'I've been doing it for the sake of money, paying my bills': Charlie Goh deals with complacency and burnout

'I've been doing it for the sake of money, paying my bills': Charlie Goh deals with complacency and burnout
Charlie Goh feels that he's gotten complacent and burnt out in his 11th year of acting.
PHOTO: Instagram/Charlie Goh

Fanning the flames of his passion for acting has left Charlie Goh a little burnt out, but the actor has no intentions of resting on his laurels just yet.

Charlie recently revealed that he's dealing with complacency and burnout in his work in an interview with AsiaOne for the new Mediacorp drama Silent Walls.

"Acting is my passion, it's something that I really like doing," the 34-year-old actor prefaced. 

"It's just that over the years, because I've been doing it for the sake of money and paying my bills, it's become like a day job to me and I've started to lose a little bit of passion in acting."

He added: "I give what I need to give and get the job done. But I don't want it to be like that, because if that's the case, I'm slowly killing my passion."

Earlier in January, Charlie posted an Instagram Story where he shared that an executive producer (EP) who witnessed his audition "spoke right through his soul".

Recalling what he was told, Charlie said in the recent interview that he had given the EP what any other actor could've given him during the audition process.

"What differentiates me from the rest of the actors that come in?" Charlie echoed the EP's words. "I've been in this line for 10 years, do I want to be any ordinary actor on the street, or someone different?"

He would neither be reprimanded nor praised whether he gave partial or full effort and he had also grown complacent over his years of acting, Charlie admitted.


The "half-hearted" audition he gave due to this complacency might have fooled laypeople, but he couldn't fool the producer.

Charlie smiled: "He calls you out, man. When I went in to do the audition, he called me out. And I said, 'Yeah, you're right. You're absolutely right.' It's like I was a kid doing something mischievous, waiting to get caught."

After the wakeup call delivered by the producer, Charlie had his doubts.

"I've asked myself, is this my best, or is this what I choose to give as my best? Am I willing to change my appearance and lose or gain weight for a show? Is it worth it?

"Sure, I love acting as a craft and I've been doing it for 10 years. But the pay in Singapore as an actor is not fantastic and the audience watching [local shows] is not that great. So is it worth it for me to destroy my body for a role?"

Ultimately, if the script is "really good" or "worth it", then Charlie believes that he would be willing to do so.

He said: "That's one of the reasons why I posted the Instagram Story — it's a reminder to myself because this is my 11th year. And of course, I'm planning to do something different."

From profession to passion project

The plans that Charlie has are already in motion, albeit facing some setbacks.

In December last year, he received disheartening news: he failed one of the papers of a real estate exam he had taken earlier.


But he shared with AsiaOne that he hasn't given up yet and intends to continue taking the test: "I don't know if I can pass my property exam… I hope I can find my source of income from elsewhere [outside of acting], and then I'll do passion projects.

"I want to go part-time in acting and I want to choose my work. I don't want to take jobs for the sake of taking jobs just to pay my bills, which is suffocating my passion.

"And ultimately I feel that it's not fair to the production to hire an actor who doesn't give his 100 per cent [all the time]."


That doesn't mean that he's not already doing his best for the performances that he gives on set, however.

Despite his burnout, he's still giving his all when it comes to acting — unless it's an audition.

Charlie said: "Sometimes when I go for an audition, I only give 50 per cent. But when I get the role and do it on screen for real, I still believe that I give 100 per cent. It's only when I'm auditioning that I tend to add a bit of nonsense."

Laughing, he compared: "It's like a mock exam… but as an actor, I wouldn't go on set and give 50 per cent… every time I go on set, I give it my all.

"Whether that 100 per cent is enough for you, I don't know, but I know I gave my best."

In Silent Walls, Charlie plays Wu Tianhua, in Silent Walls, the eldest son of the Wu family who returns from studying in the UK in 1938. 

The family moves into a new home and a new majie (Tasha Low) joins them, causing trouble to arise as emotions, love and relationships are laid bare, all while Tianhua tries his best to safeguard his family from harm.

Silent Walls also stars Darren Lim, Mindee Ong, Desmond Shen, Chen Shucheng and Andie Chen. It is available for free on meWATCH and also on weekdays, 9pm on Channel 8.

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