27-year-old Jaze Phua has always been a class clown. So it isn’t a big surprise, really, when we tell you that he’s most well-known now for being the viral filmmaker behind the mirror run challenge, and more recently, this hilarious parody of the Avengers: Endgame trailer.
Last Friday, he was named the One To Watch (title sponsored by Swatch) at the finals party of CLEO’s Most Eligible Bachelors 2019. Read our interview with him here.
So… One To Watch. Are you feeling the pressure already?
Nah, not really. I always have something in the pipelines, some tricks up my sleeve, something that I want to present. I actually can’t wait to share my next project with you guys!
What are you currently doing?
Right now, I’m working on a short film for the National Youth Film Awards. Then I’d be focusing on something for social media. Then I’m going to be prepping for a movie, hopefully I can get investors for that one! I want to put out my first movie by my early thirties.
You’re known for your viral hits. What’s your winning formula?
I actually watch a lot of online videos. I do market research to see what are the upcoming trends, and I ideate using the data I have. You can’t predict if something will go viral, but you can see the pattern. Like for example, for the Avengers parody, I know that it’s going to gain traction because the movie is all people are going to be talking about during that time. But I didn’t expect it to get so big.
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How about One Piece #MirrorRun ? 𝙁𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬 𝙪𝙨 @jazephua & @natsalguod 𝙩𝙤 𝙬𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝 𝙣𝙚𝙭𝙩! Guess who we gonna be for Part 4? If you're ripping this video without permission please at least credit us back well as lotsa of effort has been put by us!! 🙏 #narutomirrorrun #mirrorrunchallenge #naruto #9gag #9gagfunoff #tiktok #tiktokmemes #OnePiece #luffy #Zoro #monkeydluffy #roronoazoro #tiktokfunny #tiktokchina #tiktokjapan #tiktokvideos #kemonochicken #kemonochickensg #tiktokchallenge #ルフィ #ワンピース #ゾロ
Yeah, about that. Even the Russo brothers and Mark Ruffalo talked about your parody. How did that feel?
Really honoured. I look up to the Russo brothers, I love their work and I love Avengers. The fact that they noticed what I did, that was just… mind-blowing. I feel very fortunate, because this has, in a way, given a bit of credibility to what I’m doing. I felt even more motivated after that.
When did you find out about it?
Someone tagged me on Instagram to say that the Russo brothers have reposted it on their Twitter account. I was so shocked. I had just woken up and was just scrolling through Instagram, still half asleep, you know? I literally jumped out of bed. Then I texted my partner-in-crime, Douglas, who shot it with me, and we just… freaked out. Like, our texts were in all caps.
I can imagine, having the directors watch your parody of their work!
We really couldn’t believe that they watched it. The directors of Avengers watched our stupid stuff, and actually called it ‘pure genius’. (laughs) Then we went to watch Endgame, but we couldn’t properly focus on the movie because we just remembered all the stupid things we did to parody certain scenes. We were giggling to ourselves the entire time.
— Russo Brothers (@Russo_Brothers) April 6, 2019
You do realise that if you get run over by a car tomorrow (touch wood), this would be what a lot of people will remember you for?
(laughs) Hey, I’m still proud of my work OK! Even now, I’m still wondering if Robert Downey Jr saw me playing this stupid version of him. (laughs again)
Are you a class clown?
I’ve pretty much always been like this. The only time when I’m serious is when I’m working.
If there were no budget or logistical constraints, what’s something that you really want to do?
(thinks hard) I would make a film that’s a real visual fest. You know? Like I want people to watch it, come out of the cinema and say, “wah that was damn shiok.” I want them to feel like the money they spent on the ticket was worth it, and they’d come back again to watch it one more time.
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Swipe right for sneak peek and BTS of my submission for the National Youth Film Awards (NYFA). I'll be submitting a live action film (which will also feature some animation and matte painting elements) this year, so #fingerscrossed 🤞🏻 *𝘛𝘩𝘦 2𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 3𝘳𝘥 𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘦𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘥𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘴 🖥️* NYFA is the perfect platform to start your journey. Whether you're a live action director, an animator or if you've shot a documentary for a social cause you strongly believe in, join me and send in your work for this year's Awards to scape.sg/nyfa. Hurry, submissions close on 31 May! Who knows, you might just walk away with some really attractive prizes — they're giving out cash, cameras, scholarships, travel opportunities and more! I only began my journey as a filmmaker after graduation as an Animator from NYP's School of Interactive Media (Animation). Knowing the principals of animation is an essential skillset when it comes to filmmaking because it helps me see things in frames and details. Being an animator also enhances my video editing skills, and lets me deliver my vision across as a director. Every filmmaker will eventually develop their own style base on what you've learned, what you've been through and what you like — my style has always been more animatic. The most important thing is to find your style, because that's what makes you stand out. It may take months or even years to figure out what's your style (for me it's years 😅), but all you need to do is to continue creating and eventually you'll find yours. Hope to see your creations very soon! #ScapeNYFA @scapesg #cyberpunk #neonoir #scifi #futurism #cyberpunk2077 #conceptart #digitalart #cybervibe
So we can’t help but notice on Instagram that you have a fan club…
Oh yes, they also came down to support me at the finals party! It was the first time I met them, actually, even though it’s been two years since it started. They’ve asked me to host a fanmeet but… I don’t know, I’m not a celebrity! (smiles sheepishly) But I’m very, very thankful for them. They make me feel so appreciated. It’s so nice to know that there are people who love my stuff. For me, all I wanted to do was to make stuff that makes people laugh.
How do you feel about the title you’ve just won?
Shocked. I felt bad to win alone!
Huh? What do you mean?
Because I was in the striptease team, and everyone really put in so much effort. I wish it could have been a group victory!
Naww, you’re too sweet.
But yeah, thanks for the award, it’s going to motivate me to keep doing stuff, creating better content, and making sure that I am really the one to watch.