“You may be surprised, but something as simple as calling actors by our names is not deemed important by some directors. Especially towards the lesser-known actors,” local actress Joanne Peh wrote on her Instagram on Sept 11.
On the same post, she shared a copy of her latest column in a local Chinese newspaper, where she called for more respectful and professional film sets.
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You may be surprised, but something as simple as calling actors by our names is not deemed important by some directors. Especially towards the lesser known actors. I wrote this because I know of many who keep silent. Not because it’s ok, but because they are afraid of consequences or simply because they want to avoid possible confrontation. Being respectful towards actors on set should not be a bonus.
The 36-year-old — who just celebrated her wedding anniversary to local actor Qi Yuwu — wrote about how a female drama director here does not call part-time actors by their names, instead addressing them as ‘Ah Gong’, ‘Ah Ma’, ‘Ah Boy’, ‘Ah Girl’, ‘Auntie’, or ‘Uncle’.
The said director would also shout and talk in a harsh tone on set, which allows the other crew members on the set to follow her unexemplary behaviour.
In comparison, another director treats the part-timers differently. “Whenever there’s an unfamiliar actor on set, he would ask for their name. If they are older than him, he would add the honorific ‘Jie’ (older sister) or ‘Ge’ (older brother) behind their names,” Joanne wrote. The rest of the crew members would then follow suit.
She added: “When a director doesn’t even remember an actor’s name, it’s also a slight to the latter. It’s like saying actors are just a prop in the drama. When needed, you can place them anywhere you like. After filming, you don’t need to remember who they are. This is a form of disrespect to any actor who’s passionate about acting.”
A version of this article was first published on AsiaOne.