We speak to a graphic designer-turned-cinematographer and take a glimpse of the world through his travelling lenses.
Prior to Jeremy’s first professional video shoot, he was still tirelessly learning off YouTube because he had zero experience in filming. Nobody would have guessed that three years later, he’d co-own a production company, Telescope Studios, and be filming around the world.
Behind the scenes of Laneige Wild at Heart, where Jeremy served as a cinematographer.
Why were you approached to film a video in the first place?
All I ever did was graphic design, but I’ve always been labelled as the “creative guy” among my friends. So whenever there’s media-related projects, I would be the first person they’d look for.
Wait, you were just a graphic designer?
Yea! Actually when I was a kid, my aspiration was to shoot a movie and I’ve always been interested in film. But I’ve never pursued it professionally. Instead, I’ve been doing graphic design since 18 years old, and even in school I was doing posters and stuff as part of my CCA.
Did you pursue graphic design professionally?
I did! After my National Service, I joined a web design company before university. But shortly after, I was approached by an acquaintance to shoot a music video for a local singer-songwriter.
Jeremy shooting on the set of My Alien Girlfriend as Director of Photography.
That sounds like a daunting task!
It is, and I remember being extremely hard on myself. I didn’t want my first production work to be amateur, so I was learning about cinematography on YouTube relentlessly. I was very excited at the opportunity, but my pressure on myself also pushed me on.
Looking back, how would you rate your first work?
I cringe everytime I look at it. It wasn’t amateurish per se, but now that I’ve gained more experience, I feel that I could have some things better for my older works. Even so, I’m still impressed by how I pulled it off that back then.
Did that inspire you to start a production company?
Not immediately, but I freelanced for a bit during my university days. It was then a classmate and I connected our passion for film and we knew we wanted to do something film-related for our careers. We then started off as a team.
Jeremy shooting in Taiwan during a holiday trip.
Was it difficult to juggle work and school?
I had to delay my university graduation because we were busy building our company brand. We also managed to secure Bacardi as our first client, so we knew things were getting real.
Did you also have to travel overseas for shoots?
Yea! So far we’ve shot in Stockholm, Milan, Rome, Seoul, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.
Do you remember your first overseas shoot?
My first overseas shoot was for Puma in Kuala Lumpur. I remember driving with a car load of equipments filled to the brim, and was fined by the Malaysian customs under the pretext that I was trying to evade tax by selling these equipment in Malaysia.
Behind the scenes of My Alien Girlfriend, where Jeremy served as Director of Photography.
Right? And back then, it was difficult for us to file company claims because when using credit cards, we don’t always have the currency in SGD. Plus, if I were to file late claims, it was nearly impossible because the receipts would have faded and I wouldn’t even know the exchange rate for that particular day. Sometimes when DCC was utilised, the conversion fee receipt and main transaction receipt would be two separate copies. It was a financial headache.
Did you manage to solve those issues?
Only most recently when I’ve gotten the YouTrip card, all those problems weren’t problems anymore. I could track every overseas and local expense easily with the app. I didn’t have to always rely on cash during my overseas trips too.
Did you only use YouTrip for your travels?
I also use it for overseas purchases, because most filming equipment are quite hard to find in Singapore. I rely on sites like Amazon to get my equipments.
Behind the scenes of a studio commercial, where Jeremy served as Director of Photography.
I hope you managed to save some money!
Definitely, because the purchase would easily come up to a 5-figure sum, so can you imagine the fees if I were to pay with my credit card? Five to seven percent of that is no joke, man!
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Read: How to Avoid DCC in 2019
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