Self-taught Series #5: Chef Turned Photographer/Videographer
Not too long ago, we had the opportunity host a live session with a self-taught entrepeneur in the creative industry. Bryan Chen is a trained chef turned photographer/videographer.
Over the years, he has worked with clients such as Naj & Belle, Serai Group, Ace- Edventure, HMH, Pichaeats and Sweet Home Sugars. His passion in filmmaking began when he was 13 and now he is the founder of The Potter Collective, a creative house based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bryan strongly believes that everyone should follow their passion, and that with the right mindset the sky is the limit.
The Potter collective. What this? What does it mean? What does it stand for?
"So when I started the company, you know I really wanted it to be more of a community, not a company, so that explains the "collective", because it is more of like community supporting community. So for example, like you know, let's say I collab with you the hacker collective. So we're supporting each other as a community instead of competing against each other. So even when it comes to making videos, if I'm producing a video, I will do my best to source from other people as well. For example, the project with Ace Adventure, I collaborated with the internal production team rather than taking on the whole project by myself because together we can achieve so much more that way."
Let's talk about imposter syndrome. Have you ever had it before?
I do actually. I feel like that quite a bit. Considering that every time I'm surrounded by a community of video creators, producers, directors and people in the creative field. And yes sometimes it can be a bit scary because like "crap!" I just started I have no background, no training whatsoever in in photography and I'm not even like on par with with these people, but the thing is getting to know the community around me, I realize that out of 10, eight of them did not actually study film. Some of them graduated from IT, engineering. Some of them did graduated from mass comm which isn't exactly film, It's more like broadcast and communications, right?
It is natural for me to compare myself to them, but the thing is I did not see their journey. They started somewhere as well and sometimes I just need to remind myself that hey, I'm starting out too because in this day and age where information is so accessible, we are literally seeing the end product but I didn't see their humble beginnings. He could have started literally where I was and sometimes I just need that reminder to tell myself - I'm on my own journey, I'm on my own path and I just gotta put myself out there and do my best.
Comparison is something that will end up being a bigger barrier then it will be a motivator. I still sometimes struggle with comparing myself to others in the industry, but I wouldn't say I feel like this is out of place because I know most people in this industry actually did not even study film. So that was actually a huge encouragement.
Coming from a self-taught background, when did you start
I initially did it for free for my family business because I wasn't really knowledgeable in the field at that time.
What's the biggest challenge that you face thus far?
I think it was dealing with rejection injection? That was pretty tough.
When I pitched to the client with my idea thinking it's gonna be great. I picture them going "OK OK OK" and when I show it to them, then they're like "this is not what we wanted". That was really tough because as someone who tells visual stories, you definitely want to tell the stories the best way you envision it.
Realistically to to to be in the industry, you have to learn to cater to the needs and wants of the clients as well. By in putting your creative input and merging them together so that was something that I had to learn how to do. So that was a challenge that I had to deal with.
Hey, thanks for staying on till the end!
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