15 mins with Jonathan Cheok: Cheok him out!



Want a home-grown YouTube star? Meet Jonathan Cheok, the one-man-laughathon behind CheokboardStudios.


It’s just one of the posts from Jonathan Cheok, who’s been producing laugh-out-loud, uniquely Singaporean clips on YouTube under the name CheokboardStudios.


He shares with us about his fans, changing careers and Richard Branson:


1. Are you a full-time YouTuber?

For now I’m doing this on a freelance basis. Because I’m relatively new to the industry, I’m finding my own way. But it’s been a good journey so far as I’ve been getting more and more job enquiries requiring videography services.


2. Why did you choose this as a career path?

I’ve always been interested in photography and in poly scored A for a photography module. So I sort of knew I had an eye for stuff like that. Naturally when I started watching loads of youtube videos I though to myself “hey maybe I can learn how to do this.” I watched a lot of tutorials online and learnt everything myself.


3. What’s your vision for this “job”?

Being able to do what makes me happy. And that is the most important aspect. Ultimately I also would like to make a decent living out of videography and in financial terms I am almost there – but that’s income from corporate jobs, not youtube.


4. Has the local audience been good to you?

The local audience has been absolutely amazing. Besides the occasional hater leaving rude vulgar comments, I must say Singaporeans are very supportive. Plus most of my stuff is very Singaporean, I think a lot of locals can relate to my youtube videos! Huge support also from friends and family and fans too.


5. Are you a one-man show? 

No! I am not a one-man-army. I am a eight-in-one-man army. I generate ideas, I script-write, I cast for people (means begging for friends help to act), I direct, I act, I shoot (cameraman, I edit and I have to market my brand: cheokboardstudios! It’s not an easy job and sometimes it gets tiring. So if anyone out there sees this: come join me if YouTubing or making videos is your passion! *laughs*


6. What about funding?

I basically fund everything myself. As of now I charge pretty low rates as compared to other established big players in the market. By doing small promo videos, clubbing videos, corporate event highlights videos (last time working with corporate event planners Toronto), I can support myself and use all my money to upgrade and buy new equipment. Just this month I upgraded my equipment. I got a new tripod, slider and also won a new Panasonic Lumix DMC GH3 from the local Jteam production’s short film competition.


7. What previous jobs have you been in? Why did you leave?

I was previously in SQ and basically I was just a “high class waiter” and did a job in sales.

Many people dont know but after I left SQ, I participated in Singapore Idol season 3 in 2009 (and was lucky enough to make it through to the top 24 live shows). Didn’t manage to get a breakthrough with MediaCorp (singing or acting) so I decided to try the next best thing after that: YouTube!

I couldn’t be stuck to a desk-bound 9 to 5 job. I am a wanderer.  A curious human being. I cannot be tied up. I have to be free to roam as I please and do what makes me truly happy!

My parents are super supportive. They are the greatest because they have that faith in me. Plus my brother always helps me in my youtube videos, so, my family was super supportive when I left my sales job for this career (if you can consider YouTube a career!).


8. Would you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

I am definitely an entrepreneur. Without me believing in myself and taking that first step of faith I wouldn’t be where I am now. Entrepreneurs are DOERS and I certainly am one. Richard Branson said this and I will always take it with me: Succesful people start before they are ready. And just like my story: I had earned the biggest commission of my career in my sales job so I had $5,000 on my bank at that time. I made a ballsy move by spending it on a camera, a PC and about another $1,000 in equipment and accessories. I just winged it without knowing if I could make it and that forced me to “make things work”.






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