My Experience As A MediaCorp Extra

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You called for more personal posts, so here it is. I don't lead a very happening life, but this is one of the very rare, exciting things that occurred last month - my one-time-off job as a Mediacorp extra. I was roped in by a friend who was looking for girls to be 'models' for a variety show, also known as the human mannequins for makeup. I would probably not agree to this normally - being on national TV meant risking embarrassment (and having to retreat into the mountains until everyone forgets about it). But then again, I thought to myself - YOLO! I'm quite an inspirational quotes collector, so at that moment, a particular quote came to me: You will only regret the chances you didn't take. So off I went.


The first thing they did was to ship us into the makeup room, where rows of celebrities will sit when they do their makeup. I was quite surprised to see that the extras are sent into the same room as them. Contrary to the urban legends that the acting industry is full of power play, everyone appears to be treated quite equally, at least on the surface! There are so many celebrities walking around the makeup room, but they all seemed very occupied so I didn't ask for a picture. There was some intense internal fangirling and poker face going on. The makeup artists are very efficient in their work and paint faces in a clockwork motion, and oh boy, I never looked so good. Their concealer is excellent and made my face so flawless... that is possibly due to the need to counteract the improving HD technology on screens.


We had an indoor and outdoor shoot for a day each. On both days, we had to wait for quite a long time. This is not a complaint, it's just an observation as I was there with an open mind to experience the whole thing in its most original format. I guess it's part and parcel of acting/filming careers and this is also the number one reason why I probably wouldn't want to become an actress (if I were given a choice, that is). Kudos to the cameramen, directors and backstage crew who have to work continuously while the actors/extras are resting and waiting. They don't ever stop. Now I understand why the celebrities always spend a long time thanking people whose name we can't recognize during Star Awards... they are the unsung heroes who are constantly putting in effort but never get recognized.

When it was time to be in front of the cameras, it's quite nerve-wrecking, exciting and funny at the same time. For the indoor shoot, you'll get two huge televisions to see who is being captured by the cameramen. I was really self-conscious because the camera zoomed into my face, but not much instructions were given on what to do, where to look or how to react. The whole process was very impromptu and I have no idea how it will turn out to be. My face looked pretty round and bewildered simultaneously. I guess it's true about how televisions expand faces, eh? Another observation is that the faces of celebrities are often very small relative to the rest of their bodies, and that's why they always look so good. They are also very aware of how they appear on television - natural and confident. It's really a skill that needs to be learned and it's not easy at all.


Their working hours are also very long - in fact it is 24/7, given that they still needed to maintain a certain image wherever they go. We were in the indoor studio for almost five hours straight. Much of it was waiting time, but in any case they still had to maintain professionalism and stay in position glamorously, while I curled up in one of the theatre seats in the dark comfortably. It was super cold, so if you ever had to go to the Mediacorp theatres... bring a thick jacket! I managed to sneak a picture with Dawn Yeoh, one of the seven princesses of Caldecott Hill. She's so gentle, beautiful and so down-to-earth. It was a really fun experience and fulfilled my little dream of appearing on TV!




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35 comments

  1. Wow, a sneak peek into a celebrity's life! Well, this is interesting write for those who are not in the showbiz industry. You do look good on the pictures though, so I guess you fared well. :D Great job!

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    1. Yes, it was an interesting experience for myself too :) Thankyou~

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  2. I really liked the fact that you did it and you didn't left the opportunity.Quotes are useful in our life especially when it comes to take a decision. It's a great experience and I liked the way you described it. I wish I will have an opportunity like this in the future!

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    1. I hope you have such an opportunity too! It's really enriching and an eye-opener :)

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  3. What a great experience! I've always wanted to learn how to be in front of cameras as I tend to look shy from my point of view. You do look good on the pics ;)

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    1. It takes some time to get used to it :o I wouldn't say I'm used to it either, but I used to be a dancer and don't have stage fright, so it's not that bad for me.

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  4. such a great and thrilling experience for you, i supposed. the make up looks good on u. keep it up. i hope you will have more opportunities like this in the future.

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    1. thank you :) the makeup artists are really proficient in their work!

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  5. It is such a great experience to be part of something like that... An opportunity you cannot miss and something you will remember for the rest of your lives. ;)

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  6. YOLO indeed! You look good in the pictures so don't worry. I know and accept I do not look good on TV. so I avoid these on-cam interviews. I am more for radio (but even then, I get too nervous easily). Haha!

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    1. Radio is impressive too! I can't speak endlessly and tend to go off-topic very very easily...

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  7. You had such a wonderful experience! Glad you took it. You're really right, the behind the camera staff needs more credit than those celebrities we see upfront. I wonder if the production staff are well paid off? Because if we think of it, they do all the hard work than celebrities who just sit and wait for their queue.

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    1. Hahah I am not sure about their salaries.. but I guess they must like doing it, since it's quite niche. Celebrities have different skill sets needed for their jobs but the production staff are the ones doing a lot of physical tasks and chores.

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  8. that's a nice experience and also It's nice to appreciate their work ethic. I've been in a shoot and it takes like forever to just shoot a scene.

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    1. I know right! :) I've been warned about the waiting time, but nothing beats experiencing it for myself. Great work requires time to produce, I guess.. it's an insightful learning experience for me :)

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  9. What an experience! I hope you post a youtube clip of your appearance on TV. Btw, you are beautiful with or without tv makeup.

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    1. Thank you!! You can find the video at toggle.sg, actually.. I'm not sure how I can rip it from there though :( Hopefully someone converts it and post it on youtube.

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  10. What a great experience! And I love your hairdo, so pretty! :D

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    1. yes it was!! :) Thank you.. it's done by a professional, he was really good with his hands, did it real quick with a hair curler tong!

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  11. an interesting behind the scenes look and perspective. Great photos too :-)

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    1. thank you! hope you can learn a bit more about this industry from my post too :)

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  12. For sure, it's in experiences and observations that many actors comes to life. You are one of those, to become one.

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    1. Haha I'm far from it.. I'm just a one-time extra, so I won't be appearing other than this time. After trying it out, I find that being a celebrity is very tiring mentally and physically because you need to look good all the time. Fame comes with a price.. I'll be contented being a viewer :)

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  13. You are looking gorgeous dear and I am really envious of your experience :)

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    1. Look out for opportunities, they are all around you :)

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  14. I think you are one lucky individual to have been given the chance to have a sneak peak at a celebrity's life in a day at work. Did you also realize that yours is not really that far from theirs?

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    1. Yes! It was an interesting & memorable experience :) I'd probably have to work very hard to reach their standard, but then again fame is a double-edged sword..

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  15. Wow, you look so amazing in these shots! Your post helped me understand how important is the part of the people who seem invisible for the glam and the flashy shots but they help the celebrity look stunning and fabulous so they are irreplaceable.

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    1. thank you!! yes the makeup artists are really important, quite the make-or-break for anyone who isn't blessed with natural good looks! but most of the celebrities are really attractive without makeup so it just enhances their beauty :)

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  16. Great photos and what a wonderful experience! I love that quote. It really is true. You will never regret this and the photos are beautiful!

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  17. What a great opportunity to do something you've been curious about for a while. If possible, get a video copy of your acting debut and share it with us.

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  18. YOLO! Good that you cashed in on the oppurtunity and experienced something new...lovely photos:)

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  19. Wuhoo!! I know how you feel and yeah you're right never miss once in a blue moon kind of gig before regrets start to ponder your head hehe

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  20. I'm glad you've "enjoyed" the process. It's not really an extra role, more like a model role. Life of one of the supporting or main cast will actually be more different. You are constantly on the go, and resting = memorizing script!

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