If local YouTube channels are your jam, you would have definitely have heard of Clicknetwork.tv and its founder Gillian Tan.
Here’s something that was created out of passion and on the internet, at a time when being an content creator full-time on YouTube was basically unheard of.
So when we had the opportunity do a Q&A with Gillian herself, we decided to find out what really goes on behind the scenes, and her thoughts on this still-emerging industry in Singapore where she was one of the pioneers.
Gillian Tan On The $10,000 She Borrowed
When asked to describe her channel’s journey in reaching that million subscriber mark, Gillian says that it was “incredibly fun, and filled with many memorable experiences”.
You would probably heard of the famous story of how she started her own company with $10,000 that she borrowed.
Well, that money was what funded her TV production company which she started in 2003. It was only in 2007 that Clicknetwork became a reality.
By the time Clicknetwork was up and running, that sum of money was already made back through her first company, while Clicknetwork itself became profitable after about 2 years.
There’s No Secret Sauce To Content
“I have always seen the content journey as a wavy curve filled with peaks and valleys, rather than a linear one from 0 to 100.”
Gillian shared that even until today, she has never been completely able to nail down what works for any given video, given that audiences are constantly evolving.
So, there’s usually a lot of trial and error involved, and she still goes by her gut feeling, because content creation isn’t a math problem that can simply be solved with an existing formula.
She also reiterates the importance that the content produced resonates with the creators themselves.
Gillian says that her content is more female-skewed because as a woman herself, she can only be passionate about topics that resonate with her.
Therefore, you won’t be seeing stuff on sports, gaming, etc. on the channel because she personally isn’t invested in any of that.
On the things that she has learnt along the way with her videos, she says that it is important to get to the point quickly, keep the editing fast-paced and the content interesting, so that you keep your audience engaged.
As a content creator, she stresses that it’s also important to keep an open mind and watch all kinds of content (even if it’s not what you’re inclined to watch typically) to keep up with the latest trends.
“There’s always something to take away from the different styles of content out there.”
Content That Is Reflective Of Those Presenting It
A large part that has helped Clicknetwork develop their unique style boils down to the hosts, whose strong and distinct personalities are beyond what anyone can script for.
The hosts for the shows on Clicknetwork were either cast through open auditions, or had shows created around them.
What all of them have in common though, is that they are largely the same on and off camera, and how Gillian and team come into the picture is simply to help amplify their style and nudge them in the right direction.
In spite of everyone being very opinionated, Gillian says that she has never found it tough working with any of them.
“I guess I wouldn’t have cast them if they were difficult.”
There is always a mutual respect for each others’ views, and shoots tend to be full of fun.
Even random banter off-screen are compelling, and Gillian counts herself spoiled for having the opportunity to be with such entertaining colleagues.
Keeping A Tight-Knit Group
The people behind the shows at Clicknetwork are a small group.
Due to the uncomplicated nature of most of their shoots and also budget constraints, Gillian feels that there isn’t a need for so many people. As such, to become a member of this tight-knit family, you would definitely have to be something special.
When asked what the typical profile of a Clicknetwork crew member is, here’s what she listed down,
“Responsible, dependable, great work ethic, creative, intelligent, respectful of others, open-minded, a great sense of humour, honest, fun, casual, down-to-earth.”
As Gillian is more of someone who “goes with the flow”, there isn’t really a concrete plan in place for future expansion, so depending on the workload, the company will only expand when required.
What Would She Have Done If Videos Weren’t Her Thing?
TV and videos were all that she loved since she was a child, so for her to think of an alternative career is near impossible.
But if she hadn’t gone into the industry for some reason, she would have opened a shop.
“It’d be a shop where you can get really quirky and unusual things from all over the world – everything from gadgets and knick knacks, to snacks and drinks. Everything would be in different languages and have different design aesthetics.”
Advice For The Next Generation Of Creators
We rounded off the Q&A with Gillian by asking for advice that she would give to emerging local YouTubers.
“Be patient, be consistent, be authentic. Don’t let haters get the better of you. The longer you do this, the less of an impact they’ll have on you. Learn from the criticism if it’s constructive, and filter out the noise.”
“It’s easy to cheat by taking shortcuts but don’t – it may bring you short-term gains, but you’re not helping yourself in the long run.”
We would like to thank Gillian for taking the time to answer our questions!