Friday, July 31, 2009

searching for a host(s)

I used to think (this was a long time ago) it would be a really good pick up line to see a hot chick and walk up to her and say, "hi, you're very good looking. I'm a TV Producer and I would like you to come for an audition".

My talent department actually gave me a stack of business cards where I write my name and give it to the potential talent to make an appoinment.

That of course was years ago. I haven't stopped anyone to do that although once I was in an Air Asia flight with a colleague and he stopped the stewardess on the way out of the plane to compliment how nice her voice was when she was doing her announcement. He said she has a nice voice and should consider doing voice-overs. As we left the plane, I could hear all the girls giggling and complimenting her. I think that made her day.

I haven't actually stopped random strangers to see if they're interested in hosting. I don't go to clubs or even anywhere 'cool'. Most of the time, I'm at shopping malls if you consider that cool. I have written to a few that I've seen in social networking websites. That's about it.

Now, I let my talent department do the searching. I rather the talent goes to them rather then I personally go searching. I only do that when I feel they're not searching in the right place.

Well, now I'm searching for new talent and I have to visualize where would my ideal talent hang out. I'll talk to my management to see if I can get the green light to do my own search. This should be interesting.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Car

Its been a week now I've been driving my new Proton Saga. The only thing that is still bothering me is the smell of plastic. Most people like it, that 'new car' smell. I don't. I'm pretty allergic to any non-organic smells. Like plastics, chemicals and also cigarettes.

I drive around with the window down but I'm afraid I'll get rob when I'm at the traffic light or get hit by stones that other cars run over (end up like one of those wierd Final Destination deaths). So when I drive, the window is down and when I approach a traffic light to stop, I start winding up the window again.

I think the smell is partly because of this steering wheel grip I bought. It's giving of a wierd PVC smell when the car is hot. Time to dump that one.

What the car need is some organic smell like cloves and other spices. I think I'll drop by the supermarket near my place and buy some. Masking the smell still doesn't get rid of the plastic smell though.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What not to do at an audition.

Today, I sat in at an audition my HR department organized. It was a few shortlisted candidates that send in their resumes. Over the next few weeks, they'll be calling in people that wrote in.

Like I said before, usually if you have it, I can tell right away. It's not so much the looks, but the presentation style, voice and also most importantly, attitude and confidence.

From all the people that I've seen in auditions I can say what are the things you ought not to do:

1. Don't say you want to be successful in live. Be specific. When ever I ask them what do they want to do be successful in, they say "what ever I do". To me, I hear "I don't know what I want to do" which means you shouldn't be here.

2. Speak softly. If you're at an audition, speak loudly and clearly. Command attention! You want people to watch you but if you meakly, people tune out.

3. Speak in rojak. Be very fluently in the language you're auditioning in. I've seen a few who came in who can't even speak fluently their first language.

4. Dress sexily. I've seen a few ladies who were either trying to show of a cleavage they didn't have or showing too much. When they opened their mouth, it wasn't impressive but we remembered the cleavage. Know who you're auditioning for. If they're conservative, dress conservative.

New car

I got my new car today. It's the new proton saga. After much pestering from everyone, I finally got a car. I'm not really into cars. To me, cars are just an utility. I'm more into gadgets and PC's.

Anyway, the car's okay. Instead of filling it up with the normal Shell Petrol (green), I used the Shell V-Power (the red one). The car's pickup is way too powerful now. I'm not sure if its the car of because of the petrol. I hope it's the petrol, because when I test drove the car the first time at the showroom, it didn't pick up with a kick like how it is now. The one in the show room was quite smooth. It kind of reminds me of the old car I drove, the Nissan Sunny which was a manual.

For a month plus now I've been driving my mother's Wira. I had to park the old Nissan Sunny at my house and borrow the Wira because the Nissan Sunny just had too much problems. The suspensions were making noises; the engine was leaking oil and other problems. That was the main reason I decided to trade it in for the government's RM5,000 rebate for old cars. It looks like a good car from the outside but it wasn't economical to repair anymore.

Though I have to say, compared to the wira, the Nissan Sunny was much more fuel economical. For 40 litres of petrol, I got about 450KM. For the Wira, I only got 350KM. Now all this is just city driving. I think it's mostly to do with the Wira's auto transmission which wasn't very fuel economical.

Last night when I came to check on the old car, I found out the engine oil leak was so bad the car could have caught fire. It was leaking oil on to the exhaust and the oil was smoking. Luckily, my mother knew a mechanic and we called him over to have a look. He actually offered to buy the car from me for his daugther to use. I told him it was too late since I've already signed the papers with Proton. It would be nice actually to see this car be of service to someone else. Ironically, this was the same mechanic that my mother when with when she bought and tested the car.

The mechanic came in the morning to take the car to his workshop which was near my house to spray some sealant to stop the leak. My instructions to him was specific, fix it so I can drive to the proton dealership, as they were going to scap the car no need to do any extensive repairs. My mother's neighbour who drove the same car took some of the other parts of the car, like the hubcabs.

As I drove the car to the proton dealer this morning, I was really worried that the car would break down. However, it made it in one piece. While driving it, I almost forgot what fun it was to drive an old manual car. The pickup for the Nissan Sunny is pretty good, especially from 1st to 2nd and to 3rd gear. Somehow, driving an old manual like this car always made me feel like a rally driver.

I was seriously considering getting the manual version of the proton saga but my wife talked me out of it. This car is going to be with me for at least another 10 years and by then I probably won't have the energy to drive a manual anymore. So, I thought I better drive an auto from now on.

I'll miss driving manual... but I'm already having fun driving this new Saga. The pickup and handling is fantastic. I can take corners a lot faster then I used to do with the Sunny. It didn't feel like the car was going to turn over. The seat is higher too, just like in the Sunny.

The only thing that really bugs me is that the car doesn't have a USB port for MP3 playback on the radio. In my old Sunny, I had a radio that I bought with a USB port. I took the radio out and I'm going to put it in my wife's car. I can't change the radio that came with the Saga because there's a 5 year warranty so I got to stick with it. I'll probably consider one of those MP3 players that transmit over the FM frequency.

It would be nice if actually could find a way to integrate the radio with my Iphone. The wira I was driving had a mini stereo jack so I hooked up my Iphone to it and I've been listening to the tunes on it. However, I think I'm going to try listening to the radio for now just to see what I've been missing.

I've transferred some of the old stuff to the new car, like my university alumni sticker. It's old and worn out but it's the only one I have. I should write to my university and see if they can mail me a new one. It's free publicity for them anyway.

Friday, July 24, 2009

While my wife was away...

My wife just got back today from her short holiday overseas with her friends. So the past few days I've been staying alone in the apartment. I almost forgot what it was alike to stay alone. I actually got creeped out on the first night. I was too afraid to sleep alone. I stayed up until I was really tired and then when to bed. That way, I didn't have to think of all the scarry stuff that might happen... like I don't know... some monster coming out of my toilet bowl. Damn, I have an over imaginative mind.

Anyway, it did give me time to experiment with other things normally I would not have been able to do if my wife was around. For one, I've been playing around with this wireless camera I got that I have been using as a CCTV. The reception is pretty bad from the study room so for the past few days when the wife was away I attached a really long RCA cable to it and put the receiver in the living room. I was right, the reception was so much better. I think I might invest in a better wireless camera, I think there's a bluetooth version out there.

I've also got to watch my DVD's on the TV. My wife controls the TV now. I get the study room. In my study room, the monitor isn't that great on the desktop PC but I have 5.1 surround sound. In my living room, I have a large flat screen TV but only 2.1 speaker system. Only if I can combine the two... should try that out the next time.

Anyway, I did get to watch Watchmen on DVD. Now that was an awsome movie. I like the ending. The superheroes were kind of cheesy since they were from the 80's. I think the one character I like best was Rorschach. He reminded me a bit of Punisher because he didn't have any superpowers. In fact, most of the heroes in the Watchmen didn't have powers except for Dr Manhattan... now that guy was almost a God, too much powers. Rorschach was cool because of his extreme morality.

The soundtrack for the movie was pretty good too, It had some tunes from the 60's and 80's. Haven't heard most of them in awhile. After the movie, I listened back to some of the tunes again on my PC.

looking for talent

Lately, I've been on the hunt for more talent again to add to my production team. I still need some reporters (and hosts). As it's an english business program, finding someone who speaks english and have the right skills is not easy.

First of all, the resumes I've been getting from my HR department aren't very promising. I first filter the stack for those who can speak English and that really narrows it down. I can sort of tell right away from their cover letter. Most are cut and paste type. If you can't even write an original cover letter, you're not going to cut it as a journalist.

Then the next filter is academic background. Since it's a business program, I'm looking for someone with an accounting, finance, or business degree... and mind you, I say degree, not a diploma.

After all this is shortlisted, then it goes to the interview stage. At this stage, I can pretty much tell from the first minute of the interview if I want the person or not already. The interviews I do are designed to see how the candidates do well under stress and also how they handle real life situations they will be facing on the job.

The last interview I did, we asked the candidates "If you could interview the finance minister, what would you ask him?". I think most of them mumbled a feeble question but those who were confident knew what they wanted to ask... though some questions were a little too daring for Malaysian standards. I like someone with guts, who are not afraid to speak their mind.

I think the talent pool for english speaking Broadcast Journalist in Malaysia is very small. I wonder what happened to all the kids who graduate every year with a mass communication degree. Maybe they all go into advertising, PR or print journalism. Those who do go overseas to do broadcast journalism either don't come back or do something totally different from their first degree.

My degree isn't broadcast journalism either, it's TV Production but at least I'm doing what I studied.

Suddenly I feel like Optimus Prime at the end of the Transformer 1 movie where he's sending a message out to the stars asking for other autobots to join him. Any broadcast journalism graduates interested to join my team?

You can be a Decepticon too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pear & pineapple

A funny conversation this morning during a meeting I attended.

X: Hey, is that a new Iphone?
Y: Yeah, I got it in Singapore. Malaysia very expensive. Over there, much less.
X: (picks up the phone and looks at it) Hrm, this doesn't look like an Iphone.
Me: (takes Iphone and look at it) Hey, this is not an Iphone. It's a China clone.
Y: It is an Iphone, how you know its a clone?
Me: Iphone has an Apple logo on the back, yours doesn't. Plus your USB port is on top of the phone, Iphone's USB port is at the bottom. (I show her my Iphone). Your phone is not an Apple lar, it's a pear. Looks like an Apple, but it's not, it's a pear.
X: More like a pineapple.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Back in the saddle again

A few months ago, my boss informed me that I would have to produce a new business program. At first, I was quite hesitant to do a business program again as I haven't done one in a long time and I have lost touch of the business world. Plus the fact that I would have preferred to do a lifestyle program. In fact, business programs are very specialized and only those with an interest in it would go into broadcasting specifically to just do business and financial programs. As this was a directive from my company, I had to do it.

So a few months down the road, it has been a few episodes into the season already. Things have almost stabilized. The hardest part about any program is getting things started. The hardest part is actually planning the editorial direction of the program and meeting up with the sponsors. Everyone has high expectations and it's important to explain to them early on what are the limitations.

Then there's the creative direction. Meeting the designers to build the set, program montage and the logo. Sometimes too many cooks spoils the soup and that's what happens every time when it comes to a creative progress. In the end, I had to push things through to get things done.

Preparing a team is also hard. The hardest is finding a good host. A few names were tossed around in the early part and all of the candidates have their pros and cons. In the end, I was lucky enough to convince my current host to take up the challenge to do it. It's important to have good chemistry with the host, especially during a live program. A host has to think in the same wavelength as the producer in terms of what questions to ask a guest.

The good thing about this program is that at least I'm now producing a program on my own again. It's like getting to captain your own ship again. Since I'm a Star Trek fan, I always see each program as a star ship and this program won't be a huge galaxy class ship like the Enterprise (that would be Buletin Utama, the main news program). My program would probably be equivalent to... a shuttle craft? hehehe. Hey, at least they call me producer again!

I've also been talking to the business community again. It's always nice to get the news straight from the source and to see uncensored version of the news. When I was doing a woman's talk show, I used to talk to NGO's and politicians and they used to tell me the challenges they faced. Most of it couldn't be aired. It's the same with the business community, they love to talk, but not officially on the record.

Maybe it's just the Malaysian culture. Everyone's afraid to stick their neck out to say something event though everyone else is thinking of it. Its just too risky.

Since my program is on Sunday night, my day offs are Monday and Tuesday now. At first I was thinking there goes my weekend but I find that working on a weekend is works out fine for me. On Mondays and Tuesdays I get to go out do my errands while everyone else is at work. It helps that I can go to the bank during banking hours.

The down side is I don't get to attend any social events on Sunday. Although I only start work at 4PM on Sunday, I prefer to sleep in on Sunday morning because I have to work until very late in the evening.

USB DVR and youtube ban in china.

Recently, I bought a USB DVR 4 channel recorder. It was a clear-logic brand. I got it from a dealer on

I've been looking for a DVR for some time to replace this old PCI DVR card I have. It only runs on Windows XP and my desktop is already running Vista on it. Plus, my desktop only has PCI slots and both of them are used already, for my soundcard and firewire slots.

Anyway, back to the USB DVR device, one of the features advertised is that it could record motion and auto upload it into youtube for you to watch. It also allowed auto upload of pictures to Picasa. I thought now that would be cool, I can watch stuff on my Iphone on youtube and picasa in real time.

I installed the software that came with it and found that the youtube function didn't work most of the time. Also, the program kept crashing everytime I tried to log it into picasa.

I e-mailed clear-logic for customer support, A 'Coco' were nice enough to write me back the next day to ask me to chat with her in MSN to get the new software.

She said in the new software update, it won't work with youtube anymore but it fixes the picasa problem. I asked her what happened to the youtube support since that was the major decision to buy it. She said, youtube has been banned in China, and since they're based in Shenzhen, they could not provide any customer support for their customers. Damn.

Looks like China's censorship is affecting me also. This clear-logic is brilliant in how they figured out a cheap way to offer full DVR services for a cheap product. They rely heavily on Google to do that.

The one I like best is how they get google calendar to send free sms to me everytime a motion is detected. It creates an event in google calendar and then google calendar sends a reminder by sms to me. I didn't even know google calendar sends out free sms reminders for events.

Anyway, I'll write a more extensive review of this DVR device futher once I've done more testing on it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

in this life time.

I've been thinking and reflecting on what I want in life... again. Sometimes, on a quiet night my mind drifts to thoughts about what I want to do in this life.

First of all, you have to understand what I believe in. I'm a Buddhist in heart. One of the hardest things for me to believe in Buddhism is reincarnation. If Buddha is right, that we are to reincarnate infinite times until we can escape through nirvana, until then we're to re-live many life times.

So if I am to reincarnate, what do I want to do in this life time? What would make it worth while? I don't remember my previous life times so I have no measure of what has been done or experiences I lack of.

I sit and ponder... and now I am hungry.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Who to ask?

Today, I was doing my editing in the Non-Linear Editing room and the producer who was using the room next door came to sit in my room out of boredom.

As I was sitting there, his trainee pops his head through the door and this the was conversation between the two of them:

Trainee: Where did you want me to go?
Producer: Go to Corporate Communications Department and get some sounvenirs for the trip we're going on.
Trainee: (blank look on the face). Where is it?
Producer: It's on the fourth floor, south wing. We're in the north wing right now.
Trainee: (still blank look on the face)

By this time, I chipped in and said, "It's next to the HR department".
Producer: Just go to the fourth floor and ask anyone for directions.
Trainee: Ask who?

both me and the producer then shouted and answered at the same time: Ask anyone there lar!
Me: When you get there, just ask the first person you see where is corporate comm!

Trainee: Erm... I meant, who to ask at Corporate Comm for the souvenirs?
Producer: oh, ask X for it.

hahaha. Lucky, both of us didn't give the space cadet a long lecture on using his brain. Like robot, must give precise instructions otherwise it won't operate properly.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Will Ferrell cameo role in Michael Jackson's music video "The Way You Make Me Feel"

I was looking at the full version of Michael Jackson's full length version of "The Way You Make Me Feel". The video was shot in 1987. The long version of the music video is hardly every played, so when I saw it on youtube I saw something I don't most people realize.

24 seconds into the video, there's actually a very short scene of young Will Ferrell playing a punk. He yells "Don't touch my head" in it briefly. I can't verify if it was him but from the voice, height and facial features, it sure looks like him.

Now in 1987, he was basically a nobody. I think this was even before he was a regular in Saturday Night LiveWho would have thought eh?

Check out the video below to see it for yourself at this youtube site here

I can't post the video here myself because of copyrights reasons.

The short version that is played edits out the early part with him in it so that is why most people would not have seen it.

Now I wonder how many more famous people were in MJ's music video.