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The Life of a TV Producer

You get to travel, stay in fancy hotels and meet celebs. These are some perks of working in the television industry but there’s also a lot of hard work. Students in our Diploma in Creative Writing for Television and New Media (DTVM) get a taste of the work of a television producer in their semester-long internship in Year 3.  Here’s what’s it’s really like.


Travel Diary

Alicia Ho travelled to four Asian cities within the first three weeks of her internship as an Assistant Producer with ActiveTV.


She was helping with the production of an online programme called ‘Driving Change with Caltex’. The show, hosted by Henry Golding (one of the guys in ‘Hot Guys Who Cook’), is about how social media can be used to drive change in local communities in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore.

Alicia says, “I had to travel with just the director, the cameraman and the host to the various countries. One of the exciting parts was to fly back to Singapore a day earlier on my own to deliver the footage so that the editor can start editing first.”


Alicia Ho in Hong Kong, one of the  four cities she visited in one month


Kenneth Wong got to travel too. During his internship with Very Production, he has flown to South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and Indonesia.


“There were times when I got quite homesick and was a bit distracted during shoots which irritated my producer. However, for the last two trips to Taiwan and Indonesia, I adapted to the travelling and the crazy sleep schedules and I enjoyed it a lot more,” says Kenneth.


Besides the food, Kenneth truly enjoyed the scenery. In fact, he is now inspired to take up trekking and biking to explore these countries further.


Kenneth Wong in Mumbai, while the crew shoots in the background


Getting the Job Done

Debra Lee is working at the Asian Food Channel (AFC). She’s helping to produce a series called ‘The Big Break’ where underprivileged youths from across Asia compete for a chance to win a culinary scholarship. She has been involved in the transcriptions, sound checks and editing.


Debra says, “It's my first time working on such a big-scale project involving so many people.”


Pearl Lin is not with what you would call a media company. She is posted to the Prime Minister’s Office where she is writing and producing for its website. Her office is nothing like what she expected before she joined.


She says, “I thought it'd be stuffy and strict but there's a lot of freedom, as long as we get our work done.”


Pearl’s job scope includes covering a news conference by South Korean pop star Psy and filming a show called ‘Recess Rewind’, a mini web-series featuring children.


Evon is also interning at the same organisation. One of the best assignments she’s completed was a video project for Deepavali.


She says, “It was very fun and it was the first time I sat on a bus tour in Singapore.”


Pearl Lin, Evon Kua and Cai Deshun (the older looking kids from left to right) are interns at the Prime Minister's Office. Here is a photo of them with children they had filmed for a video project


Lessons in School, at Work

DTVM students say school has taught them about working with people.


Debra says, “I think my lecturers have really prepared me to deal with people who aren't afraid to sugar-coat things and I'm really grateful for that, no matter how painful it was when I first started my course.”


DTVM also taught Alicia to gain confidence and voice her opinions.


“Even though I was a little soft spoken at first, I am starting to open up after two to three months,” she says.


For Kenneth, he’s fallen in love with Indonesia because of the people.


He says, “The people in the more rural parts of town were definitely warmer and friendlier, a lot like the people in the fishing village in Kuching.”


Before he began his internship, Kenneth and all other Year 3 DTVM students had travelled to Kuching, Sarawak for a filming trip in June 2012. This trip is compulsory to train them in on-location production.


Students are also grateful that being in DTVM, they learnt many practical skills for TV production such as pitching new concepts, writing scripts, filming and editing videos.


Kenneth says, “Sure, the production work we did back in school wasn't much and it definitely wasn't the same as the one out here but it helped me grasp the basics and I learnt things faster while on the job.”


“I am so thankful that I am a DTVM-er. We are so versatile,” says Evon.