Shit, I wasn’t born to act

I had started writing about my weekend filming experience in MediaCorp but, after about 1000 words, I decided that it was too wordy. There is too much to tell and I don’t have any pictures to illustrate my story. And I wasn’t even halfway done yet.

So, I scrapped it.

Some things are better told over a cup of coffee. Except that I don’t drink coffee and I don’t like to tell verbal stories. I took part in storytelling competitions when I was in primary school and never won any. Haha. But I did win essay-writing competitions.

Speaking of which, I recently had my fortune read and was told that writing is the best career for me. I was advised not to be an actress because, to put it very simply, the elements surrounding my birth inhibit my ability to express myself. Which makes me appear stiff and awkward in performances and makes me lousy at interacting with people. All of which are very true.

But I refuse to go back to a wriitng career because quitting showbiz will kill me (metaphorically). So I was told to keep practising and to depend on hard work to overcome the lack of natural ability.

You may not believe in fortune readings but it is very interesting. I went with three other friends and we all sat around listening to each other’s readings. It was freaking funny because the master was able to tell the strengths and weaknesses of all of us very accurately and we got to laugh knowingly at each other’s shortcomings.

Anyway, after that session, I was depressed for a week. Of all the careers in the world, I had apparently set my mind on one for which I’m least suited. You’d have to agree it’s just totally fucked up.

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I felt a huge load lift off my heart. And then I felt refreshed, invigorated and optimistic.

Because, finally, all my frustrations over my own abilities have been explained away.

I have always felt that there was something wrong with me. I feel constipated constantly by a lack of ability to express my emotions and energies, physically and vocally.

When performing, I often cannot make my body respond to my internal commands. I can visualise perfectly how to do a certain action, say, for instance, a striptease. But when I actually try to do it, the actions don’t come out the way I visualise and all my limbs would be sticking out in all the wrong places, or I might trip over myself and fall flat on my face or something.

When I dance, I’m like William Hung. I’m like a puppet controlled by strings.

It was a huge shock to hear a stranger tell me these things which I have tried to explain all my life but have never been able to get anyone to understand. People give me stock comments like, “It’s all in the mind. You just need to let go. You need to have confidence.”

But these words don’t help because it’s like forcing a retarded child to pass a calculus test.

The most frustrating part is people telling me it’s all about confidence when it’s not.

“Why don’t you join Singapore Idol?”

“I can’t sing.”

“Oh, come on, have more confidence in yourself.” 

Well, that’s just crazy. Having all the confidence in the world is not going to make you get off your wheelchair and walk if you’re a paraplegic.

I have never claimed that I can’t be good at singing. But I know I’m not good now because I don’t have the natural ability and I haven’t been trained yet. And we’re talking about a national singing competition here, not your friendly neighbourhood karaoke contest.

But people just conveniently assume that I am either being modest or I lack confidence. And they neglect to consider the fact that if I really lacked confidence, I wouldn’t even be relentlessly pursuing an acting career in the first place. So, bollocks to that.

Anyway, the fortune reading made me feel more optimistic about my future because I can finally put a name to my enemy. I can fight it better now that I know what it is and where it’s coming from.

I can stop beating myself up over failed attempts to perform to my own satisfaction because I have something else to blame. Something which is beyond my control, therefore not my fault. Haha.

I accept the fact that I am not a natural born actress but I can still achieve a certain standard through hard work.

It’s sad to think that I can never be as good as people who are talented AND motivated AND totally gorgeous, since the only innate quality I have in my favour is a motivation powered by an inexplicable hunger to perform. But I still look forward to achieving the level of success I can achieve on my own terms.

Well, what else can I do? =P

25 thoughts on “Shit, I wasn’t born to act

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    Dear subject, you will always have an acting job in my entertainment kingdom because your blog makes me laugh. Hmm… irony. All hail me.

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    You know you have reached that point in your career and life when you have to ask yourself whether you are cut out to be an actresses, model or whatever? Acting takes hard work and professionalism that has no barriers or taboos. The acting you are fooling around with is not even on par with the real industry. Although I am not trying to discourage you in anyway, you need to realize your shortcomings and decide whats best for you.
    Parents and friends always encourage you to do what you love to do and let no one stand in your way. I always say do what you do best, make some money and then do what you love to do!
    Would you be a Zoe Tay or Fann Wong?No? maybe? and then you have to ask yourself, why would I want to be them anyway, when you can aspire to be like Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep instead.
    We all want to be great at something, society dictates this and we are led on to aspire for greatness because of this, out of this comes depression and let down if we cant achieve our personal goals in life. Have a dream, and have an achievable ambition that can give you some income to persue what you love on the side. Frankly I think you write well, and I have seen your Ads too, I really think acting is not cut out for you friend ! Take that ambition and drive that you have and put it to good use somewhere where it is truly appreciated by all.Good Luck.

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    Your situation sounds quite similar to what I run into sometimes. There may be some things I would really really like to do coz its fun. But the moment I start taking it to the next level competitively, then I realise the big skill difference between a n00b like me and those already there doing it for a living.

    So I’m faced with 2 choices:

    1. Put everything else on hold and pour every single available resource into playing catch up and then exceeding the benchmark set by the leaders. (It’s a competitive situation at this level, you have to win or at least be near the top for it to count for anything)

    2. Decide its not worth it destroying whatever I have now and just doing the activity for fun.

    There are some areas which I already have a headstart due to initial training or just general interest and flair. So I try to take pleasure from those things and push my limits in those places. That’s my way of handling it :)

    And yes, I’m being serious for once. No, the above doesn’t even come into the picture when we talking about MMOs. No game is worth destroying your life over :D

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    Like what suresh has mentioned, I will always tell you to do what you love to do. But a realistic advice from me is, “Why go against life, it only makes you depress.” Take for example, why I decided to be skinhead? When I use to have normal hairstyle, people will always tell me, “Eh… you balding at such age. Did you try Yun Nan or Beijing 101?” Some offer all kind of strange advice like egg-white, brandy, sperm and such. So why try to be something I am not cut out to be? Shave the damn hair off and I dun have to worry about losing it.

    Anyway, irregardless of what you choose, I will support your decision. I just want you to be happy. =)

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    HRH: Haha. You’re funny.

    Suresh: Actually, I’ve known I’m not cut out for acting since I was about 19. I quit acting for several years because of that, but, like I said in my blog, I cannot NOT be an actress. So… it was like I couldn’t help but to be drawn in again years later. There is nothing else for me to do. I can write well, but I’m not passionate about writing. If I did it as a career, my writing will suffer because I’d be writing for survival instead of for love. :P So, unfortunately for Singapore audiences, I’ll be hanging around haunting their TV screens for a good while. Hehe.

    Moralis: LOL. Well, there is competitive gaming and gaming as a career also mah… but I suppose not MMOs. Haha.

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    Goonfather: Because when I’m not in showbiz, I’m depressed 24/7. So, I might as well be depressed doing something I love than depressed doing something I hate. Right? And it’s not me going against life ok? It’s life going against me!! Haha…

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    Goonfather, do not despair. I think you are sexy being a skinhead. Especially when you wear your loose hawaii-type shirt. So relaxed, so at ease… delicious.

    Ok back to topic – Nu-er, as long as you understand the risks vs rewards….the consequences and sacrifices….go for it! Let your passion help you overcome the obstacles! But do plan for something to fall back on if possible. :)

    And yes, you do dance funny…… :P

    Note: Sperm on head promotes hair growth? Hmmm…..interesting….

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    aye ROCK ON!!

    Hey, William Hung became the first nerd millionaire.

    I wonder what would that brilliant fortune teller say to Einstein or Edison if he had a chace to meet them when they’re 15…

    So what if you have no natural talent? Or think you don’t? The fire in ya will get ya real far…

    I quote the agent after HUMPHREY BOGART’S screen test,”Can’t sing, Can’t Dance, Can act a little.” Go figure.

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    Act, but use that as a foil for your writing career. Afterall writing comes from real life experience. Or some mental illness…

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    i’ll never go to a fortune teller again. the last one i went to told me that i’m destined to be a young mother..

    some things… whether true or not.. do not sit well with me. ESPECIALLY me.
    young mother? PEH!

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    Not every successful actress is good in acting, some just get by generating gossip and showing off skin. Unfortunately our local industry is tiny as it is, and it’s always the same old faces who get the endorsements and plum roles that artistes need to survive. In another country, probably getting small roles would give you the exposure you need, and prime you for an eventual big break. Here it’s like even the good looking Star search winners fade into obscurity. In Singapore where the scripts are rarely good and lucrative endorsements are limited, the key to success is really to go overseas. Even in US, those dreaming of making it big pack up and head to the city.

    Pursuing one’s dreams entails sacrifice and risk, and for every successful actress we see on the big screens, probably hundreds remain obscure. Even the Singapore Idols, who had so much publicity, have kind of faded already.

    There’s nothing wrong with your dreams, and you are a good performer. If I remember correctly, Ah Cheng complimented your acting on that reality talent show right? It’s just that this is a very competitive industry with many casualties. Seems to me that it’s not for the faint hearted.

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    I always think that it’s better to dream the impossible dream. It’s always better to be working towards a goal.

    And of course, it’s always best to live a life without regrets.

    And… I guess you’re starting to get advertisements on your comments page. Another sign of popularity… ;)

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    Well, I think that you’re a great actress. You do have to trust yourself. I got a D for a last appraisal because some fucker was an idiot but does it make me a lousy and crappy teacher? I hardly think so. It’s important to trust and have believe in yourself and screw the others!

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    No matter what just hang on to your dreams and believe you can do it. In life we r like jugglers, juggling 5 sticks. Which is family, friends, work,health and integrity. But one day you will realise that all of the sticks are made of glass except work. It is made of rubber which mean it will bonuce back. However the rest will just be shattered. If you wan to find the real you in acting go borrow this book,” The power of your subconscious mind.” It will bring out ur full potential! Hope wat i have said helps.

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    To spam advertiser:

    Advertisement and corporate/business spamming are not allowed on this forum! No advertisements for personal/business homepages are permitted! This is a forum, not your advertisement space. The only exception for this rule is in your signature (within reason). Ignoring this rule will result in a warning from an admin or a ban from the site

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  16. Avatar

    Sadly Starlandliu, this is a message board, not a forum. Anyone can provide a bogus email address (I usually give at McD’s ;) ) and be able to post here.

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    You have the control and power you make your career what you want it to be. You don’t have to be a natural at it to be good at it. You just have to want it bad enough.

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    Came across this post in the “you may also be interested in” list after your post today. Glad to see how things have turned around for you since you wrote this. From fortune telling victim to Singapore’s ascendant star blogger with a feature film role to boot. All that passion and drive is finally paying off i guess.

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