By MELLY LING
BEING a huge fan of Japanese animation since he was young, Jared Lee, 28, always thought of being an artist. He just never knew he would end up being a full-time filmmaker.
Not just any filmmaker, mind you. Lee is certainly no stranger in the local film industry, especially with his short films and videos (as the co-founder of Grim Film production) having attracted an international audience on YouTube.
Grim Film’s three most popular short films, for instance – The Long Distance Relationship, You Are Loved and Sincerely, The End – have been viewed almost a million times on YouTube.
“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.”
Despite his determination, Lee had to take a slight detour to reach his career destination.
At first, he moved on to his mother’s business but that did not work out too well.
“My mum got me to take over her hair salon but it didn’t happen online casino because I didn’t enjoy hair dressing. She got me enrolled me in hair dressing courses but I still didn’t find a passion for it,” added Lee.
All of that changed when he studied broadcasting at IACT College, and found joy and love in transforming his wildest imaginations into a film.
“I feel very blessed with all the amazing opportunities that my college, Grim Film and my partners (Roy Ajong and Po Joo Sim) have given me.
“Until today, we still find it hard to believe that we have ended up this big in the industry with recognition, support from our fans and also projects from corporate clients,” he said.
What initially started out as a fun project in creating art and music turned out to be a life-changing experience for Lee.
“Grim Film started out of the blue because of my band’s music video that I submitted for the BMW Shorties (short film competition) in 2011.
“It was purely out of fun and that was when I met my partner Roy, who helped me shoot the video. Our entry got shortlisted in the top 10, and we just knew we had to continue making more videos to fuel our passion,” said Lee.
Apart from having a sharp eye for film, Lee also plays the electric guitar for local band Once Upon A Time There Was A Sausage Named Bob.
“The band started out as a hobby during my college days. We didn’t know we would turn out to be a recognisable name in the college scene with fans supporting us. Their support keeps the band going strong and we always enjoy playing for them,” said Lee.
Despite his relatively young age, Lee cautions against taking on too many challenges and burning out, health-wise. You have to pace yourself, he said.
“It was very stressful juggling work, film and the band. After being hospitalised (in November last year), I realised that my health is the most important, and I had to give up my (day) job in order to pursue what I enjoy doing most,“ said Lee, who was working in he event management line at the time.
But nevertheless, Lee will continue to work hard to achieve his ultimate goal at the moment: “To see Grim Film productions being shown in cinemas.”