An industry friend brought this article in The Straits Times Life!, September 4 2010 to my attention while I was on set filming Channel U telemovie “Love in a Cab” (directed by Han Yew Kwang, who happened to be mentioned in Lui’s article). He asked me, just a couple of days before the article was printed, what I thought the role of a director in a drama/movie was. I shared with him my thoughts and by some bizarre cosmic coincidence, this article by The Straits Times journalist John Lui appeared after.
John Lui, who is neither an actor nor a director, offered his perspective as a journalist/member of the audience. His writing does come across slightly harsh, and industry people might think he is yet another self-righteous journalist who really is in no position to criticise and doesn’t know any better. After all, “Who is he to comment?” and “What does he know since he’s never been a director himself?” It is a natural defence mechanism (an emotional reaction) when you are personally invested in the topic of discussion. But as we question the validity of his points based on his lack of expertise in this particular discipline, we should realise that because he has no vested interest nor emotional attachment to this particular topic, that he also offers greater objectivity.
I guess you can think of him as a mean journalist who has an axe to grind with local directors, or he could just be writing to meet his quota, or whatever other 101 reasons you can think of to discredit the article, but the way I see it, he is also drawing attention to an industry pattern that not many people (both inside and outside of this industry) are aware of. And even if they are, either do not have the platform, or the interest and motivation to air their views. He is trying to send a message for change to happen, even though he might have made some people feel victimised along the way.
I have my own views on the matter and do not agree whole-heartedly with what he said, but then I’ll save that for another entry.
Do share with me what you think.