Personally, 2010 leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. My trials and tribulations in the film and TV business was the worse I have ever experienced in my life.
What's also strange was that some of my peers and colleagues in the industry had a worse time than me. I know of many producers and directors who went through the whole year without any jobs at all. How they manage is beyond me.
What's stranger still, is that production in KL seems to be booming! How do I know? Well, ask any top actor or actress if they are available for shoot, and they will more than not say they are fully booked.
In my current work for example, for a friend's company, we have had to replace three of the top cast members because of scheduling problems. There was no way for us to wait or work our production around their existing schedules.
Even some of the cast that we took on, they are already shooting with other productions. Nevertheless due to various reasons, we could still take them on and shoot around their existing jobs.
Looking at the situation, maybe I should have been an actor instead of being a producer.
We producers take a lot of crap from everyone. We have to look for funds, pitch for jobs, round up a team that we hope would deliver, face annoying TV executives and when all that is over, we have to wait for the payment. As actors or technical crew they get paid up front, progressive and at the end of production. Once finish, they hop on to the next project.
A leading actor for example, may request from a producer as high as RM3k per episode and if there's 13 episodes, he gets a clean RM39,000 pay for one and half month's work.
That's not bad isn't it?
A top scriptwriter too can earn as much as that if he is in demand. RM30-39k for 13 one hour episodes and most maddening is that most of these writers, who churn out melodrama, are usually not required to do any research at all. They just sit in their offices or their homes in front of their laptops or PCs and churn out about 500 pages for the producer.
Why or why I gatal nak jadi producer?
Anyway, if things don't change, there is a likelihood that I might just give up this business once again. The Malays would say "tak berbaloi" (doesn't make monetary sense). Strangely, I disagree. I think the business can be berbaloi - emotionally, financially and creatively - if the industry is a level playing field.
Unfortunately, this business is not based on merit. It is a business dealing in flash and glamour and it is a business built on pizazz. If you can make certain people in the business think you can deliver, even with zero experience, then you've got it made.
Let's see what the new year brings us all.
So goodbye 2010. Hello 2011.