Monday, April 27, 2009

And the students perform....for a posh event!


These aspiring artistes are one of the most disciplined, talented and fun group I ever had. I foresee them to be resilient and strong, hopefully. They are: Wardee, Alysha, Melanie, Zul, Gina and Nur Shafiqah. Still under my tutelage and not even complete their course yet, they had already received an invitation to perform for a high-class event! I am extremely proud of them, for they did a great performance for an event held recently at an extremely posh restaurant in Sri Hartamas. What can I say more? I'm sure they don't think they did their best, but hey, to me, I felt you guys performed your best at the limited time given. If we were to have longer time for practise, I'm sure they could have done better. But the audience loved them anyway. KUDOS to you guys! Stay humble and patient, I'm sure more opportunities will come your way. And a special credit be given to Hanniz, the event planner. This is a group effort, and pray to God Almighty, we will be able to cooperate more in the future with. (Click above for a short video clip, for a little taste of these students performance)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Excuses Conquer You versus You Conquer Excuses

I am amazed at the large quantity of aspiring artistes who dreams of becoming one, but somehow lacked the "wisdom" when called to actually do something about it. One example, I emailed a potential candidate to come to my office for a casting session. Based on her profile, I see she possess some qualities that might suit what the client wants. In the email, she agrees to come and set the time with the office. But when the actual day of casting arrives, she gave the office a call and gave the excuse that she had to go back hometown for some "emergency". This situation prompts me to warns everyone reading, NOT to cancel any meeting set at the very last minute.

The least she could do is to inform the office in advance and not called in AFTER the set apointment. First, it gives her an extremely bad impression, Secondly, the client is not going to hire again, might even put her on a blacklist. Thirdly, this is the industry that loves to talk, and negative news spreads faster.

Sometimes I wonder why new talents let excuses conquer them. Simple excuses like stomachache, not enough sleep, family problems etc. It's different if the situation is life-threatening, which is VERY rare. The real problem here lies with the ATTITUDE. A lot of new talents thought just based on their looks and style, they can get away with anything. I'm sorry to tell you, an incident will hit you very soon to wake you up in our local entertainment industry. On a sympatehetic note, maybe the new talent has not take any form of training or courses that would inform them beforehand in handling unwanted situations as described earlier. Who knows with some learning and taking some course, a form of tangible understanding and DISCIPLINE might be instilled upon the new artiste? Or maybe new talents are just too plain LAZY to learn at all! That is for you to decide.

From my experience, a new talent who is lazy at learning is definitely lazy to even meet an appointment. A truly good artiste will learn to overcome these flimsy excuses. How? First, you need to IDENTIFY within yourself what is pulling you away. Then set a GOAL in your artiste life as to what you want to achieve. Lastly, you need to set a COMMITMENT to follow that apointment. All these 3 steps are simplified versions, because it actually takes more than that. A good talent artiste will try to see beyond just some quick fixes. There is no shortcut to clinching a job. Constant learning and having an open mind is a must in the life of an artiste. If not, you'll just let those unseen petty excuses to drown you in your own little world, and your dream as an artiste may not materialise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Diva-ism versus Professional-ism

Sometimes casting directors themselves are being called by production companies for castings. I was invited for a casting last week. I thought, my, thanks. Usually talents have to scour for castings and not the other way around. So when I went to this casting agent's office, I was surprised he told me that I was a diva. I mean, me, a diva? Then it hits me that when an artiste reaches a certain point in his/her career, some people in the industry will label you as a "diva". This label, in my opinion can be a compliment or a curse.

A diva simply means an artiste is acting on his/her higher state as compared to other people arounds him or her, demanding certain criteria for a project. Do bear in mind that aspiring artistes cannot demand as much as an experienced artiste. Now put that concept against another label more aptly titled "professionalisme", and it takes on a whole new meaning. Being a professional means having the courtesy to enquire details about a particular project and setting a proper time and place for a meeting or discussion. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of treatment most struggling artistes are experiencing, even more experienced artiste are not spared by this kind of treatment. I should place the "diva" attitude on the industry instead, because most directors or even producers don't even care about an artiste's well-being and suitability for the project.

If only everybody in the industry acts more professional. Then I can safely hope that there will be no more diva attitude. One cannot exists without the other. Until now, that casting agent who called me a "diva" has yet clarify the reason why he said so. But I believe it occurs during one of the shoots, when he offered to take me to the location and I text message him about him being late. Well, can he blame me for text messaging him if I'm on time and he's late? Is that a diva attitude? Hardly, more like a professional problem. Sometimes it feels more like the casting agent was more of a diva than me. Hence, all aspiring artistes here, which do you want to be? A diva? Or a professional?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reality Check No 1: Artiste World is full of Paradoxes

Definition of "Paradox": A paradox is a statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition; or, it can be an apparent contradiction that actually expresses a non-dual truth. The word paradox is often used interchangeably with contradiction. Often, mistakenly, it is used to describe situations that are ironic.

If you're an aspiring Artiste, be aware that paradox is apparent. If you're attending a casting session, and the criteria may fit your profile perfectly, do not expect you will be hired. A lot of the demands of the industry is simply paradoxical, mainly because the channels of communication is many. The film director wants a certain look for the lead actor, and communicated his thoughts to the producer. But the producer has other things in his mind, thus, adding a few more additional criteria for the lead actor.

When these so called criteria are expressed to the talent reps, it will eventually sound paradoxical, hence confusion to some. Paradox is indeed a confusion and dysfunctional wiring between the mind and the heart. Speaking from an artiste's point of view, you need to be always be YOURSELF. Because if you tries to fit in the criteria set by the producer or casting agent, very likely you will fail the audition. Nobody really knows exactly what they want. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. It could mean there's some form of open-ness in the casting process, and hey, you might stand a chance to clinch the role. Sometimes, I find it better to loosen the criteria set and leave it more open so I could find someone really interesting.

In artiste world, paradox you can turn into a good thing. Look at our own lives away from being an artiste. We want faster better convenience, yet do not want to pay a lot of money. We want our friends to accept who we are, but yet we randomly only pick friends with certain criteria. We dreams of becoming an artiste, yet sits on our back facing the computer screen without actually doing something concrete about realising the dream. We want to become an artiste, yet not thinking what happens next after achieving it. Same principle applies to the industry as well. Film directors hire actors who fit the stereotypes in their minds, but not taking heed of what the audience are actually feeling about local films and how it should change. Aspiring artiste getting ready to venture into the industry are thinking twice about the manic paradox maze lying ahead of them.

Again, not all is lost when these 2 things you bear in mind: be YOURSELF and be INTERESTING. Not everyone can know themselves honestly and get a proper perspective of themselves as an artiste. If you were to inspect and judge yourself, some form of bias is sure to taint the actual picture. Even to be an interesting artiste, you have to walk on the fine line of being an interesting artiste that evokes either a positive or worst, a negative rejection. A second party is needed to provide an objective and professional help in grooming the artiste's talent. One best way is take up an artiste training course. It sets you ready for a position that is stronger to tackle the many grey areas on what lies in the heads of producers and directors. Hopefully, with the proper education and training, it will get you through this paradoxical, hyper-competitive artiste world.