5 Questions: Jennifer Thyme of RockGinger.com

Tuesday 6 October 2009 10:12 am

Q&A with the brains behind the webshow Lumina.

jenniferthyme 5 Questions: Jennifer Thyme of RockGinger.com

With web video being the way to watch TV these days, it’s not too long when shows and movies get launched online to reach the largest audience. Hong Kong’s Jennifer Thyme of RockGinger.com has started the charge with her bi-lingual web series Lumina. We were able to catch the writer/director/producer and gave her the Neonpunch Punch-Up.

You can also see Jennifer and the cast of Lumina in person tomorrow night at the monthly Web 2.0 social mixer meet-up Web Wednesday.

What is Lumina?

LUMINA is a nine part fantasy thriller web series starring JuJu Chan, Michael Chan and Vince Matthew Chung, and is free to view on www.luminaseries.com. The story centers around a lonely young Hong Kong woman who meets a mysterious prince in a mirror – it’s a modern twist on a classic fairytale, and with any good fable, nothing is as it seems. I am the writer, director and producer of LUMINA – and as with any small business, the one who handles everything that comes our way! It’s been a fantastic learning process, and I’ve met so many great people over the last year. As a result of my work on LUMINA, I’m working on another three feature films in the upcoming year (producing two, directing one.) And I’m hoping to secure funding for LUMINA season two while I’m at it!

I have a background in finance and law, but last year, I decided to revitalise a childhood dream – filmmaking. I wanted to apply my unique work experience to create a sensible small business approach to film finance, which traditionally is rather murky, to say the least. I also was an avid MMORPG player (Final Fantasy XI) and I wanted to blend some element of that into my work as well.

What are some of your personal favorite webshows?

  • Wong Fu Productions: Wong Fu is an endearing trio of “nice” Asian American guys who make touching, heartfelt videos. They take cuteness to the next level. My all-time favorite from Wong Fu is “The Spare” which was shot in one day in Hong Kong.
  • condition:human: I’m a big cyberpunk fan, so seeing this micro-budget Bladerunner-esque series was a real treat.
  • Karma Kula: I love action, and this live action martial arts series was made by the Ninjai Gang, a group of stuntpeople, on their free time; they also made the animated series The Little Ninjai. Amazing stuff!

What is the trend for web shows going? Will it replace TV? Will they be easier to watch on our iPhones?

Original content created for the web will keep getting better and broader in range, and it will supplement and eventually become indistinguishable from TV as opposed to outright replace it. There’s a trend towards creating technology that will allow viewers to watch online content on TV (for instance TiVo will show KoldCast web series and Adobe is working on bringing Flash to TV’s), and at the same time there is also a trend to show TV content online (Hulu, which sadly doesn’t work in HK, but has done swimmingly well in the US). At some point, it’ll be more about what content you want to watch instead of where you watch it.

And web series are ideal for watching on the iPhone because they tend to be short! When I went to the recent BarCamp HK and told people about LUMINA, I saw so many people just getting out their iPhones and watching it right away on YouTube. It was incredible – how easy is that? You don’t even have to go home to look it up on your computer, you can immediately check it out as soon as you hear about it.

What are the top 3 gadgets you use daily to live your life in Hong Kong?

  • iPhone 3G: It’s easy to use and it is not heavy. I don’t carry a laptop so I check emails and carry sample film footage around on the iPhone.
  • Cloud computing: This is not really a gadget but it’s indispensable to the way I work. I use alot of web based services like Squarespace, Basecamp and Highrise, so I can do my work from pretty much any computer (basically I can use everyone else’s gadgets! haha).
  • Canon EOS 20D with prime lenses: I adore taking photos and prime lenses are lighter than zooms and make really gorgeous pictures. I have been so tempted to replace this camera with a Mark II though.

Where do you go shopping for gadgets for yourself?

  • Hong Kong: Wan Chai computer center, but I usually go when I need something specific as opposed to going to browse.
  • USA: Best Buy, CompUSA, the Apple Store… this is when I do alot of browsing and playing.
  • Online: www.red.com – I’m definitely getting the Scarlet when it comes out (expected end of 2009/early 2010). The Scarlet is going to raise the bar of web video and micro-budget independent film – the technology needed to make beautiful film-like footage has become almost ludicrously cheap compared to even 5 years ago.
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