Wong Fu Productions have been to Kuala Lumpur so many times, it’s hard to fathom what’s stopping anyone from giving them a Malaysian PR status yet. Oddly, between their first and second visit to Malaysia, we didn’t hear or see a peep of Philip Wang and Wesley Chan for 2 whole years. All of a sudden, we’re seeing them twice in the span of 6 months – what?!
In case you missed it, Phil and Wes were in town in December last year as part of Hotlink’s inaugural OHHSOME fest, said to be “Malaysia’s biggest social media festival”. If you missed OOHSOME fest, we’ve got an exclusive interview with them here.
But I digress! As you might’ve already heard, they were back in Kuala Lumpur over the #ReachOut2015 weekend. If you missed both the OHHSOME fest as well as the #ReachOut2015 event, what..why?
Fret not 😉
I managed to get them to take a little time off their busy schedules to sit down for a quick interview! I’ll be honest and say that before I even started asking my questions, Wes quipped, “I have a question, I have a question! My question is, at this point, what don’t you know about us?”
Here’s what else went down during my back-to-basics in 5 questions exclusive interview with Wong Fu Productions:
Since its inception back in 2010, Wong Fu Weekends have covered various topics. 5 years on, how do you guys go about choosing topics to feature or things to do?
Wes: So, Wong Fu Weekends is kind of a mystery to us too because we thought the fans would want certain things like really fun and different experiences, right? And not everyday life sort of things? We did stuff like driving tanks or we went to these really wacky museums..
Phil: And go-karts!
Wes: And then it seemed like that the ones that were doing well were actually..the very normal everyday things.
Phil: Like grocery shopping and eating ramen (laughs).
Wes: And doing laundry! Like these things were the things that they actually wanted to see. So when we came back with a new season that contained more of that everyday kind of material, it’s not like that did any better either. Maybe we’re just not as entertaining anymore, I don’t know. We’ve been trying to figure out and gauge what the audience wants and I think they do want just to see us as normal people.
Phil: Yeah, more personality stuff.
I know that picking a favourite out of all your videos would be like picking favourite children so, what if you could pick a video you could fix? Which one would it be?
Wes: Good question!
Phil: I feel like if I don’t remember it, there has to be a reason why!
Phil: I think some of our projects, like, I wouldn’t say that I would want to go back and fix them but it’s more like, I would want to update them. Even like “Nice Guy”, you know, now that we’re 8 years older, I have a different take on that. And I know that..that message from the video is still going out because people are still watching it. It’s not that I disagree with the message but personally, I haven’t updated it so that piece is not as reflective of what or how I feel now.
Wes: I think there are some videos that are misunderstood like the one that I did in London, “A World Away”. I spent a lot of time and energy working on that one and it was very different and I understand that but..maybe to address some of the things that people didn’t understand, maybe I’d want to do that. But at the same time, I’m proud of what it is now so maybe I don’t need to do that, right? One of the worst things I don’t like feeling is being misunderstood and not being able to explain myself – I hate that.
And what do you wish your subscribers knew about what you do?
Phil: Sometimes I’ll read comments and then when a comment says, “I really respect the type of videos that you guys make and the quality of your stories, that’s what makes you guys stand out..out of all of YouTube”, I’m like..I’m glad you get it. I’m glad that you see that we’re different in that sense. It’s not a better or worse thing – it’s just what sets us apart. And so..I wish more people knew that and I think it’s hard because YouTube is becoming younger and younger..we’re not going to be as visible or as funny to say..an 8-year-old who just wants to watch people getting hit in the crotch or whatever. I appreciate when we have more mature audiences that really appreciate what we do.
Wes: If the subscribers knew how many people we’re trying to satisfy at one time, I think that’d answer a lot of questions in terms of like, “Why are you guys doing this?” or “Why haven’t you made this video yet?”. Look at the response that we’re getting or the demands that we’re getting for different content..we’re trying to get to all of them you know, for the most part. But unless if you’re on our side of things, you don’t know what that feels like. We really do want to..first, we want to satisfy what the fans want but also our own creative desires and challenges because we want to keep growing too.
10 years on, how has being part of Wong Fu Productions changed you individually?
Phil: That’s going to be a looong answer.
Wes: I think..I definitely thought about things that I never thought I would..let me think about this one!
Phil: I think it has given me a much better perspective of the consumer world because we’re creators that are creating a product or content for the masses to enjoy..and hate. When I’m on the other end as a consumer, looking at a new product or a new movie or a new song, I’m a lot more lenient I guess because I now know that it took a lot of work and there was probably a lot of thought that went behind their decisions. It’s very easy for me to make quick judgements but it’s not fair. I’ve become a lot more open to a lot of different kinds of art. I’ve become a better consumer by being a creator. And obviously things like traveling the world, that’s something that I’m very grateful Wong Fu Productons have allowed us to do. I never would’ve thought that I would’ve been to Malaysia 4 times now, that’s crazy!
If you could go back in time to sometime in 2004, what would you tell you younger self?
Wes: 2004..we were 20..
Phil: That’s when we first met.
Wes: I’d say..I’d say, “Get ready” (laughs)
Phil: Yeah I was thinking the same (laughs) like, “You are NOT ready for this!”
Wes: But then again at the same time, that sounds very foreboding. I’d say it in a fun way like, “You have NOOO idea..”
Phil: I wouldn’t say anything to warn or want to change something. Like, everything that has happened..happened exactly the way I would’ve wanted them to happen. And if it weren’t for those things, we wouldn’t be where we are today. So I wouldn’t go back and say, “Hey, don’t do this!” or “Hey, you shouldn’t do that!”. I’d say, “Just do what you’re gonna do and enjoy it!”
Okie. Thanks for the chat you guys!
Wes: Good to see you again!
Phil: Cool. Thanks for always looking out for us!
(Featured image from 1M4Youth’s Instagram)