Sheren's interview speaks for itself but I have to say that I absolutely love the way she responded to all those media reports about her "betraying" TVB by filming for ViuTV (quite honestly, those reports pissed me off too so I'm happy to see Sheren putting those stupid media outlets in their place, lol!). Also love what she said about the importance of speaking up when there are issues and not pretending that everything is fine when it's actually not. And yes, when I read the part where Sheren gave her 愛之深，責之切 speech, I actually got out of my chair and did a happy dance because everything she said is EXACTLY what I've been saying about TVB for like the past 2 decades. I'm sure those who follow my blog or any of my postings in other forums know how much I'm always criticizing TVB and calling them out on stuff (in my line of work, I call that type of feedback "constructive criticism") -- I've been asked many times whether I keep criticizing TVB because I hate them so much that I can't saying anything nice about them (which technically isn't true because I DO say nice things when it's appropriate, it's just that those "appropriate" times are few and far between -- hey, it's not my fault that TVB rarely does anything that warrants praise). In response, I always give people my "constructive criticism" speech, which is essentially the same as Sheren's 愛之深，責之切 speech -- if I didn't care about TVB (and the HK entertainment industry in general), I wouldn't bother to give them feedback on what they're doing wrong in the hopes that they'll change it for the better. One thing that my boss at work told me a long time ago that has always stuck with me is that the more someone cares about something/someone, the more critical they are going to be because they don't want to see that something/someone fail. Of course, the way the criticism is given is important as well, but the gist of the message is that just because someone is critical of something (or someone else) doesn't necessarily mean that the person has malicious intent or is out to get the other person or whatnot -- there is such a thing as "constructive criticism" and hopefully those who believe that all criticism is bad can perhaps research this term and better understand what criticism is truly about.
Anyway, enjoy the interview and be sure to leave any comments / reactions you might have to it in the comments section below.
Sheren Tang on reprimanding TVB: “The deeper the love, the stronger the criticism”
Source: Mingpao Weekly, Issue # 2595Published 8/4/2018
Translated by: llwy12
ViuTV has been recruiting heavily in recent days, securing veteran artists such as Amy Chan (陳秀雯) and Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智) to film a new series for them about HK’s school system. Their most successful recruitment recently though is persuading TV Queen Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯) to film a series for them — she will be teaming up with actor Sunny Chan (陳錦鴻) in a new series where they will play a married couple. At the end of last year, when golden scriptwriter Chan Po Wah (陳寳華) returned to TVB with the intention of producing the new series Wonder Women (多功能老婆) for them, she had indicated that good friend Sheren Tang would be perfect in the role — however in the end, the role went to singer/actress Miriam Yeung (楊千嬅) instead. Now, after several months, Sheren personally clarifies what happened with that situation and why a previously rumored return to TVB ended up being a collaboration with ViuTV instead.
Every time Sheren Tang is rumored to have a television project forthcoming, it’s usually a given that audiences excitedly anticipate her new series. Last year, when scriptwriter Chan Po Wah announced she would be returning to TVB in early 2018 to prepare for a new series, she had expressed interest in inviting actress Sheren Tang to take up the starring role. Immediately, TVB’s assistant manager of production (non-drama department) Sandy Yu as well as deputy general manager Felix To personally reached out to Sheren to discuss the possibility of her returning to TVB to film Po Wah Jeh’s series. However, in the end, the role went to Miriam Yeung and instead of returning to TVB, it was recently announced that Sheren will now be filming for ViuTV. As soon as the news broke, various media outlets started reporting that Sheren, in filming for a rival station, has turned against TVB.
Towards this, Sheren responds: “I actually never turned down [Po Wah Jeh’s series] Wonder Women. In fact, I’m very grateful to Po Wah Jeh for considering me as her first choice to star in her series when it was confirmed last year that she would be returning to TVB. Usually, when a project is still in the discussion stage and I haven’t made the decision to accept yet, I don’t like to talk about it publicly — at the time, the discussion was actually only in very early stages, but as Po Wah Jeh’s good friend, I knew that she really wanted me to support her. This was the first time she would be returning after so many years and I also admired TVB’s sincerity in inviting her back — all of us shared the same goal in wanting to film a truly good quality series and the fact that they were willing to really focus on the production was already worth supporting. So I agreed to do that interview in support of Po Wah Jeh [TN: THIS is the interview Sheren is referring to] with the hope that it would bring more attention to the project — besides, I love HK series and am more than willingly to support a good quality production! At the time, my intention was actually very simple. After that, I actually didn’t hear anything more about the project and there was no further follow up. I’m sure they [TVB] have their reasons for choosing Miriam. I’m actually happy for them because to me, the most important thing is being able to produce a quality series so that audiences can see that HK series are worth watching.”
In terms of multiple media outlets reporting that she “betrayed” TVB by agreeing to film for ViuTV and once again bringing up her past gripes with her former employer, Sheren responded: “Many artists came from TVB and whenever any of them leave, the media always makes them out to be ‘traitors’ — honestly, this type of mindset is so outdated! In today’s internet-driven world, with people watching series online now and so many different options, the HK market is already so small, why are we fighting amongst ourselves? Sure, in series I film, there is often a lot of infighting, but in real life, my sights are set pretty far — what is the point of [each station] competing so aggressively against each other? Does it really prove that you’re the best if you beat other HK series? If it’s really necessary to fight, why not try to beat American, Japanese, Korean, Mainland series instead? People keep saying that I’m always reprimanding TVB — in response, I really want to tell them: ‘the deeper the love, the stronger the criticism’ [愛之深，責之切]! If I didn’t love HK series, love my profession, I wouldn’t be so adamant about giving feedback and hoping for improvement – I could just stand back and let things happen without bothering. All I want is for my colleagues and the entire industry to do well, to be an industry we can be proud of. Not saying that TVB is regressing, but rather, the film and television industries in the rest of the world are all progressing, moving way ahead of us [HK]. When this is something that everyone can see, how can I possibly close my eyes and continue to pretend that TVB series are perfect, that nothing is wrong? When even the reporters start to sense that something is wrong and they come ask me for my opinion, as an artist with experience, I am simply stating the truth of what I feel and know. HK series used to be the ‘big brother’, the leader [in Asia], so many people grew up watching TVB – it is because I love TVB a lot that I dare to reprimand them. Actually, in the past, when having dinner with TVB colleagues and a few of the execs were present, I would pull the execs aside and take the opportunity to tell them about the problems I’ve seen [within the company], but unfortunately that never seemed to do any good. When the reporters discover the same issues and come ask me, I’m sorry but I’m not a 3 year old who can just pretend nothing is wrong and blindly go along with things, especially when I’ve also seen those issues with my own eyes. Good acting can’t cover up things that are so obviously visible to the naked eye, such as crude stage sets for example, [TN: Sheren is referring to the time when she filmed TVB series No Regrets where she complained that the stage sets looked really fake and also were falling apart right before her eyes – it was a distraction for her when she was trying to film her scenes], also declining ratings, audiences complaining they can’t understand the series, etc. -- in this situation, I cannot just bury my conscience and say everything is fine. When it gets to the point where even reprimanding them no longer works, then I try a different method, go elsewhere in efforts to prove to them that the advice I am trying to give them can result in successes. I hope that people will stop slandering me – I am actually the one who loves TVB the most!”
Received complete script prior to filming
Those who invite Sheren to film for them know that she has quite strict requirements, so the fact that she is willing to film for ViuTV means that they must have passed muster. Sheren explained her decision to film with ViuTV: “Actually, there were a few reasons why I decided to collaborate with them – I was impressed by their sincerity for one and two, I was attracted by the freshness of the script. The story revolves around relationships and at its core, it’s about dealing with the various feelings and emotions surrounding this. I like this story’s theme because it fits with my personality – I’m the type of person who feels things especially strongly and acutely. The character I’ll be playing has her complexities, only a handful of people surround her, yet their relationships [to each other] are linked in countless ways. I honestly feel that playing characters in palace series, period pieces, even playing strong career women roles, is really not that difficult because at the end of the day, most audiences don’t really know what it is truly like. Playing an ordinary person dealing with the complexities of marriage, that type of role is challenging because it’s so universal – you have to be very meticulous and careful with your performance in order to make your character resonate with audiences. The other important piece to this is my physical ability to perform – for me, I need to have sufficient rest and sleep in order to be at my best performance level. I’ve told you guys in the past that nowadays it’s impossible for me to work long hours day and night without sleep or rest and still be able to give a good performance. With everything being high definition nowadays, I want the result that audiences see on-screen to be me at my prettiest and most alert, which is why it’s so important for me to get enough rest and sleep. Also, my other requirement is that I must receive the entire script prior to starting filming – this is something that I refuse to compromise. The reason for this is because if I don’t have the complete script, it’s impossible for me to fully understand and digest my character and figure out the best way to portray her. I need sufficient time to prepare and study my character in depth and if I’m not given that time, it directly affects the quality of my performance. In order to make a truly good series that is able to compete with the outside world, every position at every level is important and no detail can be overlooked. We have to admit that the market in HK, as compared with the Mainland, is indeed very small, but that doesn’t mean we’re incapable of producing quality dramas that people can respect and approve of. In order to make this happen, all of us need to play our part and put in the extra effort as well as take the production seriously.”
Since filming for ViuTV’s new series doesn’t start until September, Sheren is spending this next month preparing for her role. “The producer Ruby [TN: book series “Margaret & David” author 南方舞廳] actually approached me about working with her around the same time that Po Wah Jeh did. When it comes to production companies that approach me for collaboration, I don’t play favorites – if they are not able to meet my requirements, then I turn them down, it doesn’t matter who they are. With Ruby and ViuTV, I told them that I must have the complete script in my hands before I agree to film and they were actually able to deliver – I received the entire script more than a month ahead of when filming is scheduled to start! They told me that even if I didn’t request to have the completed script before filming, they would still do so anyway because they need time to prepare as well – we all have the same goal of wanting to put forth our best work. Of course, the end result is not something we are able to control, but if a lot of people end up praising the series, that will be a reflection of the entire cast and crew’s efforts. Our entertainment industry plays an important role in maintaining HK’s reputation.”