Unfold the future: Jack Neo
Talking all things tech with Singapore’s
most commercially successful filmmaker.
I am a creative person and I like creative work so during this pandemic period, I sat down and thought about what I should do to attract people. I started live streaming, and based on my past experience, I know variety shows are within my capability so I also started the e-getai and a lot of entertainment items that we streamed online. Inspiration comes very naturally to me. I watch, I read, I like to think, I like to teach. Sometimes when I teach, I also learn.
I enjoy technology because I think technology changes life. I follow military technology; a lot of technology is invented for military use then it’s passed down (for commercial use). It’s quite hard to predict what’s going to happen; what kind of technology is going to come out and change your life. Now, you already see unmanned vehicles. Things we’ve seen in science fiction movies are now real. Many things are going to become real.
The new media is crazy; nobody was prepared 10 years ago when people were still thinking in old, traditional ways where big media groups control everything. And if you wanted to become a popular artiste, you had to depend on a TV station. With new media, one person controls everything. This is the big change. Now, with live streaming, you see a lot of key opinion leaders (KOLs) emerge and a one-man show can do everything.
We are waiting for 5G. When 5G comes, I think the entire world will shift. People think 4G is not bad, but I think 4G is still not good but we have no choice. 5G will change the way we do things, especially when it comes to live streaming. We will be able to do much more. For example, when we do interviews via live streaming now, there’s a lag. Or, if we play music on one end and the other side sings, it doesn’t work because there’s a lag. I’ve heard with 5G there is no lag. That is the difference.
I have to adapt lah, no choice. But I think I’m quite fast. I will not say I’m 100% compatible with young people but I learn what is good enough for me to be in this industry.
I don’t think so. It would never. Pandemic aside, when we cannot go here and there to film, the end product is still critical. Take movies, for example. Movies used to be played in cinemas but because of the pandemic, a lot of people now think that watching movies at home is quite comfortable. This is a very big change. But if you say cinema will be obsolete, no. The cinema will still be there, depending on how the cinema can improve [its offerings] and come up with new experiences to attract people back into the cinema. The change we have to accept is that there will be two platforms: One is the cinema, and one is at home on the computer.
There will definitely be a move to digital but cinemas will remain. For me, I don’t really like watching [movies] at home; I still prefer [going to the] cinema, not because I’m a film director but for the experience of watching together [with friends and family].
War. What I want to see is a movie, a complete full production, of a Singapore war story of how we fought the Japanese during the Japanese occupation. Not many people understand what happened during that war.
To go overseas. There are a few good directors like Anthony Chen who are already moving out and representing Singapore, and I’m very happy to see this. But if you want to make this industry sustainable, besides art house films, you also need commercial films. You have to have different kinds of directors, and it’s important to have directors who can make sure the film makes money, then it can be considered a mature industry. We are not a mature industry.
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Jamie Nonis is an independent journalist with two decades of experience interviewing esteemed artistes, world-class athletes and influential captains of industry including Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and Singapore President Mdm Halimah Yacob. Jamie’s work has been published in Channel NewsAsia Luxury and Tatler Singapore amongst other top-tier luxury lifestyle publications. Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn.
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