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Interview with Willy Tiong (Actor, Chief Executive/Executive Chairman of WL Entertainment and Owner/Executive Chairman of DramaPicks)

DramaPicks Team: Thanks for taking some time out from your busy schedule for this interview. Can you tell us more about yourself?

Willy Tiong: I am primarily an actor, artiste and executive producer from Singapore. I started in the acting industry as a child actor in 2000. Since then, I have taken on acting projects and have been in the media and entertainment for more than 20 years. I hold a Bachelor degree in Engineering with Distinction, Specialist Diploma in Media (Content Production and Management) from Singapore Media Academy and Diploma in Scriptwriting for Film/TV from Hong Kong Film Academy. As an executive producer, I am involved in the business and creative decisions in the making of media and entertainment products and services in area such as film, television and music.I oversee, manage and lead the development of short-term strategies and long-term strategies for WL Entertainment, which was founded in Singapore in 2015.

DramaPicks Team: Can you share with us more about your acting journey?

Willy Tiong: When I was young, I was shy and introverted. To overcome that, my mother encouraged me to join some talent competitions such as story telling which I won awards. Then someone recommended my mother to send me to the acting classes conducted by MediaCorp, Singapore’s National Broadcaster. My mother thought it would help me open up so she sent me there.It was a nine months course where I learnt various vocal and acting techniques.After graduating from the class, I acted and involved in several television and film productions,as well as commercials. I was also given the opportunity to host a television programme in Mandarin. As I grow older, I took on more acting classes and graduated from the Actor Training Class from Singapore Media Academy in 2012.

DramaPicks Team: What are your views on acting?

Willy Tiong: Acting allows me to express feelings that I am not able to under normal situation. There was once I did a clip for a casting. It required me to cry on cue while delivering a pretty long monologue. The direction was that I was supposed to repress my tears and when it came out at some point in the script, I was supposed to wipe it off, smile and pretend nothing happened. And within a short span of time after realizing any attempts at suppressing the tears were futile, I was supposed to let the tears flow freely like a running tap and become teary faced. When the tears finally gushed out, I understood what Tony Leung meant when he said in an interview “And then when I went to TV it all came out; I cried and I wasn't ashamed. The audience thinks it's the character's feelings, but really it's my feelings, all coming out in a rush."

DramaPicks Team: Which actor do you want to work with?

Willy Tiong: Kim Soo Hyun.I see a lot of myself in him and a lot of himself in me. Both of our mothers sent us to acting classes to overcome our shy and introverted personalities when young. I have been following his works since Dream High. From his hard work to his efforts put in each of his acting roles, it is evident that he is passionate and dedicated to the acting craft.I hope to act with him on some acting projects when the time is right.

DramaPicks Team: Why do you start Dramapicks?

Willy Tiong: I started this from scratch during a class at Singapore Media Academy. I was thinking about what problems I want to solve and it just came to me why not do a web portal about drama/films to help people pick good dramas/films to watch since there are so many dramas out there. My vision is for DramaPicks to be the choice platform for drama/film lovers all over the world to showcase which drama they love and so people all around the world can pick which drama to watch. DramaPicks is created by drama/film lovers for drama/film lovers. We want to curate the best of dramas/films around the world and showcase them to the global audience.