Sun, 06 Jul 2003

What are the qualities that make the ideal VJ?

Leo S. Wahyudi, Contributor, Jakarta

There is a lot of prestige about being a VJ. Hey, who wouldn't want all their relatives, friends and the people who gave them the brush off in high school to watch them on TV day in and day out.

But not so fast: What if being a VJ meant being clumped in a group of people who were known for being pretty dudes who were duds when it came to knowledge about the music they were introducing?

We asked some Jakarta teens to tell us what they think.

Dita, 16, student of a private senior high school

Being a VJ is a good way to learn about speaking better and creativity. I guess VJs like Daniel, for instance, have the potential and they are also good looking.

The ideal, I guess, is someone who is good looking but also competent.

Those two factors should be balanced even though physical attractiveness is not the ultimate criteria. The most important thing is they can grab the public's attention, and then fame will come along with it.

Not everyone can do that. So, those who have the chance to be VJs should do it to the best of their ability. Thus, being a VJ still has the potential to promote the image of Indonesia, like the former VJs did.

Boni, 15, student of a private senior high school

I think the recent VJs on MTV are good. The former VJs, in a way, were just going on their looks. It looks like it's more selective today. I mean, there is criteria to measure how bright they are so they come off as smart on screen. I reckon that the VJs are smarter and better now, closer to the ideal.

There are two prominent VJs, Shanti and Ari, who could go international. They in many ways represent the best of Indonesian VJs.

However, being a VJ is not a permanent occupation. Most VJs use the opportunity as a stepping stone to another job. Shanti used her status as a VJ to go into a singing career.

I would not consider being a VJ to be the ultimate career goal.

Doni, 16, student of a state-run senior high school

I think being a VJ is similar to being a TV presenter. But it's a bit more prestigious to be a VJ because you reach a larger audience.

And the other thing is that most people want that prestigious image, despite the fact that TV presenters are actually far smarter.

Frankly, I'm struck by the fact that some of the VJs seem a bit stupid. Their English competence is really not up to requirements; they would do better hosting Salam Dangdut (a show featuring local music).

They still have a long way to go global. I admire some Malaysian VJs' excellent English. Being a VJ could be a real profession to pursue, but it's a finite thing, like being a model. Reach a certain age, and you have to look for a new job.

In my opinion, to be a good VJ takes a lot of experience. And if they quit being a VJ, they could always go into being a producer.

Dewi Purnama Sari, 20, the first year student of private college The competition to become a VJ is getting tighter with higher prerequisites. I don't think it's all about charm today -- you also have to have brains.

I'm sure that MTV, with its reputation, has set tight criteria to select the most appropriate VJ, regardless of the fun that goes into the selection.

Unfortunately, their command of English is somewhat clumsy. Well, it's OK for the domestic market, they're not so bad then. But, when compared to the international scale of VJs, the ones here are still far behind.

Their knowledge of music and the way they deliver the programs seems to be inadequate to reach international standards.

However, it does not mean it is impossible to compete ... There are many talented youngsters here.

Kikie, 19, first year student of a private university

I'm afraid I haven't watched the latest selected VJ, but I'm pretty sure just looking look will not be enough to do well.

I am sometimes impressed with their broader knowledge when they are on TV. But, on the other hand, I'm skeptical. I wonder if their knowledge is only due to the script before them.

Being a VJ draws people, even though it's short-lived, but you have to have the background for the job.

Anyway, I admire former VJ Sarah Sechan, who had the whole package: brains, charisma and good looks.

Denny, 18, recently graduated from a private senior high school

Being a VJ would be challenging. I'm sure it's not that easy to be a VJ, let alone to pass the tight selection process. Well, I guess the tighter the selection process, the more young people take the challenge.

However, I think that shortlisted candidates should be the best qualified, and that intelligence should be prioritized over physical appearance.

I wish I could be like them. But I have to catch up a lot of knowledge and smarts. I know that it's not enough just to be good looking, right?