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Jeremiah Su Weisheng, Director & Producer of Cinema Verite Pictures

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Jeremiah Su Weisheng

Jeremiah Su Weisheng is a visual storyteller. He tells stories through video productions in i=his creative agency, Cinema Verite Pictures.

What’s your story?
I started out with an interest in the media industry whilst studying Polytechnic. Initially I wanted to make it as a radio DJ, but after graduating, I realised I had a flair for video productions. After graduating, I went on to work in Mediacorp for a while, and left to become a freelancer, but realised that what I wanted most was a legacy and to build my own business, thus starting Cinema Verite Pictures in 2014. Now I call myself a visual storyteller. I don’t just make videos, I make stories through cinematic videography productions.

What excites you most about your industry?
The fact that every single video production is different to the next. One shoot I might be working with cats, the next I will be racing in fast cars. It’s so dynamic and organic and it always poses a new challenge for my team and I as we help our clients create and actualise their ideas and visions, into reality. The media landscape is also ever changing. Just 10 years ago, traditional media like newspaper, radio and TV, were obvious choices. Now social media and out of home advertising is changing the way we absorb content, but video always stays through to it’s cause; that is to bring visual content to the masses. With the advent of social media, it is disrupting traditional media and how it functions. As such, CVP has also moved with the times to focus more on social media videos. The platform may change, but video content will stay true and strong.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Asia and my boutique creative agency is based in Singapore. Asia has some of the most innovative and exciting commercials ever, most of which come out of Thailand. I think that Asia has so much potential in terms of creativity, productivity and development. Look at James Wan, a Malaysian who re-invented horror with his features like Insidious and Conjuring. Pretty amazing stuff coming out of Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
If I could only choose one city, I would say Bangkok. The stuff that they produce in terms of video content, is out of this world. The clients and production houses all push boundaries with their amazing video content. An age old brand or product like soy sauce or sanitary pads, can be shown through a 5 minute short film that will get you crying in the end and feeling emotions you never knew existed. All in the name of soy sauce! How do they even do it?! Also, I like Bangkok for the fact clients and agencies are willing to do away with conventions to put out video content that tells a story, instead of hard selling a product.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Make your business scalable. For a business to be successful, you should be on the business, and not in the business.” So true, many people decide to start their own business because they’ve had it with the daily grind of being an employee, but they don’t realise that when they start their own business, they become slaves to the business as well, which is no better than being an employee.

Who inspires you?
Dave Grohl from the rock band Foo Fighters. He once said, and I paraphrase, that if you want to achieve something, don’t give a f#%k about the naysayers and just go out and do it. If you don’t, you will and end up dying an old shrivelled bastard filled with regret. So just keep on keeping on, doing what you do and eventually you will get there and achieve what you set out to do.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I took part in a course that teaches individuals how to be a seller on Amazon and to build a thriving effective e-commerce business. All the jargon and technicalities blew me away because being in the media industry for more than a decade and then learning something that is totally different from what you do, is difficult. But I subscribe to the notion of lifelong learning, and I have to be ON my business, and not IN my business.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If time travel was possible, I would have gone back and started my agency earlier. I would have wanted to start my legacy in my early twenties, instead of wasting it away. I was driven and motivated back then, but I could have done so much more with my energies and youth, which possibly could have made me a millionaire by now. I mean, I’m short by maybe a few hundred thousand now, but still. With that said, I am happy that I went through what I went through to be where I am today, no complaints.

How do you unwind?
I go off-roading and camping in the forest, being one with nature. Sometimes we get too caught up with city life and all the technology that surrounds us, that we forget our humanity. As I am based in Singapore, I will usually do a roadtrip up to Malaysia and bash through forests and camp with a bunch of friends.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I’m torn between Boracay and Chiang Mai. These destinations serve very different purposes. Boracay is beautiful with it’s pristine beaches and sun kissed clear blue waters. Ideal for me when I want to be where the sun meets the sand and the sea. Chiang Mai is more of mountains and nature and waterfalls and rainforests. So these two places would be my vacation, go to.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Philosophy of Givers Gain by Dr. Ivan Misner. It basically teaches business people that in order to earn business, you first give business. Somewhat like paying it forward. Do unto others what you‘d like others to do unto you.

Shameless plug for your business:
Cinema Verite Pictures is a collective of creative minds that perpetuates the embodiment of visual storytelling. We are not just a boutique creative agency. We bring your ideas to life on the screen, both big and small. We take a production from infancy through planning, storyboarding, ideation, to actualisation through cinematic videography, all the way to deliverables of a video product that clients will be proud to call their own, even offering distribution platforms on Swerve Community, a digital platform operated by CVP that produces original content that entertains, educates, inspires and informs.

How can people connect with you?
Can drop us a friendly email at [email protected], or direct to me at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@thejeremiahsu

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Mikyung Kim, TV Commercial Producer

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Mikyung Kim is a savvy producer who runs her own TV and print production business, based in Hong Kong.

What’s your story?
I am a TV commercial and print producer working with advertising agencies and brands to bring their communication needs to the screen. My background is in film production and I started my career in Hollywood working with Oscar winning directors Michel Gondry and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Before starting my own company last year to produce content directly with agencies and brands, I was with Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong for nearly five years as the Senior Producer and Head of TV running the film production department.

What excites you most about your industry?
How it’s constantly evolving! Every day is different and it’s certainly never boring. I love that it’s a creative industry and that my job involves talking to people with creative minds on how we can bring a story on paper to life. It’s exciting that the advertising industry places high value on the creativity and effectiveness of content. I’ve produced a few commercials that creatively push the envelope with fun and sometimes wild ideas that have converted into positive brand awareness. Ever heard of KFC Finger Lickin’ Good…Nail Polish that yes, tastes like chicken? https://www.adweek.com/creativity/kfc-just-made-edible-finger-lickin-good-nail-polish-yeah-tastes-chicken-171245/

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Seoul and raised in Hong Kong until graduating from high school at HKIS. I spent my university years in Boston at Emerson College and worked in Los Angeles at Anonymous Content and Partizan Entertainment. But on a brief visit back to Hong Kong in 2010, I decided to move back and continue my career here, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is my home so it will always be my favourite city for business and for me personally. What I love about Hong Kong is that while I am based here, I can actually work with agencies and brands from anywhere in APAC. If I need to attend an important meeting, I can just hop on a quick flight easily. I spent most of 2017 working in Seoul with Korean agency Cheil and Samsung, and currently I am working with Japanese agency ADK and Toyota based in Singapore.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Fake it until you become it,” from Amy Cuddy’s TED talk. Worth a watch. This helped me early in my career when I felt like I was under qualified for the job I was in. I learned to fake my confidence and fake a powerful body language until I truly felt that confidence became something real. It was nerve wracking at first but it worked and now I don’t have to fake it.

Who inspires you?
My friends. Noelle who worked part time jobs while being a full time student to pay her own tuition while we were in college together. Osti who is a lawyer focused on supporting developing nations and a board member of Redress, an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Vanessa who runs a real estate company, co-owns the gym Crossfit Asphodel, started a health foods business called Quo and NGO The Keep Moving Project to promote wellness in our community. Cathy who will be the first Asian woman to direct a big budget superhero film starring Margot Robbie with Warner Bros and DC. And too many more to name!

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
5.2 million plastic bottles are thrown away in Hong Kong every day. Plastic pollution is a major issue for the environment and we as responsible citizens can do our small part by reducing our consumption of unnecessary plastic. I do mine by having a water filter at home and carrying my own reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. I love the brand Hydroflask because the stainless steel material keeps water hot or cold for hours, so I don’t feel tempted to buy a cold water at 7-11 on those hot, humid days we have here.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
About five years ago I purchased my very first stock and put one month’s salary into it, which at the time was a lot of money for me. Knowing how that stock has performed now, I would have put all my savings into it.

How do you unwind?
Exercise is essential in my daily life to help clear my head and de-stress. My go to is a workout at Crossfit Asphodel, running outdoors, yoga and hiking. But a glass of red wine and live music at Soiree in Soho on Sunday night works pretty well too!

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
One of the best trips I ever took was to the island of Lombok in Indonesia. Two girl friends and I did a 3 day 2 night hiking and camping trip to summit the Mount Rinjani Volcano. It was physically challenging but mentally relaxing. There was no cellphone reception, no distractions, we had the company of nature and nights with skies full of shooting stars. It was pretty magical. We then went to the Gili Islands for a few days of scuba diving, yoga and sitting on the beach doing nothing but sipping on coconuts. That was pretty relaxing too.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel and “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Essential reads for every working woman and/or man who wants to know how to support the working women in their life.

Shameless plug for your business:
I am a TV commercial and print producer that can plug into an existing advertising agency or brand team to produce their communication needs. Many advertising agencies these days are scaling down so they have creative directors and account services but may not have an in-house producer, so I can fill that gap by becoming a part of the existing agency team. For brands that want to produce content directly without involving an agency, I can also bridge the gap by bringing my production knowledge in-house and working as part of the marketing/brand team and liaising with the other departments in the company such as product team and ecomm.

How can people connect with you?
They can email me at [email protected]
or visit my website at mkimproducer.com

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Renée Ballard, Owner of Renée Ballard Communications

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Renée Ballard runs a social media agency working with business women, helping them find their business’s voice.

What’s your story?
I began my career in PR/communications ten years ago in Australia, after arriving home from two years in Dubai. In Dubai I was working for Emirates Airlines as a flight attendant and flying around the world non-stop for two years. This really sparked my interest for how people communicate. I started out as a community manager for an online advertising company, then moved into the corporate world of outdoor advertising, managing internal and external PR and communications. After having a baby four years ago, I decided to leave the safety net of corporate, and stride out on my own. I now run a social media agency and I specialise in working with business women, helping to find their business’ voice so they can use social media to achieve their business goals.

What excites you most about your industry?
I love the open accessibility online provides. It’s free for businesses to get online and connect with their target audience. Twenty years ago, advertising and PR was insanely expensive and quite elitist, but through incredible platforms like Facebook or Twitter, any business can connect with who is looking for their product/solution. Social media is particularly effective for small businesses because they have the edge when it comes to authenticity and a clear voice.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m in Hong Kong because I’m a trailing spouse. I know it’s such a daggy term, but I love it, it makes me sound so dedicated to my husband! Alas, we came to Hong Kong for my husband’s work. He’s the Design Director of Asia for an international retail design agency. We’ve been here for almost two years and it’s been a huge learning curve in terms of business and culture. We love the fast-paced nature of Hong Kong and the fact that everything is open late – it suits me perfectly because I’m nocturnal.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
That’s easy, Hong Kong. It’s the perfect blend of start-ups and mothership-sized institutions. I love the small business side, watching the collaborations between workshare spaces with galleries, networking groups and foodies; it’s a hothouse of creative partnerships here.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
When you’re are feeling scared about your next step, lean in and feel the difference. Is it fear mixed with excitement? Or fear mixed with dread? Always go with the former and cut loose the latter.

Who inspires you?
I love Tamara Mellon (Jimmy Choo founder). She has created multiple empires and she never stops trying new business models and pushing her limits. It helps that I love shoes too.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I just turned 40 years old. At best, I’m probably halfway through my life. It makes me constantly question, “Am I where I want to be?”

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have asked more questions to the people I looked up to, and listened less to the people telling me I won’t achieve my goals.

How do you unwind?
In this day and age, it’s scandalous to say, but I love sunbaking. At any chance, you’ll find me poolside, laying in the sun in a trance-like state.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Northern Danang in Vietnam. We were there at Christmas, at the foot of the mountains and it was beautiful. Heaps of wildlife and jungles and enough five star resorts that I was never parched once.

Everyone in business should read this book:
‘The E Myth’ by Michael Gerber. It’s an oldie but a goodie because it succinctly outlines how to transition from a one person operation to a global business like McDonalds. Once you see how important systems and processes are, you can recognise shambolic companies a mile off.

Shameless plug for your business:
Renée Ballard Communications is a social media agency that works with business women who are ready to make social media work for them. We create effective, powerful social media strategies that are tailored to the people who will be breathing life into them. We hand on heart promise to never use annoying, marketing buzzwords and that we value laughter above everything else.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected] or www.reneeballard.com or +85296670115

Twitter handle?
@ballard_comms

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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