What Matters To Me: Actor Dion Wiyoko On The Challenges He Faced Making His Way To The Top
The Indonesian actor Dion Wiyoko went from wedding planner to award-winning movie star. He talks to Gen.T about his circuitous route to the top
In the What Matters To Me series, a Generation T honouree describes what they do, why they do it, and why it matters
Dion Wiyoko started his career as a model before working as a TV actor and then breaking into films a decade ago. He has since become one of Indonesia’s most popular actors for his roles in films such as Serigala Terakhir (2009), Khalifah (2011) and Cek Toko Sebelah (2016).
Here, he discusses his early career struggles in his own words.
My career began in 2003 when I won a modelling competition, which gave me the opportunity to sign a contract with a talent agency that opened access to many auditions for TV commercials, films and soap operas. But overall these were years of struggle for me—winning a competition didn’t mean things became easier; in fact, that was only the beginning. I went from one audition to another only to be rejected or land small roles as a supporting actor or extra. That situation continued for around five years, although luckily I was still able to finance my education.
After this stagnant period, in 2008 I experienced a turning point in my life. I changed my mind and tried to start a career in another field, as a wedding and event organiser, although I actually worked as a liaison organiser, a lower ranking position in the event management industry. I swapped my dream to be an actor for a while because, at the time, my only focus was to work harder in order to survive, and I also wanted to learn from my supervisors. Then one day I met my current manager, Sulung Landung, at a talent scouting event at a shopping mall.
When I first met Sulung, he didn’t immediately offer me a place with his agency. First, he accepted me to work as a runner, which meant I had to be ready for many odd jobs. After three months of seeing my consistency, commitment and persistence, Sulung asked me to join his agency without an audition. Being under Sulung’s management led me to roles in many commercials and soap operas. Finally, in 2009 my dream came true: I landed a debut in my first full length film, Serigala Terakhir. The film turned out to be a mega hit and received several awards at prestigious film festivals, including Festival Film Indonesia. After that success, I got plenty of offers from movie producers and production companies, which made me who I am today.