Last updated: 13 March 2023
Published on: 03 November 2021
6 MINS READ
By Izo Lopez
In the past decade, Singapore has quickly become a hub for multinational media companies looking to gain a foothold in the region. With roughly 240,300 infocomm media professionals in the country as of 2020 and programmes from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) that spur further growth in the sector, exploring careers in Singapore’s thriving media sector has never been more exciting.
This boom is made even more exciting with the entrance of global media giant WarnerMedia and their new regional headquarters in Singapore. By partnering with IMDA through their Story Lab Apprenticeship (SLA) programme, WarnerMedia is poised to add colour to Singapore’s media industry. With a deep pool of resources and global expertise, both WarnerMedia and IMDA are already training aspiring young media professionals and developing existing local talent.
For the digital natives who voraciously consume online content and seek to create impact through their own ideas and creativity, WarnerMedia’s commitment to developing talent is great news. Read on to find out more about WarnerMedia’s new regional headquarters and the talented media professionals taking part in IMDA’s SLA.
Creating opportunities for local talent
WarnerMedia’s headquarters in Singapore officially opened on 24 September 2021, bringing with it the HBO, Warner Bros., DC and Turner brands – including Warner TV, CNN and Cartoon Network – as well as the future launch of the much-anticipated HBO Max service in the region.
While the media giant has had a local presence in Singapore for over three decades, the new headquarters brings together the different aspects of WarnerMedia’s business under one locally designed roof. With a wealth of international experience to draw from, WarnerMedia welcomes media professionals who dream of working in a multinational media company or aspire to be part of the on-demand content industry.
“Here in Singapore, we have long supported a sizable ecosystem for the entertainment, broadcast, production and licensing industries. From our new Singapore hub, we will continue with our ambitious plans for the region while housing all our business under one roof.”
Mr Clement Schwebig
Managing Director of WarnerMedia for India, Southeast Asia and Korea
From its new two-floor headquarters at Solaris hub, WarnerMedia is now an integrated business that encompasses multiple verticals including theatrical and TV distribution, content production of movies, drama series, documentaries and animation, streaming and linear TV networks, games, licensing and consumer products as well as advertising and marketing.
For Mr Shawn Tok, a Production Assistant who has just completed his WarnerMedia apprenticeship through the IMDA SLA programme, working for such an iconic network was a dream come true. Having been a performer and actor since the age of 13, Shawn was exposed to the world of entertainment at a young age and dreamt of being a part of the creative process of Hollywood-level productions.
Behind the camera, Mr Tok worked on several HBO projects—from script to final edits. “I enjoyed every single day of work,” enthused Mr Tok.
“Under the IMDA apprenticeship, I got to witness television production on a Hollywood scale and meet producers and directors from Hollywood—even the television writers of Game of Thrones.”
While COVID-19 forced the company to pause production on some projects, the can-do spirit of Mr Tok and his colleagues allowed them to find ways to safely restart. “At first, it was demoralising to see production being halted,” explained Mr Tok. “We had to find ways to continue production and ensure that it’s safe to be on set with COVID-19 measures.”
Despite such challenges, Mr Tok’s love for film and TV keeps his eyes on the prize: to one day be the showrunner of an entire production. As he continues to work towards his goal, the apprenticeship was a golden opportunity to learn from some of the best creative talent in Asia and the world.
Storytelling with the best
Over in the writers’ room, Mr Gabriel Goh, a development executive at WarnerMedia, is also a part of IMDA’s SLA. Like Mr Tok, his passions have always pointed him in the direction of a career in media, with SLA providing the opportunities he was looking for.
“I was already applying for a job at WarnerMedia and the possibility of having me on as an apprentice opened up. The job has opened my eyes to many inner workings of the long-form production world and that’s helping me grow as a media practitioner and person.”
In his role, a typical day for Mr Goh involves researching prospective talents, vetting and writing pitches and many, many coffee-fuelled hours in the writing room fixing story beats and writing development notes on HBO Asia Originals.
Despite the constant crunch, Mr Goh appreciates the exciting opportunities provided by the apprenticeship. “We flew a script consultant in from Los Angeles and had weeks of back-to-back brainstorming stories and the like. It’s awesome to see the story creation process happening in front of your eyes,” he said.
Mr Goh believes that while SLA offers young media professionals access to a side of the industry that would otherwise take years to reach, media veterans could also stand to benefit. “I think the industry will grow more extensively in its storytelling and development capabilities from programmes like this,” Mr Goh added.
For creative dreamers like Mr Tok and Mr Goh, IMDA’s SLA and the increased presence of WarnerMedia herald a wealth of new opportunities. and the IMDA SLA programme is the road that leads them there. By developing young talent, IMDA continues to transform Singapore's media landscape and spur on a new generation of world-class creatives
Dreaming of taking part in growing Singapore’s media landscape? Then click here to find out more about IMDA’s talent development programmes..