Contradictheory: Malaysian Hollywood?

I surprisingly got a bunch of favourable responses for the last Contradictheory article about how hard writing is. Somebody also emailed me, asking how they could be a writer, and what does it take.

Here is my reply:
Dear Sir,
The "group of writers" that I mentioned are actually the writing staff for Creative Development Unit of Astro. Our sole job is to write scripts for Astro productions (and to make sure that they are good, of course!).

We did have an interview session late last year. I'm afraid it was not as well publicised as it could have been, but we have our quota for this year already. We may hire again, but I cannot guarantee when it will happen.

If you send an email to then the person in charge will hopefully put you on the list for future job opportunities.

You asked, "what does it take to be part of the group?". Now, here is roughly what we learnt from the last round of interviews:
  1. We asked that everybody who wanted a job to email a sample of their writing. About half failed to do so. We didn't give those people a job.
  2. We asked those whose writing we thought showed promised to come to an interview. About 10% of those didn't or couldn't come to see us personally. They didn't get a job with us either.
  3. Of those that came for the interview, we asked if they understood scriptwriting jargon like "three-act structure" and "turning point". About a quarter said they did, but they obviously didn't. Some of those insisted they were right in being wrong. They didn't get a job either.
  4. About a third of whom remained came in for a second interview. One person told me with the upmost confidence that her rambling sample story (that had no clear point nor a plot that I could describe in less than fifty words) was "post-modern" because it took place in the 24th Century. She didn't get a job with us.
  5. Those that survived all this went into a one month training session, where they learnt (or relearnt) how to write, including what phrases like "three-act structure" and "turning point" meant. 40% of those did not manage to submit homework on time regularly. They are not part of our team right now.

I hope you appreciate that the one thing you need to become a writer in television is dedication to the craft. You must really want to write so badly; so much so that you already have a lot of writing done in your own spare time just because you love it. You must want it so
badly that you even write when you're "not in the mood" to do so.

You must accept that you are probably not yet "there" as a writer, and probably have a long, long way to go. Humility and an awareness of hubris will be your references. You believe that everything you write can still be better. You know this, because when you give your writing
to honest friends to comment on, they tell you the glaring truth that it isn't really great yet.

Lastly, it really helps if you enjoy telling other people stories, and you are not shy in entertaining them. Really makes the work worth doing, I find.

Best of luck, don't stop writing.

Yours sincerely,

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posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - permalink
Your idea has its merits
Hmmm... now I want to write!
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