We sat down for a quick chat with one of the stars of the new Toggle Originals series LifeSpam, YouTuber Jonathan Cheok from cheokboardstudios, a few days after his “first on-screen lip-to-lip kiss scene” with one of his co-stars, to find out more about his experience filming for the scenes. (Ed’s note: Nope, we’re not revealing who the lucky lady is just yet, you’ll have to check out the upcoming episodes of LifeSpam to find out for yourself!)
However, Jonathan, who plays the gaming-obsessed older brother of Cindy (played by Narelle Kheng from The Sam Willows), a 14-year-old stuck in a 26-year old’s body, only had one word to describe his kiss scenes when asked about them – “wet.”
“To be honest, it was my first onscreen lip-to-lip kiss scene. We met only on the day of the shoot, so there wasn’t much preparation beforehand. During rehearsals, we didn’t actually kiss, we’d just pretend to kiss as we ran through everything with the director. There were two scenes, and we had two to three takes for each scene. It was slightly awkward, of course, but I still had to be professional,” the 32-year-old later elaborated.
To make matters worse, the YouTuber’s character, Kian Boon, or “KillBeast”, as he is known online, isn’t exactly known for his prowess in attracting women, or making good decisions, as can be seen from his willingness to sign away Cindy’s rights to a less-than-reputable energy drink company.
Will everything turn out alright for the two siblings? It’s hard to say…
Jonathan shares his thoughts about all things social and viral, including that one time a fan asked him to sign on her upper thigh. Read on for more!
YouTuber Jonathan plays Killbeast in LifeSpam.
Toggle: How has filming been for you so far?
Jonathan: Tiring, because I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for two days before this, shooting a Mandarin feature film. It’s in Mandarin, so I flew there for two days, filmed in Mandarin, flew back again, did LifeSpam for two days, went back to KL for nine days and filmed in Mandarin again,and now I’m back filming LifeSpam.
If you were to come up with your own “Go Viral Instantly” plan, it’ll be to…
[I’d] probably do a sex tape? Maybe I can just do an extension of my kiss scene in LifeSpam (laughs). No, but seriously, I’ve been doing YouTube for four years, and funnily enough, you never know what will go viral. There are some videos that I really like, where I feel like it’ll hit 1 million views. But it does so poorly instead, and gets like 100,000 views. But the videos that I do for fun, like my Advertisements VS Reality video, they somehow get close to 3 million views. You never really know what people like and how it’ll become viral, but I guess you just have to grab on to trends and do them well.
A trend/object/fad that went viral that you don’t get?
I think when Boomerang started, it was cool, but it became so annoying. Boomerangs are like the problematic child of a video and a picture. You’re repeating an action four times, and it just gets a little too repetitive. People do it to the most random things, like someone smiling or flexing. It just really annoys me.
(Continued on the next page: Jonathan reveals which YouTube video landed him in “trouble” with the authorities, and his thoughts on the local YouTube community!)
A hashtag you wish you could delete off the face of the earth?
This is not really a hashtag, but more of the the people who use a ton of hashtags in their posts, because I kind of want to read it, but I kind of don’t want to do it as well. I used to do it [multiple hashtags] as well, until my friend told me how annoying that was. So now, I try to limit it to two to three hashtags per post. If I’m filming maybe I’ll hashtag, “#shoot, #filming #toggle”. Just, keep it simple, man.
Is there a video that you’ve regretted posting online?
Of course! All the time, man. Sometimes the videos that I post don’t do well, and I’m like “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”
But I mean people like us, YouTubers, vloggers, we have to put our stuff out there, in the open, for everyone to criticise and it’s always hard for us.
There was this one video we did, it was an action-comedy with a nice fight scene. It got like 30,000 views, which is very low by my standards, because I’m averaging about 60,000 to 70,000 views per video. But, a lot of my closer friends privately messaged me and told me that it was their favourite video, and that they liked it a lot. A director from Singapore, Ray Pang also shared my video on Facebook, as he liked it a lot. One director from Australia and two directors of photography from Singapore later commented on the video he shared, saying that it was good, because it was different compared to what YouTubers are doing in Singapore.
Snapchat filter fun with Jonathan.
Do you have any social media habits/ quirks?
I tend to keep my postings in the day, like after lunch or in the evenings. Too early in the day or night is a no-go for me. My YouTube videos come out on Wednesday as well. I know a lot of people do it on Sunday because that’s a good time. But, it’s like when you go to work in the morning, and you take the PIE, everyone else is there as well, and there’s definitely going to be a jam. If you go on Wednesday, however, at a non-peak hour, then nobody’s competing with you.
If you could describe your online persona in one sentence…
Stupid. No, I’m just kidding. I like to think that I’m very punny and witty. I have a lot of people coming up to me and going: ‘I don’t know how your brain works, but you can come up with the wittiest things to say so quickly.’ So in one word, I guess it’ll be a combination of punny and witty, so like… “putty” or “wunny”.
What’s the most outrageous thing a fan or a hater has done to you?
During the YouTube fan festival two years ago, one of my fans asked me to sign on her upper thigh. It’s kind of “out there,” I guess. Not rock star level, but still “out there”.
I’ve also gone to the police station before, for one of my videos, “If We Lived in Ancient Times.” Someone reported the video for being racist to the police, so I had to go down to the station for two hours. But you know, comedy and humour comes out from some of the darkest places, and if you look at the comedians in the US, they talk about race, poverty, the rich, the old and the young. They can talk about basically anything, and people wouldn’t get too offended. But in Singapore, people get so offended and butt hurt over the smallest things.
The police also accepted my reasoning that the video was done for comedic purposes, and it was not racist, so they cleared it to go, and I could re-upload the video, after having to take it down for a week or so while the matter was under investigation.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen an influencer or YouTuber post online?
What’s really ridiculous [to me] is throwing shade at other YouTubers. Singapore is so small, and the community is also small, so everyone knows each other. As the saying goes, “don’t air your dirty laundry out in the open.” I don’t mind if people have shit to say, but don’t stain the YouTube name. It’s already hard dealing with the public’s perception of YouTubers, there’s no need to put someone else down. If you don’t like a person, fine, just don’t work with them, but you don’t have to say shit, or put it out there in public. I just think it’s pointless..
Is there someone that you admire and want to get to know more online?
I started YouTube, because I watched a lot of Asian-American YouTuber Ryan Higa’s (also known as nigahiga) videos back in the day. He’s my idol, in a sense. It doesn’t matter if he follows me or not, but I look up to him, and he’s my role model. Love you Ryan Higa.
Catch the first three episodes of LifeSpam here. New episodes of LifeSpam will be made available from 10am every Wednesday.
The anti-social (media) club: Narelle Kheng