Interview with RICE Channel Executive Producer Andy Ho
Andy Ho knows his way around a film production. His team was nominated at the Asian Television Awards two years in a row, and worked for the National Geographic and Discovery Asia channels before joining Digipost - the father company of RICE Channel - in 2008.
After watching his gorgeous short film shot on the Asus Zenfone, we reached out and asked about his thoughts on filmmaking and what gear matters most.
BG: When someone asks you what you do for a living, how do you answer them?
Andy: I work with a team of filmmakers to produce films.
BG: What job did you have before you started working in production/filmmaking?
Andy: I have been in Digipost as an Executive Producer working on TV commercials for almost 8 years before the company gave me the opportunity to start the Content Development and the RICE Channel. It allowed me to go back to my roots in filmmaking and work on shooting content.
BG: What made you realize that you wanted to quit that and become a filmmaker?
Andy: Digipost is deeply rooted in the advertising industry and in my opinion, I feel that the advertising industry has changed so drastically since the arrival of social media that the same principles are no longer valid.
The most enjoyable years of my career was making documentaries and films, where I got to work with some of the most passionate and creative people in the industry. I feel that we can do better work unrestricted by brands and advertising. The company supported me to put a team together and shortly after the RICE channel was born.
BG: What were some amateur mistakes that you made on your first few films, and how did you learn from them?
Andy: Sound recording on location was always an oversight that caused us some problems in post-production. Since then, we've learned that every aspect of the filmmaking process is important.
BG: What were the first three pieces of gear that you bought? Do you still use them?
Andy: Our team has an iMac, a Macbook Pro and 9 GoPros. We had a project that involves climbing and it was really fun to use them. We still use Macs for editing and we are using the GoPros for ‘extreme’ situations.
BG: What are some of the most important pieces of gear you use now?
Andy: We use the Canon DSLR or Blackmagic Pocket camera for shooting very often.
BG: What gear do you wish you had, but hasn’t been created yet?
Andy: We have a long list but here are some:
- A gimbal for a smartphone that can be mounted on a drone.
- Underwater rig for smartphone shooting.
- Built in power source for the rig.
Behind the scenes video from RICE Channel's In Search of Incredible at Sapa.
BG: What is one piece of advice that you would give to an aspiring filmmaker in Asia?
Andy: Be brave. The industry has changed so much and technology has become easily accessible, so if you are passionate and disciplined in practicing your craft, you can do as well or even better than the ‘big boys’ in Hollywood.
Do not be intimidated by studios with expensive gear. Filmmaking is all about telling stories. Keep making films. Practice your craft until you are good at it.
BG: What do you plan to accomplish in the next few years?
Andy: When I started in the industry, I saw really talented filmmakers struggling to make a living, and most of them eventually gave up and did something else. To put it bluntly, I feel that there are some people working professionally in the industry that were never passionate about films - it's all about the money to them.
With that being said, I feel that the barriers have been lifted with technology and social media. I hope that at least now, we can actually give opportunities to the real talented people who are really passionate about the craft of filmmaking.
What I hope to achieve for the RICE channel is to create a platform where all filmmakers can showcase their work and get opportunities to work directly with clients. All our films are credited and I really hope we can grow this model beyond Vietnam and into Southeast Asia. BG