YouTuber Of The Week: TheGRIMFILM On Bringing Their Wild Imaginations To 'Reel' Life
In this week's YouTuber Of The Week, we place the spotlight on Grim Film. Despite starting off with zero experience, co-founder Jared Lee is now no stranger to the local film industry, with the channel having attracted an international audience as well.
In search of an outlet for his imagination, Jared Lee turned to comics and animation before eventually deciding that making videos worked best to fulfill his creative visions. Hence, Grim Film was born.
"I have always been searching for an outlet for my imagination, and after meddling with comics and animation, I found the process of making videos the best and there was this joy during pre-production to post," said Grim Film co-founder Jared Lee.
Grim Film was founded on 11 November 2011 by Jared Lee alongside his partners Roy Ajong and Po Joo Sim.
Besides having to contend with his family's initial objections, the Grim Film co-founder also revealed that he "had to learn things the hard way" due to having zero knowledge and experience in the film industry when they first started out
"Lost a few clients, got taken advantage of but despite it all, after 2 years of running into many, many walls, it's been a great learning experience. Still learning but at least I know now how it works especially with clients," he added.
“I grew up watching anime on television which piqued my interest to be an artist at that time. I loved drawing cartoons during my free time at school. I even signed up for an animation course right after secondary school, even though my family was against it,” said Lee, who is from Subang Jaya, Selangor.
“My family were against me doing anything related to art as they wanted me to pick a career that paid well. But I fought my way through, and my parents accepted it in the end.”
Grim Film first broke into the YouTube scene under the handle 'TheGRIMFILM' with the tearjerking short film inspired by long distance relationships
Since then, Grim Film has grown into a fully-fledged production company that produces a variety of video content including short films, sketchs, music videos and even commercials
Besides Jared, the Grim Film crew also includes five other people - Sidney Chan, Jun, Kylie, Weichen Lee, and Jen-Yen. Nick Davis of Valtari Music is also on-hand to help out with the music scores and visual effects.
Jared reveals that he usually writes, draws the storyboards, directs and produces. As for the rest of the team, Jared explained, "We have Sidney who writes, direct, shoot and edit. Jun who recently just joined the team, he shoots and edits as well. Our producers: Chen & Kylie who handles the pre production section most of the time. Jen-Yen who is the Line Producer and Sound guy who handles the equipment on set including lighting and myself."
"Thankfully we also have Nick Davis from Valtari Music who've been helping us with music composing and SFX. Depending on the size of the project, we may hire some freelancers on board to help out" he added.
While Grim Film has graduated to taking on clients since its inception three years ago, Jared stressed on the importance of keeping a good balance between client jobs and making stuff they love "to keep the passion alive"
"As cliche as it sounds, [what motivates us] is the passion for film making. And also being able to this full time is a blessing. Work is not work when you do what you love right?" Jared stated. "Keep a good balance between client jobs and always have time to make something you love to keep the passion alive."
Which is why you will find a collection of vlogs from Jared in Grim Film's YouTube channel, in which he offers his opinions on the different types of kiasus, men's thoughts on relationships... and even how to hide your farts in public, amongst others
Jared and frequent collaborator Nick Davis also fronts the 'Nick & Jared' series of shorts tackling everyday issues such as settling an argument over a last piece of wanton
Most recently, one of the 'Nick & Jared' shorts - 'The Fish Lantern' - was named one of the runner-ups in Sundance Channel's first ever short film competition Malaysia
Directed by Sidney Chan, the horror-slash-thriller short was originally planned to be a comedic horror piece rather than the darker tone it eventually ended up with
According to Nick, "The team needed to push out another episode for Nick & Jared series for that week on the GRIM FILM YouTube channel. Initially, we were planning for a comedic horror kind of video where the film would then take a dramatic turn to become creepy."
Director Sidney Chan added, "Problem was, the concept required several locations (which wouldn’t be feasible with such a short timeframe). Nick wanted to keep it minimalist, with only one location. It became an interesting challenge, and the story was reframed to be completely serious."
Armed with a passion for storytelling, the Grim Film team draws inspiration and ideas for their multi-genre videos from everyday experiences and even memories and brainstorming sessions
"Ideas can come from anywhere/anyone/anything. Sometimes it just pops out of nowhere, sometimes it's based off an experience, a memory and sometimes it's discussed. There's another world inside each of us, it's just finding a way to see it and then putting it down on paper," Jared said.
Which is why they advise aspiring filmmakers to "always, always write it down" when ideas spark in their heads
As Jared puts it, "Several ideas will come at one time, and you'll never know when which will grow, and when it does at least you have records of it."
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