Two beautiful female model friends of mine asked me to accompany them to a casting recently, it was in Wisma Central. She learnt about the casting through a famous Bahasa Malaysia tabloid/newspaper which like to sensationalize celebrity divorces. I wish for my friends career progress and will do anything beyond my power to help them, besides there were nothing to do that day.
I went with them in my bermudas and old tshirt (who cares). So there we were around 12am in a small office of Wisma Central, the casting office. Inside the crampy office and at the waiting room there were already quite chubby and unattractive ladies (mind my language but Ya Allah ampunkan aku...they were ugly even to serve KFC) around late 20s to mid 30s waiting their turn to sign some sort of deals.
A young good looking boyish malay guy greeted us.....'nak casting ke? abang sekali ke? (obviously hes the person incharge)'....'wah abang boleh dapat job ni, silap silap kalah diorang ni' with an accent of hadek hadek....huhhhh!!. I replied. ' I am the father of the girl and an uncle for the other one, here not for modelling but as their bodyguard (trying to look fierce)', of course I lied hehe. 'Abang duduk dulu ya', I sat there beside my models and next to the other 2 ladies who seems smilling like they won a lottery.
Seizing my chance I struck a conversation with the ladies next to me....'are you here for any job interview?' I asked. With a big smile, 'we got job modelling for a bridal boutique and will start very soon' she was looking extremely happy. I cant help but looking at them up and down (with awe) until my 'fake daughter' gave me a hard pinch...'adoi and ouch', yeah I know my 'fake daughter' is actually trying very hard not to giggle. 'Did they ask you for money?'...'oh yes, RM500 only and thats just for taking our pictures' the lady seems excited and eager. 'We are going to model for a bridal boutiques'...repeated the lady. 'Any payment they ask from you on top of that? I asked. 'Oh yes, just RM250 before the photoshoot with the bridal. The Bridal is paying directly to us when job has completed'.
The young guy came out from a small office/ room interrupting our conversation.....'girls I need a photocopy of your ic, you can do that downstairs', he was referring to the 'bridal boutique models', 'go now as we dont have time'. They went to copy their ic obligingly and happily.
He then turned to my girls.....'we need to photograph you' (hes holding an ancient dslr with a pop up flash). My smart girls replied....'we have our own comp card, no thank you' and my father is a photographer, a competent one', referring to me. ' What is a compcard' he asked....(OMG my first time an agency asking me the definition of a comp card'. The girls shoved the cc to him, 'we dont want to pay any single cent'. 'Thats ok, your profiles are quite sufficient, so we dont have to take your photos' he said politely but I sensed a dissapointment.
5 minutes later...'Sir, you and your girls can come for the interview'. 'Me?, I am not looking for modelling jobs'....I must be dreaming or maybe the mirror in my house is digitally incorrect. 'Its ok sir, Just get in here with your girls'. Well, I went along with them....
The three of us went inside a room furnished with a working desk, racks and lots of papers and files. Oh not to forget a CRT monitor (if you remember or live long enough to see one) occupying half of the desk. What makes the office different? Let me think. Oh yes, the wall....its full of pictures, dont ask me whose....including some birthday pictures celebrated in 'mamak'. Unfortunately, I know no one from the many pictures. The guy began his conversation by showing us a file he called company profile, definitely self printed on cheap A4s.
'Here is our credentials ...and list of clients....blah blah blah...., we are already in 3 years of operation... blah blah blah'. My itchy eyes cannot help but leered through the company profile made with the old version of ms power point with big fonts...saw MIG, TV3, ASTRO all the big guns. 'What about boutiques and fashion houses?' I asked. 'We did big runaways with big ones' he claims. 'Can I have your facebook, a website perhaps?'. "We are not good in IT and I dont have a facebook', he declines...sigh...
My cool ran out very fast, so I impatiently asked 'who is your most recognizable models'? (amber? naomi? apek? napi? hehehe) The guy was reluctant to answer but he tried ransacking some files in the rack next to him....ahhh found one.....jeng jeng jeng...must be famous....
The file he gave me is in green paper compiled with 5 pages. There were a lady in hijab and her pictures were in that green A4s. Can be just anyone with a baju kurung you wear to pasar. But honestly...the pictures seem like they were taken casually by just anybody....(non glamourous). 'Oh wait'...the guy quirpped...our most sought after is in my camera....inside the lcd, there were few pictures of a 9 year old boy. My 'fake daughter' chips in...'oh this boy, hes on tv'...evidently I dont watch tv a lot hahahaha.
Being in business myself I cannot help calculating the risk factors especially the financial sides for my girls. 'Ok lets skip all this and how much money do we have to pay and how much do we make? Do we have to pay similarly to those ladies outside?'. The answer really surprised me....'no, not a single cents', he said jubilantly. Stunted I was taken aback....but not for long. 'However, upon confirmation of getting a job for you, we will ask for some money ....lowest rm250, a kind of commission. But, (theres always a but for this kind of catch), the client will pay you directly'.
Well, to make my story short...the 3 of us got so hungry after 'the interview/casting', contemplating to rest in mamak sounds so natural. Luckily, the guy finally said ...'we will contact you in 2 days (been more than 5 days until today yet without any phone call) because we already have modelling jobs for both of you', long paused ' for a bridal catalogue' grinning. We shook hands....outside at the waiting area...there was an office kind of guy, necktie, thick glasses with ample belly/love handles, a lot bigger than mine hehehe...writing his given form and awaiting to be photographed/casting, yet looking very happy. My usual friendly nature emerged, 'dapat modelling job ke dik?'......'Yes ...for bridal boutiques' he said without hesitation, and with that, he gave me the sweetest smile of a winner ala Tyra Bank...(yeah right)
Behind the scene - photoshoot Mardiana Alwi