Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is Mediacorp humiliating local actors in its new Just for Laughs TV show?


Brendon Fernandez, a Singaporean actor was unhappy with the tactics used by Mediacorp to lure local actors to "star" in its Asian version of Just For Laughs. He says, "Mediacorp has been calling up actors and making appointments with them to attend an audition at Mediacorp for an English-language project which has been described as a still in development drama-dy. This is in fact completely disingenuous."

He describes the fake audition process, "In the account that I heard from an actor who attended the audition on 25 May 2009, the waiting time was in excess of an hour and a half past the scheduled appointment time. When the auditionee is finally ushered into the area in which the audition is supposed to take place, he or she is given several forms to fill out. The area is reported to resemble a badly-constructed mock up of a tv-set. The auditionee will be left alone in the room."

"After some time has passed, the auditionee will hear a knock that appears to come from inside the wardrobe that is on the set. There will also be a voice of someone claiming to be locked in the wardrobe, asking the auditionee to let them out. When the auditionee opens the wardrobe, it will be empty. The crew then bursts out from hiding and shouts: Surprise! You’re on Just For Laughs- Gags!"

Brandon feels that what Mediacorp did was humiliating to the actors. "I was saddened and angered to learn that this is how Mediacorp treats working actors today," he says. "This was a deliberately concocted scheme to lure professional actors into a humiliating trap. The people who attended devoted their time and their skills in preparation for what they believed to be an audition for a role in a professional TV series. Some may have given up other opportunities for work in order to attend. These actors responded in good faith to what they thought was an opportunity for work, and they were treated abysmally."


Myra Leong said...

Tough one this. Everyone loves watching other people made fun of but these "professional actors" are untouchable?

Mr Big said...

I like Just For Laughs but not sure I would like Mediacock's version.

GeekGod said...

The gag seems lame to me.

Anonymous said...

this is just another one of mediacorp's shit!

Anonymous said...

everyone is fair game.

Lord Kimbo said...

From the Mediacorp Press Release:

"The magic of the JFL gag is that it focuses on the sweeter moments in life that bring smiles and good natured laughter to its audience, unlike similar shows that rely on the elements of surprise, shock and embarrassment."

They say the show got no surprise, shock and embarrassment leh.

Anonymous said...

maybe brandon is jealous that mediacorp didn't call him for audition. hahaha!

bliz said...

This is really ridiculous.

The Just for Laughs I know is a funny show and has the following properties:

1) the people who star in it are kind of randomly selected around the set-up area instead of being intentionally targeted.

2) it doesn't take up too much time from people

The Just for Laughs by Mediacorp has these properties:

1) Intentionally targeting people to go to a place to be phunked

2) Wasting a significant amount of people's time

pfft, to think that Mr Lucas Chow said that he's a big fan of the series. In this case they intentionally called up actors and made appointments with them to attend an audition. Granted that one may not clinch an acting role just for attending an audition, but in this case one's time (includes the travel time, practise time) and effort are totally wasted. What a selfish move by mediacorp.

Anyway, if the gag in this post is going to be representative of this series, I can see how unfunny and lacking in originality it's going to be.

Anonymous said...

Hi there.

Thanks for highlighting this.

I was one of the actors who went for the Mediacorp audition.

Like any struggling actors in Singapore, I was hoping that I would get a role in Mediacorp's still in development drama-dy.

Jobs are hard to come by especially during this climate. Actors like myself are always on a lookout for opportunities to earn a living.

I was completely disgusted at what happened to me and other actors that were invited by Mediacorp.

Although the concept of Just For Laughs is to make people laugh, I didn't find it funny when they made a fool of me and the other actors.

Shame on you Mediacorp.

Anonymous said...

Myra Leong: I think the question here isn't so much about using professional actors but instead whether it is ethical to pull a prank during an audition. How would you took time off just to go down for a job interview only to realise that it was a joke?

zinc said...

they should change the name of the show to "just for humiliation"

pc said...

Well, Mediacorp standard is just like what! Don't complaint!

Anonymous Scout said...

In the U.S. MTV did this kind of stuff on a show called "Punk'd" to A-List movie stars and singers. How is the great Brendon Fernandez untouchable?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Brendon mentioned your interest in my experience with the mentioned incident. Much as I want to share my story more widely, I did notice a confidentiality clause in the agreement form, so I can't share it too publicly and have only shared it among my FB friends and my blog.

Suffice to say, I received an apologetic email reply from one of the producers who reiterated that it really was a casting designed as close to a gag as possible.

However, deceit was still used and the footage will still be used anyway. Actors were taken advantage of and this is just not right. Humiliation aside, this is plain unethical.


Anonymous said...

i just need to tune in to any mediacock shows to get my laughs from the lame storyline and lousy acting. you mean I wasnt watching a gag show all these while?

Anonymous said...

You mean the producers can still use the footage for the show even if the "victims" refused to sign the release form???
look like you guys signed the agreement form...so don't complain lor!

Ganga said...

I like the last comment by anonymous - "you mean I wasnt watching a gag show all these while?"... Hahaha.

I think a struggling actor should not be subjected to this moronic prank and I feel well-established stars could be targetted instead (if at all). Reason being, there is not much financial loss for someone who is earning well, and the gag-value is much higher if it's a 'star' who's being punked. But that's just me...

Of course, our dear pragmatic Mediacorp will not want to risk annoying our stars and instead take the less-risk option of making a fool of the peasant-equivalent. Such behaviour reeks of Chauvinism and poor taste. It's no different than a bunch of teenagers making fun of a homeless person of unsound mind and later posting the incident up on Youtube.

YongWei said...

Mediacorp never realises that their ideas are not original at all.

they should hire me, i've got lots of ideas, skits prepared, just need good filming equipment

KH said...

It is indeed a waste of time. Everything from Mediacock is a waste of time. I stopped watching local TV shows long time ago.

bengz said...

I wonder did the 'victims' get paid after that???

If NO, WhoaPianEh then they acted for free, mediacock air the show and they charge advertiser for the slot.

Anonymous said...

Call the newpaper and get the story out.

John F said...

All "prank" shows should have higher standards. The standards are determined by who watches and supports the show.

This not only applies to actors but to construction workers, street sweepers, sex shop clerks, anyone. This kind of "joking" is humiliating and not harmless fun.

Personally I find it disgusting.

tengatango.com said...

so why is this gag even funny in the first place? Instead of 'Just for Laughs' it should be 'Just too Lame'