Love In The Time of COVID and Beyond – An Interview With Producer Jessy Lee About The Launch of YouTube Channel ‘EyeCandy’
Amongst the many challenges brought by the Coronavirus has been to the love life of many Singaporeans. The Circuit Breaker earlier this year has tested the resilience of relationships, while the suspension of most outdoor activities have made it immensely difficult for many to break out of their single status. Yet, perhaps most importantly is how the pandemic has highlighted the immense importance of support and love – no matter the type – in overcoming adversity.
It is in these challenging times where EyeCandy, a project started by local production house Infidow Pictures, looks to celebrate the highs and lows of the unavoidable emotion. Starting from 30 August, the YouTube channel will be home to entertainment content themed around love. Marking its launch will be the premiere of Blind Love, the channel’s reality show matchmaking singles, with a focus on the prospective lovebirds’ personalities over their looks.
To be followed on the channel are a slew of shows including EyeCandy Pictures, a series of love-themed short films and webisodes that the Sinema team is particularly excited about. We spoke with Jessy Lee, Producer of Infidow Pictures and EyeCandy, to find out more about the channel and what will be in store following its launch.
Why the focus on love and how did the idea for EyeCandy come about?
EyeCandy came about during the difficult time of COVID-19. In Singapore, we noticed a few trends. We noticed couples shared things they took for granted with their significant other. Singles expressing how they wished now more than ever that they have a companion – especially when we were restricted at home [during the Circuit Breaker]. And let’s not forget about our fellow Malaysians who weren’t able to meet their families for months. We also witnessed trying times where businesses were shut down with employees having to be laid off. All these were inspiration to our team that we needed a channel like EyeCandy, dedicated for love.
What is the goal of EyeCandy?
EyeCandy aims to provide a platform promoting love through various creative content. In general, EyeCandy is a channel dedicated to love as we believe that love has indeed been taken for granted. Even though we are kick-starting with [a show about] romance, that will not be the only form of love that we will focus on. There are other series in our pipeline which will cover family, friendship and even, self-love under the big theme of love.
Will there be a content schedule for the channel for viewers to follow?
For now, EyeCandy will be releasing a new episode every Sunday, 9pm. The premiering series on 30 August, 9pm is Blind Love, a reality matchmaking show that we partnered with Singapore’s biggest dating agency, GaiGai. We will be premiering Lovebird the following week, a reality show revolving around a customised card game to enhance understanding between real-life couples in a fun and competitive setting.
We have also launched EyeCandy WhatsApp Sticker Pack featuring our cupid and adorable icons which you can download for free via the Sticker Maker App. Simply follow the link to install the application and the EyeCandy Sticker Pack within it to use these stickers on WhatsApp. The purpose of our stickers are to reflect lifestyle and commonly used words and quotes such as foodie (吃货), menstrual cramps and ‘Bojio’ (never invite).
How has COVID-19 affected the launch of the channel and the production of its content?
There are so much to talk about here but I will just share a few. For one, Blind Love was initially intended for street casting for our participants. We would then bring together these total strangers for a full-day blind date starting from lunch to dinner with two activities in between.
Another series we had to put on hold is Date Me Here. It looks to feature exotic events and to-go places in Singapore. An interesting part about these episodes is with how they will each start with a valuable love lesson related to the event and place, such as how we should never use our phones at a food fair while everyone is still eating.
Understandably, due to COVID-19, many of our partners held back on their budget so we had to put on hold our biggest production, EyeCandy Pictures, which will feature short films and documentaries.
With the show marking the launch of the channel, could you tell us more about ‘Blind Love’?
While different from our original concept for the series, the premiering episode of Blind Love will still share the same sentiment. For safety purposes, we filmed it in a studio. Thus, the series will be titled Blind Love (Studio) for now.
The main objective of Blind Love is to promote love through understanding rather than by being blinded by appearance. It features six eligible and single individuals – three men and three women each from different walks of life. To facilitate the series’s goal, these participants will be wearing a masquerade mask throughout the show.
Each will first do their self-introductions, including a short talent segment if they wish to highlight their traits. This will be followed by a Q&A facilitated by our dating coach from GaiGai, a ‘deal-breaker’ segment, and finally, the matchmaking segment. Only mutually interested participants will be revealing their masks, name and age to each other.
How will Blind Love differentiate itself from similar dating shows such as Love Is Blind?
First of all, BUDGET! Hahaha. We are a small, down-to-earth, non-scripted REALITY production. We don’t make our participants sign any “confidentiality clause” except for the usual production terms, such as having them not share anything on social media until the episode’s premiere.
I did not watch Love Is Blind so I am definitely not one to comment but let’s just be honest that most people these days (at least in Singapore) don’t just get married right away (unless for whatever dramatic purposes…). We hold back because we have so many things to worry about in life besides getting married.
Blind Love is not here solely for entertainment purposes. We are here to share about dating values and love norms as well. We don’t have the “most dramatic ending” because our participants are just normal people like you and me with no commitment to our show. We are more than just another dating show because we truly want the best for our participants and we hope our audience gets a key takeaway on every episode of our show.
How were the participants for Blind Love (Studio) chosen? How can interested singles be on the show?
Interested participants for Blind Love are required to fill up our specifically crafted questionnaire. The only requirement is that they have to be single and available until the filming day. They can download our questionnaire here. Upon filling up the form, they can email it to email@example.com with the subject title [EyeCandy – Blind Love].
If you are a match to the group we are filming, we will call you for multiple follow ups before inviting you to the show. Please don’t ask me about age requirements, race or gender because there ain’t a limit to love. Just be honest in the questionnaire and we will try our best to be your Cupid.
For Lovebird, we also have an online questionnaire. The couple can be dating or married but both partners have to agree to come on the show and fill up the questionnaire. Likewise, if you are shortlisted, our team will contact the couple for further details.
What are the plans for EyeCandy after COVID-19?
After COVID-19, we hope to kick-start the original concept of Blind Love as well as EyeCandy Pictures. Some of the topics and themes we will be tackling and highlighting include the survival of fading art in Singapore and how the younger generation is supporting family traditions. We will also have documentaries related to abandoned elderly and hopefully, folktales of festivals and cultures from around the world.
EyeCandy is spear-headed by Infidow Pictures, a full-fledged production house and creative agency. We welcome any interested partners who wish to work with us via EyeCandy through customise content or partnering series to drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you think Singaporeans are a romantic bunch?
Honestly, it’s not about the nationality or the community but rather personality. Sure enough, how we are raised and our social circle affects us one way or another but in this digital era, everything is out there. If one wants to be romantic, they can search it up online, seek a professional agency for planning or even get themselves a coach for advice.
However, to answer your question, the most romantic thing that I often see in Singapore is wrinkled hands of elderly couples intertwined with each other while walking. It may not be the biggest thing but if one day when I am 60 and someone is still holding my hands that tight, it will be the most romantic thing.
The channel will kick start with the first episode of Blind Love tomorrow, 30 August at 9pm. In the meanwhile, check out the show’s teaser below:
(Banner image credit: @eyecandychannel on Instagram)
– Bringing a Film Festival Online in the Pandemic Era – An Interview With Nicholas Chee, Festival Co-Director of SeaShorts Film Festival 2020
– A Love Letter to Romance Films
– Spurring Singaporeans to #StayHomeForSG – An Interview With Producer Jessy Lee and Actor Shrey Bhargava