Wayne Lai Urges TVB to Cultivate More Rookies

The popular TVB sitcom Come Home Love: Dinner at 8 <愛.回家之八時入席> will be airing its 200th episode on January 6, 2017, ending nearly ten months of filming and broadcast. To celebrate the occasion, Dinner at 8 star Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) invited the cast and crew to a large dinner banquet, thanking them for the past ten months.

Wayne said, “I am always happy when we eat out together. It is actually very blissful to be an actor—you know you’ll always have support from your crew. Our sitcom has achieved great results. There was a point in time when average ratings actually exceeded the shows from other primetime slots. Extremely thankful to all of our co-workers for their hard work and effort!”

Dinner at 8 has introduced a few newcoming actors into the Hong Kong television industry, including Mark Ma (馬貫東), Jessica Kan (簡淑兒), Ricco Ng (吳偉豪), and Kalok Chow (周嘉洛), but according to Wayne, a few is not enough.

“I do feel that [TVB] never has enough actors,” said Wayne. “TVB should spent more time cultivating newcomers, such as providing more training classes so they can have more opportunities.”

Wayne does not dare to hold the responsibility of training the newcomers himself, but he is always happy to share his experiences with them. “Rookies need to have all the opportunities they can get, and acting takes training and experience. There is no exaggeration to the phrase ‘one minute on stage, ten years off stage.’ Every successful actor has one thing in common, and that is their willingness to sacrifice time.”

Source: Eastweek

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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  1. actually wayne lai is suitable to train rookies…he is able to portray his characters very well…even in his role as an arrogant producer in 愛.回家之八時入席, he did very well.

    training classes are necessary for rookies especially those winners like miss hk contestants…after 3 years, sisley choi and grace chan are still unable to deliver.

  2. tvb dont need just rookies they need idols actors with charisma and talent of a star. type like chow yun fat, tony leung and andy lau should be the benchmark in searching for the new generation. actors like tony hung and benjamin yuen is a joke if you compare them with the previous gen.

    1. @kolo To be fair, Benjamin Yuen has a few years of experience. He started in 2008 in minor roles before climbing to where he is now. Tony Hung on the hand is a traveling show host, and has little experience in acting. Although I think Tony has potential, TVB is definitely giving him big roles too early, Tony Hung has a LONG way to go.

      1. @birdy2415 Tony Hung has been getting so many opportunities mostly because he is part of the Sandy Yu crowd (along with Priscilla Wong, Ali Lee, Luk Ho Ming, etc. plus all the MHKs and Voice Entertainment people). At the end of the day, who becomes popular at TVB is still based on internal politics as well as which exec is in power at the time – this has been the case since the beginning and is never going to change. This is why it is more important than ever for artists who are serious about an acting career to get proper training and build up their skills (especially those who are not naturally gifted with acting talent in the first place). Popularity with no substance is fleeting, especially in the HK entertainment industry which is already suffering from a severe shortage of young talent. Besides, there’s no telling when the current exec will fall out of power, in which case all the artists associated with him/her will likely go down as well.

        On a related note…so does this mean Dinner at Eight is officially over then? Or is TVB going to continue to milk it by keeping the show running but with a brand new cast like they did with Come Home Love? Seeing that both Teresa Mo and Power Chan already left (Teresa stated from the getgo that she would only film until December and Power returned only because of Teresa), there’s no point continuing the show if only Wayne is left. I hope they just end it and move on.

    2. @kolo

      Yes…agree with your statement. TVB need to recruit actors with talent & charisma…unlike Benjamin Yuen or Tony Hung for sure.

      In the meantime, TVB also need to provide training and opportunities for newcomers to gain experience by casting them in small roles before they are given meaty roles.

      The audience will be more willing to accept if new leading actors are able to show decent acting after receiving proper training, and gaining some experience in supporting roles.

  3. When siu sangs in the 20s were actually very good, but that was in the Tony, Sean Lau etc generation.

  4. I agree that sitcoms are a good platform for newcomers and 3rd/4th rate actors as they get exposure to the viewers regularly and they a get the opportunity to learn from peers and even be the star for a few episodes. It is good training for newbies.

    1. @birdy2415 @diana80 Very true, but unfortunately, in recent years, TVB’s sitcoms have also become a place where they “park” veteran artists whom they don’t know what to do with anymore. Artists such as Florence Kwok, Yvonne Lam, Helen Ma, Stephen Au (back before he left TVB), etc. seem to be forever relegated to participating in sitcoms with little opportunity to do anything else. It got to the point where artists dread participating in sitcoms because that’s a sure fire indication that TVB doesn’t give a crap about you anymore (as opposed to the past when sitcoms were on the same level as their other series in terms of script, cast, etc. with the main exception being that episode length was shorter). If TVB wants to turn their sitcom reputation around, they need to go back to balancing sitcoms and series so artists don’t feel like they will forever be a “sitcom actor”. Dinner at Eight was definitely a step in the right direction….BUT as usual, I doubt TVB will be able to keep the momentum going (just like how they screwed up the midnight timeslot thing when they had the perfect opportunity to turn it into long-term success). With the HK television industry slated for major changes this year (i.e.: i-Cable launching their free-to-air channel, ViuTV getting more attention and support through collaboration with industry A-listers, potential new players coming into the market with the license issue anticipated to be resolved soon, the general shift in focus to web/internet platform, etc), TVB will need to step up their game more than ever in order to remain relevant. It will be interesting to see whether TVB puts it all out there this year, especially with their big 50th anniversary being this year as well.

  5. It would be nice to see drama sometimes where lead actors are not in their 30s acting in their 20s.

  6. Training is much needed! Look at Sean Lau who isn’t a hottie, but can act.

    Also, go back to the old formula where newbies star in sitcoms to 1. give them experience 2. familiarize them with the audience

    Look at the pool of talents in the 80s, 90s and even 2000s in comparison to now. Jeez

    1. @tiffany
      Back then they had Tvb acting classes where new artists were trained by instructors and stuff. But now they pretty much have nothing and just seem to throw everyone into acting and just make them learn as they go. It is no wonder TVB is lagging so much when it comes to China and other countries where everyone is professionally trained and educated.

      1. @hetieshou Actually, they do have Acting Class still, just not on the same scale that it was before. It’s a watered-down version of Acting Class that is meant to be a crash course of sorts, not the kind they used to have in the 80s where it was actually like going to school every day, with students having to complete a final project and get a passing grade in order to graduate. Also, the other problem with the current Acting classes is the lack of consistency, since there are very few people qualified to teach. The last couple years, they’ve been pulling veterans such as King Sir, Lawrence Cheng, Dodo Cheng, Eric Tsang, etc. to help “guest teach” certain classes, but those artists have their own jobs to do so they can’t devote a lot of time to “helping out”.

        The reason it seems like TVB is just throwing newbies into lead roles is because that’s one of the “new” things Sandy Yu implemented a few years ago due to the shortage of artists at TVB. In the past, TVB used to put the MHKs through Acting Class to get training, but a few years ago, Sandy Yu decided that the MHKs would go directly from pageant to series, since the drama department needed people. That was a stupid move if you ask me but hey, Sandy is the one in power right now (since Catherine Tsang chose to focus on filming series and isn’t putting up a fight while Virginia Lok is putting most of her efforts into Shaw Brothers)….plus Sandy has her husband Herman Ho backing her up by controlling TVB’s music department (as the head honcho of Voice Entertainment) so she can pretty much do whatever she wants.

        I agree that HK is lagging behind other places as far as entertainment industry goes. I actually read a really good article the other day about how HK used to be the entertainment “leader” in Asia in terms of television, movies, and music, but now, all other countries (or shall I say “cities” if we’re to use the correct comparison term since HK is only a city technically) have surpassed them. The only official acting school there is in HK is the HKAPA and there have been quite a few artists who graduated from there (most of who don’t work for TVB anymore), but outside of that, there really isn’t much else aside from the individual “acting schools/classes” that various veteran artists opened on their own accord in efforts to help the younger generation. When it comes to acting, I think many people stopped taking HK seriously a long time ago.

      2. @llwy12 this is so true. HK used to be the leader in entertainment with people far and wide knowing their artists. Listening to Cantonese music and knowing who the 4 heavenly king, Anita, Leslie, Chow Yun Fat etc…etc. I have seen mention of A better tomorrow on Korean variety shows with Korean celeb singing Leslie song. Even the hugely popular Goblin tv drama now airing have a character with Andy Lau name. Its pretty amazing…. Now there is just a hyge lack of talent in both acting and singing in the yiunger station. Korea, Taiwan and even China have taken over that spot!

  7. tvb is really lacking new actions esp female leads. when gigi left, it was charmine, then tavia, and now nancy. if nancy wu leaves, who is going to replace her as the #1 fadan? kristin tin? who else? alice chan? they are promoting sisley, moon, and grace now but they needs more.

    1. @m0m0 i sure hope there will be another winner for best actress next year. nancy wu won this year because there is simply no other contender.

  8. I love Dinner At 8 – so funny at times.
    I think all the new comers did very well.
    Terry was hilarious, 10 chai is pleasant. Nothing to complain about this how at all.

  9. Believe Wayne could be a good teacher for rookies! Teach them to act and also stay humble!

    1. @happybi Agreed! In fact, Wayne actually wrote a book on acting several years ago and many of the artists who read it have said that they learned alot from it. Teresa Mo (who is technically Wayne’s senior in terms of acting) has also said she admires Wayne’s acting alot and when they were filming together, she said that she sometimes would stay behind just to watch Wayne do his scenes so she could “learn from the master” (Wayne is known for making scenes that are difficult to act look easy). He’s definitely qualified to teach newbies a thing or two about acting!

      1. @llwy12

        Yes…Wayne seems to have the potential to be a good trainer. Didn’t know that he had wrote a book on acting…that’s good.

        Those rookies who are serious about acting (not merely for fame & fortune) should buy and read this book for reference.

        Dinner at 8 has been a pleasant watch…and the performance of rookies in that sitcom was not bad…except for Veronica Shiu, whose voice is quite irritating (worse than Sisley) and her acting is still raw…definitely needs training.

      2. @diana80 It’s a great book! Highly recommended regardless of whether you’re into acting or not (I learned a lot from it as an outsider so I can imagine those in the industry would learn even more). The book originally came out in 2010 (after Wayne’s first TV King win in 2009 but before his second one in 2010), however he made some updates to it a few years ago to incorporate subsequent experiences and released a 2nd edition with updated content (which reminds me that I still need to hunt down the 2nd edition, since I only have the 1st edition and want to read the stuff he added). Wayne is actually an amazingly good writer, which I guess isn’t surprising given he’s always well-spoken in interviews. I actually love Yesasia’s description introducing the book (http://www.yesasia.com/us/戲劇浮生-黎耀祥論演技與人生/1022066602-0-0-0-zh_TW/info.html), as it not only captured the essence of what the book was about but also gives a glimpse into Wayne’s personality and writing/speaking style.

      3. @diana80 You’re welcome! The first edition is out of print currently but the second edition should still be available.

        Speaking of books, there are actually quite a few industry people (both current and former TVB people as well as non-TVB people) who have written books about various topics ranging from their own personal experiences (autobiography/memoir) to actual behind-the-scenes stuff about their jobs. Related to the subject of acting and Acting Classes, King Sir (Chung King Fai) wrote a few books that are fascinating reads as well, since he was “founding father” of sorts for TVB and ATV’s Acting Classes as well as for the drama department at HKAPA (HK Academy for Performing Arts), plus he was once the #2 man in charge at RTV/ATV as well as TVB (back in the 70s/80s) and is the one widely credited for launching the careers of some of the industry’s biggest stars (i.e. Chow Yun Fat, Stephen Chow, Tony Leung, etc.), so he definitely has a lot of great, invaluable insight to share. Besides his involvement with TVB, ATV, and HKAPA, King Sir is certainly one of the most qualified to teach acting, as he studied drama most of his life and has a Masters degree in drama and performing arts from Yale University (which is just one of his many degrees actually). The current artists can definitely learn a lot from him in terms of acting. Hope those who have the honor of being one of his students cherish the opportunity!

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