My Reelity

Is this the reel life or is this just fantasy?

No Laughing Matter

Posted by Ruok On May - 26 - 2009

This was just brought to my attention and I do feel a huge sense of indignation after reading this :

This message goes out primarily to the actors in the Arts Community, although I am sure it will be of interest to other members as well.

Mediacorp has been calling up actors and making appointments with them to attend an audition at Mediacorp for an English-language project which has been described as a “still in development drama-dy”. This is in fact completely disingenuous.

In the account that I heard from an actor who attended the audition on 25 May 2009, the waiting time was in excess of an hour and a half past the scheduled appointment time.

When the auditionee is finally ushered into the area in which the audition is supposed to take place, he or she is given several forms to fill out. The area is reported to resemble a badly-constructed mock up of a tv-set. The auditionee will be left alone in the room.

After some time has passed, the auditionee will hear a knock that appears to come from inside the wardrobe that is on the set. There will also be a voice of someone claiming to be locked in the wardrobe, asking the auditionee to let them out. When the auditionee opens the wardrobe, it will be empty.

At some point after this, the crew will burst out from concealment, and announce something to the effect of “Surprise, you’re on ‘Just For Laughs- Gags’!”

I was saddened and angered to learn that this is how Mediacorp treats working actors today. This was a deliberately concocted scheme to lure professional actors into a humiliating trap. The people who attended devoted their time and their skills in preparation for what they believed to be an audition for a role in a professional tv series. Some may have given up other opportunities for work in order to attend. These actors responded in good faith to what they thought was an opportunity for work, and they were treated abysmally.

If you feel the same way I do, please spread the word. Let people know that this happened. Tell friends in the industry. Tell friends who are not in the industry, but who watch Mediacorp TV. If you work in Mediacorp
or for Mediacorp, please speak about this to your colleagues. Ask whose idea this was, and who ok-ed it. Tell other people how you feel.

I am aware that this is only one part of the story. Those from Mediacorp who perpetuated this charade will undoubtedly have their own version of events. Nevertheless, at this time I find it necessary to state that I
personally cannot imagine any circumstance or combination of circumstances that can excuse such behavior.

It is never permissible to treat other people without respect.

Brendon Fernandez
Singaporean Actor

I’m sure there are people who think we are reacting too strongly to this, but I can assure you that to actors, this no laughing matter at all.

20 Responses to “No Laughing Matter”

  1. nerak says:

    I also say.

  2. jasmin says:

    sheeeeeet that sux!!

  3. max says:

    jesus dude, you need to loosen up. NO LAUGHING MATTER AT ALL?

    we need more serious people like you in this boring country, yes we do.

  4. nerak says:

    @Max: If that is your idea of fun, I wonder how will you feel if your professionalism was taken advantage of.

    Well, when that day comes, I hope you can smile and just ‘loosen up’. :)

  5. barffie says:

    It’s not professional for a media company to pull this kind of gag, when the pretext was to audition for a role, and not as if they were surprising strangers in the park or something.

    These part time actors may have taken time off for their work – and how would they trust Mediacorp again to audition for roles the next time?

    Plus the forms they filled were used as the talent release form – don’t you think it’s misrepresentation?

  6. JayWalk says:

    Joke or otherwise, it was in poor taste.

    You don’t mess with people who are trying to earn an honest day’s wage.

  7. ahtiong73 says:

    I’m trying to find the words..

    It’s at the tip of my tongue…

    Wait for it…

    Oh yeah…

    “FUCK YOU MAX!!”

  8. RandomJen says:

    To tell you the truth, I think this teaches you something, 1) never give up a sure thing for something unknown 2) don’t take yourself so serious because life is short and the fake archer could have been real and you’d be dead or injured with no money as well.

    Besides, you are in Singapore, Do you really expect hi-quality entertainment treatment? Have you watched Mediacorp or even Singapore Idol?

    Nice Venting, lets move on.

  9. Ruok says:

    @RandomJen : Thank you for visiting and digging up an old post. Firstly, I think its ironic that you are asking us to move on when you are the one digging up this old post.

    Secondly, I’m not venting, I was not involved or affected by this. I’m just voicing what I feel to be an injustice.

    And why can’t we expect higher quality entertainment just because we are in Singapore? Are you saying we should just stop trying to improve?


  10. nerak says:

    Geez, so pursuing personal passions is considered silly? Having faith and believing in personal passion is wrong?

  11. naeboo says:

    wow. crazy bitch trying to act cool. so original

  12. thiang says:

    Can I laugh at her? I presume she takes her life very lightly. So let’s do it. Ha ha ha.

  13. RandomJen says:

    @Ruok You are 100% right, Oh stupid me, I read the wrong posting then commented incorrectly sorry for wasting your time again. XD

    But since you pointed out my error, Have you moved on or is it still burning you up deep inside? Hope so.

  14. Ruok says:

    @RandomJen I’m touched by your concern over my well-being.

  15. nerak says:

    And I wonder what motives lies behind the concern? Especially when you don’t even know ruok personally.

  16. cake says:

    this random person go and get your own blog la. no one cares about ur opinion here okay?

    *does bah action*

  17. Singaporean says:

    This episode has led me to ponder about the state of showbiz in Singapore, and in particular, just how much ‘future’ there really is as an actor, here in Singapore.

    As everyone probably already knows by now, Mediacorp-produced drama serials and TV programmes are really not that up to standard. If you read the comments from Singaporeans on the Internet(such as EDMW forum, etc), about Mediacorp-produced serials and dramas, you will realise from general sentiment that many people have a very low opinion about the quality and entertainment value of Mediacorp-produced shows. If you compare how far it has come since the days of “Masters Of The Sea”, you will realise that local showbiz has never really progressed very much since then.

    Patricia Mok onced said that she earned a measly $20 from appearing on TV in the early days. Look at Hossan Leong, so old already, yet he is still struggling to make a living in showbiz. There is really no future being an actor in Singapore. For example, if you look at Ch8, you will realise that acting was really just a way out for the lowly-educated, who formed a large group of its main stable from way back. It may look glamourous on TV, but those of you who have had the chance to be involved in any TV work with Mediacorp, will know that showbiz is actually nothing more than exploiting doe-eyed and star-struck people who are willing to do anything for their fifteen minutes of fame for very little money. In reality, being an actor does not pay well, as many Ch8 actors can attest to. Look at many of them who are still struggling to make a living, after so many years as an actor.

    People like Daryl David, Diana Ser, James Lye, and Loretta Alabons, have all left Mediacorp. They have probably seen through showbiz, and perhaps also had an inkling of their not-too-bright future, if they had decided to stay on. Last I heard, Adrian Pang is jumping from the water into the fire. There really isn’t much future in theatre as I see it, so I wish him luck.

    It is very sad indeed, to see that, given the sorry state of showbiz in Singapore, one still sees actors so eager to scrounge for even bit roles in an already small(and with not much food) pond. It is really very sad.

    Be honest with yourself, how much can one make as an actor? Look at Tay Ping Hui, who was formerly an Operations Manager with Subway. After so many years toiling as an actor, where is he today? Age is catching up with him. Perhaps it would have been better if he had stayed in the corporate world. Same goes for Terence Cao…the youth is already gone, while little has been accomplished.

    Recently, it was very sad for me to see a visibliy much-older Celeste Chong on TV in a Ch8 drama. Why do I say it was a sad sight? Because it has dawned on me that she has wasted a very large part of her prime and youth, chasing the showbiz dream, with not much to show for it. The same applies to Ann Kok.

    Perhaps “Just For Laughs Gags” is teaching us an important lesson here – showbiz is really just an excuse for a few bigwigs to make money by exploiting naive star-struck people who dream of the ‘glitter’ and ‘glamour’ of showbiz. These pawns at the bottom of the chain may receive some ‘glamour’, and definitely see some ‘glitter’, but most of them will never become richer or wealthier for it, especially in Singapore.

    • Ruok says:

      Hi Singaporean, thank you for dropping by. I think most of us are pursuing this as a passion, and when you do that, the dollars and sense don’t really factor that much.

      The thing is, people know that and they are exploiting that, which is something you have rightfully brought up and of which, I think, most of the actors here are aware of.

      If they aren’t, hopefully they would be after this kind of incidents are made known publicly. Which was my intention of this post, and probably Brendon’s as well.

      We who pursue our passions are fully aware of the sacrifices that we have to make, but that doesn’t mean we should bear and grin while peeps start exploiting us.

  18. Laughing at you says:

    Lols !!! Hilarious !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahaha, mediacorp should have more of this kind of pranks =) !

  19. Ruok says:

    Strange how this post keeps getting dragged out.

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