Rules regarding rules (not really)

I think that, essentially, acting is an interpretative art where actors convey/relay our perception of life (which is what all artists do, anyway). That was the original intention. So, whoever it is that you’re playing and whatever your role is in a narrative (the bigger picture) should reflect your beliefs and how you perceive the world (even as you play flawed characters, or downright villains, who do everything against everything you believe in).

I do not subscribe to the school of thought that an actor’s unwillingness to play roles a certain way makes them “unprofessional” or, worse, the ‘reductionist’ belief that actors are mere puppets with no say, when actually actors are supposed to be storytellers. I can never understand how actors so often reduce their worth as human beings by saying stuff like, “oh, I’m just an actor, it’s not my place to judge my character”, and then expect to win awards for what they do. It makes no sense. You have a healthy, functioning brain, do you not? Why turn it off voluntarily? Sorry, but that shiny MFA won’t do your thinking for you.

If they don’t like your interpretation, then maybe they should hire another, more compatible artist. And that’s alright (it’s just the nature of collaborative efforts, nothing personal).

So, I’ve a set of rules. Some, I ackgnowledge, may be childish (like the fangirling rule). But some others, I take very seriously and try my best to honour (racism, human rights).

I am not laying these rules out on my website to be “difficult”, I’m just trying to avoid wasting everyone’s time. I’m not being a diva, I’m just respecting your time by affording you the opportunity to decide whether working with me is worth it seeing that there are clearly much more talented actors out there… Obviously.

Rules regarding the sacrilegious:

I will not audition for films or television show that I would consider myself a ‘fangirl’ of (clear definition of ‘fangirl’ to be determined). But basically, if I’m big enough of a fangirl to actually write fanfic or play dress-up for it, then I’m also big enough a fangirl to want to preserve and maintain the sacrosanctity of the fandom.

Do you have any idea how awful it feels to watch something you auditioned for and you’re not in it? It feels bad. Real bad. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, it’s 11. It would ruin the fun. And nothing comes between me and my fangirling!

Rules regarding what I will audition for:

Films and television shows that I would personally watch, but am not necessarily attached to (where I play a character—as I don’t see the point of being on television as myself).

Feel free to send me to space for realz. As in have the producers put me, a pack of chimps, and a film crew in a real spaceship and film in the real outer-space (not all that lame fake studio special-effects crap “Gravity” did… How DARE those fakers get nominated for awards! Pft).

I am more than wiling to travel for work. *Tries hard to maintain poker face*

Rules regarding what I will not audition for:

Racist productions. This includes, but is not limited to, advertisements for skin-whitening products (to be distinguished from “brightening” products, which merely accelerate the shedding of dead skin cells or aim to reverse effects of hormonal imbalances). When I’m sent off to a whitening ad, I will not show up. If you trick me into it, I will pull out. So let’s not waste everyone’s time, shall we? This also includes white-guilt films/television shows (and I actually say this as a person of colour). I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to guilt younger generations that are obviously too young to have anything to do with colonialism, slavery, genocides and no intentions to recommit those crimes. As Maggie Thatcher so eloquently put it:

Also, if you’re a foreign production filming in Indonesia, try not to behave like a bunch of neo-colonalists. And take a course on ‘cultural relativism‘ like proper civilised Homo sapiens, will you? When in Rome… Don’t make the Romans feed you to the lions at the Colosseum.

Mother roles. I don’t do mother roles, okay? Not because I’m terrible with children, but because I don’t like promoting the notion that womanhood—or a woman’s worth—needs to be defined by motherhood. Don’t get me wrong: I do respect my own mother, and you better respect her too (because if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be around to grace you with my presence). If you were naturally born with maternal instincts and you long to produce offspring, by all means, do procreate (reasonably—there is no longer a need to have like 11 children—and responsibly). But my purpose is to show other women who are not interested in that lifestyle (or have medical conditions that cause infertility and/or are ineligible to adopt) that it is acceptable and perfectly okay to contribute to the world in other equally meaningful ways.

Mess with my body. Don’t mess with my body. My body is mine, not yours.

Nudity for the sake of nudity. Make it have a purpose. Even if it’s just partial-nudity.

Awards-baits. I don’t believe awards-baiting to be an art form (hell, I don’t even believe in the validity of acting awards—it is illogical for a various reasons, and possibly the most irrational aspect of life as an actor). I want to be in well-meaning films and television shows made by earnest people who genuinely give a damn (and prove it by actually having the decency to not campaign during awards season—if you can’t even show that level of respect, then you have no business making human rights films in the first place). Not interested in the usual serious human rights violations and/or grave breaches of international law crassly exploited as awards-baits annually. While it is true that their stories deserve to be told, the real victims of those atrocities did not suffer just so you could win some petty, meaningless-to-humanity trophy (and just so you get to be ‘bankable’ as a result).

Narrative-killer. Don’t put me in a position where fans are going to blame me for ruining an entire narrative. I don’t like it when other actors do this to my fandoms (and believe me, I have my fangirl resentments). Don’t put me in that position. Just don’t. Don’t be that guy, and don’t make me be that guy.

And if abiding by these rules means I’ll end my so-called “career” with just one supporting role, then SO BE IT. I just want to be able to sleep well at night.

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