Actors sometimes enter showbiz without any knowledge of the craft.
In Desmond Tan's case, his lack of prowess in the performing arts caused much grief to the production crew. It was so bad that the cameraman even walked off the film set and simply told his assistant to hit the record button.
On the most recent episode of Hear U Out — a meWATCH talkshow by local host Quan Yi Fong — 34-year-old Desmond confessed that when he first started as an actor, he was terrible and had between 30 to 40 NGs ('no good' or unusable shots) in a particular shoot.
He said: "The cameraman walked away."
"He intentionally told his assistant loudly, 'I'm not going to film anymore. You help me press the record button.' Then he walked off to drink coffee. He wanted to let me know [he was unhappy]," Desmond added.
Initially, he said the crew members were friendly and told him not to worry. However, as time passed, their patience wore thin. Even the lighting technician threw shade at him.
"Towards the end [of the shoot], he sighed and said, 'Does he even know how to act?'" Desmond recalled self-deprecatingly.
Even though he has been named one of the Eight Dukes of Caldecott Hill and has been in the business since 2008, he wasn't shy about the fact that he knew nothing about acting when he signed on as an artiste. In fact, he initially wanted to be a singer.
To that end, he auditioned for the first and second seasons of the reality singing competition Project Superstar when he was still serving his National Service (NS).
He got through the first round of auditions in the second season, but was unable to progress to the next round because he was still in the army. However, he was noticed by a member of the production team who advised him to complete his NS and take a look at what competitions were available then.
Coincidentally, Star Search was running the year he completed his NS and he was invited to join the competition. Desmond said he thought he was just a warm body to fill up the quota since he didn't know the first thing about acting. So he just "joined for fun".
He couldn't even think of a special talent when prompted by the production team apart from singing, but he later realised he wasn't that much better at singing than the others and needed something else. Hence, he learnt how to mix drinks and scored pretty high in the talent portion of the show.
But he fell behind when the competition moved into the acting portion. Nevertheless, he finished as one of the runners-up, after Jerry Yeo — who has left showbiz — and champion Andie Chen.
It didn't hurt that Desmond is quite the looker, too.
When asked by Yi Fong if he found himself handsome, Desmond cheekily replied: "I think I'm okay. Better than average... Personally I don't find myself handsome, but I'm stylish."