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Impact 0224: For the love of filmmaking

Jasper Tan · 7 October 2021
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Jasper Tan, 30, is a filmmaker and music video director from Vadbibes. He began his filmmaking journey over nine years ago after completing his National Service. Jasper helps artists shoot music videos and makes an effort to respond to questions about filmmaking on social media to educate and inspire aspiring young filmmakers.

Dear Youth,

My name is Jasper. I am a 30-year-old  filmmaker and director from Vadbibes. I mainly focus on directing music videos for music artists and bands. I started doing this in late 2011 and have been making music videos for almost 10 years now. On top of that, I have also shot commercials for various brands and government agencies.

When I first started out, there wasn’t really a market for music videos or studio/tour diaries in Singapore. Essentially, studio/tour diaries are better known today as “vlogs” shot when bands are in the studio and giving updates on their music journey. At first, I did these mostly for free or for some money to get me through the day. Looking back, it was so tough because I had to work other jobs to fund this passion of mine.

It took me another five to six years to be able to support myself solely through making videos. I never imagined I would be able to do that full-time and make a living out of it! I am thankful to all the bands who gave me a chance and trusted my silly ideas. I’m also thankful that I was able to endure the first few years of pursuing my craft for very little payback – I used to do shoots that lasted close to 20 hours for just around $500! 

The music industry and its budgets have grown since then. I have also grown so much by not giving up when things get tough. I wouldn’t say that I’m super successful or anything, but just knowing that I didn’t succumb to the pressure of just getting a well-paying job is a form of success to me. Loving what I was doing made all the difference when I had to face the expectations of my parents and the harsh reality of not being able to go out and eat at cafes and restaurants or have beers and coffees with my friends.

I didn’t overcome the challenges by thinking about fame, recognition or making a lot of money one day. My goals were simply to improve on my skills as a filmmaker, and to be happy while learning and growing. To this day, I believe that money isn’t everything, and it’s better to focus on self-improvement and finding contentment.

I’m thankful when I meet like-minded people. The music industry in Singapore has definitely reached a new level today, and sometimes it amazes me! In the future, I hope I can start a company to help emerging artists and bands, as well as be a mentor to aspiring directors and filmmakers who want to make music videos. And as filmmakers always say, I hope to make more films!

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