Photo: Nikki Davis-Jones
Photo: Nikki Davis-Jones
MTC Recommendations

MTC Recommendations with Carmen Lai

We’re sharing a few more recommendations from MTC team members. This week, Casting Administrator Carmen Lai dishes out a smorgasbord of things she has devoured lately.

As the Casting Administrator, Carmen Lai works closely with the Casting Director, Janine Snape to ensure the smooth running of the Casting Office. In addition to providing administrative support, she is also responsible for preparing contracts for actors and creatives, and managing the process for general auditions.

While stuck safe at home, I’ve been feasting my eyes on all the stuff I’ve been meaning to read and watch for the longest time. Here are some ideas for a visual feast from AM to PM. Enjoy.


I’ve been revelling in books I read as a child – such as Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and books by Roald Dahl – to kick-start my day. Whisk together 1 slice of childhood memory, ¼ teaspoon charm, ¼ cup new perspectives, ½ tablespoon nourishment and a pinch of nostalgia: it’s almost as good as my father’s French Toast.


Social media is like snacking: everyone has a different relationship with it. Personally, I try to limit the amount I consume so it fills me up without weighing me down. I love using Instagram to view art and discover artists around the world. It’s a great source of inspiration.

There are so many incredibly talented artists out there including Andrea Wan, Aretha Brown, Emma Larsson, Henn Kim, Kezia Gabriella, Lauren Tsai, Lindsay Stripling, Loveis Wise, Mark Conlan, Marc Martin, Ori Toor, Qimmyshimmy, Stacey Rozich and Woo Yiping just to name a few.


When lunchtime rolls around, I start looking for something substantial and luscious, like a good animated series or movie. Here’s some of my favourites on Netflix:

  • Take your sweet time: All of Studio Ghibli’s films


For an afternoon pick-me-up, I enjoy bite-sized content that resonates quickly, such as:

  • Honor Eastly and Graham Panther’s The Big Feels Club. For those with the big, gooey and scary feelings. Reading their fortnightly newsletter is like receiving a warm, reassuring hug.
  • Liminal, founded by Leah Jing McIntosh. Features inspiring and insightful interviews with Asian-Australian artists from the world of poetry, literature, painting and much more.
  • Mark Manson’s Mindf*ck Monday. Every week, Mark Manson presents three fascinating ideas that could potentially make us each less horrible human beings.


I crave something comforting, satisfying and with just the right amount of heart at the end of a long day. These Netflix shows are elevated comfort food to me:

  • Ugly Delicious: a globetrotting culinary documentary series hosted by chef David Chang. Each episode uses a specific dish as a jumping-off point for a larger discussion about the world.
  • Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast. A Korean reality show that revolves around K-pop icon and animal activist Lee Hyori and her musician husband, Lee Sang-soon as they host guests in their home on stunning Jeju Island. This is just about the most laid-back and wholesome reality show there is.


One thing I try to do before bed is free writing in my journal for a few minutes. There are days when I don’t feel inspired to write anything so I’ll make a mood board instead. In a way, it speaks louder than words.

“But what is more to the point is my belief that the habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.” – Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary

Published on 9 June 2020

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