When we first started to develop Dream Defenders, we have not much knowledge of IP creations and monetisation. The intention was simple. I wanted to save our crew as they were running out of work. I have invested what Tiny Island has saved over the years into creating the IP.
At that time, some companies were laughing at us for taking such risk without any broadcaster on board. Originally we have a Canadian co producer. It was just bad timing. During that period of time, the new Canadian policy makes it hard for them to get their grant. So eventually we have to break away from the Canadian company and move on by our self.
Back then, we were inexperience. We did not know what to do. The first 9 episodes were rejected when we first pitched to several broadcasters. We failed the Malaysian / Indonesian focus group reviews. Our Anchored US broadcaster (Asia branch office) who originally gave us a letter of intent turned us down.
I was devastated. Each episodes cost us USD$250k to made. After 9 episodes, most people would have given up. For me, it was a difficult decision. I still have confident in the team and believe we will improve as we continue to produce more episodes.
The team worked really hard. We spent time to review what could have gone wrong. When we reached the 10th episode, the team did not let me down. After episode 9, it becomes better and better. Through this process, not only we have gained tremendous knowledge in IP creations. But also in area of developments, monetisation, marketing, strategies and productions. This is possible because we have a team who believes in the same vision. Their passion drives them to kept learning and improving themselves. Eventually we have sold the series to 80 over countries. 5 platforms in the US which includes Hulu, Amazon Prime, Discovery Family, Kabillion, 3net. In Europe it was sold to Super RTL and Planeta Junior. In Asia, we were the only external IP from Asia / Singapore on DreamWorks TV Asia broadcasting across 19 countries.
Dream Defenders helped us build a studio of our dream. It becomes a mission to defend what we believe in.
When we finished producing the series, we have always hope that some day we will produce a feature based on the Dream Defenders IP. It was almost an impossible dream given the situation in Singapore.
In 2017, we finally signed a 10 IP deal with a major China player and also form a JV with a long term Thai partner to work on a trilogy for Dream Defenders targeting both the US and China market.
I know the challenges ahead is not going to be easy. It’s like driving a Toyota vs the Ferrari on the F1 track. If you keep believing and keep pushing yourself, you will eventually reach your dream.
With blessings, on a recent US trip, the Trailer, Story Concept, Artwork have been well received by several key studios in the US. This has been very encouraging. The Animatics and Layout are almost done. We hope this could be a breakthrough from Asia. Opening a new chapter and making history in the industry here. Hope Singapore will relook at the potential of this industry.
The road ahead is going to be very tough. But I am blessed with a team who believes in this dream. Who will keep fighting to defend our dream until we reach the finishing point. This is the Dream Defenders Story.
Whenever I watch this, it reminds us of our struggle and the spirit.