Friday, August 17, 2018

Appreciating His Acting

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Audiences have often wondered why certain network celebrities have remained in the entertainment industry without having much talent and even causing production problems. Take the case of Stubborn Talent (ST), who seems to be enjoying the industry even if he has been deemed to slow down certain projects because he just could not deliver.

One time, ST was cast in a major project to announce that he is still in the acting business. The network drummed up his appearance and the fans hoped he finally had found his element in a challenging genre. As the patrons of the show were excited for the appearance of ST, the production people had a reality check.

The production people have always been welcoming to talents regardless of status in the business. As long as a talent can fit the story, he/she gets the break. The same rule was applied to ST. True enough, the rushes of his appearance generated excitement. Unfortunately, behind the scenes, the excitement was nothing more than short of a nightmare for a fast-paced project. The workshops were ineffective, as ST proved the rumors that he could not deliver in the acting department. He’s lucky as his looks and physique provide distractions from his shortcomings in portraying characters. Hence, rather than risk getting low ratings, the production people, with no less than the major personality who calls the shots, cut his appearance short.

With acting that cannot cope with the rigors of the network, ST stunned the production when he was cast in a monumental role with a Prized Celebrity (PC). Even if she took a brief hiatus, PC had no problems with acting and can outshine anyone with her talent. Imagine the frustration when PC had to do scenes with ST, who would take time until the right acting was done. How did ST get the role anyhow?

Well, ST knows how to get along with influential personalities. What he could not show in front of the camera, he makes up for when he is with the network people (NP) who matter. In hush tones, ST has a reputation making the rounds of the production. He is very generous in private moments and knows how to satisfy NP, as he is quite gifted. Hence, even if the silent rule is that characters played poorly get cut immediately, in the case of ST, his staying power is behind closed doors.

‘There's more to getting to where you're going then just knowing there's a road.’  ― Joan Lowery Nixon

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Repost: Legendary Singer Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

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Aretha Franklin, the "queen of soul" known for hits like Respect and Think, has died in Detroit at the age of 76.

The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and announced last year she was retiring from music.

Franklin had more than 20 US number ones over a career spanning seven decades.

She gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

In a statement, her family said: "In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart.

"We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds."

The family also confirmed her death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

Born in Memphis to a gospel singer/pianist and a celebrated Baptist preacher, Franklin was tutored from an early age by such gospel stars as Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward.

She struggled to find fame in the early years, with record label Columbia unsure how to frame her impressively powerful voice.

Sir Elton John led the tributes on his Instagram account, writing: "The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music.

"Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated... I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends."

Annie Lennox said: "She has reigned supreme. and will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness.

"Superlatives are often used to describe astonishing artists, but in my view even superlatives seem insufficient."

Sir Paul McCartney wrote: "Let's all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever."

Carole King added: "What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and gratitude."

A move to Atlantic Records in 1966 saw Franklin paired with the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, prompting some of her most soulful and fieriest performances.

By 1968 she was renowned throughout America and Europe as "Lady Soul" - a symbol of black pride who appeared on the cover of Time and was given an award by Martin Luther King.

After an eye-catching cameo in cult comedy The Blues Brothers, she scored a number of big hits in the 1980s including Who's Zooming Who? and the George Michael duet I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush in 2005, when she was saluted for "capturing the hearts of millions of Americans".

Ten years later she reduced President Barack Obama to tears when she sang (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at a Kennedy Center Honours ceremony, having previously performed at his inauguration.

Nobody could inhabit a song like Aretha Franklin.

You only have to compare Otis Redding's original recording of Respect to Aretha's version to hear it. His is superb. Hers is otherworldly.

Even her most thunderous performances retained their humanity - something her disciples often overlooked.

The desolate colours she painted onto the verses of Carole King's (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman made the release of the chorus even more joyous.

In later years, she was let down by the material she chose (or which was chosen for her) but her performances still had the poetry and power to move audiences - including, notably, Barak Obama - to tears.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Know Your Dream

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Determination and optimism are two essential attitudes that any newbie in the industry should possess. As most celebrities start with nothing, only the ones who know how to go with the flow often succeed and have the staying power in the entertainment industry. For the youth, establishing a career in showbiz is an appealing option, but only those who can concretize their dream might succeed.

Young Talent (YT) is anxious as to what the future holds for her career. Her start in the business has been marked by intrigue with a fellow co-worker and her projects cannot establish even a name recall. Compared to her contemporaries, YT does not have a regular appearance in her network’s projects. She’s not even a regular in a weekly show nor a talent in the many drama shows the network produces. To compensate for her lack of exposure on air, YT is sent to do shows in the provinces and malls. Unfortunately, the poor reception indicates that YT has yet to achieve the popularity level of her colleagues. YT does not have that mass appeal and she easily blends in the crowd. In other words, she does not stand out and can easily be missed. Nonetheless, YT always has her family and friends to support her when she performs.

One time, YT asked Her Handler (HH) when she would get her big break, as she already feels being left out. HH was blunt and told YT that the upper management has yet to give any directive. It’s just too bad that YT gets to be compared to her more popular contemporaries.

Thus, YT had to think of some strategy to improve her public persona. She spoke to her friends and family and they devised a scheme. When YT is out shopping, a group of ‘fans’ would mob her, which could generate attention from other customers. The same thing would happen during her shows. HH noticed that during a gig, a seemingly fixed group would scream at YT, while the rest of the crowd would be indifferent. HH then asked YT about the group and YT said these were her loyal fans. Eventually, HH found out the scheme and was disappointed. Consequently, the appearances of YT were lessened. The lack of genuine affection from the audience and the masses would result in the freezing of one’s career. The network has done that many times to save on costs. Now, YT must work double time to make herself more appealing to everyone and remain in the running for stardom.  

‘No matter how skillful you are, you can't invent a product advantage that doesn't exist. And if you do, and it's just a gimmick, it's going to fall apart anyway.; – William Bernbach

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