This Filmmaker Created A Platform To Book Celebrity Video Messages
Many know Low Ser En as an award-winning filmmaker. After all, she was there first The Singaporean will win a 2018 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) award for her animated short Poles Apart.
She has also produced local movies and TV shows like Zombiepura and Fried Rice Paradise, and coordinated visual effects (VFX) for Hollywood movies like Godzilla, The Exodus and The Muppets.
The 30-year-old Prestige 40 Under 40 winner has since channeled her storytelling skills to Sendjoy, a startup she founded just before the Breaker this year.
Explore new storytelling possibilities
In 2019, Ser En joined the Entrepreneur First accelerator when she “saw an opportunity in the democratization of knowledge and cinematographic tools”.
At the time of her university, she edited “video cassettes and 16mm film”. Today almost everyone she knows has smartphones capable of shooting high quality videos with complex video editing tools.
Thus, she wonders how she could combine her knowledge of cinema with the technology available today.
The Nanyang Technological University graduate shared that she had always been interested in technology, and Entrepreneur First gave her a platform to explore building a team around a technology product.
Cinematic making as an art form has always been the product of technologies that give us the ability to encapsulate moments in time. As a film producer, I want to explore the new possibilities of audiovisual storytelling that mobile video technologies offer us, such as those that before me have explored television as a medium.
Low Ser En, co-founder of Sendjoy
To explore the fusion of technology with storytelling, she founded Sendjoy with her co-founder Lim Liang Chun. The duo had met during their time at production company mm2 Entertainment.
“Sending” of joy during the breaker
Sendjoy is a platform where anyone can book personalized celebrity video messages to surprise their loved ones.
Two days after the idea was conceptualized, the circuit breaker was announced in Singapore.
Due to the circuit breaker, many were unable to visit family and friends, and Sendjoy seemed like the perfect fit for people to keep their spirits up.
Ser En mentioned that “as long as communication was careful”, the breaker measures succeeded in being a bigger business opportunity and opened up the possibility for them to “work with incredible talents from other parts of the world”.
One of Ser En’s biggest inspirations to start Sendjoy came when Liang Chun was unable to return to Kuala Lumpur to spend Mother’s Day with his mother.
Liang Chun had wanted a celebrity to tell his mother not to worry too much about him in Singapore, but was struggling to do so due to the unclear processes.
The team then wanted to create a more user-friendly experience for ordinary people to engage celebrities and talented people.
According to Liang Chun, Ser En started reaching out to all the agents and celebrities they knew. Those who accepted have been posted on the Sendjoy website, along with their profiles.
In an interview with Vulcan Post, Ser En shared that Sendjoy is all about creating video messages tailored to individual requests and “special and memorable.”
In our Asian society, we may find it embarrassing to say phrases like “I love you”, “I miss you”, “I am proud of you” to our friends and family. As such, we view our talents as missionaries who help people express what they want to say.
Low Ser En, co-founder of Sendjoy
To achieve these goals, the team invited a “diverse mix” of talent to join us.
Since the launch of the startup in mid-June, the number of talents on the platform has increased from 20 to 70.
The artists on the platform range from well-known names like Gurmit Singh and Nat Ho, to people with unique talents like illustrators, artists, designers and magicians.
There was also a steady 10 percent week-over-week growth in the number of videos booked.
The startup also joined Quest Ventures as a holding company in June.
A startup entirely built remotely via Zoom
According to Ser En, she was able to apply her business skills and knowledge from film production to her startup.
Although technical content presented her with a “steep learning curve”, she was able to adapt quickly “thanks to Google, books and many conversations with friends in the field”.
She thought Sendjoy had started off in a very “interesting” way, as it had been built completely remotely via Zoom.
However, the team’s initial idea was an employer-branded mobile video platform they had been working on for six months.
They noticed that everyone was talking about the impact of Covid-19 on their livelihoods and had to quickly pivot as they felt it was unlikely to gain ground in a Covid-19 world.
Without any clarity on how the markets would change, they returned to the drawing board and envisioned what would become Sendjoy.
“With Sendjoy, I want to use technology to help everyday people work with talented people, just like me, to create meaningful video content for the people they care about.” said Ser En.
Going forward, the team will invite even more talent on board, while improving the experience of customer requests.
This way, talents will be able to create better, more complete and more personal video messages for clients.
Featured Image Credit: Prestige Online and Sendjoy
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