#Showbiz: 'Have a grading system for artistes' – Syazwan Zulkifly

KUALA LUMPUR: Actor Syazwan Zulkifly has suggested that a grade classification for local artistes based on expertise and experience could be a good method for ensuring that everyone received equal opportunity to be offered work.

This follows the recent issue that certain producers have been utilising the amount of followers on social media as a decisive factor in selecting a talent to appear in a drama or telemovie.

Syazwan said that the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and associations like Persatuan Seniman Malaysia (Seniman) should take steps to work out an actor's grade system.

He added that the method would enable a salary structure for artistes to be implemented in order to avoid the issue of unreasonable payments being offered to qualified talents.

"A grade classification system should have long been introduced. Actually, the authorities such as Finas and Seniman need to takes steps so that these problems don't surface anymore.

"The grading will not only be in relation to an artiste's abilities but maybe from a commercial angle as well such as number of awards won and such.

"If a grade system is established, then perhaps there could be a corresponding salary scale for payment drawn up," he said in a news report yesterday.

Syazwan added that effective and high quality storytelling should be the focus as opposed to offering roles to artistes with a high number of followers on social media.

"To me, the number of social media followers is not currently a workable formula.

"We can see many dramas starring artistes with many social media followers that don't garner high ratings," he said.

The 34-year-old actor explained that less popular artistes had become more known due to starring in good quality dramas.

"As an example, not many people knew about Johan As'ari and a few other actors until we were in the drama Juvana.

"Because of the quality storytelling, we started to be known from there on. So, the more important aspects are the quality of the work and story," he said.

The 7 Hari Mencintaiku 2 star also questioned why the payment for artistes did not reflect their qualification or studies.

"How many National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara) graduates have found success in the acting field?

"Not many compared to those from competitions such as Hero Remaja or Dewi Remaja. Even though these artistes have received training from Aswara and possess acting fundamentals.

"It's not that I am biased since I am not from Aswara. I just want to show that if there's no proper vetting then how can we say that the acting field is a professional one?

"When we have a grade system, we can be assured that only those who are professionals would be working in this field," he said.

Syazwan added that he was not necessarily against TV stations or producers who employ Instafamous personalities but was fighting for a fairer treatment of artistes who have more qualifications and experience.

"I have no problem with them recruiting the Instafamous to act. But they have to be paid according to their credibility as social media personalities rather than as actors or actresses.

"So why are their salaries much higher than ours? This matter needs to be explained properly," he said.

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