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.