Sunday, November 05, 2006
[Wen Wei Po - 06/11/06]
Steven Ma - Tasting 100 Flavours of Life
In a few days time, Steven Ma will finish filming for his new series "Predicting Fate". His next project will begin filming in December, so he has over half a month to take a breather, prepare for his Anniversary performance and head out to Hebei province to meet his sponsored children and buy them some gifts.
In the past year, this is the longest break he has had, so he can finally have some rest.
"Very tired, but very happy, especially as my series 'Safe Guards' has brought me three nominations (Best Actor, My Favourite Television Character and Most Improved Male Artiste), so this is an even special feeling."
You cannot call it emotional, after all the rewards reaped from hard work are justified. If you do not make the awards too important and face it with a relaxed attitude, then this is enough for Steven to be happy.
"I believe that for me, today, I already have sufficient self confidence and I leave what I meet to destiny." Amid the frenzy of awards ceremonies, Steven has been dubbed as the 'dark horse' among the TVB actors and this horse does not fight to win, does not have a high profile, but who can say that he will lose? Purely on his courage and determination to battle to the end, this has forged for him a new heaven in his showbiz career.
Thinking back to over a year ago, Steven's contract with his manager ended and he headed out on his own. During this time, he has gained fortune, but lost popularity. Without his appearance in TVB series, the new generation of male leads pushed forward. At one point, Steven's low profile made people who cared about him worry.
"I always know what I am doing. During the days out on my own, I saw many new things, on the stage in America and Canada, filming in the Mainland, doing advertising work - it all gave me new insights."
Determination Inspired by Alan Tam's Song
When TVB approached him and offered to sign him to their management, it took him five months to weigh up his options and think through everything, so that he knew how to face it all and prepare himself mentally before he signed the contract. Accepting to film "Safe Guards" for Steven was a challenge for him both on motivation and his physical ability. July, August and September are the hottest months of the year and every day in the angry heat of the sun, working, riding and fighting, the sweat soaked through every layer of clothing. At the hardest point, Steven slept just one or two hours per day before crawling out of bed to work again.
"At the time, as soon as I got in the car, I would switch on a song and listen to it every day, constantly. I had to stay determined and keep going. From that, I managed to get through it and returned to TVB in the most difficult transition period."
This song was Alan Tam's "Catching Up from Behind".
He had fallen behind, but this was Steven's choice and there was nothing to worry about and no-one to blame. If you reduce your workload, then other people will have their opportunities. He is not envious or jealous of anyone. He just knows that to work hard to catch up from behind, then finally you will find in your hand what you have wanted.
Finding Confidence to Tend Ones Wounds
Unintentionally, Alan's song during these important times, became the encouraging and supportive 'Battle Song' for Steven. "After the rainy night, there will be bright sunshine, let pain create strength, catch up from behind, before success you have to fight against failure."
Finding once again the confidence to tend to his own wounds, Steven's path in showbiz has not been a smooth one and there have been hardships that people from outside will not know about. Fortunately, for the Steven of today, he has learned how to be strong and the most important thing is that he has become 'independent'. "I chose my ideal direction and worked hard to do each role. I savoured every scene, I enjoyed getting along with my colleagues. At the moment, I am at my happiest."
Having started to experience the joys of acting, in times of leisure, Steven loves to pull out boxes of video tape and re-live his own creations. He wants to see from his old performances what his shortcomings are. "Oh, if I was asked to do this series now, I would not do it that way. Oh, this expression could be done so much better, I could have done this instead..." For the friends who accompany him during these viewings, they will hear him reprimanding himself and complaining about his lack of talent then and how he should do it again. This self-improvement spirit is becoming stronger and stronger and the range is growing outside of just acting in series.
Expanding Life Experiences - Singing Flavours of Life in Song
Take singing for example! He started out as a singer and his voice is well accepted. Because he can sing, Steven has in the past completed every word in his songs and when his friends hear him, they will laugh: "You are very 'tense'." As the person relaxes, Steven realises that the word 'tense' means he has not done well enough. Today, if he has the chance, he will go to karaoke and he will sing some familiar songs and will focus on his performance and emotions. To be absorbed into ones feelings whilst singing is a mark of a good singer. In recent years, when you hear him singing his song "Lun Lau Juen", there is truly a feeling of someone who has lived through hardship and tragedy in history. The bitter undertones bring through the maturity gained through experiences in life and make you savour the feelings, as the music stops, his friends applaud and whistle with admiration...
"Wow, you are more fanatical than my fans, so warm!" Steven laughs happily. His joy is because to sing this song with the right feeling is not an easy feat.
A few years ago, he and some friends went to karaoke and he sung "Lun Lau Juen". Holding the microphone, he sung the song and the sounds were good to listen to, but a true friend of Steven's had spoken to him truthfully, saying earnestly: "To sing this song well, you need to have had some experiences to bring out the spirit of the song and this is not an easy thing." Steven kept this comment in his heart and he stepped closer each day to his target. Today to sing with the right feelings, he has matured. If you have not been through bittersweet times, then you will not open up as a person and only after you have opened your horizons can you truly taste the many flavours of life.
Realising Health is Most Important at Age 35
He is 35 years old. 26th October, on Steven's birthday, seeing him we speak of wishes. He says seriously: "I never thought that I would be 35 so soon, it feels like there is still a pile of things I have not yet done, but the most important thing is my health. If I have a healthy body and soul, then I will have an even greater driving power."
Announcing he has 'grown up', Steven just wants to perform in more great series as he sets his ambitions in life widely.
"I will not set my sights on just one point, I have to put them in one direction. I feel that in my performing career, I still have a long path to tread. I hope to win awards, because I would like to be recognised and encouraged, but I enjoy my work even more. Working is hard, having to wear wigs and not getting much sleep, but when I look back to the rewards reaped from my hard work, then I feel comforted and there is a price to my hardships."
After Adam Cheng, Steven has been noted as the most suitable male lead for ancient costume series.
"I don't mind filming ancient series at all, because I enjoy being a person from history. I feel that I was born in the wrong era because I love bringing people from the past to life and each time I wear my ancient costumes, it seems like I have stepped into a time tunnel. There is an endless space for the imagination and there are no boundaries. I would like to play an Early Nationalist Period character, I would like to play Zhuge Liang, Lu Xun - I really would like to play them."
Contentment, Learning, Reaching the Summit
Before he returned to TVB, Steven played a cameo role in TV series "Zhao Jun Chu Sai" for CCTV. When the show was aired, his role of Wang Mang left a deep impression with the viewers. During filming, the director and Steven got on very well and had even suggested creating a series entitled "The Story of Wang Mang" especially for him, now that would be a good script!
"In what you do, you have to take a step at a time and not rush. I have a contract with TVB, so for the next few years, I will just focus my energy on doing my best for each creation. As I have already set a long artistic route for myself, then as long as I diligently keep moving towards my goal, then I don't need to worry about other things."
Unafraid of the unclear paths ahead, having the confidence not to be unsettled. Today's Steven has matured and an aura of being 'big brother' is starting to emanate from his forehead. Confidence is the best make-up, knowledge is the best skincare product. This is an unchanging truth. Skin tone and complexion can age easily, to keep perfection forever, you do not depend on your appearance, you use the purity in your heart and soul as you heighten the realms of your thoughts.
Contentment means you will not be tempted by fame or fortune; Conscientiousness can make you have a glorified persona. This is what Steven is striving for.
"Fortune is already by your side", Steven!
Reporter: Yu Fung
Translated by Em @ TVBspace
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