Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My first time letting go a Malay movie offer

It's not easy. Heart-breaking, in fact. The reason artistes like myself continue to work, is really for the sake of the art. Letting go this offer is actually a first for me. I am never selective of work, unless it doesn't match my credentials. Letting go this movie offer doesn't mean I'm already a "big star" or whatsoever, more because of the clash in dates. It's like the first time you lose your loved ones, like I did with my father. The first time you inhale a puff of smoke, and choke like mad. The first time you fall in love. Or really hate a person. The feeling of letting go this role is painful, to say the least.

I don't get it when people say I'm too "emotional". The truth of the matter is, we are all emotional. If I'm not emotional about it, that means I didn't put in the effort, don't they get it? I was very happy to receive this movie offer title BAIK GILER. It's a comedy where I'm playing the supporting role Yap.

I put in so much effort during the casting process, and clinch the role! I also put in a lot of effort writing and training the actors for another event tour project. From what I've been through this past month, it seems only the Malay film company really do appreciates my effort. I was in a frantic pace, since I was committed to this event project. I was taken aback when the event project coordinator told me that the date to Penang has been postponed to May 11 and 12 (from the original dates of 5 & 6) at the last minute, right before we're to embark on the tour and after I've already informed the production company the original dates I'm not free.

Some people think money is the motivating point in pursuing the artiste life. For me, commitment to the art is what truly motivates me. I was so adamant and unsure and emotional about myself letting this Malay movie offer slip away. It's quite a big part. The reason they cannot change the schedule for me is because of the main star. But I have to let this role go because of the commitment I had with the event tour.

Now I am left in a lurch, doubtful and uncertain , neither here nor there. For what I really want, isn't what I really need. So I went and confide with my friends. They told me not to worry, calm down and be patient. Better movie offers will come my way.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What a talent should do during pre-production meeting

Recently, I was involved in a commercial project. Commercials are usually more professional in their conduct and shooting process. As a talent, once you're committed to the project, you have to attend all the meetings required. (you'll be surprised how many half-hearted, uncommitted & perhaps confused talents would give up last minute). Basically, the production process for the talent are: casting > shortlisted> confirmation > pre-production meeting > wardrobe fitting > shoot. Below are some points I hope will help future talents out there when they're confirmed for any job:

Get to know your team
For this entry, I chose to write about the pre-production meeting, which is extremely crucial! This is because, during this meeting, you'll be getting acquainted with the director, assistant director, producers and production head. Usually it's the main talent who will be meeting them, because he'll be working very closely with them.

Project a professional attitude
Since this is a meeting, it is advisable for the main talent to show their best behavior (only if you truly have them). You also get the chance to see how your director works and listen to his ideas envisioned. A storyboard will always be given, so the talent gets to see what frame and actions are required. Be very familiar with the storyboard.

Get to know your character...even more
Ask questions about your character, and how you should act: either very simplicitly or layered with plenty of meanings. For this commercial, I have a very distinct character. Hence, half of the acting homework is done. The other half is usually on the shooting itself. The director was impressed by my body language and facial expression.

Feel the character from the clothes
Next comes the wardrobe fitting. For this commercial project, I got to try out like over 30 sets of clothes for all the 5 scenes in the commercial. So be very good at managing clothes during the fitting. There will be belts and jackets and shoes to try on. Each wardrobe fit, a photographer will take a snapshot. So remember to smile.

Finally before you leave the meeting, try to get everyone's names in your head. Then give everyone, regardless who they are and what position they may hold in the production team, a nod of acknowlegement or a handshake as a sign of courtesy (which is very lacking in a lot of people, even those in the supposedly corporate line). Hey, it's not always you get to be the main star of a national (might be regional) advertising campaign for a famous brand.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The process of becoming a wo-man

A wise man once said "A human being is like a house with many rooms. To fully live, you need to explore each room". Interesting quote isn't it? Now being a woman isn't the obvious option for any man to explore? Even a woman herself has many things she need to know about herself. Now, this is not an article advocating any sex change operation. Merely in the acting sense. And that is quite a process. Take this journey with me:

Blessing or curse?
It's either a blessing in disguise or a burden. Personally, I think it's a little bit of both. Everywhere I go, it's no longer black or white. Dogs or kittens. The sun or the moon. The good or evil. Everything is becoming one. The very thought of having "breasts" is both enticing and burdensome.

Casting is the hardest work, when you're the director too
The truth of the matter is, I am still the stage director for this hugely complex comedy skid, in which I'm also the writer. Complex because of the flow of the dialogues and matching the right actor or actress to play all the characters. God knows I've tried like a dozen or so actors for the various roles. When I've finally assigned the actors for each of the 3 main roles, one of them, which happened to be a woman, dropped out the last minute.

What? Still no wo-man?
Hence, began my journey. Not straight into becoming a woman, but more of finding a replacement. And the role is not easy to fit, mind you. After a frantic search and various kinds of bribery and light threats were exchanged, still no replacement. Finally, the onus of taking the woman role falls on me. It takes time to get the character right. No wonder so many actress not committed.

In search for the dress that fits a man, add a bra or two
Instantly, have to go to Sungei Wang to look for a wig and a dress that fits. Aaah, the dress. It's deceptive to view a pretty dress and think how good it'll look on you, until you actually tried to put it on (help!). As for me, none of the pretty dresses fit. And so I settled for the blue Marilyn Monroe-like blue dress, at the same shop where I've also bought the expensive blonde wig. I tell you, some unseen forces is at work here, that makes sure I get all the essentials. Is this role meant for me, I secretly asked God. By the way, I discovered I can only wear bra size 36C. Va-va-voom!

Behind every successful wo-man is the shoes
Then comes the shoes. The thing about shopping, to me, is when you decide to buy something to conjure a certain look (in my peculiar case: the image of a wo-man), you better complete the whole look. This pair of 6-inch shoe, red in color, with ankle belt, strikes me as the perfect "hooker-wife" look. Apparently, during the performance, the red shoes caused more "trouble" than anticipated. I heard the audiences laughed anyway.

Switch the sex, twist the facts, bingo, it's comedy!
Ancient Romans have a word for the female and male spirit: anime (female) and animus (male). Being the writer for this comedy skid, I've pretty much got the essence of both clearly written. Since it's a comedy, the switch between the 2 spirits always bring freshness to the play. Funny thing is, I actually wanted the daughter character to play the boy. It finally ended with me (the boy) playing the mother (a wo-man).

ATTENTION: We are still looking for actors or actress to play the main Mother role. So if you think you fit, read the article below "Looking for Actress" and apply asap! These red hooker-wife shoes are killing me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When an artiste is travelling for work....4 steps to observe.

Travelling is fun! It takes us to new places, meet new people, gain new experiences! But when an artiste is travelling for work, there are a few basic etiquettes one needs to observe. It's not rules or anything, but basic attitude one should follow. And what are they? Here are 4 simple steps that anyone (regardless of whether you're a working artiste or not) can follow.

STEP 1: Take great care of your health
An artiste should really take care his/her health at all times. Their body should enables them to do almost anything. Because be it acting, singing or modelling; you need to use your body isn't it? Treat your body like a temple. A temple is clean and revered for its host. And the host is YOU! Why not choose health? Take your vitamins, drink plenty of water, and most importantly remember to breathe. That's where sleep and rest is important too.

STEP 2: Talk positive, not personal
We've just covered the physical health. Now this is about your mental health. We all love to talk. Even myself! Especially in long travelling time, no one should be a loner. By all means, talk! But try to focus on the POSITIVE things. Talk about how you achieved your successes, I'm sure there's many. Talk about how to improve yourself further in any chosen field. Topics that one should avoid during travelling time is anything to do with private matters like: personal relationships, sexuality, family background, financial status or religious beliefs.

STEP 3: Show off on stage, not behind
During travelling, some artiste might boast about themselves. Depending what the artiste boasts about, usually it is better not to. If you're good already, keep it to yourself until showtime. Remember there are other artistes around you. Help each other during showtime and rehearsal. Stay humble. And remember, it's not always about you.

STEP 4: Keep a great team spirit going
Now as an artiste, you're never working alone. You have others around you who will give you comments about your performance. Well, sometimes you just have to remember is that you're working as a team. How to keep a great team spirit? Two words simply: HAVE FUN! Aaaah, the secret to having fun can only be achieved when you actually follow the 3 previous steps. It's a wonderful cycle. It's how a wonderful artiste life should be.

When you enjoy what you do, all the hardwork seems like nothing. Even the travelling time passes so quickly. And the next thing you know, you will begin to miss this experience of travelling and working as an artiste. Suddenly, you begin to want more. Suddenly you begin to search for answers. Why don't you join our Artiste Training Course? The wonderful cycle just keeps on turning.

NOTE TO MAIN TALENTS TOURING: PENANG location changed to May 10th (departure), 11th & 12th (performance).