After completing his first music video for singer-songwriter Jude Young in 2016, Jeremy Kieran Ng (CS’18) found himself hooked on producing such videos. “I realised that I really enjoyed what I was doing,” said the third-year undergraduate at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
“If you want to pursue something, just do it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes”
Jeremy Kieran Ng, Director of Telescope Pte Ltd
That first music video was for the song, “Waves of Tomorrow”, which has garnered 14,000 views on YouTube.
Ng recalled spending three weekends searching for a location in obscure places such as the Istana Woodneuk, one of the Johor Sultan’s two abandoned palaces in Singapore, and even found himself in a dumpster looking for props to use for the shoot. Despite having to balance both school work and filming outside, the 23-year-old said the thrill of the adventure propels him to continued producing videos.
Taking that leap of faith, Ng started a production house - Telescope Pte Ltd - alongside two other friends last August. Today, he is no longer a stranger to the film industry. Ng has since shot music videos for other well-known local artists such as Narelle Kheng of The Sam Willows and Hubert Ng
Currently on an internship at Sony Entertainment, Ng’s job scope has given him the chance to work alongside local artists like The Sam Willows and Tabitha Nauser. He is also responsible for promotional graphics and social media advertising for these artists.
“The younger me wouldn’t have expected this,” said Ng, who is also a recipient of the Nanyang Scholarship Award.
Embarking on his Journey
“I saw that many people in the filming industry were wearing many hats,” said Ng. “I decided that it w as important for us to start a company where specialisation is key.” By working with two other passionate friends, Ng felt that work was better divided and each person could perform a specific task, making the filmmaking process smooth and efficient.
Taking charge of the startup’s creative side, Ng oversees the shoots while working alongside his close friends, Cassandra Sim and Timothy Seet. Sim, a film graduate from the School of Art and Design Media, is currently a filmmaker, while Seet is an undergraduate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and is currently the Director of UNSAID, a student-led arts collective in Singapore.
As he continued producing videos, Ng began to connect gradually with other filmmakers in the industry, where he learned how collaborative the industry truly was.
Ng mentioned that filmmakers do not try to poach opportunities, but support each other as fellow creative producers instead. At times, they end up working together. “The guy that shot the music cover video for The Sam Willows actually came to help out with the lighting at my shoot for Narelle Kheng,” he said. “We, as music filmmakers, understand that music videos are more about the art than anything else.”
While there is a stong support system for music video production, the same cannot be said for corporate projects, where competition is still evident. Corporate videos are often shot to fulfil certain corporate objectives. As such, Ng finds the filming process for corporate and music videos to be different. Corporate videos require the filmmakers to shoot with the corporate objectives in mind – which often inhibits the creative direction a filmmaker may be inspired to take.
Overcoming the Struggles
Despite the difficulties of working for major corporate clients, Ng said that Telescope has to start with the corporate scene to build the company’s portfolio before they can delve into more creative videos.
Being in the film industry is certainly no easy feat. Filming equipment is especially expensive and clients do not pay enough for the creative work produced. “We hope that Telescope can produce its own original content one day,” Ng said. The company is currently working on an online cooking show that is targeted to air during the April to May period of this year.
Ng is grateful for his big break in 2015 when he had a chance encounter with Jude Young, while working on a project. Back then, Ng and his WKWSCI classmate, Nicole Ang (CS’18), introduced the Singapore Social Media Awards (SSMA). It was through SSMA that Ng got to know Young. “He asked me if I wanted to try create a music cover video for his song, and that’s where it all started,” Ng said. Young gave Ng the start in the film industry that he was looking for, and he has never looked back.
Drawing inspiration from other successful local filmmakers such as Boo Jun Feng, recipient of the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) award for Best Film at the Taipei Golden Horse.
Film Awards, Ng aspires to cultivate the ability Boo has in capturing emotions on camera. “If you want to pursue something, just do it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”