To be with you

I asked Art what do I need to give to be together with him.

He asked for my mind.
He used a straw to suck out the air from my ears
as it transmuted into ink.
He asked me for my body.
He peeled my skin tenderly
and used it as a canvas.
He asked for my heart.
He dug out my veins from my ribcage,
and used my heart strings to sew the canvas on the frame.
He asked for my soul.
My soul left my body,
it spilled into dancing figurines on the canvas,
filling it with art.

Fame

It is not important to me that I become famous or not. The only thing that I don’t have currently that defines “fame” is a Wikipedia page. I think it will eventually be created by someone else other than myself as long I continue to produce quality content in my books, videos, and experimental foray into theatre and dance. Eventually, I want to leave behind a blueprint of stories to be made into films. I predict that I may not get to see my creations become mainstream in my lifetime. The director who directed, produced and wrote Eyes White Shut (1999) passed away before he saw his movie on the screen. What is more fulfilling is to spend meaningful time with my family and friends as they will be at my funeral.

Opinion Paper on Acting – Rhythm

I believe that rhythm is the sum of all parts put together to create a grand masterpiece. Without rhythm, there is no piece to be played.

I believe the best pieces of artistic works have a certain pace and rhythm to it, most importantly, the viewer is often unconscious of what are the forces that draw them towards the creation. There is a movement beneath every painting that speaks loudly. There is a tidal current in the stillness of sculptures that communicate the vision of the sculptor.

I don’t think rhythm can be controlled but it can be given a certain quality of mastery to it, meaning to say, that it is usually out of constant practice and dedication to the craft that a natural rhythm would arise. I don’t think it is possible to cultivate it without hours of work put in beneath the surface.

It is akin to a distinctive trademark of an artist that bears his signature without his name on it. It is almost like the artist soul is in the work itself and it needs no explanation. It gives the aura of bewilderment and magic to the audience that astounds them without knowing why.

Like the Empire State Building, which itself is an architectural masterpiece, the completion of a piece leaves the viewer in a sense of renewed awe and wonder of the amazement of life. That is what successful musicals on Broadway do. That’s what grandmasters try to communicate in their artwork.

This is why I continue to create, and practice on my craft, and produce art despite the lack of recognition, validation, fame or monetary rewards, knowing that one day I will leave behind a grand masterpiece for the future generations to enjoy.

Opinion Paper on Acting: Observation

For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

“Talent needs cultivation and only through cultivation can one discover the presence of talent.”

I believe in this statement and it holds very true. I began my foray into theatre and dance at a tender age of 12 years old, and over the years I had seen the rise and fall of artists. Some lasted, some disappeared from the limelight, some faded away as their sins took over once fame came.

It is extremely difficult to last for a long time in theatre, dance or any artistic endeavour. The drop out rates are high. After losing a dance competition, for example, I had seen some dancers drop the dance completely. After failures, I had seen them disappear from their otherwise magnificent futures as uprising artists.

I believe those who stay on, preserver and keep true to their art will eventually become legends in their own right. They are our artistic heroes and deities that mere mortals look up to them for constant inspiration. I believe celebrities are forged out of the fire and had been through countless of setbacks in order to reach the top and it is not by luck or chance where they are today.

It is solely by the cultivation of their talents by pursuing their craft by constant practice, instruction and broadening of their repetition by undertaking different classes by different instructors over the years of dedication as a professional artist.

An example of this Hugh Jackman who has performed in musicals in Broadway and movies. He has consistently been able to deliver breathtaking performances in every role he enacted through his acting, dancing and singing. He amazes me as an artist who had cultivated himself for the craft and unleashed his talents in different productions.

“It enriches his life by full and extensive consumption of everything in outward life.”

I had over the years been writing in different cafes, even when writing this essay I am in a new cafe that just opened recently on the street that I found quite by accident. I regard myself as a cafe and coffee lover and I tend to be drawn to hidden secret finds in little alleyways that most people don’t know about their existence – this is a personality of mine that I kept after my stay in Melbourne where I developed my love of coffee culture.

To the people of Melbourne, coffee making is an art form that is relished and celebrated. I had not found any other place in the world that cherishes coffee the way Melbournians do. The best cups of coffee that sent me up to seven heavens were on those cold cloudy days in one of those secluded alley ways around Flinders station.

During my stay in Melbourne, I developed a habit of writing poetry in cafes in little notebooks that I would buy at flea markets. I wrote poetry purely for pleasure while sipping a cup of coffee in a moment of solitude. But those pieces of poetry were in fact inspired by the presence of people around me. I was observing others as an outsider, as a student, as a writer. I was observing their mannerisms, speech and dressing. I guessed if they just met or they are casually dating. I would count how many cups of coffee the cafe served per hour and how much revenue they were making, and this is a habit I still keep to today to estimate if a retail business is making profit or loss.

I cultivated my skill of observing others by writing down my thoughts and them in turn, inspired my art. Most of my best poetry is written during my stint in Melbourne. In a strange new environment where I was completely alone, I had to survive by blending in. On the sixth month, no one could distinguish if I was a foreigner. I had learnt their social codes to become part of their society.

Nevertheless, I do see the importance of how observation can release the artistic heights of an artist by expanding their horizons and vantage points.

Opinion Paper on Acting: Characterization

Misa Photography
For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

Acting: Characterization

“When a shoemaker has done his pair of boots, it is over, he forgets about them. When an artist finishes a piece of work, it is not done. It is just another step. All the steps dovetail one into the other.”

I once watched a documentary about a Japanese eldery pianist who held a sold out concert over a weekend. The audience and critics were impressed beyond their imagination. The interviewer asked the pianist what will he do next after his successful concert. He replied, “continue to practice.” He woke up on Monday, and went to his piano and did just that. It is true that as an artist there is no end to the journey of discovering our art.

After publishing three books, hitting three million views on YouTube and embarking on my journey to film a short film based on The Scarlet Queen YouTube, I still don’t see an end to my craft. In fact, after conclusion of the short film, I will start writing my next trilogy and continue to make more videos on YouTube. I had considered quitting and finishing up my artistic work like a shoemaker.  But everytime I quit, I find my life dull and drained of colours.

When I stop producing art, the clock ticks slowly and my world is in monochrome. My body wants to dance, my mind wants to tell stories and my soul wants to breathe. I cannot hold it back, for it only creeps into my dreams and haunts me in every waking moment, trailing me like a shadow. The taxi driver asks if I am an actress which I would hastily reply no, to avoid any intrusion to my privacy. My friends would ask if I had been dancing, and if they can watch me dance, and I will hide in a corner and avoid humans. I disintegrate, bit by bit, I would withdraw from the world. My dreams become nightmares, and shadows become monsters.

I would instead, fill my life with distractions by acquiring more wealth and material assets. Each day, I would sell a thread of my soul to the devil to make ends meet. I would slowly, but surely lose my zest and joy for life. My happiness, into aggression. My hopes, into vile destructive thoughts. My nature, would become corrupt and selfish. Till, I am one of the many walking hollow shells climbing the corporate ladder at the expense of everything else.

I will eventually forget about the work I had created and they will no longer have life. They are dead, like shoes. Once used, will be thrown out. But art? It is immortal, to be enjoyed, appreciated, to be awed at, to give peace and joy to the viewers that could last for an eternity after my years have ended on earth. That is why I create, and chose to dedicate my life to my artistry. This is a concious choice I had made four years ago to become a professional artist. Since then, I have received countless of fan mails and recognition for my work that is beyond my own belief.

“That before you put on your dress and make up, you must master your characterization.”

It is true that characterisation work requires observation and study from different sources. When I created Risque, she was a mystery figure that lurked in the darkest recesses of my mind. I would watch her enact these crazy stuff on others that I would never ever, ever, beyond my wildest drunken state, would ever do. What she does on YouTube still continues to astound me. I would ask myself, “is that me?”

At first I rejected her, and think she was this suppressed side of my personality that I would eradicate. I would never let anyone see it. I should lock her up in a place so no one would ever know she resided in me. Then slowly, I started to accept her. That she was brilliant. She was crazy, domineering and alpha. That she probably is what every woman wants to be, but never have the guts to be for the fear of societial judgemental eyes.

Upon more studies, I realised Risque is the counter mask to my usual persona that I have. Which by default, I am a naturally happy and cheerful person who is rather simple. A good cup of coffee makes my day. A little dancing here and there makes me upbeat about life. A walk through nature and reservoirs restores the peace and tranquility in my heart. Where else, for Risque, she is rather complicated. She has messed up desires, that require minions. She is not easily satisfied, but extremely confident. She has this aura about her that makes her presence known when she enters the room.

It has been five years since I created Risque, and five years on, I am still learning new things about her.

I think that every one of us have a mask and counter mask that we portay and enact in our daily lives, and my artistic experimentation on my dual roles is barely scratching the surface of human psychology.

“The actor creates the whole length of a human souls life on the stage every time he creates a part.”

When I am on set, I am much more focused than I am off set. This level of concentration is for the duration of the take, it could last two to four hours per session. In fact, for a whole week after coming back from a holiday trip I had gastric pain, but I ignored my bodily state and focused on completing my work to the extent that I saw the doctor after seven days. The doctor was appalled, and asked why did I take so long to see her, I should have seek for medical treatment within two days of suffering from this ailment.

I lost track of time I believe. That in the pursuit and intense focus of my work, I ignored everything else including my own physical discomfort. I think that a level of professionalism of an artist is required to bring their focus onto stage to create a part, which is the “whole length of a human souls life” in that brief moment.

“The most powerful weapon of an author is his mind. The quality of it, the speed, alertness, depth, brilliancy…. all you have to do is to grasp the characterization of the author’s mind and follow it as an actor.”

When I acted in plays in the past, I couldn’t grasp this part on capturing the author’s mind and following it as an actor. I had my own directions, own compass to follow. I subseqently decided for myself that casting is not for me, I am more suited to be a producer or screenwriter more so than an actor. The only exemption would be if I write my own script, I can follow my own mind.

I have to admit I am a bad follow, even in partner dancing, I tend to outshine my lead. I have my own sequences when it comes to dance cherography, and it may not sync with the person who is dancing with me. Similarly, in a production, I am unable to comprehend why the author made certain choices, and I think I could do better. This conflict within me turned me away from theater for many years, before I came to my own self conclusion that I have to produce the play that I want to act in. That, resolved my conflict and I started my own production, The Scarlet Queen as a direct result of this.

By acting in my own script, I could control and understand my characters in ways that an external author could never comprehend. My characters can grow in organic ways, that is not limited or constrained by script. It is improvisation, taking in feedback, reacting to users comments, in front of a live audience, that is divided between two screens. I believe that my artistic work playing dual roles is a new artform in the making.

“The wise author does everything to make this part of creation in the theatre as harmonious as possible without ruining the idea and purpose of the play.”

Truly that’s why I chose to be an author, actress and producer. The new triple threat of today (https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/be-new-triple-threat-actorwriterproducer/).

 

Opinion Paper on Acting: Dramatic Action

For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

Acting: Dramatic Action

“And yet a few actors achieve quite a high degree of dramatic art.”

For that few seconds of immortality on stage, is it worth thousands of hours and dedication to the never ending pursuit of the craft?

Yes.

As much as we seek for transcendence, the answer to transcendence may lie within ourselves more so than trying to please the audience or critics. It is a lifelong dedication to understanding oneself, and to enact that beauty on stage for that fleeting moment. Like a flower that comes to bloom, it lasts for that few moments before the seasons change. But that tiny glimpse of transcendence is akin to touching the face of God – to be one with the divine.

“The only real rules in art are the rules we discover for ourselves.”

A “perfect system” requires outliers. As it is in the matrix when the artificial intelligence (AI) created the perfect system, the society destructed. The moment they allowed for outliers to exist, the society rebalanced itself.

As it is right now the foreseeable threat to my existence is artificial intelligence. Now AI can author books, beat top chess players in the world and soon, they will drive our cars. The moment they make humans redundant it would be the end to us.

Unless humans can figure out a way to store our consciousness in transhuman android bodies, so that our consciousness live forever in different replaceable bodies, it is very likely AI will control humans like a hive mind IF we are not careful.

To make my consciousness immortal, I have been writing as much books and articles as possible on the cloud aka the internet, releasing videos, and imparting my cultural legacy before the end of my physical self.

Eventually I have to merge my consciousness with the cloud and publish my magnum opus, The Scarlet Throne trilogy and short film before my time on earth is an end.

My artistic works will belong to the AI once it is uploaded on the cloud/internet.

I am afraid of self learning AI (deep think) technology and how it impacts the creation of artistic content. If machines could create art, what would happen to our human cultural legacy? I did not predict that they will outdo humans so soon.

I foresee with almost 100% certainty that it’s either we fuse and merge with artificial intelligence or…. there is no other alternative.

The new legacy is no longer in acquiring physical objects but in a shared human consciousness.

 

Opinion Paper on Acting: Memory of Emotion

For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the chapter.

Acting: Memory of Emotion

“You did it consciously and unconsciously… The only person who can dream is the person who can stand with both feet firmly on the earth.”

I believe great actors use imaginary emotional memory in powerful scenes that sends shivers through the audience. It could be for a few seconds, or a moment. But at that moment, there is a silence of suspense, imaginary suspense that the audience was now inside the actor’s world and mind. He had succeeded in casting a veil of disbelief that the audience thinks what is happening on stage is real life.

As much as an actor can aesthetically look good on stage by having a well-tuned instrument or magazine cover supermodel body, it’s another skill to be able to move the audience through his repertoire of emotions. That emotional scale of affective memories are the notes to playing his instrument. It can be honed and refined to accuracy by constant practice.

I am quite guilty of not being able to perfect this part of my skill set as an actress, as my emotional memory tends to overwhelm me and take control of my instrument. I did not have precision, and my emotional memories were out of whack. I would get stuck in character, and it is hard to get “out” of the zone. After some coaching, I realised all I had to do to get out of character was to watch comedy and I will be okay again.

For me to get into the zone of my emotional memory, it takes time, and it is not instantaneous as some great actors could do with the snap of their fingers. In fact, out of all skill sets of an actor, this is the most difficult to master as it requires constant practice, dedication, and effective recall through an organised series of emotional “cabinets” that an actor can pull in and out when the scene requires it.

‘Your actual work is done in solitude – entirely inside of yourself”

Other than writing, I believe acting is one of the most solitary occupations in the world. It requires long hours of internal work to look within oneself for answers and to “master thyself”. In fact, it’s almost like being holed up in a cave like a zen monk looking for the answers to life. The actor has to reexperience and recall not only happy moments, but difficult, distressful moments of life to be able to re-enact their experiences onto stage.

For all the suffering it brings to my soul, acting on stage was one of those few moments in my life that I felt truly alive. For all that I had given up on in life to pursue my art, acting has brought me one of the most gratification, not just for myself but for my audience. My creations will live on forever on cyberspace, my videos will be watched by millions of people, and my works will continue to impact generations to come when I am long gone.

This knowledge gives me strength to carry on pursuing my craft in my moments of darkness. It wakes me up every morning to appreciate the beauty and joys of life. I am filled with wonderment of the spectrum of human emotions, dramatic works and stories from long ago. I am bewildered by what I could create and I only wish that I could live on forever so my journey to seek mastery in my craft will never end.

Opinion Paper on Acting: Concentration

For an acting class assignment, we have to write an opinion paper for each chapter of the book, Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski. These are my thoughts after reading the first chapter. I will update my assignment on my blog weekly for the remaining chapters.

The First Lesson: Concentration

“Theater is a great mystery… the dream of perfection and the dream of eternal.”

To dedicate one life to the art of theatre is to give one mind body and soul to their artistry. Creation seems from within once the actor masters his instrument. Only then, he can be one with the universe. That leaves an everlasting impression with the audience, for he has told the story of his soul through the portrayal of his role.

There are certain actors that I remember till today although I had watched them enact in plays from years ago. One is the phantom in the Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas (2011). When he crawled on stage towards the ending after losing the love of his life, something deep resonated with me.

The story of his life penetrated my pores and moved me into tears. Tears of pity, not for myself, but for the pain I had inflicted on others due to my callousness. When the sequel of the phantom was released, I bought the tickets to Love Never Dies immediately. The power of the actor made me do things that I would otherwise not have the courage to do in my life. He gave me the strength to believe in myself and mend my errors. . That’s the mystery of theatre. You never know how watching a play could move you to do unimaginable things.

Acting is not about exaggeration, or being dramatic to a something that is not actually there. In fact, it is the total opposite. It is about real life. The actors are enacting scripts we play out daily in our encounters with others. They give us answers and clues on what we should do next. They help our subconsciousness mend and repair itself. They help us to grow and become greater than who we are.

“Acting is the life of the human soul receiving it’s birth through art.”

I believe that performance art has this element of creation through the act of live performance. Unfortunately, the modern media and digital effects of movies and MTV’s had reduced real acting into a series of cuts and digital enhancements that the realism is lost. Now, the trend is towards a flaky pop culture that is temporary and fleeting like a one night stand with no sustainable long-term value and easily forgettable after a drunk night out.

To create something lasting, impactful and soulful requires hard work and dedication to the craft and as the acting bible says, “to possess talent is to possess an art.”

It requires one to not have an ego or do it for self-gratification but more so on giving one up to their craft with an intensity that requires full concentration on their “part.”

I don’t think theatre is for everyone neither it is play or fun. In fact, I believe it requires sacrifice and the surrender of one’s soul. It requires one to submit to their craft, at the expense of everything else that may come in the way of their artistry. It may mean long hours, sleepless nights and forsake Christmas or time with loved ones.

Acting requires ultimate surrender and that is what separates the greats from the good.

I am the creator

Over the years as a writer, I had wrote under different pen names. Some, I refuse to take credit for, some, that I had decided to take credit for. It is like having a bunch of children and choosing which kids you want to acknowledge, although you have full knowledge that it is your kid, but in a moment of passion, you did something foolish, and you hated yourself for it.

But eventually, those creations that I did not take credit for will eventually come to haunt me. They creep into my dreams at night, knocking and banging my doors down. They run and tear my clothes off. They want me tell them, I am their creator. I am their mother. Their originator. I am the monster that created these little monsterous beings that have taken a life of their own.

 
They want to be part of me, the originator.
They want to be accepted, belonged, cherished, loved.
They want to be me.
 
My creations cling to my skin like
parasites that feed off my flesh.
 
They scream my name,
as they rip the blue skies apart.
 
They shake the earth,
inducing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
 
Take me as your child, they chant together in a strange melody.
No more, no more. I declined.
They whimper and howl as they shred yet another rainbow.
 
One by one, I pushed my children into the abyss.
A blank canvas blanketed the universe in a submerged sphere.
 
The dark skies had no stars.
The plains had no animals.
 
I am drowning, yet breathing.
I am the creator.
No one can tell me otherwise.