefully the way the 4 judges gave their views and comments in selecting the Top 36. Finally, when it comes to the performance, I heard Paula Abdul uttered this line "Perfection is boring". Absolutely spot on!

Sometimes we love (or hate) judges who can speak on the audiences' behalf, what's buried deep in their minds, but were unable to articulate. I felt the line above rings true not only to the Americans, but here in Malaysia as well. The term "package" actually means the outer physical form of the artiste, and does not always refer to the talent herein. There was this absolutely beautiful girl who performed on stage, but sang not quite strongly when compared to other contestants. Ultimately, she did not garner enough votes for her to stay in the next round. Maybe she thinks by using her "package" she could get away with the most votes to keep her in the competition. How wrong it turned out to be....

Her elimination has validated the American public's choice in upholding talent above any "package", we here in Malaysia so cherished. What's the use of a good package when the product does not function as well as it should be? Can Malaysian public be so blinded by the "perfection" in the package and forgets the value of the product? I don't think so. I believed Malaysians are not that easily blinded by all the hoo-ha of the term "package". Malaysians are smarter than they are given credit for.

But that does not means the "package" is not important at all. What bothers me
is that almost crazy obssession many film directors and casting placed upon this almost unimportant criteria when selecting a talent. Here's when the blindness is reversed away from the audience and placed upon the local entertainment industry. The actual fact is, it is the producers and filmmakers who are truly blinded, not the audience. No wonder why so many older generation of actors are left without work after being in the industry for so many years. Veteran actors are rising in revolt against this silly notion placed on the young rising actors, and demanded for equal attention. Even the word "veteran" is scrutinized for its meaning.

Again, let's look to the west for some reference. You don't have to be young to be in the entertainment industry. You don't have to be super beautiful to remain strong in the career of choice. And finally, you don't have to perfect to be an artiste. Because eventually, like what Paula Abdul commented, "is boring!"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Video Shoot This Sunday and Next

Hello members of our "secret society" (you know who you are) . Please come this Sunday for your video shoot. Those who are yet to receive your script, please post your email here. This film will be showcase in this blog. Whoever wants some good exposure, you are welcome to submit your email. But priority are given only to official members of the class.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Takut tak bererti"

Kris ramai kawan melayu,
Sesetengah Kris jemput ke rumah,
Ada yang berani, ada yang kaku,
Sebab sekitar jiran anjing dipelihara.

Yang berani datang, bole dikira tangan,
Satu alim orangnya bernama Haji,
Sama saya jalan lambat sambil puji Tuhan,
Bila nampak anjing, cepatnya lari!

Awek jelita dijemput rasa hairan,
Wajahnya ayu, tak sabar dibawa ke rumah,
Waktu malam Kris bawa berjalan,
Nampak anjing, lenyap dia entah ke mana!

Yang tak disenangi juga dibawa ke rumah lewat,
Rasa nak kenakan sebab sombong,
Besarnya cakap pasal dirinya hebat,
Nampak anjing, lekas ke kereta berkongkong.

Laki miang dibawa balik juga,
Asyik pegang sana sini entah takde erti,
Nak marah dia pun hilang daya,
Dihadap mukanya ke anjing terus berhenti.

Sekian, kawan-kawan Melayu yang disayangi,
Anjing ciptaan makhluk Tuhan ilahi,
Tiada salah berdamping erat di sisi,
Semuanya bersih, suci di hati.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Can Malaysia Judge Talents?

The recent spate of reality shows cropping on TV these past month, has again make me think a lot about our own reality singing shows versus the ones in the west. Given my background and experience in past reality shows like Malaysian Idol, Malaysia Top Host and Gillette Vector Challenge, I dare say it gives me some strong ideas and opinions on the topic at hand.

New aspiring artistes, I do encourage you all to participate in these shows. These shows really trains you be PATIENT (the long waiting period), to be CREATIVE (on how to be different from other contestants) and to be COURAGEOUS (in showcasing your talent). The last point is harder for some or almost all people, because the contestants might not have the knowledge or skill to really perform or showcase their real talents at hand, live in front of the dreaful judges. That's when an Artiste Training Course can really be helpful in bridging that gap between inner talent and really performing live!

Besides all the inner values one can learn through reality TV, there's also the benefit of exposure, either negative or positive. This point is actually beyond any aspiring artiste's control, because the production team and talent judges will be the deciding factor on that. Now here's the ultimate issue: can Malaysia judge talents?

We all know a talent needs to have these qualities: Looks, Values and of course, Skill. I got a question for you guys: which of the 3 above should be first priority? I would like to take a recent example of a local singing reality show, where one ex-member of a boyband were given the leeway approval to join in the contest. From the way I watched him sang with his guitar, he's just as average as any tom, joe and henry. But....BUT one advantage he got is he already recorded several albums. As an outsider, you will be surprised how he stretched his vocals quite strenuously just to fill in the melodies. And it doesn't look too good. Yet, he's been given the approval from the judges.

I pitied the others who were rejected from the show. I can feel for them, because of the much unseen forces at work which could go against them. Especially for those with the real skill but not so much the looks. There's this chubby guy who obviously can sing to charm the judge, but she gave him the answer "Just sing for fun, OK?" Why, the chubby guy, to me, definitely can sing like a sinatra, probably he tries too hard?

In Malaysia, if you tries too hard, it doesn't guarantee success. There's this one film director, whom I very much admired once. Looking at all the "success" this director achieves, naive artistes (like myself) tend to flock to this director. But really, director also selects favourites. There is no point in flocking to anyone who seems successful, only to find out in a harsh way that even the most distinguished of them all falls short of the so-called "moral standards" so preached by them. Here's the key problem: favouritism. Chance are not given to those who tries hard to achieve their luck. Traditions and all the preaching about family matters, only reinforces this notion of favouritism.

Again, why credit are not given to those who really tries their hardest in these shows? The answer is obvious, "your looks just don't suit our show". Have you guys watch "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 2? All the dancers look so dreamy, but in the last elimination, it was the geeky looking dude who got elimination cut from the judges. Pretty harsh world out there, in the reality TV world. This standard translates also in the film industry, where actors are being selected based on their model-like features, not necessary their Values or Skill.

Dear aspiring artistes, if you got the right VALUES, you can go anywhere. Do not put all your hopes in reality TV show or any specific genre. Open your minds to other possibilities. In Malaysia, I am saddened by the importance it places on looks first, rather than the Value that talent possesses. We all know your Skill can be moulded and changed for the better. We know Looks are unchangeable and therefore what you got, is what you got. But Values, my friends, Values are what truly makes an Artiste because it is either changeable or unchangeable, therefore Values are the most powerful in its form. The drive and determination to push on, even the whole of Malaysia rejects you. The willpower to succeeed no matter what the current situation looks like, values truly push us over the edge to finally discover our real potential.

It's still a sad scene in our local entertainment scene, where Looks and Skill has taken a crazy pedestal place of worship. Malaysia forgets about the Values. Malaysians THINK they have the Values, and therefore executes their judgement based on what they perceived to be, somewhat flimsy notions concocted from their supposedly long-held traditions and non-proven beliefs in what's real but never really questions it with some intellect and compassion for the talent. So can Malaysia still judge talents? I think we can, once we start to redefine our values again with deeper, more insightful questions and more hard thinking.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Aspiring Film-makers, Actors and Screenplay Writers can start with this film. (even film marketers)

This film, in my personal opinion, encapsulates all the wonderful elements in film-making, acting and writing. Of course it's one of the most popular films in its genre. And there were so much talk and hype surrounding this film. But all is much deserving. Because I'm actor, naturally I am fascinated by Anthony Perkin's portrayal as Norman Bates. Observe his underlying madness beneath a cheerful appearance. Not to mention his body language and the way he "eats" like a bird". Janet Leigh's somewhat "brief" appearance in this film, is also commendable. Watch her transformation from being a helpless adulterer to a thief and finally ended up as the victim in the famous bathroom murder.

For those aspiring to be a film-maker, your eye for detail in this film can be further sharpened by a dozen visual cues to further exemplify a certain character and atmosphere. The mirror that often reflects the characters from the city is apparent in this film. Take note also how the colour of Janet's character wearing from a white to a black color bra, symbolising her transformation from pureness to evil after she decided to keep the bulk of money from her employer. Be amazed by even the very first opening shot to the composition of each frame, right to the cuts of each scene in this film (especially the bathroom murder scene).

For the aspiring screenplay writers, listen to brief and succint dialogue from each scene. I especially like the scene in the reception room when Norman were having a chit-chat with Marion and how so much emotions are expressed, in synch with the character's own motivation and objective. Observe also the many dead birds that were stuffed with sand and preservatives (taxidermists) in the reception room right before Marion's own fate that were killed off.

In marketing terms, "Pyscho" were made at a very low budget. But scored a huge profit when it hits the cinemas. I must say it's the clever shock-and-warning tactic used by Alred Hitchcok to induce some form of discipline. The warning of coming to the cinema early to catch the film was clearly emblazoned at all entrances, further digging the anticipated terror and curiosity about the film.

All in all, "Psycho" is a very well-rounded film, in that it has all the right elements that pulls together to a very clearly defined concept of a film. From the music to the lighting, it ultimately leads to terror to its audience. Aspiring artistes can take inspirations from watching this film and felt a somewhat strange satisfaction in being in the shadows of Norman and Marion. The sheer objectivity in each of the actor's performance is commendable and should be in fact be taken as an important lesson to all aspiring actors when they are reading their scripts. Below are some incriminating advice from the film director, Alfred Hitchcock to:
The film director: If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.
The actor: When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, "It's in the script"/ If he says, "But what's my motivation?", I say, "Your salary".
The screenplay writer: I don't understand why we have to experiment with film. I think everything should be done on paper. A musician has to do it, a composer. He puts a lot of dots down and beautiful music comes out. And I think that students should be taught to visualize. That's the one thing missing in all this. The one thing that the student has got to do is to learn that there is a rectangle up there - a white rectangle in a theater - and it has to be filled.

PS: Students who wants a copy of Psycho, let me know when we meet.