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.