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Thursday, March 09, 2006

TV Turbulence: Interview with Lok Yi Ling

Found this interesting interview with TVB top executive Lok Yi Ling in Myolie Wu cinple forum. Mag scans credits to and Kim.

Hahaha... I fell asleep halfway through the translation last night so this morning when I woke up, I was thinking "Darn! Now I'll only be able to finish translating on Sat!" (For your information, I'm not chinese educated so I translate at snail pace if the article this long. Okay, maybe added incentive if it's related to Charmaine :P). Imagine my pleasant surprise when Jayne left a message at cbox that she has already translated the article. Yay!

Below is the translated article by Jayne. If re-posted, please give proper credit to her.

Sunday magazine interviewed TVB's executive, Lok Yi Ling. Ms. Lok holds enormous power at TVB in developing and advancing the careers of its artists, as well as having a critical voice in the annual Anniversary production, JSG Awards, costume design, make-up, and backdrop set design.

As to who the artists date, what they say and what they wear, it also falls under the control of Ms. Lok's world.

In the interview, Ms. Lok spoke about artists Ron Ng Cheuk Hei, Bosco Wong Chung Chak, Raymond Lam Fung, Kevin Cheng Ka Wing, Moses Chan Ho, Myolie Wu Hang Yee, Sonija Kwok Sin Lei, Charmaine Sheh Si Man, Bernice Liu Bik Yi, Gigi Lai Chi, Jessica Hsuan and Joey Leung Wing Chung.

Ron Ng A Favorite?

TVB has over 70 managed artists under contract. Ms. Lok has the power to make an artist extremely popular and rise to great fame. Ms. Lok endearingly refers to artists under her as "all her children." But there are fingers of varying length in a given hand, so it is hard to believe that Ms. Lok does not have favorites of her own.

Ms. Lok said that as a Christian, being impartial is very important. "Of course I want to be as fair as possible!"

R= Reporter L= Ms. Lok Yi Ling

R- Some reports say that Ron Ng is your favorite?

L- All artists are my children. If you talk about Ron, then you have to include Bosco Wong, Raymond Lam, Kevin Cheng and Moses Chan too. I think these 5 actors are all very well behaved. They have put in many efforts and tried very hard.

R- Ron is always cited to have poor attitude; do you think the way he handles people is incorrect?

L- People who know Ron well will not think he has a poor attitude. Actually he is more quiet and doesn't know how to phrase things properly. If reporters are aggressive in interviewing him, he grows anxious. We always tell him to relax and loosen up a little.

R- Did you advise Ron not to smile in public appearances?

L- Ron's manager said that Ron looks more handsome when he doesn't smile. But I said, "I think he is handsome; smiling shouldn't be a problem!" I told Ron that he needs to have more confidence. In a comfortable environment, Ron can be very lively and even tell jokes. But when Ron gets nervous, we advised that it is better for him to say less. It is better for people to think he has an attitude rather than for him to say the wrong things and offend people!

Top right: Ms. Lok personally arrange the seating of the artistes.
Lower right: Ms. Lok favors Ron Ng like her own son.

Kevin Cheng Ka Wing

R- Do you think Kevin Cheng is too cool?

L- I have heard about Kevin's past and a colleauge said it is very hard for Kevin to trust other people because of his past experiences. But after I met Kevin, I felt he was very sincere. It is very hard for him to trust other people, but once he does trust you, it will be very easy for you to talk to him. I don't think it is a problem. Kevin has his humorous side, but he does rather care about his looks. Kevin is always concerned whether he looks good or not. I think he is handsome.

R- Is it hard to use Kevin as he is already 35 years old and been in the industry for many years already?

L- Isn't it 30? He looks more like 30. No it's not hard to use Kevin, as TVB likes to use artists between 30 to 40 years old. TV is different than the music industry. When you are a singer, you need to be young. But for TV series, you really have to be 30 and above in order to add more dimension to the show. When I see someone in this target age range who can act well, I am very excited. As a result, I really treasure actors such as Kevin Cheng, Moses Chan Ho, Frankie Lam Man Lung, Roger Kwok Chun On, [b] and Bowie Lam.

Bosco Wong Most Mis-Behaved?

R- Is Bosco Wong the most mis-behaving?

L- Bosco is the most lively one. In the past, I thought he was mis-behaving. I have scolded him and told him to behave better and not play so much. He should focus on work. He has improved his behavior; he is very hard working. All the veternan actors love him and teach him well. Bosco is like a little boy. I have spoken with his mother. Bosco has a good quality: although he appears mischievous, but he is still very cute and loveable at the same time.

R- Is it because his mouth is "rinsed in oil" ?

L- He has not been around for that long for his mouth to be "rinsed in oil." But Bosco's ability to deal with circumstances is better than Ron Ng and Kevin Cheng. Bosco will know how to react to situations, but Ron and Kevin will not. For example I joked with Ron and Kevin, "How come it took you so long to give me Lunar New Year greetings?" Ron and Kevin will become nervous in their speech, " it's not true!" Haha....

Myolie Wu Hang Yee

R- Casting Myolie Wu in "Fei Tin Hei See" (TVB's version of Bridget Jones Diary), is the purpose to make her into a female version of Roger Kwok's Ah Wong?

L- I am not fooling you, but there were really other female actresses who wanted the role. But TVB and I really decided to give this opportunity to Myolie. She accepted the role immediately. But Myolie had a concern and said, "It is very easy for my face to grow chubby, but hard for the rest of my body to gain weight. What should I do?" I told her to focus on filming 'Tai Chi' first and that we will all help her later. It's only hard to lose weight right?

Artists' Rumored Relationships

Rumored relationships can have a marked effect on an artist's popularity and image. Whether an artist wants love or career, Ms. Lok said, "The image belongs to them, the money they earn is in their pocket. I am not worried. The choice is theirs."

R- Do you never inquire about an artist's rumored relationships?

L- I can't say I have never asked. You guys mention rumors, but I see it as their love life. It also depends on whether it has a good or bad influence. I am mostly concerned about young artists who just started acting. Sometimes they will become too involved in the acting and quickly fall for someone, while their co-stars may not truly have feelings for them. I told them that if they feel something is not right, they should tell me. Did I ask them about their love lives? Then I felt I did!

R- What about Joey Leung Wing Chung, who was caught kissing another woman despite the fact that he has a steady girlfriend? Did you scold Joey?

L- I never scolded Joey; he is already a mature adult so he should know what he is doing. Besides too many people have already scolded him. I do admit to scolding other artists, but I can not reveal their names. Some artists have their own way of thinking and might 'fabricate' rumors with tabloid magazines in wishing to stand out. If they honestly admit to me what happened, I will help them. But if they lie in front of me, I will scold them.

R- What if an artist wants to publicize his/her relationship openly?

L- I will usually advise them not to reveal their relationship publicly. They are still young and may not know what they truly want. So I usually say that eating out together for company's sake is fine, but to truly date, they should not get too involved.

R- Did Bernice Liu Bik Yi and Moses Chan Ho talk to you about their relationship?

L- No, it's just that the media say they are a pair. If you ask them if they are friends, of course they are. Everyone needs friends. But is their relationship like Ekin Cheng and Gigi Leung? Then I don't think so!

Upper left: Ms. Lok constanly have private meals with the artistes. After Kenix lost Fav Actress award, Ms. Lok consoled her.
Lower left: Kevin Cheng and Raymond Lam are also her favorites. They were offered series non-stop and also given the opportunities to become singers.
Middle: Ms. Lok and Catherine Tsang were nicknamed as TVB's twin. There were rumors that there's hostility, which they both denied. (Extra info: Catherine Tsang is also another powerful TVB executives who also has her own favored 'childrens')
Right: 1982, Ms. Lok once dated "Ah Bee" (Kenny Chung). After they broke up, she met her current husband Brian.

Sonija Kwok Sin Lei

R- Many people say that Sonija Kwok lost favor, do you think her relationship with Deric Wan Siu Lun had a big impact?

L- In reality, it did impact her career. I did try to help her. I think Sonija is a true beauty. Myolie Wu and Charmaine Sheh Si Man are also beautiful, but Sonija's features are perfect. I really think Sonija is extremely beautiful! But why won't the media give her some leniency? Sonija asked me what she should do. I can only let her have some quiet time, as a result she filmed mostly in China last year.

R- It's because Deric Wan's image is so negative!

L- Then you guys should pity her! I think Sonija and Deric Wan have had a tough time [with the media] while they were together. Hopefully in the future when the media mentions Sonija, Deric Wan will only be mentioned as her ex-boyfriend. I told Sonija that now is not the proper time to be dating.

Left: Ms Lok think that Jessica is the best dresser, she love her simple styles.
Right: Ms Lok praised Gigi for her good fashion. She feels that newcomer actresses should learn from her.

Artists' Image Management

Actors are commercial products. How to package an artist to make the masses like them and earn money for the company is something that Ms. Lok has to think about constantly. Inside Ms. Lok's office, there are newspapers, magazines and a TV. On her table, there is a notebook which she writes down a list of actors/ actresses who need image improvement. When Ms. Lok spots an artist who wore the wrong clothing and make-up, she will write down their names.

R- Actresses have a weakness in not knowing how to dress well. Did you try to help them?

L- Many actresses need assistance. I told many actresses to look at how Jessica Hsuan dresses. I remember one time I saw Jessica in jeans and a simple T-shirt and she already looked very good. Gigi Lai Chi is able to wear many different types of clothes well. She wears expensive clothes well, yet inexpensive items will not look cheap on her. One time I asked her where she bought her dress and she said in Kowloon City!

R- What about male actors, do they need fashion advice too?

L- Male actors and female actresses, I help them all. Every month, I will write down in my notebook a list of artist names. I will ask TVB's image consultants to help these artists go cut their hair. If the new hairstyle doesn't look good, then they will cut their hair again. The image consultants will also go to the artists' homes and dispose of inappropriate clothes and buy new clothes. They will also assist the artists on how to match clothes for a better effect.

On the day of the interview, Ms. Lok wore a simple Armani zip-up jacket and pants. Her simple choice in clothes reflects her direct approach to work.

L- "Actually I am just like a housewife!" Ms. Lok has 2 children; her sons are 11 and 9. No matter how busy work is or how sleep-deprived she is, she will rise at 7 AM and eat breakfast with her sons every morning. On weekends, she will enjoy time with her family. "On Sundays, I do everything that a normal housewife does. I take my sons to go shopping, play soccer, watch movies, and go out to the sea."

At this point, Ms. Lok's cellular phone rang and there are still piles of documents awaiting her signature. Ms. Lok has to return to her work in managing TVB's artists and careers. She frowned her forehead and the reporter speculated that she will not be able to relax once again until she returns home to see her children

Sehseh's comment: I've only seen LYL in person once when she came to Malaysia to attend the Astro award. She gave me the impression of a strong corporate woman, and yet at the same time very feminine, kinda sweet. And her 'children' does respect her a lot, they doesn't dare to sit before she does at the celebration party. Haha... the same reason why I doesn't dare to approach Charmaine because she's sitting next to her!

I noticed that Jayne did not add the captions of some pics in the article so I did a mini translation.


Anonymous said...

who exactly are Mrs. Lok's and Mrs. Tsang's "favored" children? Seems like Mrs. Lok favor the younger generation more?

sehseh said...

Actually, previously there was two camps in TVB

Tommy Leung Kar Shu vs Catherine Tsang

I think Ms Lok is on the same side with Catherine, unless she's interested in building her own faction.

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