Tan Guan Sheng hopes to turn his video production house into a media group
MOST high school leavers are probably unsure of themselves and confused as to which career path to take. Tan Guan Sheng, however, already had a very clear idea about what he wanted to do very early on.
He had a burning passion for videography, and his ultimate goal was to start his own company. It’s hard to imagine how these two can come together cohesively, yet Tan managed to successfully turn his passion into a money-making venture.
He embarked on his journey by learning all he could about business and finance. He obtained a degree in banking and finance from Monash University Melbourne, Australia.
Known as Guany Guan among his social circle, the 25-year-old is now chief executive officer of GGTV Productions, a production house specialising in creative content development.
“Taking up a degree majoring in numbers really helped me to prep myself with the fundamentals of setting up and managing a company,” says Tan.
He also took advantage of possible opportunities along the way which helped take him to where he is today.
While others were busy interning for banks in 2012, he chose to intern with Youtube personalities Jin Lim and Reuban Kang of Jinnyboy TV instead; the latter was also a childhood friend.
“They became my mentors and guided me on videography. They were the ones who encouraged me and gave me the confidence to start my own Youtube channel,” he says.
He started creating video logs of himself, talking about random topics and posting these onto his own guanyguanTV Youtube channel.
Along the way, Tan met his working partner Bryan Yap, who was also his university mate.
In 2013, he established GGTV Productions with Yap using limited equipment borrowed from friends.
“We focused on the Youtube channel first by coming out with more content and then branched out into more production work.
“To get our portfolios out, we offered rock bottom prices that only covered our cost overheads.
“Priced at RM2,000 per video, we managed to engage about 15 clients throughout 2014,” he says.
After graduating at the end of 2014, the duo concentrated on GGTV Productions and finally invested in a proper space and equipment.
“We were very fortunate to rent a small room within my friend’s office for a very low price. Then we splurged about RM35,000 on cameras and lenses,” he says of the 300sq ft space which had just enough room for two tables.
Calling themselves creative content creators, they worked closely with a few digital agencies to produce videos for their clients.
“Our clients are mostly startup companies which were more daring in terms of trying out new ideas and concepts; this meant there was more flexibility in content development for us,” Guan explains, adding that their work ranged from animated videos to short films across various industries.
The team expanded fast as students began interning for the production house.
Leroy Choong joined GGTV as the director of photography in 2016.
“The team was growing and the space we had in Dataran Prima couldn’t accommodate us anymore – we needed a larger space,” he says.
In February this year, GGTV Productions moved to a 1,600sq ft office at Oval Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.
“We have a consistent intake of interns from colleges. As they form part of our target audience, they are very important to us as they help us understand the needs of that age group better.
“Quite often, we get relevant ideas whenever we bounce a concept or an idea off them during brainstorming sessions,” Tan says.
As the company grew, so did the cost, and in this instance, Tan’s finance background proved useful.
“It definitely helped me manage one of the biggest challenges in starting up a company – cash flow.
“Expenses can go up to RM30,000 a month. Our quarter milestone target was set at RM300,000 in revenue,” he says, adding that they are doing fine so far.
Speaking of the Youtube scene in Malaysia, he notes that the digital platform is thriving.
“As such, it needs a regular injection of fresh ideas for visual content to stay relevant and progressive.
“I truly hope that there would be more new talents, especially in the new generation, to spark creative content and reposition the creative industry as a significant platform for brands to come up with fresh ideas.
“To those young people who are looking to join this industry, sharpen your skills whenever you can; having a good mentor goes a long way,” he adds.
While most teenagers wind down and relax during the weekends, Tan filled up his free time with learning opportunities.
“In 2012, I started volunteering with a group of professionals to shoot wedding events for about a year just so I could equip myself with more video shooting skills.
“My mother was so surprised when I was home one weekend because there were no events to shoot,” he laughs.
Tan’s 10-year plan is to create a media empire of different companies specialising in their own niches under one big group.
In addition to GGTV Productions, Tan is also the chief executive officer of Ittify Sdn Bhd, a creative social media marketing platform working with both brands and influencers to develop quality content.
“Now we have GGTV doing video production and Ittify for social media, so we will move forward from there.
“With all under one roof, it will be so much easier to provide value-added services to clients, and we get to share resources and manpower,” he concludes.