Getting in The Zone

Joel Lim (CS’17) kickstarts The Zone, a YouTube entertainment talk show by millennials, for millennials.

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What now? What’s next? These were some of the questions Joel Lim (CS’17) had asked himself after graduating from Nanyang Technological University last August. Instead of jumping straight into a full-time job, Lim took some time to work on a personal project.

The outcome of that project will be unveiled later this month when Lim launches the first episode of The Zone, an entertainment talk show on YouTube. The 30-minute weekly talk show will discuss local and international works, ranging from music to movies and theatre.

With this talk show, Lim joins a growing group of alumni in Singapore’s entertainment industry that include actor Joanne Peh (CS’06), comedian Rishi Budhrani (CS’09), and Mandopop singer Tay Kewei (CS’06).


Generation Z

Hosted by final-year student Germaine Tan (CS’19), the pilot episode features social media personality Mongchin Yeoh, better known by her Instagram handle @mongabong, actor Alaric Tay, and actress-director Beatrice Chia-Richmond.

“(The Zone) is a show made by millennials, for millennials,” Lim explained.

The concept of the talk show was inspired by online lifestyle website Zyrup, a student collaborative Lim started in 2016 with a group of students from the School of Art, Design and Media, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

Bound by their common interest in popular culture, they started Zyrup to cover stories on Spotify-generation music artistes, YouTube-generation actors, and content creators on Instagram.

“We wanted to collaborate between the three different faculties, and have everyone tap on each other’s skills and strengths to create work that can go out there to the public, and works that we can add to our portfolio and be proud of,” said Lim.

Initiated by Zyrup, The Zone aims to create a Singapore equivalent of American entertainment talk shows like The Ellen Show or the The Late Late Show with James Corden, said Lim.

“The ultimate goal is to cross-pollinate audiences and have more people be exposed to works or content that they would otherwise not come across.”


He recognised the lack of discussion about local works and was inspired by the success of these shows to start something similar in Singapore.

“They (local creators) are constantly producing work, and I would love to hear what they have to say about them,” he said.

The opportunity to start The Zone came when digital media company Blue3Asia, headed by founder of Mediacorp Raintree Pictures Daniel Yun, heard about Lim’s idea and offered to collaborate with Zyrup to produce The Zone.

“It made sense for us to come together to work on the project,” said Lim, adding that Blue3Asia focuses on creating online content for the younger generation.

Taking references from celebrities such as Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj, Lim hopes that The Zone will be a platform for young people to get together and discuss all things entertainment.


No Easy Feat

Filming The Zone was no easy feat for Lim as it was his first time stepping up as producer.

Describing the shoot as a “hectic mess,” a year-long preparation was required to put the show together, from finding the right guests to preparing the relevant questions, said Lim.

“There were bound to be hiccups, as with everything that you dive into for the first time,” he added.

Deciding on the theme and tone of the show was the biggest challenge – the team had to rework multiple times before “getting things right,” he added.

“It’s a learning process for everyone involved and even though it is very tiring, I believe everyone came out of the process more confident of the programme,” said Lim.


More To Come

Even though Lim is tight-lipped about the A-listers he will be inviting to the show, he teases that viewers can expect guests from different sectors of the entertainment industry.

He noted that the entertainment industry in Singapore is segmented and viewers only subscribe to the specific type of content they enjoy. Lim hopes The Zone can help neutralise this segmentation.

“The ultimate goal is to cross-pollinate audiences and have more people be exposed to works or content that they would otherwise not come across,” he said.