An Interview With Albert Halim: A Humble Heart Behind The Glamorous Spotlight

I’ve known Albert Halim (Abet) since 2011 if I’m not mistaken. I remember watching Catatan (Harian) Si Boy, laughed so hard every time his character appeared on the screen, and two weeks later I met him at church. Through a friend, I got introduced to him, and we immediately hangout the first day we met. He was very humble and didn’t act like a movie star, even until today now that he starred in even more movies, and remained as one of my good friends.

Most people would think that working in the showbiz industry would make someone a little bit unapproachable. Albert proved it wrong with his sincere heart and over-friendliness. Please enjoy his insightful stories over a delicious lunch at KLTR.

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TPOB20: Who is Albert Halim in your own eyes?
Abet: Albert Halim is a nerd who doesn’t know a thing about computer.. hahaa. He connects easily with people. Rice is essential in his life, and it’s also the same thing with fruits. I have to eat rice and fruits every day. He loves dark chocolate, because he believes those who taste a little bit too sweet in the beginning would end up DRAINING.. hahaha! So might as well have something that taste a bit bitter, yet offers a sweet ending.

TPOB20: Lol! Are you talking about a chocolate or a person now? Anyway, what makes you busy these days?
Abet: 
Aside of being an actor, I’m now currently busy being a digital marketer. Yes, I still have upcoming movie, but at the same time I’m also enjoying this new world of digital marketing.

TPOB20: How did you start this whole digital marketing stuff?
Abet: It started last year when I was hired as an influencer for a watch company in Jakarta. Met up with the owner and I couldn’t help but to give him some creative ideas for his digital campaign. He loved it, and decided to hire me to handle some of his brands. One thing leads to another, at this moment I’m now handling 6 brands already.

TPOB20: Wait, did you have any educational background in this field?
Abet: LOL.. no. I graduated as a bachelor of computer accounting, and I still don’t understand how to use Excel properly. But what matters is I graduated with good grades by God’s grace. Uhm and.. with the help of my friends I guess since it was a group project hahaha.

TPOB20: Now, let’s talk about your career in the showbiz industry. How did you get into acting?
Abet: I remember wanting to be an MTV VJ when I was still in high school. I was a fan of Sarah Sechan, and I thought it would be cool to appear in a tv show. However, there was no opportunity for me until my last year in college. At that moment, I have given up the dream and thought that probably entertainment world is not for me. I even have considered to be an accountant and work in a big four accounting company.

Until one day my friend told me to join a casting for tv commercial, and it took me only three or four auditions to star in a tv commercial. That’s how it all started. I began to build a network with some people from the showbiz world.

When I graduated, I told my family that I wanted to pursue acting. So I looked up for a great acting school. Got introduced to Sakti Aktor Studio, and taught by a great man, Bang Eka Sitorus for two years. And, by God’s grace, I landed my first movie, “7 Hati 7 Cinta 7 Wanita” along with big names like Marcella Zalianty, Jajang C Noer, Happy Salma and Olga Lydia.

The next month, I auditioned for Catatan (Harian) Si Boy, which was directed by Putrama Tuta and starred by Ario Bayu, Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro and Carissa Putri. Gratefully, I got a remarkable role named Herry, which turned out to be quite a milestone in my career path. From that moment on, I started to gain public recognition and got offered to host a tv show and starred in a sitcom.

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TPOB20: What was the initial reaction of your family when you told them that you wanted to pursue acting as your career?
Abet: Well, they were shocked of course. Because, none of my family members ever have a career in this industry. They seemed doubtful at first, but they were willing to let me try, because at that moment I was just graduated from college. So I got nothing to lose. I’m pretty sure that they would have pushed me to work in an accountant company if I failed in this path. Thank God, I did not…

TPOB20: What are your work values that brought you here?
Abet: 
Giving my best in every single thing that I do, no matter whether it’s a big client or not, whether it’s a big project or not. For example, it’s normal to shoot a movie until past midnight, or sometimes very early in the morning before the sun is out. You would feel sleepy and cranky, and probably tired, right? It’s understandable that most people might want to make it quick and just do whatever it is that the director told them to do. But not with me, I don’t care if it’s 4AM in the morning, I would argue and fight for my opinion if I think the script or the dialog doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s sad to see people compromise quality simply because they are tired. That’s why I’d never do that.

TPOB20: Have you ever felt bored doing this?
Abet: 
I’ve been doing this since I landed my first tv ads when I was 20. It’s been a decade now but I’ve never, for once, felt bored about this career path. Because I realize that to be where I am right now, it’s a matter of privilege. I’m not here to take this for granted just because I’ve played in several movies. I realize that a life like this, an opportunity like this doesn’t happen to everyone. So to feel bored about it would be ungrateful.

TPOB20: What’s the most challenging or interesting thing about being an actor?
Abet: Every actor, who understands the basic knowledge of acting, must do an in-depth psychological research about the role or character that they have to play. They need to have a comprehensive understanding on why the character think that way, react that way. It’s like being born into a new persona and trying to live with it before the shooting day.

TPOB20: So, what was the most challenging role for you?
Abet: When I took the role of Andrew Darwis (Founder of Kaskus) in “Sundul Gan: The Story of Kaskus”, which I co-starred with Dion Wiyoko, I had to spend hours talking with the real Andrew Darwis himself to catch his candid expressions and reactions. I had to learn about the way he speaks, what are the words that he uses in daily conversation.

TPOB20: Was it difficult for you to get out of the character once the movie is done?
Abet: It’s a challenge for every actor I guess. The famous Didi Petet once told me that it would be great if every actor started from zero when they are about to dive into a new character. That means they have to leave the old character behind. So you would look different in every movie, or every character you play. It was never easy for me because it would took about 2 – 3 months to really get into the character, it’s like building a new habit, a new lifestyle. Of course it would be hard to change it afterwards. But, when there’s a will, there is always a way. So, no excuse!

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TPOB20: What is your next big dream?
Abet: I used to dream of studying acting in USA. But now, that I’m in the digital marketing industry, I’m so keen to get a master degree in branding or marketing. It makes you look more credible somehow. So yeah I’ve been looking for some universities in US, and also preparing my saving, I even searched for scholarship. Wish me luck…

TPOB20: Who is your inspiration in life?
Abet: It’s my OO (aunt in Chinese). My mom passed away when I was still a little kid, my dad couldn’t support me financially so his oldest sister took me as her son. She’s truly one of a kind. Through her, I learned to constantly be grateful and inspired to work hard in life.

TPOB20: Lastly, what is the perks of beings 20 to you?
Abet: It’s definitely the most fun season to be in! I personally wish I could stay there forever. It’s the best moment where you don’t get tired easily, it’s the right time to pursue what you heart desire. If you’re in your 20 right now, please be more selective in listening to advices, don’t waste your time, you will never regret acting kind to everyone and anyone, and don’t forget to spend enough time with your family.

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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