Since its inception in 2003, some 190 recipients have been beneficiaries of the MES and gone on to become animators, film and TV directors, game developers, writers and visual effects artists.
Notable MES alumni include Anthony Chen, director of Ilo Ilo, Wong Hock Hian, who was involved in Dreamworks Animation’s “How To Train Your Dragon”, and popular children’s author Adeline Foo, with her best-selling series entitled “The Diary of Amos Lee”.
Recent MES scholars Issac Ting and Sheryl Tan, who received their awards in 2014, now tell us how the programme will help them follow in their predecessors’ illustrious footsteps and achieve their dreams.
Media Education Scholar (co-sponsoring organisation mm2 Entertainment)
Studying: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University
What attracted you to and convinced you to apply for the Media Education Scholarship (MES)?
Issac Ting: Since my primary school days, I have been very interested in interactive media and game design. I would often borrow books covering these concepts from the library, even if I did not understand much of the information contained therein.
I finally made the decision to pursue an education in the arts and the media while serving my National Service as it was something I decided I was really passionate about. And when I came across a BrightSparks article featuring the MES, I decided to give it a shot and apply for the MES – what really ‘hooked’ me was also the chance to work in a notable co-sponsoring organisation. I’m really glad to have Singtel as my sponsoring organisation!
Sheryl Tan: The entertainment industry has always intrigued me, especially in how quickly it moves and changes, and I knew I wanted to challenge myself and be a part of this exciting industry.
After graduating with a Diploma in Communications and Media Management from Temasek Polytechnic, I was searching for a suitable scholarship to further my education. Through BrightSparks, I found the MES and not only was it a perfect match to my educational qualifications and my previous work experience with various media companies, it also offered me the chance to forge a career in the entertainment industry with homegrown film production company mm2 Entertainment.
How have you developed both personally and professionally in your MES journey?
Issac: Handling my various academic and extra-curricular commitments can be very tiring and stressful, but I’ve learnt to prioritise my workload and tackle these challenges at a manageable rate. In addition to taking up a leadership role in school, I find myself constantly motivated to excel in my studies. I am also always learning new things and being exposed to new ideas and concepts, which helps me re-think how I see the world, and I find this process both humbling and enriching.
In my chosen industry, I believe that ‘soft’ skills are just as important as technical skills. Someone once told me, “Companies don’t do business with companies; people do business with people.” I’ve come to realise that if you don’t understand how to interact with people, you won’t understand business.
Sheryl: My growing passion for the entertainment industry has led me to continually challenge myself to seek new experiences, and to continuously expand my skills and networks in this industry. The MES continues to provide me with many opportunities and I am really glad for the strong support that MDA and mm2 Entertainment have given me so far.
Media Education Scholar (co-sponsoring organisation Singtel Group)
Designation: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University
How do you see yourself contributing to the local media scene in future?
Issac: We are already in an era where smartphones are so tightly woven into our lives, and I believe that in the future technology will be more seamlessly meshed with our day-to-day interactions. But ironically, this technology still lacks a convincing human ‘touch’, paradoxical as it may seem, and I feel that interactive media is still in its infancy.
I hope to design technology that can help address this gap and create even more human-like interactions. I look forward to innovating and designing the future, and Singtel would be the perfect place to start learning how to.
Sheryl: I hope to help enhance the media sector, be it in films or in the digital spectrum, and eventually touch and improve the lives of the people in Singapore and around the world. The MES will allow me to gain many invaluable insights into and firsthand opportunities in the media and film production industry, and I’m really excited about it!
As the sponsoring organisation that best matches my calibre and portfolio, mm2 Entertainment represents the essence of our local film industry and I look forward to being part of the team creating and producing films that will eventually reach the international arena.
What words of wisdom would you have for aspiring Media Education Scholars?
Issac: Be well-prepared and well-rehearsed while expecting the unexpected for the MES application interview. You’ll not only have a clearer idea of what to say to the interviewers, you will also feel more confident when doing so.
The desire to learn and work relentlessly is also important. Do not be afraid of trying and learning new things. Last but not least, be humble, there is always something you can learn from everyone.
Sheryl: In today’s world, it’s not all about grades. Your portfolio plays a crucial role in determining whether your MES application will be a decent one or a stellar one. You have to be an all-rounder – never be afraid of trying anything, be it activities or internships.
At the end of the day, remember that nothing comes easy but hard work pays off. Only you get to decide your future and how far you will go to achieve your dreams, your goals and your aspirations. Do not be afraid to try! The journey will always be a rewarding experience!