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Impact 0116: Making movie magic moments

Axley Thien · 23 August 2021
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Axley Thien, 23, a mass communications professional by education and training, is the creative director of Whimsikal Media. His company focuses specifically on Visual Asset Production (Photos, Videos, EDMs etc). 

Growing up, he had a deep passion for cinema and film, spending hours watching “special feature” segments and behind-the-scenes of his favourite movies. He believes that one of the fundamental reasons why the human race exists is to pass information down to the next generation. He shares his creative and entrepreneurship journey.

Dear Youth,

Growing up, life wasn’t particularly easy. I grew up in a turbulent home environment with an abusive father who left the house when I was four years old, leaving my mother to raise me single-handedly.

Thankfully, I found interest in film, which I could escape to. I describe myself as a cinephile. I always tell people I loved watching movies because, essentially, the crux and plot of every movie that’s ever been made can be broken down into a basic structure: a protagonist has goals, the protagonist encounters an issue/challenge/hurdle/problem that he must overcome in order to achieve his goals, and ultimately the protagonist either accomplishes or fails to achieve said goal(s). That’s it.

And for two to three hours, I get to watch someone solve his problems on the big screen. For that length of time, I think to myself: if these protagonists can overcome world-ending threats, win over the love of their lives, save a young boy who is the key to humanity’s survival from an assassin-cyborg sent back in time to kill him, avenge their dead puppy, go through incredibly traumatic and life altering real-life situations and still come out on top, then surely my own issues can be dealt with too.

I discovered at an early age the power of media as a form of escapism. It has the ability to inspire, to galvanise people, to move, and to be a catalyst for change. Entire wars have been won on the backs of media and propaganda.

So, when I co-founded Whimsikal, I often described it as my “blank canvas”. It’s the opportunity for me to express and to experiment as well as to uplift the brands, business and my fellow co-workers. I hope that my passion for this industry will not only shine through the work that I produce, but also rub off on the people I work with.

I think we media people have been bestowed with the incredible power to create memories and shape the way society views any given topic or subject. The media that creatives produce can be a weapon used to divide or a force to unite and inspire, the onus is on us to decide what we want to with this enormous responsibility that lies in the palm of our hands. And thus I aim to also help my coworkers understand the gravitas and responsibility of said power.

But more than just the work I do for Whimsikal, I also derive great satisfaction from watching and helping people succeed in this industry. Over the last few years, I’ve had the wonderful privilege of helping many of my peers and schoolmates find their footing in this industry. 

The help I provide often revolves around helping them price their services — which is a very tricky thing when you’re starting out as a freelancer — to pitching to and managing clients.

I am very thankful and grateful to the many who have given me an opportunity and the grace to make mistakes and to learn from them. Those who have mentored me, guided me and taught me not only the necessary hard skills I need to function as a creative, but the soft skills I need as a manager. 

I’m truly blessed to be able to say that those who have mentored me have always done so with patience and grace, giving me the space to mess up and try again. With Whimsikal as well as in my personal life, I aim to do the same.

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