Almost addicted to smoking

Being an actor gives one the license to do all sorts of naughty things.

So, that’s gonna be my line the next time someone asks me (for the umpteenth time) why I decided to become an actress.

Some of the “naughty” things I’ve done in the name of acting:

  • Push someone into the Singapore River
  • Dance in a graveyard
  • Drink on the job
  • Do a mock strip tease
  • Slap someone
  • Kiss under a fountain
  • Scare an unsuspecting public with ghostly makeup
  • Blow cigarette smoke in someone’s face
  • Yell at someone older than me
  • Tell a lie in court

I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be an actor.

Of course, then again, one would have to be able to take all the shit as well as the fun.

Example of shit:

Long waiting hours between shots, sleeping in all kinds of weird places because there is nothing else to do.

This isn’t an extreme example of shit but I’m not really going that direction today.

I promised to tell you what this guy was doing to me, some time back.

Only one person got it right. Mince Pye said, “Sound technician installing your wireless mic?”


The wireless mic usually goes under the clothes, around the chest area. But, for some reason, my wardrobe during that shoot kept causing a lot of sound disturbance, so this one time, the sound guy decided to hide the mic behind my ear, where it could be covered by my hair.

He went a bit overboard with the tape.

The mic was held in place by surgical tapes because the sound man’s gaffer tape had mysteriously disappeared (again, he claimed).

On the first day of the shoot, the mic was placed inside my hat, just above my forehead where my hairline is.

It wasn’t done nicely the first time and the gaffer tape stuck to my hair and refused to come off. I had to pull off quite many strands of hair in the process.


Well, I generally have no problems with losing hair, but it’s painful when done forcefully.

My co-actors didn’t have any mic woes like I did. Their clothes didn’t mess up the sound, so they had their mics in the regular spot.

I had my long smoking scene that day.

(No smoking photos because, like I said before, I don’t want to glamourise smoking.)

The smoking scene was done in a big, beautiful house.

Smoking in style.

Me taking a photo of myself on the screen:

There was a scene in which I had to enter the house with two bottles of beer. We did many takes of that, so I had to spend many long minutes waiting outside the door.

There was nothing to do but camwhore. I set my camera on timer and did a self-photoshoot.

After years of experience waiting on the set, I’ve developed several effective ways to entertain myself, besides sleeping.

The smoking scene didn’t happen till late at night.

It was a very long scene. A five-minute scene done in one shot. That means there had to be many takes to get it perfect, because if there was even one small mistake anywhere in the five minutes, we had to do it all over.

I was literally chain smoking that night as we did take after take.

By my fifth cigarette (although I didn’t have to smoke each stick all the way), I started feeling high.

It was a nice sensation, actually, my first time experiencing it. Thoughts running through my head:

“No wonder people get addicted to smoking.”

“Oh, no, am I going to be addicted, especially since I hang out with smokers?”


That last one was me feeling happy and giggly from the smokes.

I lost count of the number of times we redid the scene. By my 10th or so cigarette, I started getting seriously giddy, like I had drunk too much alcohol, which actually kinda helped because I was supposed to be partially drunk in that scene.

But after way too many cigarettes, I started feeling not very good. My hands turned cold and I felt like I might break out into cold sweat any moment.

By about 1:30 am or so, we finally wrapped. I grabbed a cab and felt sick all the way home.

When I got home, I complained to the Goonfather, “I’m going to die.”

He informed me that I was suffering from nicotine overdose and asked me to drink a lot of water to dilute the nicotine.

I was nauseous and giddy and just generally horrible. So I cooked a packet of instant tom yam beehoon because I always feel better after eating something sour when I have a hangover.

After the tom yam, the nausea got a teensy bit better, but I still largely felt like shooting myself out of misery –

The next day, when I finally felt normal again, I decided that the sickness was a blessing in disguise. It had totally turned me off smoking. The ordeal I had gone through had given me a huge distaste for smoking.

But still I love being an actress and doing things I otherwise wouldn’t get to do under normal circumstances.

I think it’s an interesting way to live, anyway.

Quite a disastrous shoot if ever there was one

So, I’m going to be brutal today and unglam the glam.

Not that I’m saying my films are very glam, but some people do have that idea, occasionally.

I’m taking you behind the scenes of a short film called Beatnik Sweetheart, which chronicles the dysfunctional relationship between three friends in an uncaring world.

The wardrobe, makeup and art people went all out to make us look impossibly good and I think they did a great job.

But beyond the painted faces and pretty sets, a multitude of unglam hiccups plagued the production on Day 1.

The first scene took place at the abandoned police headquarters at Eu Tong Sen Street.

The location also just happened to be home to an army of invisible bloodthirsty mosquitoes. You won’t even know of their existence until itchy welts mysteriously appear on your skin, just minutes after you arrive on the scene.

I started scratching subconsciously.

“Why my arm so itchy?” I mused aloud.

The art director suddenly yelled, “No, no, no! Don’t scratch!”

He stared in alarm at the mounting redness on my arm. Then he leapt away and came back ferociously wielding a spray can.

Liberally doused in a thick layer of insect repellent, I tried to ignore the itch while the makeup artist gunked up my face.

Then it was up to the rooftop.

We had to walk up five very long flights of steps, followed by this long, intimidating ladder.

The landing was cramped and scary, with that gaping hole in the middle.

But what a beautiful rooftop it was outside. I mean the view was beautiful.

The crew spent some time setting up the lights and cameras and mic-ing the actors. And then we were ready to roll.

That was when it started to rain.

Suddenly. Heavily.

You can’t really see from the picture, but the director was standing in the open, getting rained on, while we took shelter in the crammed little landing area.

I’ll bet you saw that camwhoring photo coming, savvy blog reader.

When the rain finally let up, about half an hour later, we had to sit on a picnic mat for blocking and rehearsal purposes as we waited for the ground to dry up a little for the take.

In the film, we’re all cool youngsters and cool youngsters don’t use picnic mats.

What we had were beer and cigarettes.

I was stressed because I had practised smoking (minimally) only three days before this shoot and still felt awkward holding a cigarette.

But I managed to smoke without coughing while the tape was rolling, so I think that counted for something. Nobody complained about my smoking skills.

The only complaint I received was from the camera assistant, who decided to speak out after seeing me throw out five half-smoked cigarettes with each take.

“Can you don’t throw away?” he said, eyeing the dumped cigarettes heart-brokenly. “Just pass to one of us to finish it.”

“But it’s got my lipstick all over it,” I said. “And it’s Virginia Slim VERY LIGHT.”

“A cigarette is still a cigarette,” said he.

Couldn’t argue with that.

A beer, though, is sometimes not a beer.

My poor Corona was topped up with chrysanthemum tea after each take, until it became more tea than beer.

An hour later, I started feeling severe gastric pains.

I realised belatedly that I should have taken breakfast. Beer and tea are a recipe for disaster for my weak stomach.

I went to the producer and made an apologetic request. “Sorry, can you please get someone to grab my gastric pills from downstairs?”

“Shit.” she said.

She went down herself. And I felt really bad because that meant five long flights of stairs and one long rickety ladder, times two.

We finished the scene a few hours later and ate packet lunches right here, sitting on the ledges:

My gastric pains went away.

Next location was Changi Airport for one very short scene.

It went relatively smoothly, except that the airport was too empty at the time for the director’s liking.

“It wasn’t this empty when I last came to recce!” he proclaimed.

But it eventually filled up, somewhat, and we got our shot after endless takes.

Here’s me taking a photo of the DOP framing me for the shot.

I love doing that.

Close-up of the picture feed from the video camera:.

By the time this very short scene was done, it was almost 5 pm. We had only completed two scenes (since 7:30 am). We had two more scenes scheduled to go.

But then the director said, “It’s a wrap!”

“Huh?” we all went.

It turned out that we couldn’t do the next two scenes because:

  1. The owner of the first location (a pub) had overslept and told us to postpone our shoot to the next day.
  2. The owner of the second location (a boutique) changed her mind and decided not to let us to shoot there.

So, I was about to change out of my costume when the director suddenly made a new announcement.

“Hey, let’s shoot the tunnel scene tonight, instead.”

The tunnel in question is the new expressway tunnel next to Fort Canning Park.

The plan now was to go back to our “base” (the DOP’s apartment) to rehearse our hot lesbian action scene (yes), have dinner there, wait till about 9 pm when there will be fewer cars on the road, then travel to the tunnel.

My gastric pains came back.

Worse, I was getting the worst backache I’ve ever experienced.

I could hardly sit still in the car as we travelled back to the apartment. My front and back were both killing me.

I had run out of antacids and had to wait till we reached the apartment. From there, I walked out myself to the nearest supermarket to get more antacids.

Our costumes for the tunnel scene:

I didn’t realise that I was wearing the wrong shoes for this photo until I got home and saw the photo.

I was supposed to be wearing black pumps for this outfit but because they hurt my feet, I went around in my canvas shoes outside of takes.

Another picture with the wrong shoes:

Our rehearsal at the apartment took longer than planned, so by the time we left the apartment, it was almost 10 pm.

On the sidewalk opposite the tunnel, waiting for the crew to arrive:

With our co-actor:

Our actor was a little weird. We made him sit on the ground to pose for photos with us, but he didn’t like it very much, mumbling something about the ground being dirty or having ants or something.

He sat down just enough to snap one photo and then sprang up again, visibly distraught.

We made faces at him and then continued camwhoring.

Shortly after, the crew arrived and it was off to the tunnel.

It was quite exciting in there. Kind of scary, kind of grungy, kind of crazy.

We took 10 minutes to plan and prepare the shot, then we went for a take.

Right after the first take (which turned out to be no good), we heard sirens.


Along came an LTA marshall, beckoning us to go to him at the opening of the tunnel.

Our spirits dampened, we trudged wearily back to where we started.

Had our particulars taken down, had a bit of a lecture about trespassing, and then we were let off with a warning that we might all be receiving fines in the mail in two weeks.

It had been a long day. 15 hours, to be precise. Six hours overrun.

Inexplicably, though, I enjoyed the shoot, enjoyed the cast and crew and looked forward to the next day.

To be continued.

The Goonfather’s definition of a pap smear

Super shag.

I went for a shoot this morning with only four hours of sleep. We were filming an online video series. Like lonelygirl15 but not like lonelygirl15, if you know what I mean.

It will be uploaded tonight but I’ll show it here only if I look good in it. Haha. Super vain.

No photos of today’s shoot. It’s sometimes hard to take photos on the set because I’m too busy changing clothes and learning lines and acting. But there was an official photographer on the set today so I’ll see if I can get some photos from him.

So, I’m talking rubbish today (instead of posting one of my severely backlogged event reports) because I’m half-dead and can’t think coherently enough to do a serious post.

But my rubbish is never as entertaining as the Goonfather’s rubbish, is it?

We were having lunch today (after my shoot).

I took out a piece of facial blotter to, well, blot my face. When I was done, I showed it to the Goonfather, just like how a kid would show his booger to his little sister.

“Looky!” I said. “So much oileeee!”

This is one of those things you would only show a partner who’s been with you for years. You would never do that with your first date, I’ll bet. People are funny that way.

The Goonfather stared at my oily blotter for two seconds, studying it carefully.

Then he asked, very seriously, “Is this a pap smear?”

“WTF are you talking about??” I said.

“There, first you pap pap all over your face. Then you got a smear on that paper.”



Someone kill me already.

Doggies and a dorky me

I visited SPCA for the first time in my life today.

But I’m not as lousy as the taxi uncle who took me there. I almost wanted to strangle him.

[Conversation with taxi driver, translated from Mandarin]
Me: SPCA, please.
Taxi uncle: Where is it?
Me: Er… I think Mount Vernon Road?
Taxi uncle: Where is it near?
Me: *wtf* You don’t know where SPCA is?
Taxi uncle: What SPCA?
Me: *incredulous* You don’t know what SPCA is???
Taxi uncle: No.
Me: It’s the place where they keep animals. People throw their pets there when they don’t want them anymore.
Taxi uncle: Dunno. Just tell me the road.
Me: Mount Vernon Road.
Taxi uncle: Near which major road?
Me: *wah lau!!* I don’t know. Do you have a street directory?
Taxi uncle: Yes. Slowly look and tell me the roads around there.
Me: *trying to find SPCA in the damn book*
Taxi uncle: Maybe I should stop here and let you find.
Me: No, no, don’t stop, I’m in a hurry. Uh… it’s near Bartley Road.
Taxi uncle: Where’s that near?
Me: *wtfbbq!!* Paya Lebar Road.
Taxi uncle: Ok. Hang on to the directory and let me know when we’re near.

Anyway, I managed to reach there on the dot.

I make it a point to be punctual for shoots. I try not to be too early because Singapore productions never start on time; people are always late, and I’m sick of being professional when nobody appreciates it. But I still have to be punctual to keep a semblance of professionalism. I just don’t want to overdo it, which sometimes gives me panic attacks when I cut too close to the call time. Haha.

I’m now acting in an episode of Stories of Love, season two, and there’s a dog in it, so we have a few scenes in SPCA.

Gosh, it broke my heart to see all the abandoned animals. Especially this one.

I love schnauzers. They’s so cute and loving and I think they have the most heart-wrenching puppy eyes of them all.

This schnauzer looked sad most of the time. I wish I could take him home.

Another schnauzer!

I’ve been told that schnauzers are a breed that need the most attention and they’re also one of the most loving dogs around. It must have broken their hearts to have to part with their original owners.

My role in this one-hour drama is a university student and the best friend of the lead character.

I was actually up for the leading role, but because the filming schedule clashed with SNAP, I wasn’t able to commit to all the filming dates. So they gave me a supporting role which requires fewer days.


But I like this character I’m playing because it’s a personality I’ve never played before, so that’s interesting!

I’m this bubbly, outspoken, dorky-looking character to contrast with the leading character, who is sweet and shy and pretty. (Will try and get a picture of her tomorrow.)

Ok, I think I do the dorky thing very well because the Goonfather just walked past my computer while I was editing the above photo and he said…

“Eh! Why you wear specs? You look like a goondu.”

Thanks, hor.

I don’t want to look pretty all the time. I mean, I want to look pretty when my character is supposed to look pretty. But I like looking different, even ugly, if the role calls for it.

But I want to play leading roles. Because it’s sad when you go to work and then your scenes are done early because you don’t have that many scenes and you have to go home early. Leading actors get to work all day, which is what I want.

I know that sounds crazy, but having to go home when everyone else is still working is like having to leave a party when it’s just starting to get exciting.

And don’t suggest that I hang around to watch them after I’m done with help cheap levitra, because that’s an even bigger evil. It’s pure torture having to sit there and wait and watch while other people are working.

This episode will be aired on September 13th. Will post a reminder nearer to the date!

If I can remember. lol.

Apparently, I was in World of Laughs last night, but I’m so busy these days, I totally forgot to watch it. Gah.

Life is stupid!

I think ghosts don’t like me. Life has sucked since the Hungry Ghost Month started. I better go to the temple and offer more joss sticks or whatever it is they like. Then again, maybe it’s not them because life started sucking since a week ago.

Let me dig a hole and hide inside.

Happy day

I’m happy today. I feel very productive.

I went for a shoot. I went for an audition. I went shopping for a birthday present and I attended a birthday party.

Then I came home and played a few rounds of Audition. (As if I don’t already have enough auditions in my life.)

Okay, that sounds kinda mundane, actually. But I like packing several events/activities all into one day because it makes me feel very productive and also leaves my other days free for total slackage at home. Haha.

* * *

My shoot went pretty well. It only over-ran 40 minutes, which is very good by normal standards. Easy lines and minimal hassle. By 2pm, I was off and free to engage in my other activities.

* * *

My audition went pretty well. I’m sure I had quite many cringe-worthy, lousy moments, but I also had an honest moment in which I was able to cry with genuine emotion. In the past, I always had to fake it when crying was required during auditions. But I think I’ve finally figured it out, after tons of acting classes, acting books and self-assessment. It’s still not easy, but I have the confidence now to resist the temptation of faking.

This is what I think actors live to feel. To be totally engrossed in the moment. To achieve that during a shoot is great but it’s really what’s expected of professional actors, anyway. But to achieve it during an audition (with no time for preparation, no sets, props and co-actors to engage you, with the stress of being judged) feels pretty amazing.

I won’t even mind if I don’t get the role because I’m totally fulfilled by what I did today. And I know that if I don’t get cast, it’s not because I sucked but because of other reasons. Like maybe I’m not the right height or not pretty enough or my earlobes are too big or some other thing. Or maybe there’s a prettier and more talented actress. But even that’s okay because I’m happy with my own performance.

* * *

The birthday present shopping was quite stressful because I only had 15 minutes in which to make a decision and make the purchase, and because I totally had no idea what the birthday boy likes.

To make matters worse, even his mother wasn’t able to clue me in. There was a “huh?” moment when I called her to ask her to give me some ideas what to buy and she was, like, honestly, I don’t know what my son likes, hahaha. Just get anything.

* * *

The party was great, held at a condo poolside. Free-flow wine. Roti prata for dinner (the famous Casuarina prata man came personally to make fresh prata, made to order, for guests. Lana chocolate cake for dessert. A friendly, personable MP among the guests who entertained us with stories and insights.

Sorry, no photos. I’m kinda taking a break from taking photos because I’ve been taking way too many photos lately and I’m very tired out by it. I wasn’t really planning to blog about today, anyway, because it’s such a mundane day.

But I’m feeling so happy that I just feel like talking about it before I go to bed. Maybe it’s because I drank one too many glasses. Haha.

Actually, if I had taken photos, this blog would probably be a week late because processing photos is a chore I tend to procrastinate doing.

So, my work is done today.

Off to bed!