As mentioned in our YouTube community post almost a week ago, we will be releasing a series of interviews over the span of the month to answer some of the questions that you might have for us! If you have any other questions to anyone of us, feel free to comment below! And as I will be writing the articles, I will start the ball rolling by answering a few questions and providing some things that I’ve learnt over the duration of working in NOC with you guys!
Who are you, and what is your role in NOC?
If my name plastered at the top of most articles on the website isn’t enough, I’m Cayden, a full-time writer and the social media manager for NOC. I do most of the copywriting and posts that you see on our Facebook, Patreon, YouTube, and of course, our website. I was also a producer for about 6 months.
How did you get into NOC, and what made you join NOC?
Funnily enough, prior to me joining NOC, I had always been interested in the media industry, and while I can’t say that I was an avid fan of NOC, I was a subscriber to NOC’s videos for a few years as I really liked how relatable NOC’s content was. But I have never thought that I would be part of NOC, even if it was only in the background. At that point in time, I felt that I really did not have the skills required.
So what happened was that I was looking for a job after withdrawing from a business partnership, and I saw that NOC was having a recruitment drive looking for crew members. This was in Nov 2017. When I first came across the poster, I was intrigued, because there were roles that I felt that I could fulfil even if I was far from up to par in terms of photography, cinematography, and editing.
I first saw this on my Instagram feed, but despite being intrigued, I dismissed it at first, thinking that, “Aiyah, sure got a lot of people apply one, I won’t have the chance.” But the next night, I was having difficulties sleeping at 4am, and decided to scroll through my Instagram, and the post appeared once again. Thinking that there’s nothing to lose with just trying, I got out of my bed and drafted a cover letter and attached my resume and sent it in to Ryan to apply for the Writer/Social Media Manager position. And surprisingly, I received a WhatsApp message from Ryan the next day afternoon for an interview, and the rest is history.
How was your first day at work, and did it change your impression of NOC?
Truth to be told, once the excitement of joining NOC wears off, I was facing a great deal of pressure. The reason being, while I’m good at writing and have experience with managing social media, I have never done so in an official capacity, and needless to say, I was totally foreign to what is a Producer’s role in all of this. During my first day, I was introduced to everyone on the team, and it happened that we had 2 shoots scheduled on that night itself. Eager to see what really goes on behind an NOC shoot, I stayed to observe the shoots, and one of it was the video on How To Write A Good Resume where my words made their first appearance in an NOC video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ue44KjsuJc). I remember the shoots ended past midnight, and that was my first day at work.
And it really left me with a newfound respect for everyone, from the team behind the scenes, to those performing in front of the camera. While those 2 shoots did not require any scripting or props, it leaves the talents having to improvise and react accordingly to each other’s lines. Especially the one done on the resumes, where the talents (Sylvia, Aiken, Dee Kosh) have not seen the resumes beforehand, and thus, were showing their genuine reactions and thoughts on the resumes. It also proves to be challenging for the cinematographers as the shoot was not scripted, hence they will have no idea who is going to speak, and had to react as fast as possible to focus on the right person at the right time. Being able to do this on the fly really requires a great amount of experience and familiarity with the equipment.
How was your experience as a Producer, and what made you stop being a Producer?
My experience as a Producer in NOC is both good and bad. But describing it in a mere simple sentence does it little justice. The Producer role in NOC is a very unique role as you’re required to be aware of what goes on in front of the camera as well as behind it. And your job does not stop during a non-shoot day. In my case, it happened that the previous Producer actually left NOC before I actually joined, so for the most part, I had to figure out things on my own. But I still have Ryan, Sylvia, Virus and Sikeen to thank during my learning phase to bring me up to scratch. What was really difficult for me during that point in time was me underestimating the expectations the others had of the Producer, and this showed in the quality of my work from the very beginning till the later phase. At the beginning, when told to prepare video concepts, I had the idea that a video concept will just be a brief summary of what the video is about. However, that was completely not the case. Other than providing a brief summary, the Producer is expected to come up with a few example scenes of the video, which is essentially writing out the script for scenes that may not even be used in the first place.
One of my first script was for a Facebook video which did not come to completion for various reasons. But we went for the shoot, and that was when I really had to pull my weight, by making sure that the scene was filming accordingly to the script, and whatever props were necessary were prepared. One of the most stressful experience I had as a Producer was during the Types of Classmates shoot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqVwFG-KwMw).
There were a number of factors that led to it being the most stressful experience for me.
- The sheer number of talents involved. We had about 20 talents involved in the shoot, and prior to it, we had to prepare school uniforms for everyone and get all their sizes. And of course, during the shoot itself, for certain reasons, we were lacking 1 or 2 sets of uniforms, and we had to get creative.
- The script was only done the afternoon when a few of us, including Ryan and Aiken, sat down and brainstormed out all the scenes. While we got the script ready in time for the shoot, there were very little reaction time for us to get the props, but we managed to do that, thankfully.
- Filming at a real school. During the course of filming, we were actually in a school during their operation hours. This meant that we had to be careful in order to not to cause any disturbances to the students during their lessons. Hence, I had to schedule the scenes such that we would avoid the canteen during their recess breaks, etc, and I really have to thank the teachers who worked closely with me regarding this.
Hence, you can imagine how relieved I was once the shoot was over. But the resulting reactions from you guys who watched the video made everything worth it.
As a Producer, other than making shoots happen, you’re essentially a middleman, liaising between clients and the company. And serving as a Producer of NOC, I was required to assure that I can meet clients’ expectations when they commission us for a video, without sacrificing the standards of NOC’s humour and quality that you guys are fond of. And I was terrible at this. At that point of time, different projects all gave me different kind of problems at the same time, and I decided to focus on my roles as a Writer & Social Media Manager. (Yes, I was juggling those roles at the same time while being a Producer).
What about being a Writer and Social Media Manager?
Being a writer is not as easy as it looks. Technical complexities aside, writing something and producing a video is similar in that everyone knows how to write/type and to operate a camera. But are you able to get people to read/watch the content you put out? But being able to write and engage the public is something that I really enjoy, so I do enjoy the difficulties as well as learning everything that come with it as well. This applies to social media as well, as this is where we can see your reactions to the content that we put out, and we really do enjoy more of you sharing our content in order to reach out to more out there who hasn’t heard of NOC.
What have you learnt in NOC after all this while?
It has been about 9 to 10 months since I’ve started working here, and I must say that I’m still far from done learning. Simply because we are in a media industry where trends and fads come and go, and we are really susceptible to technology advances. Hence, everyone of us must really strive to be better than who we were yesterday. Other than a few technical skills that I’ve somehow acquired in the course of supporting the technical team, I’ve learnt and am still learning to preempt changes and requirements, and be observant to current trends and pop culture in order to always remain relevant in terms of the content that we put out.
Well, we’ve come to the end of the 1st interview article. Stay tuned for the next interview article coming your way! Go watch our latest video below if you haven’t, and if you have, make the rest of Singapore watch it as well!