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