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.