Filming advice from JKFilms and Wong Fu Productions
Writer: Florey DM
(From top) Wong Fu Productions and Just Kidding Films.
Wong Fu Productions and Just Kidding Films were recently in Malaysia as part of the iM4U Reach Out 2015 lineup.
Teddy Chan and Philip Wang, minus Ted Fu this time around, are no strangers to Malaysia as Wong Fu Productions have made prior visits to the country.
Whereas for Just Kidding Films' Joe Jo, Bart Kwan and Geovanna Antoinette, this is their first visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The success these YouTube personalities have achieved on the video-sharing platform makes them a great inspiration for budding filmmakers out there. There is no place more perfect for your short films and videos to be noticed than on YouTube.
Cinema Online had the chance to talk the YouTube sensations and asked them the secrets to their success.
Cinema Online: Hi guys, we know this is not the first time for Wong Fu Productions to visit Malaysia, what about Just Kidding Films?
Geo: This is JKFilms' first time here.
Phil: We [Wong Fu Productions] came here the first time in 2012, and then we came here twice last year.
Wesley: This is our fourth time here. I actually want to check out East Malaysia. We went to Kuching for a habitat community but we didn't get a chance to see the beach or anything.
JKFilms, how do you find Malaysia so far?
Bart: It's very clean, I love it.
Geo: The people are very warm.
Joe: We just came in yesterday. Most of Malaysia that we know is the hotels, and the malls. We went to the mall, the one with all the fancy stuff. Malaysia's so rich [laughs].
Do you guys plan to do any filming here in Malaysia?
Bart: No, actually. But Joe does.
Joe: I'm blogging my life for my personal channel, because I have such a bad memory. Sometimes I forget where I went, and I wanted to keep this in my memories because it's my first time coming to Malaysia.
Wesley: Every time we come back here, we plan to film something but our schedule is quite packed. It might be pretty tough.
Phil: We should start with Jinnyboy. I think he has some plans for us to cameo or something.
Just Kidding Films' latest post "How to Sail: FAIL!"
What advice would you give to anyone who's just starting out on YouTube?
Bart: Keep uploading. The problem that a lot of YouTubers have is they don't stay consistent, so people forget about them. On YouTube, it's really important to stay relevant and upload on a weekly basis maybe sometimes even on a daily basis. That's very important.
Geo: I think a lot of people put so much focus on the equipment, "I need the perfect set. I need so many perfect elements". In reality, all you really need is an open mind. Be yourself.
Joe: I think the beauty of YouTube is innovation. That means being yourself, inventing something for yourself. We invented our own style of sketch comedy, same with our own style of news. There's nothing out there that exists of what we do. So a lot of kids, when they watch YouTube, they just want to be like someone else. I mean it's great to learn from them and be inspired by others, and slightly take their model and build upon that. But I see a lot of copycats, they don't make it because people can tell that you're just copying other people.
Geo: Be genuine, be yourself and innovate.
Wesley: I think the advice is don't worry about being successful first. Just worry about having a good time and learning as much as you can, even learning from your mistakes. Not everything is going to be good but that's the whole process. So don't worry about being popular or being successful. Just have a good time and teach yourself to be the best artist you can be.
Phil: If you're chasing that first then you're going to find more challenges because your expectations are at a certain place. Everything takes a lot of hard work. I think now with YouTube being, in a sense, mainstream, people will think "Oh, I need to have a million subscribers easy" or "I just need to make a couple of videos and that's it". But it takes a lot of work so you have to really enjoy what you're doing if you want to do this.
Wesley (left) and Phil at iM4U Reach Out 2015 (Photo source: lipstiq.com).
How do you guys come up with the ideas for your videos and films?
Bart: I think a lot of our ideas come out very organically. When we first created JKFilms, it was just me and Joe impersonating a lot of the different characters that we met in our personal life. We just started creating and telling stories through that. Then from there a lot of people were asking to see behind-the-scenes, so we created a second channel called Just Kidding Party to show that. And then at the parking lot after we eat – that's what we like to do when we hang out – we just talk and we would have this really funny conversation about news, celebrity gossips or just random topics. We decided to record it and that's how Just Kidding News was born. So we don't really put too much planning in the beginning. It's more of a very organic idea and then we plan the execution of how to launch it. But the idea itself, that's not very fabricated.
Joe: We're very green and organic.
Bart: Like a weed in the concrete, it just grows by itself. But then we just happen to water it and it destroys the whole concrete but it's a big bush there now.
Geo: What a positive thinking [laughs].
Wesley: For us, too, it's really random, sometimes it's as simple as something happening in the office. Maybe someone said one thing or made one joke, and most people would just laugh it off, but I think our first reflex is to think "Oh, could that be a short, a sketch?" Since we're tuned to think that way, a lot of things we talk about end up being things for our channel.
Phil: I think we see the world through a slightly different lens. And it's always in the context of "Oh, how could this be a story?" If you look like even at your own life maybe this past year, you can probably think of many stories. We just think about those emotions, those events and we try to expand on them. It's not that complicated for us, I guess.
Joe (left) and Bart at iM4U Reach Out 2015 (Photo source: lipstiq.com).
What's next for JKFilms and Wong Fu Productions?
Joe: We just opened up a new channel recently on Valentine's Day, called AskTheFeels. We basically talk about taboo topics of relationship, dating, love stuff. Deep, personal stuff that kids can't ask their parents about, or even their friends.
Geo: They might receive the wrong advice.
Bart: We're not saying we give the right advice but we provide some insight on our experiences.
Wesley: Our movie is something we've been working on for about a year now. It's almost ready to be shown. It's called "Everything Before Us", it's a drama. It's a movie format Wong Fu Productions piece. I think the fans will be happy with it, hopefully.
Phil: We're aiming to have it come out in the summer. It'll probably be online for people to rent or download. That's where a lot of our energies going toward right now.
Wesley: We also still have the YouTube channel that's still running full time, we don't have a regular release schedule. But check into that once in a while, I'm sure you'll find a short that's new.
Watch Wong Fu Productions' latest short film "Komorebi" below:
Cinema Online, 26 March 2015