Being in their fast paced life, these are busy people with hardly time for themselves - attending TV shows, concerts, events, shoots and other interviews.
Having had a lil bit of experience interviewing some of Malaysia's biggest designers for my previous work, I come a lil more prepared. However, I must say this is a different ball game in a way. First, it's not just 8 people (designers)... now it's 50+1 (ie 51!).
And although they are from the entertainment industry, however, the number of sub industry or segments are much more this time round - the singers, the actors, the celebrity chefs, the sports players, the models & others. On top of that, the singing category is even further divided from pop to hip hop, nasyid, independent bands, etc. This is because we want to showcase each individual who made an impact in the Malaysian entertainment industry. And that is only fair to have from each singing category as well.
Furthermore, it's not only the Malay entertainment industry, but also the Chinese entertainment industry. All these adds to the complexity of the whole process.
I had to do some surveys, talk to some association experts - all these to get their views. I also had to research on these personalities myself - their past works and their awards. Remember, before the list is out, there were many more names mentioned.
Once the list was finalised, which took the longest of times, the next thing was to interview these personalities. Again, as we are new in this industry, there were quite a fair bit of explaination. And like I mentioned earlier, these are busy people.
Ok, so appointments were made - either via face to face, telephone and emails. All 3 had its own unique points and experience for me. The emails interviews were the easiest. The only setback is some artists may not answer the question accordingly, and may at times need to be re-emailed.
The phone interview is the best I would say, as first it is quick and fast - both on the artiste and my part. And I get a chance to speak to them, introduce my company and the book better. Also, I can guide them in case they don't quite understand the questions posed. Of course, however, there were some artistes who made telephone appoinments only to not pick it up when called. Some were rescheduled later (over and over again) - some never.
Then there were some who prefers a face to face interview, which I did both in KL and Singapore. This was rare and though it took much more time, but it was well worth it. It was great to see Jaclyn Victor, Saw Teong Hin and Rusdi Ramli face to face. I'm lucky that these are humble people and there were no airs in them, giving a very easy interview.
It was interesting that I interviewed a singer, a director and an actor. Saw gave good insights to his works and the film industry, while Jaclyn was very nice giving info on Malaysia throughout. And of all the 50+1 artistes I encountered, Rusdi was the most humble one of them all.
The whole process has been a remarkable one - some big stars were very humble. In fact, I realised the bigger the stars (in most cases), the more humble they are. They reply promptly, and are very co-operative. They thanked me for my time, our efforts and also wish me the best - now that's what I call a true Star!
Some other interesting things to note - there were some who I thought would have been 'difficult' turned out very nice indeed (very different from reports from the press or insider's stories). What a big surprise! And of course there were those which were vice versa.
I'm still waiting for a few more answers to be emailed back, but officially, I'm closing this chapter. What a journey!