The Road to Acting

Filed in Entertainment Ind., TVB (H.K.) 香港無線電視Tags: , , , , ,

Coming Monday (June 12, 2006) is going to be a busy day for me. I have three separate appointments, all of them relatively important, but the one that I want to point out to all of you; at least for now; is the one that begins in Central at 8pm.

I frequently get email messages and comments from readers who themselves dream of becoming famous actors or simply would like to be in the business, whether famous or not. I'm working at TVB simply because I'm lucky. There's nothing else to it. So what about other budding actors out there?

I would recommend two things.

Hong Kong Actors Meetup

For all of you who want to be in the business, whether as a director, actor, script writer or something else, I strongly suggest that you join the Hong Kong Actors Meetup. It's a group of local people wanting to work in the entertainment business, and almost everyone in the group is enthusiastic and ready to go.

Hong Kong already has an actors guild; the Hong Kong Performing Artists Guild; but it's limited in what it can do. In my experience, it's pretty much made up of actors who hope that the guild can find work for them. Enthusiasm is almost non-existent and the guild has been unable to help local actors in any significant way in the entire time that it's been in operation. That's not to say that the leaders haven't done anything. They've all worked extremely hard, but for one reason or another, nothing really helpful to actors or productive ever came out of the guild.

The film and television industry in Hong Kong is a very small circle. It's a very tough circle, extremely difficult and costly; in terms of time and effort; to become a part of. Even sleeping with the director will not guarantee you a part let alone success.

Personally, I don't think the future of Hong Kong's film and television lies with this circle. It lies with a new circle, one to be created by the members of the Hong Kong Actors Meetup group. Enthusiasm is the key, enthusiasm that you find in college students, or people with stars in their eyes walking through the studded but old and decrepit streets of Hollywood (yes, decrepit. I know. I've been there).

So if you really want a chance to be part of the film and television industry, if you want to be someone who contributes to the future here in Hong Kong, whether you're Chinese, Caucasian, African, Mexican, Japanese, or whatever, then join the meetup group and get yourself over to the meetup meetings.

Next Monday night at 8pm, there will be a meeting on the roof of the The Fringe Club (2 Lower Albert Road, Central, tel 25217251). I'll be there; although probably a little late; so hopefully we'll see each other. Shout if you see me ;-)

TVB (Hong Kong)

If you're a foreigner with Cantonese talents, you might take a crack at TVB where I work. If more of you work at TVB, I'll probably get less roles to perform but that's ok.

Cantonese is imperative if you want to work at TVB; preferably speaking and reading but speaking alone will do if your spoken Cantonese is excellent. Acting training/experience is also preferable.

So if you think you're ready for the TV screen and have what it takes, write down your resume and send it to TVB at:

Talent Department
TVB City
77 Chun Choi Street
Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate
Tseung Kwan O
Kowloon
Hong Kong (if you're mailing from outside of Hong Kong)

Include at least one photo in your application. Most importantly though, make sure to state in big friendly letters at the top of your resume that you speak (and read) excellent Cantonese. Only then will the talent people take the time to read through your resume.

Good luck people, and have fun.

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27 Responses to “The Road to Acting”
  1. Fiona says:

    Greg,
    I am assuming acting is your part time job, do you engage in any other jobs for a living?

  2. hyn5 says:

    Hey Greg!

    I have a question, I am a Canadian born Chinese and I live in Canada, do I count as a foreigner? All the elders say I am b/c I know how to read Chinese even though I haven't gone to any Chinese school. I learnt it myself by reading magazines/news, listening to music, and watching series. Thanks!

  3. MY says:

    Wow, hyn5! I'm impressed! At what age did you start learning to read Chinese?

  4. Laura says:

    Wow!I'm so impressed.Not only because you're talented...it's because of your generosity and open-minded to those people who wants to be in the business(acting).
    Hey,you know what,you remind me of Anders Nelson,a Swedish who also speak very good Cantonese,but I've no idea he could read Cantonese or not...and the new comer "喬寶寶"(Indian),don't you think you're compete with each other?if not,who's your competitor then?
    And,have you think about get into the film and television or flim industry in China?Just as you said,Hong Kong is a very small circle/market.
    Well,that's it.Wish you glorious,propersious and Good health.
    look forward to your new show.

  5. 木子 says:

    I'm more interested in "hokwokwing Meetup" in HK. Guys and gals, think so?

  6. Phoenix says:

    木子i totally agree with u!!!!!!

  7. Joel says:

    Hi Greg,

    It's nice to see you writing on blogs. I remember you from a lot of TV series as the "gwai lo" when I grew up in Hong Kong in the late 1980s and early 90s (now living in New Zealand) - many of your roles involved speaking Cantonese, but some in English. Keep up with the good work!

    It is not everyday that you see Western actors or actresses speaking Chinese on Chinese-language TV. I have heard Mark Rowswell who frequently appears on TV in China (Dashan is his screen name in China) and he speaks Mandarin very fluently. BTW I'm interested to know if you personally know him?

    http://www.dashan.com/

    To hyn5,

    Being Canadian born isn't the main problem. I remember Theresa Lee (Lee Yee Hung) or Christy Chung both grew up in Canada (and Chung even didn't speak any Chinese when she won in the Miss Chinese International contest in 1993 - her first language were Vietnamese and French).

    Do you look Chinese from Asia or like "second or third generation" born in the West? (such as smaller eyes, broader face, very dark skin). They may cast you according to how you look. If you look "Asian" you will be given regular roles, if not, they will give you perhaps "comical" role of "foreign born Chinese" or those who come with "gwai lo character".

  8. 蝦米 says:

    河生:
    你果然是個大好人, 能讓一些有興趣係電視銀幕發展的朋友, 能夠找到途徑去發展其春秋大業(夢), 係幾唔錯. 你的熱心又令我想這個TVB, 近期出的劇集太差了, 來來去去都是那幾個劇情, 不如河生你都提供一個渠道給我, 我真係好想去一tvb編劇…(just joking). 話說回來, 你還記得你曾經演過港台一個電視劇嗎? 你是飾演一位靚爸爸, 還有一個仔仔, 他在戲裡面的名字叫”金馬倫” 至於飾演做你太太的那位女演員, 她的名字我不太記得, 好似是周英琦, 希望我沒有記錯她的名字吧! 這套劇我就好喜歡了,不過就忘記這套劇叫甚麼名, 你記得這套劇叫甚麼名字嗎? 還有你喜歡這套劇嗎? 不知為何現在已經好少這類劇目了.

  9. 河國榮 says:

    Fiona,

    acting is my main source of income. when your working hours are completely random, it's very hard to get other work unless you're self employed. fortunately, my wife makes a decent income and we continue to survive, just like everyone else in Hong Kong.

    the occasional movie or China-based TV series would be nice though ;-)


    Hyn5,

    your message is a little confusing to me. you're a foreigner because you speak Chinese? do you mean a foreigner to local Canadians, or a foreigner to other Chinese?

    you learnt to read by yourself. that's fabulous and very difficult to do, although it's a tad easier for Chinese people even if they're born in an English-speaking country. I'm not sure why. maybe it has something to do with the Chinese home environments they grow up in.


    Laura,

    Anders is a great guy. I've worked with him a few times at TVB. he not only acts, he also sings and plays the guitar; very well.

    I've also met 喬寶寶. he's very bright, outgoing and confident. everyone who meets him loves him.

    do we compete with each other? probably, at least on some level, but without competition, we won't strive harder to improve ourselves. right?

    I'd like to get some work in China but you need the right contacts. what I really need is a great manager but they're incredibly hard to find, and 80% of it is 'serendipity' 緣分.


    木子 and Phoenix,

    I'll arrange something. soon. ok?


    Joel,

    you lucky person, living in New Zealand. nice country!

    Mark Roswell is remarkable. his Mandarin is probably better than my Cantonese. I don't know him personally.


    蝦米,

    being a script writer for TVB is painful. there are not enough writers and they're always working against the clock to get the scripts out as quickly as possible. scripts are almost never stored for future filming, they're usually filmed as they're written and we the actors frequently don't see the script until just days before filming.

    if you viewed it as a training ground, maybe working as a script writer for TVB would be a good thing, but it wouldn't be a good long term career choice.

    I think I remember the TV series you're referring to, but it wasn't me in the series. it was another 鬼佬. unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the series and I have no idea who the actor was. that was a good part, and he played it well.

    later people,
    Ho Kwok Wing

  10. 蝦米 says:

    那齣劇經已很舊,而你也有看過還記得呢, 是一套很溫馨搞笑劇集, 可是你確定你真的沒有拍嗎? 為甚麼我一直覺得那個人是你呀! 哎唷我是怎麼搞的,笑死人耶!
    我不是寫劇本人才, 我上次提到的是如果想給tvb一點意見,河生可有途徑能給我, 不過這都是搞笑的, 就算tvb真的有這個渠道, 他們也是不會接受的, 因為他們有慣性收視嘛!

  11. Joe says:

    Hey, I asked you about getting into acting in HK a few months ago and I found that HK Acting Meetup a few weeks ago as well. I can't believe you're going, that's really great. I will certainly attend one of those meet ups when I get back to HK.

  12. 木子 says:

    Hey Greg,

    Thx and I'm looking forward to the Meetup with you in HK.

    I think it'll like a gathering w/ "曾sir", with all the "how to's" like how to survive in the entertainment industry, how to write-up a blog, how to choose a camera, how to raise 10+ dogs at a time, how to learn to speak Cantonese as a 鬼佬 and maybe some cooking demos.....just joking.

    That should be fun :)

  13. Gee says:

    Hey Greg,

    It's great that you are advising aspiring actors and actresses how to get in the line, gwai lo or not. I'm impressed with your generosity. About a year ago, I emailed a writer asking her if she could share her experience of how she became a writer and some pointers of how to get into the line of being a freelancer in this field. Her reply was somewhat close to 'Go figure'. Of course I had expected a little 'something' after having read her articles so many times on paper and feeling her ups and downs, complains etc. I had the impression that she was a helpful and friendly person. I thought wrong.... after that day, I refuse to read anything this woman wrote.

    Anyways, glad to see a kind soul around....

    Thank you.... on behalf of all the aspirings...

  14. Billy says:

    Hi greg
    Only find out about ur blog today, I am the one that took a Photo with you outside the resturant at hung hom the other day.
    Very interesting site!!!
    I once also thought of taking part in acting, but i am not good at it, so gave it up.....
    I like watching you, keep going man!!!

  15. hyn5 says:

    To: MY

    As I was growing up, I would recognize a few characters and I will memorize them. My sister and I learn by listening to music, magazines, and from watching series. Till this day, I know about 90+% of Chinese characters in a paragraph or article. My sister and I also read HK entertainment news everyday to improve.

  16. alex says:

    hey greg
    I dont know if u can help me, my names is alexandro im 18 years old im from venezuela, im chinese i speak 3 languages chinese kantonese (only speak), spanish and english (litle) i want to be actor in TVB but i dont know i can do that i just came to hong kong last week, im living in my aunt house in tai wo hong kong i need your help i want to work there this is my emal alexandrozhaz@hotmail.com and zhaz_1234@hotmail.com

  17. alexandro says:

    hey guyss who's living in (Tai Wo) Hong Kong who can help me to go to TVB reply my emal alexandrozhaz@hotmail.com

  18. zhou xiao shan says:

    hi greg

    just thought i would send you a message to thank you for such a wonderful site and also could you let me know any sites as well as how i should go about learning cantonese for example which books and cds i could buy
    i really want to learn so any help from you would be very much appreciated
    thank you and have a great day
    p.s it is possible to talk with you on msn messenger or other messenger

  19. alexandro says:

    hey greg u never asnwer my question are u really greg

  20. 河國榮 says:

    Alexandro

    yes. I'm really Greg ;-)

    you're not going to get into TVB by emailing them. email is not a useful tool when it comes to TVB as I recently discovered. you really need to mail your resumé to them as I instructed you in the article above.

    but if you're Chinese, it may be very difficult to get into TVB. many many people want to get in. competition is stiff.

    but if you've had format acting training, and because you speak a few languages, you might still have a chance.

    DON'T email them. DO mail them.

    Zhou Xiao Shan,

    there are a couple of Cantonese enthusiast sites that will probably be very useful to you. a really good place to start would be http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/

    regards,
    Ho Kwok Wing

  21. Rick says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering do you know the guy who played
    羅蘭 grandson on 心慌心郁逐個足 is a foreigner or
    mixed blood? And why he haven't been on other series?

  22. Alexandro says:

    sorry for my comment greg i was thinking u will never respond me! http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/ this page is very useful to me thanks so much! your acting is so great! i hope i can know you someday! i will write to TVB IF THEY DONT RESPOND ME I WILL WRITE AND WRITE TO THEM thanks!! i sent too the tvbpeople too!

  23. Mika says:

    Do you need to know how to write cantonese in order to be considered for TVB?

  24. Ana says:

    Hello Gregory,

    I have already decided to send a letter to TVB to see what will happen. :) Maybe I will have a chance too. Hong Kong Acting Meetup is also very helpful. Thank you for your recommendation. I'll go to the next Actors Meetup for sure.

  25. Ana says:

    TVB is not getting any better now. I find their chinese TV programme very boring. Entertainment celebrity news is OK but the rest I almost never watch. Maybe the idea of working in TVB is very hard life and do not earn that much. I've no idea.

  26. TVB Mania says:

    hey gregory!!
    luv ur acting!!

    id jus like to know if applicants have to be a hong kong citizen when applying to work with tvb???

    thnx ! ^^

  27. 河國榮 says:

    you do need a Hong Kong ID card, so you need to be a resident but you don't need to be a citizen.