8 DAYS: Welcome to the Mediacorp family! What made you decide to become a full-time artiste with the company?
JEREMY CHAN: When I was a freelancer, I had to manage everything myself. It was quite tough to handle, especially when my schedule and filming dates were packed so closely together. At the end of the day, having an agency will be much better. I can focus more on my career.
What have you learned in the past three years?
I had a lot of freedom as a freelancer. I could decide on what I wanted to do with my career. But when it came to manpower, I’m only one person. I realised that it can be quite difficult when it comes to negotiating money. My position was a bit awkward: I was my own manager, but also an artiste. It was tough when I had to negotiate certain things.
There’s pros and cons to being a freelancer. There's freedom but you have to do everything on your own. When it comes to filming, you can’t really concentrate because sometimes you wonder if you have replied an email, or informed a production house about your schedule. There was just too many things going on. I’m the type of person who can’t really multi-task well. And there were times when I double booked myself without realising it. It’s not an easy job to be a freelancer. I even had to issue invoices! (Laughs)
Yeah that's something you wouldn't need to do if you had a manager.
Yes! That's why I’d keep thinking about work even when I was back home. It was like I was doing the job of three people. As an artiste, I can’t only take on one job at a time. Typically, I had three concurrent projects so I had to liaise with as many different production houses at once. After all of that, I had to read my scripts! It was so tiring.
What kind of difficulties did you encounter when negotiating contracts?
The whole world faces the same issue: budget. As an artiste, you sometimes have to stand on your ground. But it can be quite awkward for an artiste to reject a producer over small issues. At the end of the day, you don’t really develop a very healthy relationship because it gets to the point where the producer will go, "Can lah, this one can lah. Just come one more day lah".
It's like if you buy a movie ticket but you were late for the movie and then you tell the person manning the ticket booth, ‘Eh, I was late for 15 minutes, can you give me a S$2 discount?’ The person selling the ticket would also be paiseh to reject you.