Meeting Jinnyboy and Reuben

“Oh my gosh! It’s him!” 

“Hey Jin, I’m a huge fan!” 

“Reuben is so cute in real life!” 

When Jin Lim and Reuben Kang visited Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas, students throughout the college were absolutely star struck, to say the least. The Malaysian duo are well-known for being the creators of “JinnyBoyTV”, one of the most popular YouTube channels in Malaysia. Since its initiation about two and a half years ago, they have uploaded interviews, parodies and short films such as “My GENERASI” and “ABUDEN?!” which quickly became hits on the Internet. After garnering millions of views on YouTube, it was clear that “JinnyBoyTV” was a force to be reckoned with, and fame lavished its attention not only on the channel itself, but on the lives of Jin and Reuben – which is why they were asked to share their experiences in the Alpha Theatre at TCSH on Thursday, 18th September 2014. Jin and Reuben were eagerly welcomed to the college by adoring fans who grew up watching their videos. Although the theatre filled up slowly at first, Jin and Reuben’s warm personalities soon put even the shyest of students at ease and the back of the theatre was crammed by the time they truly began the story of their journey in the world of film-making.

According to Jin and Reuben, the channel “JinnyBoyTV” started out with interviews of YouTubers such as Jayesslee (the Australian twins who are most famous for their covers of pop songs) before venturing into the world of short films. Their first short film, “Ah Wing – Malaysia’s Number 1 Salesman” was expected to receive only about ten thousand views but instead gained more than a million views. “We were really surprised! It trended on Twitter and before we knew it, the viewership had shot up to about a hundred thousand. It was crazy.” They attributed their success to the fact that making short films on YouTube was quite new in Malaysia and few Malaysian YouTubers had done what JinnyBoyTV was doing, much less become famous for it. As they continued making short films with growing popularity, Jin admitted that they still weren’t entirely familiar with, well, to put it frankly, “what they were doing” – it wasn’t until they started touring and meeting fans that they were able to gauge the impact their films had made. “We always want our films to have positive effects on our viewers. If you notice, our films usually have a moral to the story. […] We don’t produce our films only with the number of views in mind; we make films because we want to tell a story. Usually, these films are inspired by real-life events that happened to us and will contain a little truth from the event - a ‘hidden agenda’, if you will - such as the birthday of an ex-girlfriend,” Jin jokingly trailed off as the theatre burst into laughter. Both Jin and Reuben expressed their admiration for YouTube as a medium for aspiring film-makers too. “YouTube is one avenue where it’s real. On YouTube, if it’s not good, it’s not good - you’re able to ‘dislike’ things on YouTube, and your audience will tell you in your face if your material lacks “finesse”. But don’t be too discouraged; we’ve found that those who say the worst things on the Internet are often those who tell you that they’re your biggest fan in real life.” Through YouTube, they were able to meet and collaborate with YouTubers with similar interests such as David Choi, Wong Fu Productions and Ryan Higa. In fact, YoutTuber David Choi was the person who encouraged Jin and Reuben to create a YouTube account in the first place. (Thanks, David!)

In addition, Jin and Reuben shared some advice from their experience producing short films on YouTube. Jin’s favourite words of advice to those who frequently asked, “How do I shoot a film?” were those of the late Yasmin Ahmad’s, a renowned Malaysian producer: “Take your camera, and shoot.” YouTubers often find it difficult to live off their income without the support of clients who request the promotion of their brands through the YouTubers’ virtual creations, and in the process, limit the creativity of the aforementioned YouTuber. Therefore, many YouTubers refuse to entertain sponsors – in fact, Jin confessed that JinnyBoyTV rejected sponsors for three years straight. However, both Jin and Reuben eventually realised that they needed to commercialise their art. “I know a lot of artists who are superb at their art but they don’t know the business aspect of it, which is really important,” Reuben remarked. They realised that they didn’t have to make the brand the hero of their videos – they could still let their story be the hero, and that’s what they did. (Did you know that “The Rose” and “Camera Fails” were client videos? I certainly didn’t!) When asked about their biggest challenge managing JinnyBoyTV, Reuben said that it was mostly finding the time to get people pre-production and post-production. “It’s quite stressful juggling so many things and dealing with people’s expectations. When we don’t upload videos for some time, people will ask about our next video. Jin, Alan and I can get writer’s block sometimes and people don’t realise that we don’t have a team of writers to fall back on, it’s just us.” However, they promised that they had a number of exciting projects coming up, briefly mentioning an endeavour in animation and cartoons. One such project was another video about stereotypes that had not been uploaded yet. Little did the students of Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas know that they were in for a treat, they would soon be the first to watch the unaired video! All eyes were glued to the screen the entire time and laughter resounded throughout the theatre so frequently that our stomachs hurt. When the video was over, everyone applauded loudly and hooted their approvals while Jin and Reuben grinned bashfully at the side. They also played a number of uploaded videos such as “The Rose” and “Camera Fails” to our delight.

After that, the audience was able to ask Jin and Reuben a few questions. The first few enquiries were light-hearted and jovial. This included a question directed to Jin: “Did you freak out when you met Taylor Swift?” He replied, “I’ve met her three times already,” to which Reuben interjected, “So you could say things are pretty serious!”  We all enjoyed a good laugh, and Jin continued, “But yes, I freaked out a bit because she’s hot and smells very nice! Very tall, too. She’s almost my height when she’s not wearing heels.” A particularly gutsy student even asked Jin if he could attend TCSH’s Year End Ball, to which he unfortunately replied that that period of time would be quite busy for JinnyBoyTV. Students also asked Jin and Reuben about their individual careers. Jin has spent eight years working for “” (a popular local radio station) and manages JinnyBoyTV on the side, while Reuben used to work in advertising and film production before he quit his job and is now lecturing, being featured in a sports show on Astro, playing a part in “P. Ramlee: The Musical” and managing JinnyBoyTV. Jin shamelessly confessed that he did not feel guilty making prank calls to unsuspecting victims on behalf of because it was the victims’ friends who were submitting the victims’ details. Reuben, upon being questioned about his debut in the musical scene, talked about how actress Tiara Jacquelina watched JinnyBoyTV’s videos on YouTube and told him to audition for the part in “P. Ramlee: The Musical”. He had to sing and dance, but he was not completely taken by surprise because he used to take part in youth experimental theatre where he performed in KLPAC with friends a few times. The discussion quickly turned serious with questions about the future of JinnyBoyTV. When asked, “Do you expect to do YouTube videos for the rest of your lives?” Reuben answered, “Things come and go – that’s the thing about the Internet – but as long as film-making is around, we will hopefully be doing just that.” We hope so too, Reuben; we hope so too. 

After the Q&A session, Jin and Reuben stayed back to take pictures with everyone and talk to each person individually. They were kind enough to take “selfies” with each person multiple times, despite their busy schedules, and did not leave until everyone had said what they had to say and taken all the pictures they wanted to take. It was truly heartwarming to see them care so much about their fans as well as speak so humbly about their work and hard-earned success. On behalf of TCSH, thank you so much, Jin and Reuben, for visiting us and taking the time to tell us about your experiences! We wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and if you happen to be in the area, feel free to drop by TCSH at any time!

By: One half of the two girls who had to take a selfie with Jin twice because they had been photobombed the first time - THANK YOU JIN! 

On a more serious note, 

Written by Jamie Liew 
Head of Writing 
Editorial Board

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