Ace in an­i­ma­tion

> The mas­ter­mind be­hind takes us be­hind the scenes of his YouTube suc­cess

The Sun (Malaysia) - - YOUTH - BY JES­SICA CHUA

BRAM LEE grew up in a small town in Kedah where his only source of en­ter­tain­ment were animated series such as Bat­man and Jus­tice League. These su­per­hero car­toons, along­side comics from Hong Kong and Ja­pan, in­spired Lee to draw. He would scrib­ble draw­ings on his grandmother’s mahjong pa­pers at a quiet cor­ner of the house.

When he was 15, Lee won a draw­ing com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­ised by Gem­pak mag­a­zine, which led him to Kuala Lumpur to study and work as a free­lance comic artist. He trained hard to be­come a pro­fes­sional and man­aged to de­velop his tal­ent faster than the av­er­age teen. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, Lee worked on many TV com­mer­cials. How­ever, as with most an­i­ma­tors, his dream stretches be­yond that. He cre­ated a pro­duc­tion bi­ble filled with orig­i­nal sto­ries, then pitched them to gov­ern­ment bod­ies and in­vestors in hopes of ac­quir­ing fund­ing to make a fea­ture film. Alas, things did not work out as he’d hoped. So, he turned to YouTube. In De­cem­ber 2013, Lee cre­ated his own chan­nel Car­toon Hooli­gans, post­ing mostly par­o­dies of ex­ist­ing comic char­ac­ters, such as from DC and Mar­vel Uni­verses. “A chan­nel that makes par­o­dies is like a chan­nel that pro­duces song cov­ers. You need an ex­ist­ing au­di­ence be­fore pro­duc­ing orig­i­nal con­tent, then you will have an au­di­ence when the lat­ter hap­pens,” ex­plained the 28-year-old. This year, Car­toon Hooli­gans be­came the first YouTube chan­nel in Malaysia to hit one mil­lion sub­scribers. In the be­gin­ning, most of my con­tent was not ap­pro­pri­ate for the gen­eral au­di­ence be­cause I was fol­low­ing the trend. Be­cause of that, I re­ceived a lot of hate and peo­ple were re­port­ing my videos. I got re­ally frus­trated so I stopped and went back to free­lanc­ing. Then I met Jin from Jin­ny­boyTV, who was hir­ing peo­ple to an­i­mate for his chan­nel. He en­cour­aged me to con­tinue do­ing YouTube since I’ve al­ready started a chan­nel. Nine months later, he cowrote two videos with me and then I slowly found my di­rec­tion. I would think so. I was trav­el­ling at the time so I wasn’t aware of the ex­act mo­ment it hit one mil­lion. I was very proud when Google pre­sented me with the gold ‘Play’ but­ton. I have so much more to achieve and I want to go fur­ther. Most of the time, my projects over­lap in dif­fer­ent stages. I could be work­ing on sound edit­ing for one video, and think­ing of what to do next. If an idea pops up, I would write it down. That’s why I al­ways carry a sketch­book around with ran­dom draw­ings and writ­ings.

The writ­ing process nor­mally takes one or two days, and I would spend an­other two to three days draw­ing the sto­ry­board. I would place it in the edit­ing se­quence to check the tim­ing. Once I’m happy with it, I would send the script to the voiceover tal­ent.

Af­ter that, I start pro­duc­tion. I like pro­duc­tion, but it’s the tough­est stage for me be­cause it takes a lot of time. It could take me from 5 in the morn­ing up till 11 at night. Some­times I think I’m crazy spend­ing such long hours pro­duc­ing such short videos, but it is some­thing that I’m pas­sion­ate about. I hope to have a few more chan­nels and pro­duce orig­i­nal con­tent be­cause that’s some­thing I’ve al­ways wanted to do. Put up con­tent that you be­lieve in and be­lieve is good. Don’t cre­ate con­tent just for the sake of it, or put up some­thing just be­cause you haven’t done it in a while. Even if it’s a filler, make sure that it’s good. Don’t do it just for the money.

is Lee’s favourite comic when he was young.

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