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