How would you feel if someone or a station says your script is good and they think that if you produce it they will buy it and telecast it this August? You'd jump up and down with joy right?
But then, you realise that this is Malaysia. Nothing comes to you without a price or a condition attached to it. So you wait for it.
The first lousy words you hear is, "Oh yes, by the way, we cannot issue you a production order. You just have to trust us. We want it, okay?"
You gulped and grind your knuckles against your forehead. A migraine suddenly coming from nowhere. You wonder how you are going to finance the production without a production order because the bank who help you finance your productions will NEVER let you drawdown without a confirmed order from the station.
Nevermind, maybe I can borrow from my friends.
Cehh...what is RM70,000 amongst friends right?
And then, she says: "Now, we would like you to cast this, this. this and this artistes for the main roles...okay?"
Oh mannn!!! Not this again....these bunch of artistes who think they are God's gift to Malaysian TV. They know very well that this station wants them most of the time and they know that producers desperate to get jobs from this station have to take them, failing which the drama will not be approved. In this exalted position, these untalented yet popular artistes will demand ridiculous fees. How ridiculous? Well, a leading actor has been known to demand a fee of RM15, ooo for an 8 day shoot. Take it or leave it, baby. Geezzz!
And worse still, we have to work around his schedule because two other producers have already signed him on. Nevermind. If he asks for anything more than RM10k, I will tell the Inland Revenue guys to do an audit on him. Yes, that would be fun.
Okay okay...maybe that's it.
Enough with the conditions already.
But no. Wait. She has one more condition tied to the drama.
What is it, I asked.
She smiled and gave me a list: "You can let any of these three to direct the drama."
What? You must me out of your mind, sister! I looked at the list. Damn! Not a single award winning director amongst the three of them. One is known to be obnoxious to everyone on the set. One is known to have disappeared after shoot not bothering to attend or supervise the editing of his drama, because he would have already started on his other drama produced by another gullible producer. And the third? Well, his dramas are just plain boring, but at least being a former editor he can edit the drama.
But the thing is, I submitted the script so that I can direct. Hey, I am a director. A capable one too I think. Better than the three in the list. I have also won an award tau! Ya lah...I know its been like 20 over years but an award is an award what.
And since I am the one producing it, borrowing money from friends, relatives and long lost classmates, shouldn't I be given the privilege to chose my own director - which just so happens to be me?
I sighed again.
I looked at her. She looked back at me.
She smiled. "Take it or leave it," she said.
I sighed again.
My shoulders drooped sadly. I looked at her.
I asked, "How's the payment like?"
"Well, if the drama is good and we like it, we will telecast in it August and then we will pay you three months after that," she replied, supremely confident that I would buckle and say yes and fork out RM70,000 for the production and if approved, I will receive MAYBE a sales price of RM85,000. Max.
Hmmm....all these hassles and all these risks...for a mere RM15, ooo profit after four or five months wait from today.
I sighed again.
I looked up. Look at her eyes.
And I said:
(Okay okay I didn't actually say that. But I wanted to. I did refuse. Luckily for me. I am in the midst of producing a corporate video and five documentaries for another station who didn't tell me which director they wanted or which artiste to host it. They just liked the concept and the treatment, and they trusted my resume. Thanks guys.)