The Singapore Media Festival celebrates the best of Asian storytelling with a vibrant showcase of content. This year, the festival features its second Country-of-Focus: Philippines. Commemorating 50 years of bilateral and diplomatic relations between Singapore and Philippines, SMF will cast the spotlight on Philippines’ talent and businesses, and celebrate her community of creators.

Content is king – many in the media industry have said this, including Melvin Ang, founder of local content production company mm2 Asia in a recent interview with Forbes. mm2 had made the Forbes 2018 ‘Best Under A Billion’ list, which features the top-performing 200 Asia-Pacific public companies with revenue of under $1 billion.

Indeed, the age of viral media has increased demand for content. YouTube has grown from 1.35 billion users in 2016 to 1.58 billion this year, and is projected to increase to nearly 1.9 billion over the next three years. Live-streaming video platform Twitch’s number of partners is at an all-time high of 27,000, while its affiliated streamer count, for smaller-scale or budding streamers has grown to 150,000.

On over-the-top (OTT) platforms, the number of Netflix subscribers shot up by nearly 20 million over the course of a single year, reaching 137 million. iQiyi, one of China’s top video-streaming platforms which was behind the megahit Story of Yanxi Palace, has an estimated 421 million users per month.  

This increased demand for content also accompanies the rise of Asian media. Besides powerhouse countries China and India, Southeast Asia is also flourishing — its entertainment and media revenue is projected to surpass some US$60 billion within the next few years. And situated right in the heart of this media boom is Singapore, with its strategic location acting as a bridge for Asia’s content to connect with global players.

The world has seen a big shift towards Asia, and Singapore, as a key gateway into the region and the Southeast Asian market, is in a prime position to bring the industry together and facilitate the creation of quality content and commercial opportunities.

 
 

(Quote and Photo) Howie Lau, Chief Industry Development Officer, IMDA, at MIPCOM 2018's Singapore Party

Singapore is already a hub for media companies to accelerate their growth in the region. International names such as HBO, Netflix and Disney have set up HQs in Singapore, signalling the rich prospects of the local and regional market. Facebook and IMDA’s collaboration, Startup Station Singapore, is set to launch next February, to equip startups with the vital infrastructure and connections needed for success. Meanwhile, more funding structure and government support, such as the New Talent Feature Grant, AI Business Partnership Programme and Singapore Digital Scholarship, have been set up to help budding talents achieve greater heights.

In other words, there’s never been a better time to be a content creator.

The Singapore Media Festival (SMF), the region’s leading international media event, has seen more than US$1 billion worth of deals and partnerships inked over the last few years.The Singapore Media Festival (SMF), the region’s leading international media event, has seen more than US$1 billion worth of deals and partnerships inked over the last few years.

 
 

Participants of Creators x SMF Ignite 2017

With so many new opportunities for aspiring creators to flourish, the future of media looks bright. Looking to break into the content creation industry? Here’s a quick guide on how to make your mark in the scene.

Step 1 - Getting Ready

Getting the basics right is key — a series of masterclasses and workshops could be just what you need to get ahead of the pack.
  • The newly minted Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA) is a celebration of Asia’s finest in media, and more. Under the AAA, the Asian Academy Creative Campus, chaired by NBCUniversal’s Asia-Pacific Managing Director Christine Fellowes, will feature masterclasses and panels to equip aspiring media professionals in skills such as live TV directing, scriptwriting and lighting direction. Running from 4 to 7 December 2018, the initiative is open to all Singaporean students studying in media, communication or creative fields to attend for free.
  • Meanwhile, the Singapore Film Commission is hosting the Film Incubator Leader: FLY programme. Organised by the Busan Film Commission and helmed by filmmakers from both Singapore and South Korea, the incubator launched in 2012 is a two-week bootcamp for promising young filmmakers from Southeast Asia. In an intense fortnight, the participants have to produce two short films from scratch. The two films will be screened at the Singapore International Film Festival on 3 December.
  • The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) also continues its popular lineup of masterclasses, with this year’s list of personalities featuring Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, Hong Kong New Wave cinema pioneer Stanley Kwan, and Cambodian filmmaker and SGIFF 2018’s Honorary Award Recipient Rithy Panh.
  • This year’s SMF Ignite — SMF’s keystone digital and immersive media event — is featuring Nuseir Yassin, the man behind the viral 1-minute documentaries of Nas Daily. He will be sharing his views on digital storytelling as well as mentoring three selected local creators in content creating for online audiences.

 
 

Screengrab of a 2018 NAS Daily video on Facebook

Step 2: ‘Grant’ Your Wishes

After picking up the fundamentals of content creation, you have some idea of your preferred medium and style. You know you have to use your new skills to make an impact. Most importantly, there’s an evocative, thought-provoking story that you’re looking to share with the world.

But producing good content doesn’t always come cheap. Luckily, there are SMF-related grants to help you.

 

Delon Tio was among the winners of the Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market 2017

  • This year, SGIFF is launching the SGIFF Film Fund to help budding SEA filmmakers fulfil their cinematic aspirations. The SGIFF Film Fund comprises the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation-SGIFF SEA-DOC Grant for documentaries, and the SGIFF SEA-SHORTS Grant for short films.
  • The SGIFF SEA Short Film Competition and Asian Feature Film Competition celebrates regional cinema talents and gives filmmakers due recognition. Adjudicated by a jury of veteran filmmakers, the awards include categories such as Best SEA Short Film, Best Director and Best Performance.
  • Asia TV Forum and ScreenSingapore give content creators a chance to sell their ideas at pitching competitions such as the ATF Chinese Pitch and ATF Animation Pitch. Winners will receive cash prizes as well as benefits such as a consultancy package and the opportunity to sell their scripts.
  • The Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market will also provide potential filmmakers with the right connections and exposure. Matching film creatives with investors, the SAFF Project Market is ideal for those looking to get their projects funded.

Step 3: The Sky’s the Limit!

After sleepless, seemingly endless nights in production and post-production, your creation is ready for its close-up. And it’s time to convince everyone else why it’s worth the attention. If you want to get your work out there, winning awards is a great place to start.

  • The Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA) celebrates Asian media talents in many categories, including Best Theme Song, Best Video Game and Best Direction. This is how AAA works: 1) Media companies in Asia submit their entries to the awards. 2) In each category, a winner is chosen to represent its country of production. 3) The country winners go on to compete against one another before one is declared the Asian winner in each category.
 

Screengrab of Oon Shu An in HOOQ’s How to be a Good Girl

  • Take inspiration from the SGIFF Silver Screen Awards, which seeks to raise awareness of Asia’s filmmaking talents. Introduced in 1991 and known as the competitive section of SGIFF, the Silver Screen Awards feature jury panels of industry veterans to decide on the winning titles and talents in Asian cinema. These awards provide a platform for more filmmakers and talents to be recognised, an example being last year’s Silver Screen Award winner, Ali Asgari’s Disappearance, going on to clinch the Special Jury Award at the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival.

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Global demand for quality content and narrative from Asia has never been greater than today.

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(Quote and Photo) Pimpaka Towira, Programming Director, SGIFF

With so many exciting programmes in SMF 2018, content creators and buyers will want to be a part of the Asian media revolution at the event, held from 28 November to 9 December 2018.

Singapore Media Festival (SMF) is a celebration of the best and brightest in Asian storytelling. Returning for its fifth instalment from 28 November to 9 December 2018, this year’s SMF consists of Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) and SMF Ignite.

The Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA) is self-described as ‘For the industry, by the industry’, and aims to celebrate the achievements of content creators across the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore Media Festival 2018 will also see the introduction of the AAA initiative, the Asian Academy Creative Campus, aimed at nurturing the next generation of content makers.

Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) is the region’s leading entertainment content event. With conferences and networking opportunities abound, ATF is the premier platform in Asia for the industry’s top players. ScreenSingapore is the definitive Southeast Asian marketplace for both film creators and investors to explore co-production opportunities and stay ahead of the evolving film landscape.

Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is Singapore’s longest-running film festival. With dedicated screenings of both local and international films and a lineup of film-related events, SGIFF provides a platform to showcase the best of Asian cinema.

SMF Ignite focuses on the digital aspect of content creation. With plenty of exciting interactive workshops, conferences and activities, SMF Ignite aims to equip digital content makers with the insights and know-how to thrive online.

Singapore Media Festival is THE place to be for participation and collaboration in Asian media ideas and projects. Don’t miss out on the region’s media gathering of the year, happening 28 Nov - 9 Dec 2018.