Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

Song and dance

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090809/opinion/song-and-dance.268729

Paparazzi camping in the car park of the station of the nation – as well as flies on the inside walls of the said buildings – would have witnessed a lot of comings and goings these past few weeks.

Quite some time after almost everybody else knew what would be happening at Net and One, and probably at Favourite and other channels too, the winter schedule for TVM is finally taking shape.

Chasing people, as usual, elicited some information – but, as usual, I could not discover exactly what goes into the whole schedule since there are still blank slots to be filled, and discussions going on about whether certain programmes, even if they are banner ones, are to be included.

There are also people, including those whose programmes will almost certainly be on TVM or other stations, who cannot, or will not, confirm that they have closed their deals. It does not matter – time will tell whether the buzz was true.

Claudette Pace informs me that Cliché Media and Entertainment will be presenting the third edition of L-Isfida; the first two editions were held in 2003 and 2006.

This year, the ultimate prize is even bigger and better than it was for the two previous shows, and the line up of instructors and judges (which I may not divulge) is impressive to say the least.

The ratio of applicants is one male to every five females. The winner must (for obvious reasons) be ready, willing and able to live abroad – and to support himself by obtaining a part-time job while doing so. Hollie Cassar has done herself proud, and indeed she is now studying for a Master’s degree.

Applications may be collected until August 29 from PBS, Guardamangia. Should anyone require further information, there is a hotline number: 7941 4345. Alternatively, one may join the Facebook group to be kept abreast of developments.

Incidentally, anyone who auditioned for the previous series but was not selected may audition again. One’s age must be between 16 and 25, both inclusive, and there will be no exceptions made, despite a person’s previous experience in public performance.

• Dellijiet is one of two new drama series envisaged for TVM. It is based on a script by Tristan Meadows, the subject of which is a special task force within the police force.

As usual with these series, there will be a core of actors and guest appearances on each episode. The series will be directed by Frederick Testa and it is a production of V-Squared Entertainment [Rachel Cachia and Martina Zammit, currently producing La Farfalla].

• Whenever I read interviews with media personalities, I always take them with a pinch of salt – especially if I happen to know the background story. I also cringe at the language used by people who ought to set an example for behaviour and language usage. I did wonder, for a moment, what ‘being on television is a passion’ meant. However, if this person found it painful, she would have left; therefore she was obviously using the word in its other sense, especially since the rest of the write-up divulged what a high opinion she has of herself.

• The photo in the online newspaper showed a woman wielding a clothes iron, apparently with the cord still plugged in, as if she intended to burn someone with it. The caption read “Drugs, violence and gay kisses: EastEnders was one of the most complained-about programmes”.

The article quoted research by the British media regulator Ofcom, indicating that almost half of the viewers aged over 65 insist that what is on offer on British television has declined in quality over the past five years, citing violence, the number of repeats, and foul language as the main objections.

It would seem that I am not the only one who has repetitive strain injuries from pressing too often at the buttons of my television remote control.

• Some time ago I had caught a repeat of a series I had never chanced upon before, where two actors were wearing very ill-fitting wigs. The topic appeared to be serious, so I do not think the hair-gear was meant as a send-up, although they both looked ‘funny’. At the time I merely shrugged and zapped away.

I remembered this incident because this week several people were complaining about how drama companies forbid them to change their looks because of continuity problems – especially when a drama is shot over months rather than weeks.

Moreover, most companies are insisting on exclusivity rights with actors (this happens with extras as well in some cases). Not everyone is prepared to relinquish opportunities that might lead to better things, especially since the local market is saturated.

I was also perturbed that a call for applications for extras included the request for a photograph. Upon asking the spokesman of this company for the reason, I was told that “you can’t ask a teenager to act as a police officer or to be part of the crowd watching illegal fighting… no?”

I would say it works both ways, eye candy always makes for increased audiences even if a scene has to be shot several times because the ‘beautiful people’ have an abject lack of talent. And how can an extra ever hope to be chosen for a main part if he does not show up here, there, and everywhere, to avoid being typecast?

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Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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