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Behind-the-scenes at TheJianHaoTan: What does it take to run a channel?

Here's a look inside the life behind Singapore's top Youtuber and his team.

2018/05/25

Countless sleepless nights, a little ball of fluff and a temporary contract — Kexin Tan, Marketing Executive at TheJianHaoTan Media Co, now known as Titan Digital Media, takes us on her glamorous journey in the media industry. Or, is it?

“ITS TEDIOUS.” she said. “There are so many things that go on behind the scenes. It all amounts to a large amount of hard work and sacrifice to do the work we do.”

Looking at JianHao’s channels, we see what she means. With new and original content uploaded every Sunday on their main channel, 3 videos posted per week on The In Central, and daily uploads on their gaming channel NotGoodGamers, the team is pressed for time having to script, shoot, and edit to meet their deadlines.

“Imagine having to do all that, and then trying to manage our clients’ expectations, fanbase, and channel — it’s really not easy.”

Concealer is Your New Best Friend

Working around the clock is no stranger to Kexin and the team.

“Be prepared to give up most of your free time in this industry.” she says. “Your schedule becomes very irregular. You could be shooting at midnight, eating lunch that was packed at 12pm while others are going to bed, and still end up sleeping at 5am to complete a proposal.”

“Many times, we actually had team meetings at 2am as well. It’s not a 9 to 5 job where you can stop thinking about work once you knock off. It’s a constant challenge to grow our channel and innovate with our content.”

This soldier-like discipline for work manifests itself in noticeably tangible results. After all, JianHao has 1.4 million subscribers on his main YouTube channel, with his latest video getting 5 million hits in less than 2 weeks.

“We strive for quality and consistency in our work, and always keep our standards at the highest possible to satisfy both our clients and fans. I’m personally super stressed by it!” Kexin laughs. With such a dedicated team, it’s no wonder that JianHao is the top YouTuber in Singapore.

A Luxurious Life?

A simple click on Instagram is all it takes to transport you into the world of flat-lays and beach vacations — simply #goals isn’t it? However, could it all just be a façade?

“I feel that there’s a negative stigma associated with the YouTube/Influencer community in Singapore.” says Kexin. “It’s a misconception that influencers live a luxurious lifestyle and get sponsors without seemingly working for it. I can understand why, as some influencers really do portray a very desirable lifestyle online.”

Explaining how the public tends to label everyone in the industry as an “influencer” (read: influenza), she hopes that people can cast away their doubts, and look for those who stand out as original and creative — not those who just fit the cookie-cutter mould.

“Most people think YouTubers are in it for the money or fame — that’s not true. Most of the time even passion isn’t enough for you to last in the industry. You’ve got to have the passion, drive, patience, and the right mindset.”

Patience - Lots of It!

The creative industry has much to offer — give Daedalus some feathers, and he’ll give you the wings for the sky. Reflecting on her experience with clients, Kexin reveals why patience is truly a virtue.

“It’s counter-productive and discouraging when clients make things rigid and try to tell us what to do. This limits our creative freedom. It’s perfectly fine to give us a concept to work around with, but there were instances where clients insisted on their product to be integrated into a specific script, specific angle, specific duration — there was no space for our own input.”

Elaborating on that, Kexin shares how some clients approached them with a concept that was totally off-the-record as well.

“We had a big F&B client approach us for a video where JianHao had to dress up as a chicken and do a “chicken dance” in public while promoting their latest product. This was completely off our direction and we had to turn it down despite them having a big budget and being a notable member in the industry.”

That was a significant lesson learnt: respecting your own work and having your audience in mind is of utmost importance as well, she said.

“Ultimately, we are the ones who known our audience best and this was just not worth the risk for us.”

The Ups and Downs

Kexin’s optimism about her future in this industry is evident when asked about why she chose this job.

“Being part of the media industry has always been my dream” she gushes.

“I was originally on a 3-month temporary contract as I was slated to attend university, but I could see myself going far in this career path in those 3 months and so I took the plunge to go full-time, never once looking back.”

Enthusiastically, she shared how the all-encompassing nature of her work made her love it even more. Of course, having a dog in the company’s premises doesn’t hurt as well.

Buncha is in my arms almost half the time! She’s literally my favourite in the office.” Kexin laughs, “But really, I love how fast paced everything is and the creative aspects involved in it — work is never mundane and you’ll be doing different things every day.”

With no signs of slowing down, Kexin looks set to conquer more milestones together with her team.

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JianHao publishes new content on his YouTube and Instagram regularly, do check him out!

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