Or The Courage to Bare Your Soul on Screen and Stage
The passing away of any talent in a creative industry diminishes that industry.
I was shocked when news of an actor’s death began to circulate amongst the social media platforms in my country. I thought it was a joke at first, one of those fake celebrity death pranks you find so prevalent on TikTok.
But it was not a joke.
It was real.
Timothy Nga passed away on Jan 9, 2023. He was only 49 years old.
I did not know Timothy personally. I was not one of his football buddies. But I had written for him. And I knew of his immense talent.
In my previous life as a screenwriting lecturer, Timothy had kindly agreed to participate in a short film for my students back in 2017. The 15-minute short film was titled Vengeance is Mine. It was a low budget thriller, written by a Malay female director, who had zero experience in directing let alone helming a tough genre project. It was not only a steep learning curve for her, but for the rest of her team as well. To be honest, I was surprised Timothy had agreed to take on the project. I used to discourage my students from hiring celebrity talents for their projects because I’ve heard of these actors throwing their weight around the set, basking in the glow of an ego trip, making diva demands of the poor beleaguered students, and delivering superficial performances because hey, it’s just a student film.
Timothy completely changed my impression of celebrity talents. He made me realize that I cannot and should not paint in a single brush stroke an entire category of talent. Or people, for that matter.
Back then, my students were in awe of him. They thought they had struck lottery getting such an experienced actor for their thriller short film. Tim was very generous as a professional. He listened to the student director. He committed to the role and braved…