Podcast with Ser En Part 4
Discover uncharted territories of entrepreneurship in Part 4 of our enthralling
podcast with Ser En, a maverick in the global startup ecosystem! Unveil the
secrets behind what it takes to turn entrepreneurial ventures into global
powerhouses. Decode the magic behind his remarkable career, from his early
humble beginnings to steering multiple multi-billion-dollar ventures. Brace yourself
as Ser En illuminates the path to innovation and radical success, punctuated by
invaluable lessons, insurmountable challenges, and triumphant victories. Get
ready for an intellectual expedition that will alter your perspective on
startups and entrepreneurship. Plug in and prepare to be inspired - it's time
to unlock the extraordinary! This podcast discusses the integration of AI in
the film industry, emphasizing that AI should handle mundane tasks, freeing
humans for creative work. It also highlights patience and resilience as key for
a career in this field.
[00:00:05] Andrew Liew Weida: Hi, everyone. Welcome tothe AI of mankind show where I share anything interesting about mankind. I'm
your host for this season. My name is Andrew Liew. I work across four
Continents and 12 international cities. Also, I work in tech startups across a
range of roles from selling products, making customer happy, figuring out
fundraising, making finance tick, building teams and developing sticky product.
Apart from building startups. I've also worked in fortune 500 companies as a
chief data scientist or technologist or people leader. [00:01:00]You can call me Jack of all trades or master of learning. I hope to make this
podcast show a great learning experience for us In each season, there is a
series of interesting things where invite guests to share their views about
their life and interests.
[00:01:14] Andrew Liew Weida: Now let the show begin.
[00:01:31] Andrew Liew : In the last episode, we doveheadfirst into the fascinating world of digital transformation in the media
industry with Ser En. We navigated through the complexities of remote film
shooting and global collaborations, learned about how technology has become an
enabler and not just a solution, and discovered the importance of cultural
nuances in these cross-border projects.
[00:01:49] Andrew Liew : Now, as we begin this nextpart of our journey, Ser En invites us to explore the uncharted territories of
entrepreneurship. We're about to unravel the secrets behind transforming
entrepreneurial ventures into global [00:02:00]powerhouses, all from the perspective of a proven maverick in the global
startup ecosystem. In this episode, we will decode the magic behind Ser En's
remarkable career trajectory, starting from humble beginnings to now guiding
multiple multi-billion-dollar ventures. Additionally, we'll delve into the
integration of AI in the film industry and how it's reshaping the division of
labor by taking over mundane tasks. Above all, Ser En will highlight the
necessity of patience and resilience in this field, invaluable virtues for
those aspiring for a career in entrepreneurship or technology.
[00:02:29] Andrew Liew : Whether you're an aspiringentrepreneur, a seasoned business owner, or someone with a keen interest in the
intersection of technology and business, this episode is a must-listen. So
buckle up and get ready for an intellectual expedition that will surely change
your perspective on startups and entrepreneurship. Let's dive in.
[00:02:44] Andrew Liew Weida: so let's go to the nextinteresting question. Within the film or entertainment industry, where is
artificial intelligence happening? What are your thoughts ?
[00:02:52] Ser En: Yeah actually when I first joined EFback in 2019, a lot of people were talking about, okay, how we can use AI to
scout what's the best script,[00:03:00] how wecan use AI to see what is best at the box office, what kind of movies to invest
in. I, I feel that those are not really good users of AI because the creative
industry is creative . It's brilliant because of the human mind. And all these
things actually require human work. Creativity is a human thing. And being
creative is something that humans love to do, so we should continue doing it. I
think where AI should come in is to take up the mundane tasks. The things that
people don't really want to do. Like very repetitive work. Like dealing with a
lot of Excel sheets, copying data from one place to another. I think that, that
can be done by AI. It doesn't require a human creative mind to execute.
[00:03:39] Andrew Liew Weida: Now to the next interestingquestion that I want to ask Ser En is that, What do you think about the impact
of AI development on the future of work in the entertainment industry?
[00:03:48] Ser En: Yeah, I hope that AI can help to, takeover some of the mundane tasks that we have to do. For example in terms of
communication we have a set of data that we have, the camera team has [00:04:00] recorded. So what we do on set now is to,okay, bring the paper back to the office and then photocopy it, then we scan it
and pass it to the editor. I'm hoping that precise can be streamlined. Yeah,
instead of a human like recording down on a piece of paper, maybe the camera
can send the data straight to the editor. Go through like a backend system and
go straight to the editor when he's at his editing machine. I think that's the
kind of thing that can be streamlined in the film industry So people who are
hired on set they can perform a more creative task
[00:04:33] Andrew Liew Weida: so you're saying that thevery mundane one like expenses of receipts, a script like translation of the
script or like booking of the hotel or the scene set, right? All this can be
automated so that the producer could not just focus on the logistic, which is
the repetitive things, but the producer can say, Hey how are you feeling today?
Dealing with the emotion, which is a complex, creative thing. The more creative
stuff than. The super repetitive stuff. What [00:05:00]about the actor, actresses, and a director? How would they be impacted? And
what are the areas that the AI can actually help them?
[00:05:07] Ser En: I think their work is quiteemotionally and psychologically complex. I'm not sure how AI can come in and
point in time to help them yet. To be honest, I've no good ideas.
[00:05:19] Andrew Liew Weida: I'm just asking, cause Iwas thinking along the line of if all the, like the food, the shelter, the
logistics is all done by AI, maybe that will free up a lot of time for the
actor and actress.
[00:05:30] Andrew Liew Weida: And I'm just thinking outloud as well. Maybe the information, internet of technology can sense that, oh,
this. This environment is very hot and humid and therefore the actor and actress
might not be able to display a Smiley face or sad face, you know . This
expression is not fully captured by what the director wants and the director
will say cut! NG!
[00:05:51] Ser En: Maybe if there's an as an AI that cansend the aura of the set . Okay. People are dehydrated. Okay. Message the PA to
send [00:06:00] some water
[00:06:00] Andrew Liew Weida: that's one of theinteresting ideas that hopefully the audience out there. Yeah, if you want to
really do something in this industry, this is some ideas out there. Now, coming
back to the next interesting question that I wanted to ask is there any books that
you recently read that inspire you lately?
[00:06:14] Ser En: Okay, I actually really enjoyed thisbook Start That. It' s about the Ubers and Airbnb story. It's one of my first
books about entrepreneurship. It still left a deep impression in me because I
really like how the author told the story, like he just suppose between Uber
and Airbnb and the different ways that the founders approached in building
their startups. Yeah. Uber went through a very tough journey because Travis had
to go through the all the political struggles in launching his product in
different markets. While Airbnb journey seems smoother. Yeah I think that was
introduced me to the trials and tribulations of starting a startup. And to be
honest I felt... Some of those things when I'm doing my own startup. Yeah. So
that's why it left quite a deep impression [00:07:00]in me. And I really enjoyed the book.
[00:07:02] Andrew Liew Weida: So coming back to the nextinteresting question What's the number one software or application that you
need every day and why?
[00:07:09] Ser En: Oh definitely Airtable. I loveAirtable so much. I think on a more simple level It's like a data management
software, so you can key in data. So it acts as a CMS service. Oh, it's like a
customer management service. You can like key in all the information about your
customers about your stakeholders. different stakeholders, put them in a very
nice Excel sheet that is very beautiful, very friendly to use. But on a more
deeper level it has a lot of automation that we can link to many other
softwares that we are using. Yeah, so we use Zapier to link Airtable to the
backend of our website. Yeah, so I'll say it's the heart of my company. Yeah.
Because we are building our own backend now, because the company has progressed
to a stage where Airtable has its limitations now.
[00:07:59] Andrew Liew Weida: That means like there'smore [00:08:00] and more data whereby you needa much more robust expanded database. What are the career tips out there for
anybody that wants to enter the media industry, the digital media industry, or
the digital entertainment industry.
[00:08:13] Ser En: They need to be able to have a strongheart and a strong mind. A lot of situations can happen every day. You need to
be able to be steady, and just become as the wind. And yeah, a lot of things
can happen when you go on the set. It's not a very predictable day to day job.
So you need to have an open mind to experience the unknown. Yeah, like just see
as an experience and something new that you learn.
[00:08:38] Andrew Liew Weida: Ah, so as you mentionedabout Big Heart, it's because if people, if the ordinary man see as a routine
job, expecting a routine, and there's so many ups and downs, he will get a
heart attack, right? So the positive view of mine is that this is an adventure,
so any Hollywood movie or any... Chinese movie, there's always like the hero
and then the obstacle and then he [00:09:00]will overcome the obstacle fighting all the enemies And then going through the
pitfalls and then come out to the end, right? Something like that.
[00:09:06] Ser En: Yes, another tip that I can share isyou need to be very patient. Things take time to happen. Yeah, whether it's art
or it's tech. It's a craft that people take years and years to hone. You have
to be really patient to learn the craft and to hone it.
[00:09:21] Andrew Liew Weida: And by patient, are wetalking about a very long timeline, like five years, ten years, or what is that
mindset of understanding this word patient,
[00:09:30] Ser En: yeah, I think you're right. It'sabout, it's 5 years, 10 years. It's that kind of endeavor. Yeah, because it's
definitely not an industry where you can come in with the mindset, Okay, I'm
going to get rich quick in one year. Yeah, so it takes time to understand how
[00:09:45] Ser En: It's a very collaborative environment.So you need time to make the contacts in the industry. We need time to learn
the craft. Yeah. I always say that it's a marathon. It's not a sprint.
[00:09:55] Andrew Liew Weida: This just reminded me ofthis Chinese saying english translation, it basically means [00:10:00] that for every 1 minute that you see onthe stage, this person has been practicing the craft for 10 years.
[00:10:06] Ser En: Even in terms of visual effects youcan take six months to make one a 10 seconds shot.
[00:10:13] Andrew Liew Weida: Six months for a 10 secondshot. Wow.
[00:10:15] Ser En: Yeah. I was working on one of theHollywood movies and I realized that while it really takes a long time to just
keep improving and improving the shot over and over again until it's perfect.
Perfect for the audience to see. So it really takes a lot of patience to see
that magic happen. Yeah. I don't know if you know this, Andrew. Actually,
visual effects started off as magic. It was yeah.
[00:10:37] Andrew Liew Weida: Wait, I didn't know that.As in, you're saying that it started off as magic, meaning they got magician to
come in to create the effects or what?
[00:10:44] Ser En: It was actually invented by amagician. So he created visual effects using film. He used film to create his
magic. To shock his audiences. You can check out the movie actually someone
made a movie about it it's called Hugo by Martin[00:11:00]Scorsese, it tells the story of of the guy. George Milles. yeah. So he's the
guy who invented he's the father of visual effects.
[00:11:07] Andrew Liew Weida: Yeah, I'm always a fan ofall this sci fi movie or epic movie especially when there's visual effects.
[00:11:13] Ser En: It's really like magic to me. I thinkjust cinema or like filmmaking is really magical Because you put things
together and suddenly that is a story There's something that amazes the
audience when they see it on screen.
[00:11:25] Andrew Liew Weida: Yes I still believe in themovie or the filmmaking industry because of these effects or the way that it's
being crafted because it, call it, neurologically wired, or it just creates
people a hope. It instills hope or some form of a belief that, hey, I think I
can overcome difficulty.
[00:11:42] Ser En: Yeah, the storytelling is powerful.
[00:11:44] Andrew Liew Weida: Yeah and what about Iremember you mentioned about retread news to keep up to date. What do you mean
[00:11:50] Ser En: It's important to, read things thatare happening in the industry, like through like different trade news, so you
can see what other people are up to are they making the same kind of content [00:12:00] as you are they building the same kind ofcompany as you yeah, I think it's important to be up to date, because I think
as with startups when you create a startup, you probably have 10 other
competitors doing a similar business as you. So even in filmmaking you can have
10 other people trying to create the same kind of story as you. Yeah. You have
to be aware of what is. What are people interested to see right now and what
are the industry trends?
[00:12:27] Andrew Liew Weida: Where, what kind ofinformation or website or journals or web sources that you read to keep up? On
the news, on the media industry, or entertainment industry.
[00:12:36] Ser En: Oh, there's quite a lot. You canfollow a variety of deadlines. These are the trade news websites, where they
report on what's happening in the media industry. Okay, whether there are
M& As whether... There are people who are doing co productions across
countries. Or what are your favorite directors up to? Yeah yeah it's important
to read these trade news. Because then you can know, Oh, if Netflix [00:13:00] buys this company, Okay, are they goingmore into this area next? So do you want to come up with some IP ideas that
that they might pick up? D e a. D l i n e. And variety.
[00:13:11] Andrew Liew Weida: I'm just curious, becauseyou mentioned about co-producing. Why would two Studio want to co-produce
[00:13:17] Ser En: Oh actually co-production is veryprevalent in the film industry. Like almost every movie that you see is a co
pro. Oh, video studios are like different among different, Yeah, because it's
quite a big endeavor, right? Even a very small independent project is like one
million dollars. You can't come up with all that money and take the risk on
your own. So it's important that you work with other people who are also
interested in this story. And then you collaborate together, to find funding
together to distribute in your own separate markets.
[00:13:47] Andrew Liew Weida: In terms ofco-distribution, they come together as in one will pool certain type of
resources that is complementary to the other group, or how does it work
because, and when I'm thinking of a startup, I will be [00:14:00]thinking if I want to co produce with somebody is it this guy providing a front
end engineering team, and then I provide my AI engineering team, and then we
build a software together, how does it work in the film industry?
[00:14:11] Ser En: Yeah, sometimes it's like that butthere are also other times where people co produce across countries because
they want to like tap into the country's resources. For example let's say I
want to co pro with Australia, like Singapore and Australia. Yeah. Maybe
Australia has a brand that I want to tap into, or The Australian co producer
has a granite one tapping to Singapore, but a lot of times it's more motivated
by the story. Let's say it's about a Chinese Australian man whose parents come
from Singapore, then it's more, it's usually the country's collaboration
motivated by the story first, or some parts of the story happens in Singapore.
Yeah, although it's like a group of australians, you know So that's when co
production can happen more naturally
[00:14:55] Andrew Liew Weida: Ah, so as you mentionedthis, co production typically is happened because of the [00:15:00] story and the story has a typical geographicalsetting
[00:15:03] Ser En: for example, Or sometimes like somepeople like the big Hollywood movies, right?
[00:15:08] Ser En: They need to collaborate with othercountries too. For example, James Bond, they shoot in many different countries.
Yeah. Yes. So they probably need to hire like people from their country to work
together with them. Like the local fixers, yeah.
[00:15:21] Andrew Liew Weida: Yeah, because they willknow the local scene, like the jurisdiction, whether can let's say like the
James Bond, can you drum a motorcycle off a train cliff or something like that.
[00:15:30] Andrew Liew Weida: Yes, because I think I readsomewhere like Steven Seagal or Jackie Chan. Managed to rent a submarine, a
nuclear submarine and it's not typically real in reality. It's hard to get even
if you have loads of money, right? Yeah, okay Interesting. Okay last but not
least. This has been a very enjoyable podcast I personally learned a lot from
you and I hope my audience actually learned a lot from you What is your request
from those listening to this podcast,
[00:15:54] Ser En: oh, okay. If they're interested inentertainment and Web3 and NFT space and how to [00:16:00]help creators, they can most definitely get in touch with me.
[00:16:02] Andrew Liew Weida: Once again to the audienceof that, this is Ser En you can find her on my podcast page and later on you
can find her on LinkedIn. Connect with her. Thank you so much. We have come to
the end of this podcast.
[00:16:14] Andrew Liew Weida: Hi guys. Thanks forlistening to this podcast. If this is the first time you are tuning in.
Remember to subscribe to this show. If you have subscribed to this show and
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