曾少宗 Figaro Tseng - His path, as an actor
When applying for interviews, especially to well-known people, I know that I am not only interviewing the respondent but the entire team or agency behind him/her. Therefore, I always write the inquiry letters thoughtfully. In the messages, to show not only my purpose of the interview but also my personality. After all, I don't have enough experience at interviews, I do not have a team that always follows me for each mission, nor many fans and a platform to share the stories. Therefore, every request is an important opportunity for me. Not to mention, when I receive positive feedback from a respondent, I am thrilled.
I contacted Figaro via an email address that he publicly posted on his Facebook page. I was surprised that he replied my email by himself. His message was concise, yet with a touch of poetry atmosphere. He readily agreed to the interview, and soon, we arranged a date for the meeting.
"How come you personally replied to my email? I was pleasantly surprised when I received your response." A few days before our interview, Figaro had changed his contact email on the Facebook page which is connected to his new agency. It has turned out that since he had not cooperated with his former agency in early 2018, he managed his schedule by himself. However, since the end of 2018, there have been different plans for his career. There are different agencies in different areas to help him manage his business. "The autonomy is based on me, and I will contact all parties to discuss the work. But it is a helpful experience that I have learned in recent years to hand over to the professional teams to arrange different kinds of work." Figaro describes to me.
In recent years, Figaro’s achievement in acting has been impressive. Reviewing his career; he was a member of Comic Boys, a Taiwanese vocal quintet boy band. After the group was disbanded, he has been focused on acting. Besides, he set up an art-design company and participated in a drama producing, and the team won the Golden Bell nomination. Moreover, he has been participating in TV series, movies, short films and music videos. He hosted TV shows and participated in theater acts. If you still remember, you know that he also composed songs. Further, he has published two books over the years.
If there is a turning point in life, then the age of 30 should be the point of mine.
At the age of twenty, Figaro noticed a piece of audition news on TV. He joined the draft and won an opportunity to be a pop singer and teamed with other four boys as a band, Comic Boys. On the draft stage, he performed a beautiful song. The unique performance made him stand out.
Had it always been his dream to be a pop singer? Was Figaro nervous to stand on the stage in front of so many audiences? I wonder.
"When I was little, I liked to record my voice with a recorder. From imitating the TV series, the audiobooks bought by my mother, etc., I recorded my voice and then played it to listen to my voice. It was fun. Moreover, I took opportunities to join all kinds of performance during my school time; I joined the school band as a drummer. I was evening thinking to be the conductor or to join the Boy Scouts. I had no idea about performance nor to be well-known by others. I simply enjoyed the moment standing on the stage."
"The juries of the draft were all well-known in the entertainment industry. Later, I just realized that it was a big audition." At the age of 21, Figaro came to Taipei where he had always dreamed of visiting or living when he was a little boy. Years later, taking the city as a starting point, he, at the age of 37, has gone higher and further.
Figaro sits on my right side; we just start the interview less than 10 minutes. He is slightly cautious; it is the kind of protection that they, the public figures usually reveal from their experience when communicating with strangers.
When we review our past, sometimes we find that the "younger me" is unfamiliar. It seems to be very different from the "present me". The gap is how we grow, and how life develops.
At the age of 21, Figaro became a team member of a pop band, Comic Boys. Following the expectation of his agency and the audience, the band became a popular group. However, the image he presented to the public was different from his real personality.
"The feeling was a bit like being born in a family with a great background, parents, brothers and sisters were all capable. People around me had a high expectation for me. Somehow, I had different ideas." Figaro says, being better than others is a kind of pressure, which is also the expectation of society for each of us. It is an invisible binding that ties everyone.
Therefore, when he was younger, he wasted time on insignificant problems. It was easy to be bound by all emotions. Later, even the band was separated, Figaro could not be released from the burden of the past.
"I didn't like myself very much. I couldn't react to what happened next to me. I couldn't understand how to keep relationships. I always tried to find a solution, but it did not work. Many years later, after a performance, a fan who followed us, Comic Boys, she told me that our band accompanied her for a long time and gave her an unforgettable period. And then, I realized that I should not easily deny my past, which is equivalent to ignoring the memories of our fans." Figaro tells me.
Since the end of 2018, Figaro has opportunities to act in Japan. "This is because we, Comic Boys used to publish albums in Japan. Also, our dramas were presented locally. Therefore, I had the chance to let the Japanese audience to know me. It is the accumulation of the past, without it, there is no possibility for now. When the inner is free, anything that happens will become a trivial matter. Because I am the only one who binds myself."
In the past, Figaro did not understand the logic and waste much time on insignificant problems. After realizing this truth, everything seems to be broader. In the past, he forced himself to found immediate results at work, and now he enjoys the process.
Let yourself be easier after the age of 30
When Figaro was young, he only focused on the current results and worried that he was not good enough, so he put a lot of meaningless burdens on himself. "I didn't get it before, but I felt everything was troublesome, and I couldn't figure out the answers. Once I was doing a character study, I chatted with Director Chiou Hau-Jou, he reminded me of the concept of a simple life. I suddenly realized that no matter what we try to figure out, it is more important to feel the moments around you and the present."
"Since I have been starting to ascend mountains and get closer to nature a few years ago, this behavior seems to have caused me a change. Nature has changed my attitude. There have been several times when I had accidents in the mountain areas and felt my life was in danger. It made me realize that my life is too short and there are still many things that I have not experienced. Especially when I stand at the mountain passes, I feel that we are tiny and the world is huge. Therefore, we should not stick to insignificant matters, because there will always be answers for everything. I feel very comfortable now, and I am looking forward to the new journal."
There are no curtains in his room because he wants to follow the operation of nature so that when it is dawn, he can feel the beginning of the day. "In addition to this reason, I also want to make my life easier. Because if one is often in a comfortable situation, it will reduce one's sensitivity to things. Therefore, I slowly begin to refine myself to improve my senses."
At this moment, he seems to be less cautious. Occasionally, when he replies to my questions, he shows elegant smiles. I think that Figaro is a poet. When he is not performing on the stage, he writes poems for himself.
Does an actor have his personality and emotions?
"An actor is a job that has to carry a lot of sensitive emotions; therefore it is especially easy to expand our sensations." His eyes are bright, and I can slowly feel his rich passions. When filming of "On Children", a TV series that represents the parenting and education issues happen in Taiwan, Figaro deliberately withdrew from all social media, and also reduced the chances of meeting friends. He expected to keep the concentrated emotions to achieve better performance.
"A few years ago, when I shot the Donghua Barbershop, I had a similar experience. Besides, to gain weight deliberately and shave a short hairstyle, I also spent a lot of time and energy preparing for the character. People often wonder how we manage our emotion from different roles in stories. I certainly have the feeling of emptiness when shooting comes to an end. I have been thinking and acting with a character for a few months and living with this unique personality every day. I sometimes have a feeling that I can't find myself, so it takes a little time to get away."
Every actor expects challenging scripts and different roles. "We can not plan when comes the next script and how it will develop. Besides, we need a lot of energy during performances; we rely on the body. Therefore, we must keep ourselves in the best condition. An actor must be able to achieve the character written by the scriptwriter." We may find it difficult to imagine to be ready at any time. The seeming effortless is actually maintained by strong willpower.
Figaro talks about the next drama that he will fly to Beijing to join a film in December 2018, right after our interview. It is an independent production film and leads by a young director. The story is about a detective gradually rediscovering himself from participating in a mountain accident investigation. Figaro has to keep his hair and beard longer to match the vicissitudes of life in this story.
"I am looking forward to this character that is different from my personality. I was thrilled when I got this script. Moreover, the team leader is a creative young director; also, the art director and photographer have an education background of the film academy. I am always excited to work with staff from different backgrounds because they see things from different angles."
(The interview was at the beginning of December 2018. After our interview, while I was composing the article, I have been reading Figaro's feed on his social media. He wore a messy hairstyle because of the script; however, his eyes looked particularly spirited and sparkling. I am also looking forward to the film.)
拍攝日語What is real短片時，劇中那個認真、執著甚至有點可愛的男主角Aton令人印象深刻。當少宗聊起這段拍攝過程時，依舊顯露出興奮的神情。有沒有哪些拍攝場景至今難忘呢？
「無時無刻都令人難忘，那是個很棒、很特別的經驗，卻同時帶給我很大的衝擊。在自己生長的環境拍片總是感到很自在，因為是自己熟悉的生活環境。不過拍攝What is real這部短片時，必須時時刻刻把感官放大。雖然在現場有翻譯陪同，不過翻譯只能轉達劇組在口語上的要求，我必須隨時保持專注的精神來感受現場的氛圍、導演的情緒以及工作人員之間溝通的細節。所以那時候給自己的壓力很大，不希望有些微的閃神而錯失關鍵時刻。」
「日本的團隊很重視自我要求的匠人精神，關注每個細小的環節。永田琴導演拍攝What is Real的時候，就連不同鏡頭間晃動時所呈現的韻律感都很講究。比如說，她希望可以更精準地傳達出主角在走路或是爬山時的氣質與模樣，甚至心情、姿態都可以透過不同的鏡頭來表現細膩的情感。同時，以不斷的排練希望每個演員在重複的過程中體會每個角色在劇情中發生的故事，並且激盪出新的靈感。這是我第一次完整感受到日本團隊的工作態度。」
The opportunity to develop in foreign countries and the experience to work with teams in different cultures.
His role in the film "What is real" was Anton, a young photographer. When we talk about the filming process, Figaro looks excited. Does he have any unforgettable scene during the shooting? I wonder.
"Every moment is unforgettable. It was a great and special experience, but it also gave me a big impact. I always feel comfortable when working in Taiwan, because I am familiar with the atmosphere. But when I shot the movie in Japan, I must always keep myself in a state of high alertness. There was a translator to assist me to communicate with the team. However, the translator could only convey the requirements from the crew; I had to concentrate on feeling the atmosphere of the scene, the mood of the director and the staff. It is not only about to understand a foreign language but to learn a different culture. At that time, I was under a lot of pressure. I did not want to miss any important moment."
Although Taiwan, the Mainland, and Japan are all Asian countries, the cultural backgrounds are different. Therefore, Figaro has learned both on thinking and practice among all. In the past few years, the work experience in different cities has also allowed Figaro to see the spirit and passion behind each culture.
"The Japanese team attaches great importance to the self-required spirit and pays attention to every detail. The director, 永田 琴 ながた こと even paid attention to the rhythm of all movements through using different lenses. For example, she expected that different lenses could accurately convey the quality and features of the characters while we were acting; even to reveal delicate emotions through different lenses. At the same time, through repeated rehearsal, she believed that we (actors) would know better each character in the story, even to gain new inspiration. That was the first time I have fully experienced the attitude of a Japanese team. "
Although there are job opportunities in different cities, most of the time Figaro has settled in Beijing. This newly developed but large city with old culture brings him unlimited influence and inspiration. "The staff of a team comes from different provinces across the Mainland. All cultures are quite diverse. It is interesting when everyone gets together and shares their experience. When I have the chance to hear different stories, I am inspired. Especially when everyone supports each other, you can feel the team is starting to gel."
Of course, Figaro especially enjoys working in Taiwan. Because he is familiar with the processes and systems, he feels particularly comfortable. The entertainment industry of Taiwan has made considerable progress in movies and TV series. "We also pay attention to stories that reflected the issues of life and society and slowly let the public notice it." He says.
When working in different cities, Figaro respects all the working style of each crew. "Everyone has a different system of arranging things. As an actor, I am just an executor. I only focus on my role." In particular, with an art and design background, Figaro knows that it is hard to work in the industry. Therefore, he cherishes each opportunity to perform and shares the results with the crew.
Plans for the future
An actor reveals the individual's self-growth by performing different roles. The production period often takes a long time; usually, an actor's life has reached the next step when the former work is shown to the public. Compared with the general public, actors need more time to achieve their goals. They must also have more patience to expect the results. It is often difficult to develop the growth of work in a short time.
"Later, I realized that things would happen at the most appropriate time. I used to be an impatient person, and I hoped that the work I had participated in could be presented in the shortest possible time. However, things and life have their own path which will happen at the most appropriate time. There are reasons and answers for it. It is like the story of the book, The Alchemist that I like very much. The boy just understood in the end, no matter where the treasure is, whether he has found the treasure, the point is the process, the experience and the world he saw along the way. As the adventure being a member of Comic Boys, it was definitely a precious experience for me."
Figaro believes that although he was full of courage when he was younger, he was too anxious to present himself before. Now he wants to attend more, see more, and explore more. He doesn't set any limit or rule. He would like to grow and develop slowly.
"Like the camel caravan walking in the desert in the story of The Alchemist. Although they have to circumvent all dangerous things and areas, in the end, they move forward to the oasis in the direction of the stars in the sky. Although there will be many possibilities in my life, I am looking forward to it; no matter it is my dreams or my self-expectations."
Q & A
Tea or coffee: coffee. (On the day of the interview, Figaro ordered an iced coffee.)
Chocolate or cake: sugar-free chocolate. ("If I eat sugar, it is easy for me to get a puffy face. Moreover, being an actor, I must keep my body shape in good condition, so I quit sugar. In the choice of chocolate or cake, I choose Chocolate, because there are sugar-free chocolates.")
Tokyo or Seoul: Tokyo. ("I don't stick to a certain city, but enjoy the atmosphere of staying in different cities. My childhood dream was to be nomadic. I didn't expect to have the opportunity to live and travel to different cities after growing up." After gaining a richer experience in traveling, is there a chance to publish another book to combine a photograph album and travel stories as the former one? "Yes, I hope I can share the travel experience and ideas of these years and publish another book soon." As a photographer, I am looking forward to the next book by Figaro. Through his poet's eyes, the world he represented will be interesting.)
Beach or mountain: mountain. ("I am terrified of the sea, I feel that fish are terrible. I had a snorkeling experience, but I felt that there were terrible animals under the sea." From his words, I feel that Figaro is cute.)
A Taiwanese actor you would to cooperate with: Wu Kang-Jen. ("We had cooperated before, but we did not play opposite. Because of his personal qualities and charm, I look forward to it if I would have an opportunity." Such a union should also make fans look forward to it.)
A Taiwanese actress you would like to cooperate with: Ke Shu-Qin. ("She is my tutor. She let me understood a lot of profound things in life. She is very cheerful and open-minded. Although I had played opposite with her, I was too young to experience the process. Now I am at another stage in my life; I hope that I can share the changes of these years with her through the role.")
I appreciate the act of Figaro at work; therefore I applied for an interview. Through his performances, I can feel his transformations in performing arts. However, when interviewing an "actor", I had some presupposed ideas before our meeting. For example, would he play a role and treat the interview as another performing?
He was initially a bit cautious. Later, when Figaro began to laugh and relax his body, I felt his sincerity. Especially when he answered my questions thoughtfully, I could see his initial intention to deal with things.
"I like to get along with people and chat with them. But I also enjoy to stay alone and travel alone." When the interview comes to an end, he tells me. I think he may still try to figure out a comfortable distance between people and himself, and find a comfort zone to stay alone. However, he also reveals his sincerity and doesn't act with any presumption.
Figaro, thank you for the interview opportunity; it not only opened my vision but I also profoundly realized that life needs time to develop. As we concentrate on moving toward the goal, the appearance how we move is no longer important. It is all about the spirit and the strength, and naturally, that potential will touch others.