Singapore director Jack Neo recently appeared on Quan Yifong’s talk show, Hear U Out, and shared his experiences in the entertainment industry.
He also shed light on the financial constraints behind the filming of his movies, including the Ah Boys to Men franchise.
He said that although there have been criticism on the product placements in his movies, it is inevitable because there isn’t enough money in the budget for such a huge production, and they depend on sponsors to help make the movies feasible.
Touching on the Ah Boys to Men movies, especially the first two films in the franchise, he revealed that they had a meagre $1.5 million to work with on each movie ($3 million for both), and that the expensive sets that features tanks, warfare, rifles, bombs and other vehicles were sponsored by MINDEF.
He added that if a movie cost $1 million to make (for example), they would have to rake in $3 million in the box office just to break even, and that it’s very hard for them to turn a profit, hence the inevitable and undeniable need for sponsors and product placements.
Started his career with SAF
Speaking about his early days in the industry, he reflected on how he signed on as an officer with the SAF during his early days, before being posted to the Music and Drama Company.
It was there that his perchant and talent for scriptwriting was discovered, which eventually led to him joining Mediacorp and linking up with Moses Lim, and eventually roping in Mark Lee and Henry Thia and carving a successful career in movie making, with the trio being at the forefront of some of his most successful works.
He also shared how he hopes more people will support the local movie industry and head to the cinemas to watch movies, with the changing climate on films leaning towards online streaming – the local film industry along with the cinemas are the hardest hit.