Seeking out the stars

opinion June 16, 2013 00:00

By Budsarakham Sinlapalavan
The

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Artist manager and talent scout Charnchalard Dhaweesap talks about his knack for picking out new faces



Charnchalard Dhaweesap has long believed that the social networks could do away with reality shows when it comes to spotting talent. He should know: he first saw Jirayu  “James” Tangsrisuk on Facebook, introduced him to the entertainment world and today the young actor is one of the stars of Channel 3’s hit five-part series “Suparburut Juthathep”, which tracks the lives of royal descendants of the fictional Juthathep family.
Charnchalard, or Pik, as he’s known to family and friends, is the founder of Meta Talent Management, an artist academy that teaches his proteges how to act, sing and works as models. He also acts as James’ manager.
“My instincts tell me who has the potential to become an artist though obviously I cannot predict whether he or she will go on to fame and fortune,” Charnchalard says.
The 45-year-old, who started work as model more than 20 years ago, says he fell into the entertainment business quite by accident,
“I started as a model but after two weeks, the two partners in the company parted ways. I wasn’t actually offered a job with either of two new enterprises but I went ahead and asked for a job, working first as a photographer then moving into artist management. 
A few months later, after observing the models working with his employers move to other companies as soon as they became well-known, Charnchalard reasoned that it would make sense to open an artist management agency that would ensure the new stars remained on its books.
He took his idea to his boss but she turned him down, telling him that such as agency could never work in Thailand. 
Shortly afterwards, Charnchalard resigned and took a few months off to plan his next move. 
A year later, he was in business and had signed actors Niti “Job” Samutkojorn, Rawit “Pip” Terdwong and Don Theerathada to his stable.
He recalls Don gaving him a book titled “How to Manage Talent”. 
“It taught me that if you want to make someone into a star then you should start by finding his look-like from among the country’s superstars. A good place to search is among the runners up of stage contests.” 
He also travelled to the US and observed the entertainment industry at close hand. “I realised that an artist should have other capabilities than just acting.
“When you meet someone with the potential for stardom, you need to develop him or her to be a quality individual. Then come the castings and you push the actor to stand in the spotlight,” he says.
“Artist management is a good business to be in as it can generate big baht, though much depends on how big the company and how popular the stars,” he says.
Slightly more than 10 years ago, he decided he’d had enough and took up a job as an image consultant with AMTAR (Administration and Management of Thai Artist's Rights). He also signed up for a political science course at Ramkhamhaeng University.
“I chose to learn political science because I’m a curious by nature. I always have several questions about what I read in the newspapers,” he says.
One of his projects for AMTAR was to sell the idea of sinking decommissioned warships in the waters of Phuket to serve as an artificial coral reef. It was through this project that he met Vittayen Muttamara, who wanted to stand as a Democrat party candidate in the 2004 general election.
Charnchalard moved over to work with Vittayen’s team and even though the candidate didn’t win a seat, his name become known and the image consultant was hired by the Democrat’s media coordination team in 2008. He left in 2011 when the party lost the election and turned back to what he knew best – managing artists. 
After studying studied artist management plans from Hollywood and Asia, he drew up a business plan and started to recruit models though several channels. He posted a notice on Facebook, examined the photos on university websites and travelled around the country looking for talent.
After whittling down the “possibles” to 330, he chose 24 and brought them to Meta Talent Management to learn their trade.
The youngsters, aged between 14 and 22, learned to sing, act and model.
He is particularly grateful to Channel 3 contributor Kobsuk Charuchinda and Somrak Narong Wichai, the station’s acting managing director, saying that both have contributed enormously to his knowledge of the business.
“From them I learned that you can’t just judge or select a model by their appearance or personality. You have to listen to their voice as well. Some models may be bursting with personality but if they have a small voice, they’ll never make it big as an actor.
Charnchalard has great respect for the older generation artists who, he says, tended to be humble and keep their private lives under wraps. “Today everyone can follow what actors, singers and models are doing every minute of the day.
“That’s another reason why I think we could safely do away with reality shows,” he laughs.