Saturday, January 15, 2011

A showcase of my past press interviews articles & write-ups - press interview tips on how to impress

When facing media, have a cheerful, calm disposition
In my last coaching session with the fashion students, the module was "How to Prep for the Spotlight". It's wonderful to see how every student behaved and responded to the interview questions set by their counterparts. Of course, many were not prepared to answer the questions set forth in a graceful manner. A lot of the questions given by the students were very simple, which I assume it would be easier for them to answer. But not all were able to answer the questions.

The spotlight is not everything, but extremely essential in the beginning
As an artiste who was interviewed by the media before, I hope to impart some tips in handling the press. Depending on what industry you come from, I always see the similarities between an actor and a fashion designer - both are often put in the spotlight, and their works are seen in the public. But in my opinion, an aspiring fashion designer needs to work harder in getting press interviews on their clothes, on top of their work in crafting the pieces, compares to an actor whose work is showcased immediately on screen.

Caught by the paparazzi in an awkward moment
Use media to establish your name and your work
Publicity is important for any new artiste and fashion designers too, because until your name is printed on the media, you are still considered a non-artiste. Until your name is published in the media, be it press or on TV, you are still an unknown. I always believe in the concept of synergy. Like in my teaching the fashion college, I get to share my knowledge and at the same time, hopefully, bring up the works of some of the talented fashion designers in that school. My assignment for them this time, is to write a press release. For an example of a good press release, kindly click here:

Media report on my lifestyle - true or false? 

Any publicity is good publicity when you're new
In my past coaching practices, I am used to helping other actors. Now, I get to see how I can help aspiring fashion designers. One of the rewards I told my students is their well-written press release will get a mention in my blog. And if they also designed a creation, I might even publish an entry about their creation. The greatest outcome for any aspiring fashion designers is publicity, which is the most valuable commodity any new aspiring artistes can ask for. But a precaution: once got it, best to pursue your focus back on your craft. Because the press can be a double-edged sword. I was once photographed by the paparazzi in an embarassing position.

Seek publicity only as a way to get jobs
Here's where a lot of artistes and even the whole entertainment industry got misled. Sometimes publicity is not what makes an artiste. The quality of your work is truly what makes you an artiste. Publicity only help early in one's career, but it is not all of one's career. In the early stage of my career as an artiste, the reporters can only report much of my social activities, because I have not made any films yet. But they sense my talent early on and what I am able to achieve. Truth be told, I'm currently one of the few actors who made a respectable body of works which encompasses many types of acting genres.

Telling the world I'm back on my feet
Give the media what it wants - briefly, objectively
Then when I've starred in a few Malay local series, the reporters then have some materials they can work on. Like what I told my students, they need to have some newsworthy material even before they write their press releases. (components in a press release are: Headline, Body Copy, the 5 Ws and 1 H) To get these newsworthy material requires hard work as well. I need to audition for all the roles I got in the past. But some fame to back you up certainly helps. Like for this article on the left, it shows I am up for bigger challenges, ready to fight my way all to the top. If you're in the artiste world for the fame and publicity game, then you'll need to do whatever you can while you're "hot". Take anything the industry dish out for you. But not me. Rather, I tried my best to select the roles where it expands my portfolio as an actor, and that is very important for a good and serious actor to continue working, if not in Malaysia, then overseas.

The work never ends for a serious artiste

Always stay humble when being interviewed
Some artistes think they are successful already having their faces splashed across papers and magazines. But everything in life has its seasons. Being in the entertainment industry actually has a lot to do with yourself. Knowing yourself first is important because everything about you is magnified during any press interview. Keeping a level head and clear on why you give the interview is very important. Journalists are watching and judging you too. During my coaching, I can immediately tell whether the student has the potential simply from his/her attitude towards learning in my Artiste Training Course. So having a good attitude is very important (and difficult too).

About my coaching services
My coaching service 1-on-1 is priced at RM5000 for 15 sessions (2-hour per session). Subjects covered are: Acting, Modelling, TV Hosting, Film Writing and Film Direction. For more info, kindly leave a comment or request for handphone number here with your name and contact details. Please bear in mind we are NOT talent casting agency and does NOT give students jobs in whatever kind.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Coaching Practice is getting Bigger & Wider in Diversity. The latest being in a reputable fashion school! An insider's view on how I teach and coach.

An Invitation to Teach
Recently, I was invited to teach at a prestigious and reputable fashion school. This school has churned out many top fashion designers in our country, most notably Bernard Chandran. I accepted the offer to teach because the head principal is such a wonderful lady and easy to work with. Usually, most of my students come from extremely serious industries such as engineering, IT and banking. But the fashion industry proved to be an interesting choice to me.

Most successful first class I ever conducted
The students from the school were extremely creative in their fashion sense. But of course, most creative people usually lacks in communications skill. Here's where I come in. My first class with the fashion students turned out to be super successful. The attendance for my class has even surpassed the seating capacity! Of course, there were a few late comers, but everyone were very cooperative and attentive. There were students from China and Japan in the audience too. I suspect the school might have promoted the course I teach with the exposure I bring along in my past acting track record, for example the last commercial I appeared in:

The Socratic Method -  To Learn, you need To Ask
Aspiring stars from the fashion industry
I foresee this group of students I'm teaching to be great stars in their own rights. From my observation, creative people from the fashion school are more hardworking and focus in executing certain tasks that I've designed for them compared to say, students from the IT schools. I believe these fashion students are motivated firstly by their passion of what they do. I believe they also come to their senses when I successfully made them see how important it is to have good communication skills, especially when they are selling their clothes to their buyers in the future. Primarily, I used the Socratic Method, which is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideasAll the students there were willing to learn, even when some of them can't even understand English, especially some Malay students, they still strive to pay attention and learn. Very impressive.

Be receptive to the audience
Being receptive to your audience is key
In a large audience, sometimes an inexperienced speaker may find him/herself lost. Discipline is important in both areas - first knowing your flow of topic and at the same time receptive of the "messages" sent out from the audience. Like during my class at the fashion school, my mind is separated into not 2, but 3 critical areas. Because it's simpler for a speaker to divide the large crowd: first being the audience, second is the students performing on stage and third the flow of topic at hand.

Listen and Analyse
As a speaker, many times I can learn something new from my students too. You have to know that your students are human beings after all. They deserve as much respect as you do. Hence, listening to their presentation is important to determine the level of their understanding of the lesson. Analyse only the results, not the person. From analysis, only then the speaker can share the insights derived from each performance, which is totally different from the next.

Insights shared are insights multiplied
Use the white board!
Immediately when an insight come to mind, I will usually write it on the white board. A wonderful insight can come suddenly even when the students are performing, hence a quick mind and agile hands to write are mandatory in ensuring each performance is able to come to a useful conclusion for all the other students (audience) to learn from. Remember: nothing written, nothing gained.

I'm your friend even when I'm teaching/coaching you
Talk to your student like a friend
As most of my past students would willingly testify, I treat each one of them like a friend. No doubt I am their teacher/coach, but I never place myself higher than them. It's easier for both of us too when we treat each other like a friend, because then, the student will feel more comfortable in expressing their thoughts on certain topics. Being clear and free from judgement are vital aspects in sustaining a friendship, that apply to my relationship with my students too.

A funny moment in my students' performance
As a coach, I never restrain myself from laughing, especially when my students' performance merit for that type of response. Laughter is a wonderful remedy to ease any tension and boredom in a class. Sometimes my students don't even realise what they did was funny, and as a teacher, you should respond accordingly. That way, your students felt their performances are affective to the audience and managed to make an impact, no matter how small or big. Your response as a teacher will encourage them to try harder.

Learning to communicate and cooperate
with others who are "different" from you.

Make sure your students make friends with each other and end with a handshake
In a large class, most of the students may not know each other as well as they should. A good teacher will design tasks that will encourage the students to mingle among themselves. Like the class I taught at the fashion school, I purposely arrange students who are completely different and stranger to each other. Like in the picture, I place the Malay girl with a Chinese girl together as partner. True understanding is achieved when one is placed in a completely unfamiliar territory.

Even when performing on stage, give space for absorption .
Finally, give time to your students to absorb
As a teacher, I can give information at lightning speed. Depending on how fast the students absorb, I will usually give them time to think and discuss first. Personally, I believe no matter how much information I may provide, it is still best for them to perform on stage. Once they do that, it occurs to me that they will almost always get the point and learn faster that way. As they say, action speaks louder than words. I don't just teach, I make sure you take action.

All the ingredients ready to become the total package
Even fashion designers need the total package to succeed in the extremely competitive fashion industry, and not just for artistes. In a way, fashion designers are artistes too, if they choose to see themselves that way, which they should! Here, I have already imparted my best knowledge in coaching this new group of fashion students, with the hope that one day soon, they will be stars, like they truly deserve to be.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tahun Baru, Imej Baru, Tips Baru> 4 Langkah Utama Menghadapi Senior yang biadap dan ingin cari gaduh mati (extreme tu, tapi ini semua masalah ciptaan manusia sendiri)

Seronoknya tahun baru bila disambut dengan konflik ciptaan manusia
Bagusnya, kita semua selamat sampai di tahun baru 2011 ini. Saya ingin ucapkan Selamat Tahun Baru kepada semua pembaca saya dari seluruh dunia. Biasanya orang bangun pada hari tahun baru ini pasti mempunyai semangat baru. Bagi saya, saya disambut oleh satu senario yang agak berlainan. Waktu nak buka pintu, dijemput sekumpulan kanak-kanak kecil dari kawasan persekitaran, yang duduk di hadapan halaman rumah, tengah seronok bermain. Antara kanak-kanak kecil yang rupanya comel, datangnya suara seorang anak kecil lelaki dengan basikalnya bersantai di dinding tangga halaman. Terkejut bila dengar isi suara kanak-kanak kecil ini kerana ia dicampur dengan pemandangan kolot yang berbau biadap. Orang tak kacau dia, dia pula kacau kita.

Hari pertama di tahun baru bagai satu episod klasik "Desperate Housewives"
Mata saya berpandang terus pada kanak-kanak kecil tersebut dan cuba tangkap imej dalam kepala. Seorang makcik yang bisu kemari menunjuk syarat tangan dengan mesejnya ingin tunjuk dari mana budak kecil yang bercakap kasar ini tinggal. Tak jauh, beberapa pintu dari rumah kediaman. Dengan tenang, saya pun beredar dari situ dan meneruskan aktiviti pada hari tersebut. Bila sampainya malam, segera saya menuju ke rumah anak kecil yang bercakap kasar waktu pagi tadi. Dengan nada yang baik, saya cuba minta penjelasan dan nasihat kepada penjaga budak kecil itu, agar jangan biarkannya bersikap kasar terhadap jiran. Pernah terjadi kes menconteng perkataan kasar di dinding rumah. Selepas cuba minta penjelasan dari jiran, berpatah balik lah ke ruang rumah. Tetapi muncul penjaga budak kecil, rupanya seorang datuk yang memakai kopiah dan jubah (baru balik dari sembahyang kot), kemari dengan nafasnya kuat menjerit untuk mencari gaduh.

Desperate macam Susan, cool seperti Mike
Senario sebegini setiap artis pasti akan hadapi dalam hidupnya- berhadapan dengan wartawan yang biadap, pengarah yang pemarah orangnya, produser yang ingin potong gaji artis etc. Bukan semuanya begini, tetapi dalam satu bakul buah epal yang besar, pasti adaya sebiji dua yang busuk buahnya. Bukan kes yang sebegini spesifik, tetapi cabarannya adalah sama, prinsip menghadapinya pun sama - bagaimana untuk berdiri untuk diri sendiri (stand for yourself) di hadapan senior (atau orang yang dianggap lebih berkuasa dari kita) yang biadap tak berfikir dan ingin cari gaduh.

1) Binakan azam untuk menjadi tenang secara kukuh
Menjadi tenang bukan suatu naluri yang semulajadi. Ia perlu dibina menerusi masa. Sebab itulah ia dipanggil sebagai satu azam. Setiap hari bila kita bangun, kita perlu perhatikan perjalanan dan operasi minda dan kelakuan kita agar ia sejajar dengan keazaman untuk memupuk sifat ketenangan. Seperti dalam contoh kes di atas, apabila berhadapan dengan seorang datuk yang ingin mencari gaduh, perlu kita fikir balik motivasi kita menegur jiran yang bersifat tidak bertanggungjawab terhadap kelakuan anak cucunya yang dibiarkan bercakap kasar dan menconteng dinding itu. Jika kita tidak bersalah pada asalnya, kita perlu berani untuk menghadapi dan mengatasi sikap ingin mencari gaduh si pesalah tersebut. Ketenangan dalam diri adalah kunci untuk menghadapi situasi sebegini.

Dah tua, MASIH nak cari gaduh sampai mati
2) Teguhkan pendirian bahawa semua manusia (tidak kira bangsa, agama dan rupa) berhak diberikan layanan adil dan rasional yang setimpalnya
Seperti dalam kes budak kecil yang biadap itu, kita tidak boleh salahkan kanak-kanak kecil tersebut disebabkan atas faktor usia. Kita pula tak bole bersikap emosional dan tampar muka anak kecil itu bila kata-kata kasar diujarkannya. Pemikiran kita perlu luas lagi dan faham hasil kelakuan anak-anak kecil tersebut berpunca dari penjaganya, dalam kes di atas jatuh pada tangan datuk dan neneknya itu. Bila saya cuba dapatkan penjelasan secara rasional dari neneknya, dia berkata "Anak kecil, kita tak bole kawal" Kita juga perlu menilai jawapan yang diberi dan body language si pemberi jawapan. Sebaik sahaja jawapan itu diterima, maka dalam pemikiran kita sudah dapat pastikan punca perbuatan anak kecil tersebut berhasil dari sikap tidak leka dari kedua-dua pihak datuk nenek tersebut. Sikap seorang nenek tua yang tak leka menjaga cucunya, memang tidak ada orang bole ubahkan.

3) Berani lafazkan pandangan jujur secara terus dan bukan di belakang si pesalah
Apabila dengar penjelasan nenek tersebut, kita perlu berikan pandangan kita dengan berani dan jujur. Sebab dalam hati kita sudah diperjelaskan untuk menghadapi isu tersebut, maka perlu kita lafazkan pandangan yang telus dan jujur. "Nenek perlu jaga cucu, dan jangan biarkan dia begini." Ini adalah disebabkan kesan kecuaian  dalam penjagaan cucunya telah mengakibatkan ketidaktenteram hidup. Jika tidak bersuara, maka tiada sesiapa akan ambil tahu dan sedar kesan dari perbuatan mereka yang disangka tidak apa. Waktu berhadapan dengan datuk di halaman rumah dengan nafsunya ingin mencari gaduh yang berkobar-kobar itu, saya begitu tegak dan tenteram (tanpa rasa takut atau ingin cabut lari), mata saya bertentang dengan mata si pesalah dan dapat saya rasa kelakuannya seperti seorang samseng. Isi fikiran perlu dilafazkan agar si pesalah akan sedar kelakuannya yang ingin cari gaduh. Adalah satu kesalahan untuk stereotaip yang muda suka mencari gaduh, tetapi kenyataanya ialah orang tua pun suka mencari gaduh juga! Maka, usia bukanlah faktor yang bole kita tentukan tahap kematangan dan kawalan emosi seseorang itu. Terus saya lafazkan kata-kata "Eh, macam samseng" terhadap datuk yang hilang mindanya dalam kegilaan nafsunya ingin mencari gaduh. Jika tak bersalah, tidak perlu begitu defensif dan emotional bukan?

Rakan rapat dari pelbagai pandangan hidup
4) Carikan teman yang mempunyai pandangan hidup yang teramat beza dengan diri anda dan jenis supporting
Sebagai manusia, kita selalu mencari rakan yang sama bangsa dan agama dengan kita. Tetapi sifat ingin mencari kesamaan perlu diubah sama sekali. Untuk mengecapi pemikiran dan pandangan hidup yang lebih holistik dan menyeluruh, sifat ingin mencari teman yang mempunya pandangan yang jauh berbeza dari kita amat perlu dipupuk. Ini sebab kita bukan selalunya betul dalam apa jua kelakuan kita. Pandangan orang yang berbeza dari kita ada tahap kebenaran yang tersendiri. Perlu kita dengar dan cuba fahamkan isi dari mana datangnya punca kebenaran seseorang itu. Sebagai contoh kes datuk yang ingin mencari gaduh itu, bole kita cuba fahamkan dari mana datangnya sikap sebegini. Kemungkinan besar datuk itu dah tua, maka ingin menunjuk kekuatan dari zaman mudanya yang kini sudah hilang terhadap orang muda yang disangka "takut" padanya. Ataupun dia ingin cari "glamor" dan perhatian jiran sekitarnya, maka tercetuslah sikapnya menjerit, mengganas dan biadap agar semua jiran keluar dari rumah dan menyaksikan adegan bertempur itu. Walau apapun, kita semua perlukan "konflik" sebegini dalam hidup kita, agar kita tidak leka dan rasa terlalu selesa dalam hidup. Konflik sebeginilah yang bole menjalinkan silaturahim dan merapatkan hubungan kita dengan rakan-rakan yang ada, supaya mereka dapat memberikan sokongan dan pendapat/nasihat terhadap konflik sebegini. Ada seorang rakan yang memberikan nasihat supaya membuat laporan polis untuk menjaga keselamatan dan hak hartabenda saya. Ada juga kawan yang memberi nasihat agar jangan hirau lagi jiran itu dan teruskan hidup seperti biasa sebab dunia kita ada orang yang tak berpelajaran. "It's a small matter"

Kuat, berani & adil menghadapi segala konflik
Percayalah, situasi berhadapan dengan orang yang biadap, yang tidak senang hati pada kita dan macam-macam lagi konflik ciptaan manusia itu sendiri pasti akan berlaku kepada sesiapa pun yang bergelar manusia di bumi ini. Tak kisah waktu kita di set penggambaran ataupun di sesi ujibakat. Pada detik yang teramat genting itulah, di mana Kursus Latihan Artis menjadi satu aset yang teramat penting bagi seseorang bakat yang baru dan lama untuk menempuhi cabaran emosional, mental dan fizikal, semuanya masalah ciptaan manusia itu sendiri. Dengan cara yang betul, tenang dan rasional, segala konflik ciptaan manusia ini pasti dapat diselesaikan. Ketahuilah rahsia mencari ketenangan dalam konflik harian anda menerusi 1-on-1 coaching yang menghormati anda sebagai seorang individu yang mempunyai kelebihannya yang tersendiri tetapi belum ketahui cara untuk menggunakannya lagi. Percaya lah kebenaran yang berada dalam dirimu, agar dapat merintis kemungkinan yang tersembunyi dan akhirnya terserlah menerusi bimbingan yang mengikut rentak keperluan anda.