Steven Ma on leaving the nest;
Not Wounded, just want to pursue what I want.
Recently, Hong Kong television industry is in turbulence, and all of a sudden, this series, Daddy Good Deeds, contains not one but two former TVB prominent generals who have left or will be leaving the nest --- the golden producer, Miu Siu Ching, and front line siu sang, Steven Ma. Hence, some Hong Kong media reported that this series has summarily become an ‘orphan’, resulting in its being broadcasted in the slow, off season timeslot as warehouse clearance. Yesterday, both Miu Siu Ching and Steven Ma, attending a promotional event to rally support for DGD tv premier, accepted this Nandu reporter's interview, whereby they candidly shared their state of mind before and after leaving the nest. Steven, who has prematurely terminated his TVB contract and has once declared “he and Virginia Lok has weak affinity” denies that this “parting of way episode” has wounded him, in fact, he expresses that he has not ruled out the possibility of collaborating with TVB under a different contract format in the future. As for Miu Siu Ching, she expresses the main reason for leaving TVB is because she wants to “apply what she has learned”.
View Leaving the Nest as temporary separation;
Willing to collaborate with TVB in a different contractual form
Nandu: Daddy Good Deeds is your last TVB work before leaving the nest. Does it hold any special meaning for you?
Steven: The online discussions called this my TVB farewell work, but I think of it as my au revoir work. Even though I am now freelance, but TVB has been my workplace for 19 years. The company has all along contacted me to discuss a per series contract, so long the conditions are comfortable and reasonable, I’m willing to have a different form of contract with TVB.
Nandu: But there are rumors that this new series is being treated as a “warehouse clearance” item?
Steven: Actually, in the past, everyone of my series broadcast always collided with the holidays: Lunar New Year, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, even two World Cups, all my series are used to do battles. Nevertheless, they always garnered good results. Actually, the timeslot this time is considered not bad. 9:30 pm timeslot. You guys don't need to over speculate. The main thing is that this is a delightful and warm series. So long the audience like it, that’s all that counts.
Nandu: During the series filming, that was the time when you were discussing with TVB to terminate your contract. Your published pictures captured by the ‘doggies’ seemed somewhat subdued, was it because of your inner turmoil and struggles?
Steven: No. During filming I frequently laughed aloud because I seldom filmed modern day lighthearted series. Moreover, this character is a slippery fellow, contrary to my usual conventional self so the acted scenes were very amusing. Actually by then, I already partially knew what my decision was. So at the time I shot this series I knew it would be my au revior work. Not subdued, on the contrary, very lighthearted and full of anticipation to tackle new jobs in the future.
The Motive for Leaving the Nest
Improvement in Acting; More exciting script, and New Artiste Friends.
Nando: At the time, you said you were not asking for a pay raise, or a TV King award; it’s just that you had reached a bottleneck, and that you did not see a good growth in TVB hence your distress. Now, can you speak of the biggest knot inside you at the time?
Steven: This is a phase that all artistes will go through. I’ve been in TVB for 19 years; how do I break through? How to open up the next realm? When I accepted “Legend of the Yuan Dynasty Founder” I performed the scenes with a learning mindset. The next mainland series will provide an even greater challenge. I will portray two brothers; one good, one bad. I’ve never done this before. If I learned new skills from outside when I return here in the future to film series, maybe I can impart more pleasant surprises to the audiences? It’s not that staying back in TVB is not good but that basically I’ve already collaborated with almost all TVB artistes. Whereas if I venture to the outside world and work with the mainland, Taiwan or Malaysian lead artistes, I will absorb more growth nutrients. This kind of stimulation is what I most need right now. The improvement in acting skill, more availability of scripts that can excite me, get to know new artiste friends; these are what I most crave.
Nandu: At the time, you said bluntly: “What I am dissatisfied with is the whole TVB artistes management department's operations and arrangements causing many things to being inappropriately handled. ” Why were you dissatisfied with the artistes management department?
Steven: Hard to express. Everybody feels differently. Were they at fault? I don’t dare to put it that way. People have their own views and requirements. Likewise, the company has its own policies and principles, no need to change for my sake. Maybe other people feel comfortable and fit right in! Never mind lo. I don’t need other people to change on my behalf. I only want to pursue what I want for myself under the premise of not hurting anybody.
Denied being Wounded
Don't want to say who's at fault, maybe it was that the artistes management and I just couldn't click, that's all.
Nandu: Do you feel that the company’s promotion policy is one of favoring some while discriminating others, causing some talented artistes to be under-appreciated while others put on fast track?
Steven: I didn't care, and will not critique the company’s policies and guidelines. Now that I don’t have a contract with the company, to critique the company will be unfair. For me, even for this brief parting of ways, I still want to maintain a good impression.
Nandu: So now your feelings have healed and recovered?
Steven: I was never wounded. Just that I needed to carefully contemplate on my future, and now I know clearly what I want to do.
Nandu: During that period, you had had many heart to heart talks with several top executives expressing your grievances. Did you express your innermost feelings and your opinions on TVB to them? Finally, Stephen Chan amended the contractual clause on your behalf, consequently enabling you to successfully accept the mainland series, Legend of the Yuan Dynasty Founder. So why did you still insist on prematurely terminating the contract?
Steven: During that period, the company and I went back and forth for a long time. Different executives also took turns talking to me for the longest time. They all didn’t want me to leave. I am thankful to my mentor, Catherine Tsang. She is forever my lifetime mentor. Also very grateful to Mr. Stephen Chan and Mr. Mark Lee, because they loosened up some contractual clauses to enable me to accept the LOTYDF series. How can I not be thankful for such magnanimity? Having so many people so fond of me, if the situation were feasible, I truly would not want to leave…..
Nandu: You lamented that your affinity with Ms. Lok (Virginia Lok) is weak. Did this contract termination and leaving the nest had anything to do with personal grievances with certain people?
Steven: I don’t want to discuss who’s at fault. It maybe that the artistes management and I just couldn't click. Fate, if can’t get along then can’t get along lo. Doesn’t matter. Can still choose other form of collaboration.
Hope will grow in tandem in both places
Nandu: Director Tsui Siu Ming said that mainland investors think that Hong Kong tv artistes' popularity in mainland is not high, and that they do not have the inner substance to perform in mainland historic epic dramas. Have you met with this kind of biasness? How would you break through that?
Steven: I feel it's not too bad. In my venture up north, I met many television companies, owners and producers with great financial resources and capability who show appreciation for me. In LOTYDF, though I am not the first male lead, but the room for acting flexibility is very big. My character, Liu Bingzhong, was a hero of his time, helping Kublai Khan to found the Yuan Dynasty. I accepted this role for two reasons: first, I wanted to film a Tsui Siu Ming drama; second, I wanted to collaborate with Hu Jun, who portrays Kublai Khan. First time venturing mainland, I came with a learning mindset. But next month (April) in my second mainland series, I am already the first male lead.
Nandu: Before, in Hong Kong tv entertainment industry, the artistes were either contractually tied down to a powerful tv station or languished away silently in a weak tv station with no other outlet to survive. But you admitted that your relationship with TVB is still pretty good, and also admitted that you have met up for drinks and meals with Ricky Wong, and also was contacted by NowTV, how do you define your present freelance status? Can you really have it both ways? Will it become a new trend in the future for Hong Kong TV artistes?
Steven: : The later half of this year, Hong Kong tv industry will definitely undergo great turbulent changes. New free-to-air tv stations will be born. Artistes' choices will increase. In the mainland market, during my earlier stay in Beijing, I had set into motion many things to come. In the future, every year I will spend half a year in mainland shooting series. But my home is in Hong Kong, so I will return frequently. Hopefully my development in both places will grow in tandem with each other.
Upcoming, what kind of contract will I sign? I want to be extra careful on that. Based on subjective feelings, I'll certainly give priority to my maternal home if the contract is of a different form. However, on the other more objective terms and conditions, I would have to think clearly and pragmatically. During this period, I don't denied that many people have approached me, and for that I am truly thankful of their appreciation of me. But at this moment in time, I still have not made my decision yet (direction). I speak the truth here.
Miu Siu Ching: Wants to apply what has learned.
After this Daddy Good Deeds promotion, Miu Siu Ching will leave to go to the rival tv station, NowTV, to start her new job. Yesterday, accepting once again Nandu reporter's interview, MSC candidly revealed her thoughts at the time: "At that time, I didn't know that DGD would be my farewell work, not until towards the mid and later half of the production did I finally decide to send in my resignation letter, and to venture out. I didn't want to reveal it sooner because as long as I'm in TVB I still love this company. At the time, the company was awash in a poaching wave. I didn't want to create more problems for the company. Actually, my decision was made prior to the poaching wave. It is because the company has given me so many opportunities, producing many good works such as Beyond the Realm of Consciousness, Can't Buy Me Love etc. that the outside world has the opportunity to get to know me. My television dream was incepted in the era of Rediffusion Television, and afterwards, I grew up in TVB. Now I'm venturing outside wanting to fully apply and expand on what I have learned over the years, at the same time, absorbing new ideas and stuff. Wherever I go, it's with the concept of wanting to produce a "good series" .
Siu Ching jie denied that her farewell work is been given the cold treatment by TVB thus making it an "orphan". She said: "From the moment I handed in my letter I have only felt the warmth. Stephen Chan, Mark Lee and Norman Leong, all of them had tried several times to retain me. Even when my mind is set they still gave me a farewell party. My heart is very sweet, very sweet. The company is very good to me."
------- in Chinese-----
马浚伟谈离巢：没受伤，是去追求我想要的南都讯 记者蔡丽怡 实习生黄绮烨 发自香港 曾炮制过人气剧集《公主嫁到》、《宫心计》等的无线王牌监制梅小青，继《绝世好爸》、《爸爸闭翳》之后再下一城，为“爸爸系列”推出“告别作”———《当 旺爸爸》，周一晚9：30将在翡翠台首播。这部家庭伦理喜剧以当铺行业为题材，把高家老父夏雨和三个心肝宝贝带笑带泪的生活呈现在观众眼前，以轻松手法道 出父母的爱是无价的。
近期香港电视风云起，无独有偶，这部《当旺爸爸》一下子襄括了无线两员离巢大将———王牌监制梅小青和 当家小生马浚伟。故有港媒报道指，这部剧成了“孤儿仔”，在眼下收视的淡季清仓播出。昨日，梅小青和马浚伟两人均现身为新剧首播造势，接受了南都记者的专 访，坦承他们离巢前后的心境。曾经在微博大发牢骚并称“我和乐易玲，缘薄！”，而与无线提前解约的马浚伟这次却否认因“离巢事件”受伤，表示以后不排除以 其他形式再与无线合作。而梅小青则表示，离开无线只是想“学以致用”。
马 浚伟：这是演员必经的阶段，我在无线19年，我怎么去突破、怎么去打开下一个领域？我当时接了《建元风云》，完全抱着学习的心态去拍戏。下一部内地剧会面 对更大的挑战，我一人分饰两兄弟，一个忠、一个奸，这是我之前从未遇到过的。如果我在外面练就一身功夫，将来回来拍戏，或者能给观众带来更多惊喜呢？留在 无线不是不好，但基本上所有演员我都合作过了，而我闯荡外面的世界，合作的都是内地、台湾、马来西亚等首屈一指的演员，和他们碰撞一下，我会吸收很多养 分，这种冲击才是我现在需要的。演戏上的进步、一些更能刺激我的剧本、接触新的演员朋友，才是我现在最渴求的。
马 浚伟：很难去讲，每个人有不同感受。是不是他们不好？我不敢这样说，每个人有自己的看法和要求，公司有自己的政策和原则，不需要为我一个人而改变，可能其 他人觉得很舒服、很适应呢！不要紧咯，我不需要别人为我而改变，我只想追求我自己想要的，在不伤害任何人的大前提下。
马 浚伟：其间我和公司拉踞了很久，个别高层和我谈了很久，他们都很不希望我走，很感激我的恩师曾励珍，她是我一辈子的恩师，很感激陈志云和李宝安先生，是他 们放宽了一些公司合约的条文，令我可以接拍《建元风云》。我怎能不念这些恩情呢？有这么多疼我的人在这，在可行的情况下，我是真的不想走……
马 浚伟：我觉得还好啊，我这次北上遇到很多很有财力和实力的影视公司、老板、制作人，他们对我都很赏识。《建元风云》里我虽不是男一号，但是发挥空间也很 大，我的角色刘秉忠是一代英雄，助忽必烈建立了元朝。我接这部戏只冲着两个原因：一是想拍一部徐小明的戏，第二是因为可以和演忽必烈的胡军合作。初闯内 地，我是抱着一个纯学习的心态，但下个月我接的第二部内地剧，我已经演第一号男主角了。
南都：过往在香港电视圈，艺人要么就签死一间大 电视台，要么就在一间弱势台默默无闻，再没另一种生存方式。但你承认和老东家关系不差，又承认和王维基有相约吃喝，又有和N O W接触，你怎么定义你现在这种自由身？真的可以左右逢源？它会成为未来香港电视艺人的一种新趋势吗？
马浚伟：今年下半年，香港电视圈一 定会起风云，会有新的免费电视台诞生，演员的选择会多很多。在内地市场，我这次上北京落实了很多东西。未来日子，我每年都会有一半时间在内地拍戏。但我的 家在香港，我仍会常常回来，希望在两地的发展能并驾并驱。未来我会怎样签约？我想看清一些，在情感上，我一定会首选我的娘家无线，如果有别的合作形式；但 在其他客观条件上，我还要冷静考虑清楚。这段日子，我不否认找我的人很多，我很感激别人对我的赏识，但在这一刻，我还未有决定（去向），这是我的真心话。
完 成这次《当旺》宣传后，梅小青将走马上任到对手台N O W开工。昨日，再次接受南都记者采访，梅小青坦承当日想法：“当时没想过《当旺》是告别作，一直做到中后期，我才决定递信，出去闯一闯。我之所以不肯讲， 是因为我一日在无线，我仍很喜欢这间公司，当时公司遇到挖角潮，我不想再给公司添烦添忧。其实我的决定在挖角潮之前已有，因为公司给了我很多机会，做出了 《宫心计》、《公主嫁到》等很多好的作品，让外界有了认识我的机会，我的电视梦是在丽的时代启蒙，之后我在T V B成长，现在只是出去外面将学到的东西加以发挥，并且学习新鲜的东西，去哪里也是为了‘做好剧’这个理念。”小青姐否认自己的告别作被公司冷待成为“孤儿 仔”，她说：“由我递信那一刻，已觉得很温暖，陈志云、李宝安、梁乃鹏主席，他们都是三番五次挽留，就算我心意已决，他们仍为我搞欢送会，我的心很甜很 甜，公司对我很好。”