Who says you can’t make videos in Penang?


At a time when most look to KL or Singapore to produce their videos, there are some in Penang who think different. RisingOneMedia certainly is one.

Entering the premises of local production house RisingOneMedia, I half-expected high-tech cameras lying scattered on the floor and an important creative discussion going on. Instead, I found myself in a cosy office, with co-founder Venus Khor typing on her laptop. “Hang on,” she says, looking up with a smile. “Just give me one minute to send off this email.”

Venus Khor.

RisingOneMedia has made a few splashes in the media industry recently despite being the new kid on the block. Its team, complete with directors, scriptwriters, cinematographers and a post-production crew, handles all sorts of projects – from single camera interviews to multi-camera commercial and corporate shoots. Its impressive list of clients includes the National University of Singapore, Yahoo, United Overseas Bank and HSBC. Since last year, RisingOneMedia has been the official video producer for the George Town Festival.

And one of the talents behind it is Khor. She is from Penang, and she has big plans for the local creative industry. She recently participated in this year's TEDxWeldQuay, and we had a short chat about her vision.

When did you realise that advertising and branding was what you wanted to do?
During college, back in 2004 – I was doing Mass Communication in KDU – my advertising lecturer brought in Yasmin Ahmad’s works one day, and that was how it started. I found that what she did was really inspiring and meaningful, and thought, “Well, advertising is not just about selling things.” For me, creativity means piecing different things together and creating a whole new meaning. So when I finished my diploma, I decided to major in advertising. After that, I went on to do my masters in advertising too.

After I came back to Penang, I met my partner, Paul. He said, “Why don’t you come with me and we’ll set up a company?” And so, we started RisingOneMedia in 2012.

What sets RisingOneMedia apart from other media agencies?
I think what makes us different is we don’t see ourselves as just a local company; we try to bring in a global perspective and always keep ourselves up to date on current events, know what other people are doing on the other side of the world.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I used to be very hands on, but now I have a team, so it’s more of giving direction and managing projects. Normally I’d deal with the clients, find out their needs, direction and etc. I’d brief the team, have a brainstorming session, and go back and pitch to the clients. Then we go into production and post-production.

In the beginning, we took in all kinds of clients because we needed the money to survive, but now, we get to be a little bit more selective in terms of the companies and brands that we want to help. We prefer to work with humanitarian organisations.

Do you get a lot of clients from humanitarian organisations?
We mostly get corporate clients, but we give priority to campaigns related to Corporate Social Responsibility. We Yap Jo-Yee is currently pursuing a degree in Economics at University College London. help ArtsED and also the Family Health Development Association. We try to find time to do this sort of work.

What plans does RisingOneMedia have for the future?
We are collaborating with a public-listed film company from China called Black Diamond Media Group to form an international division here in Penang. We have been training directors for four semesters in personal brand development and roadshow presentation skills.

The courses were previously held in China, and there was one in KL last year. But I decided to bring it to Penang. We need to have more people with this skill set if we are to create more opportunities in Penang.

How has the reception been for the course?
It has been very well-received. We have students from China who come to learn more about Penang. They love the creative energy here, I believe. There are a few Malaysians too, but they are not the majority because we have just officially launched this project locally in August.

And what is it that you want to achieve?
What I aspire to do is to create not just any video, but more meaningful content for society.

And what I’m hoping to do in Penang is to make more opportunities for the creative industry. We have a lot of talented Penangites, and we want to prove that you don’t have to go to KL or Singapore for good video production. You can have it right here in Penang. We feel proud to stay on in Penang when everyone else is saying, “Why are you doing this here? There are no market opportunities!” Everyone keeps telling us this, even today, but I believe it’s not true.

Yap Jo-Yee is currently pursuing a degree in Economics at University College London.

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