What we learnt from our Tuber-Tusi social sessions

For the past 2 months, we’ve spent our lunchtime every other Wednesday holding social sessions with our sister company Tusitala. These casual gatherings started as a way for all of us to relax, have fun and get to know each other. But playing games and interacting with our colleagues also taught us useful lessons that can be applied to our work.

#1: Creativity is key

We’ve played some drawing games during these sessions. They were fun yet challenging, since most of us are not artistically inclined. But it was also a chance to exercise our creativity. We found other ways to communicate our chosen word or scenario – whether it meant using more colours, speech bubbles or lots of circles and arrows.

My first instinct is to choose the easiest word to draw in the shortest time. However, the easiest word to draw does not mean it’s easier to guess. Hence, the importance of word choice coupled with the use of other techniques (e.g., using different colours and drawing tools, etc) for clarity is key to winning the game.

Skribbl has been fun and challenging in equal measure. Fun because I like the friendly competition and challenging because I’m not good at drawing, which makes it harder for others to guess what I’m putting across. But I have also come to appreciate how we are a team of creative thinkers – especially when we manage to guess each other’s peculiarly drawn words.

#2: Sometimes, simple is best

The bonding activities during these sessions were always kept simple. Most times, we kept to using a video platform and an online game. One session, to play a game of 2 Truths 1 Lie, all we used was paper, Powerpoint and the video platform’s poll function. As it turned out, these tools alone were enough. Free from overly complicated activities or agendas, we had the space to forge organic connections with our Tusi colleagues.

It was pretty interesting and fun to get to know one another through mini games like Skribbl and 2 Truths 1 Lie. It was also pretty interesting that through these games, we’re able to understand that we all have different perspectives and experiences that shaped who we are today.

It was nice how we were able to bond so easily over simple activities like a drawing game. I realised that it doesn’t take much to connect with people – all you need is initiative and an open mind.

When we played Garticphone, messing up meant more fun for everyone.

#3: Mistakes are good

Things didn’t always go as planned during the drawing games. Sometimes, we weren’t able to draw the prompt correctly, or misinterpreted it. But these were also some of the most entertaining moments in the sessions, because none of us were able to predict that the game would turn out this way.

It was my first time playing Garticphone, and I also found it super cute that the people at work made time to have some fun and bond. Some of the interpretations and drawings were so off-topic that I cried laughing – luckily, I was muted. I’m secretly quite noisy, hehe.
#4: Connection comes first

Many of us in Tuber are introverts – but surprisingly, we were all more vocal during the social sessions. Perhaps it was the fact that we were separated by a computer screen, or that the atmosphere was casual and welcoming. Either way, we realised that we enjoyed getting to know our Tusi colleagues, and felt comfortable socialising on a virtual platform.

Wei Ping­
It’s nice to see the fun side of my team members as well as making friends with other members outside of Tuber. Interestingly, it appears that we are more open to talking about ourselves on a virtual space than when we meet in person.

It was a nice bit of fun to get to know one another a little better through the games.

Playing and winning games is fun but for me, virtual socialising is best when we can see and learn a little bit more about one another. The chats on the side are always interesting too.

Even though we haven’t been doing the social sessions for very long, interacting with our colleagues in a casual setting allowed us to see each other – and the work we do – in a new way. Someday, we may return to the office and these sessions may end, but the lessons we’ve learnt from them will surely stick with us.

Illustration by: Xinyi

Podcast recording guide

Thinking about starting your own podcast but are not sure where to begin? Don’t fret. Tuber recently started making podcasts and here are our tips on how to make sure your recording experience is a pleasant one.

Where to record

If you do not have recording equipment and do not wish to purchase them, there are a number of recording studios you can book a slot at to put your content together. One option is The Hive Studios Singapore, which is centrally located between Bendemeer and Lavender MRT stations.

The recording process

In a quiet recording studio, the mics will pick up virtually any unwanted sound. These sounds can be distracting during playback and may be difficult to edit out from the final clip without compromising a speaker’s voice and/or content. For this reason, here are some things you would need to take note of:

1. The set up

    • Conduct audio checks prior to recording to ensure audio levels are satisfactory (to minimise the need for adjustments in post-production). Place mics at a comfortable distance away from your speakers to prevent them from accidentally hitting them, especially if a speaker gets animated
    • Do not adjust the mics once recording starts

2. During recording

    • Avoid hitting/tapping the table while speaking
    • Make sure phones and devices are on silent mode (not just on vibration mode as the sound of the vibration could be picked up)
    • If you need a sip of water or adjust your mask, face away from the mic. Similarly, avoid sniffling, lip smacking/licking or other “mouth sounds”, or breathing too hard into the mic fumbling or losing your train of thought is normal; stop, pause for a bit, and pick up from there

3. For easier editing

    • Where there is more than one interviewee, consider using hand gestures (raise a hand or wave, etc) to indicate you would like to speak instead of verbalising it (this is to prevent speakers from talking over one another)
    • Allow for a short pause after a speaker finishes what they have to say (it would make for easier editing where necessary)

Abbreviations and acronyms

If you’re making a reference to something in an abbreviated form, say it out in full during the first mention because listeners might not be familiar with them.

For example, go with “Central Expressway or CTE” at first mention before later referring to it as CTE. The same applies when referring to someone. For example, “Kevin Tan, who’s my colleague/boss from XXX’s YYY division” instead of “my colleague/boss Kevin”.

Granted, some of these things may slip your mind, but do try to observe all of them as far as possible to minimise post-production work. The less of that you have to deal with, the sooner your content can be uploaded to streaming platforms.

Have fun!

Illustration by: Fei

Why WFH turned out to be stressful for our new design intern

I hit the ground running from the time I joined Tuber as a design intern in June 2021. I have helped to design several social media posts such as those for our IG account, @tuberpompipi. The one I enjoyed working on most was “How Tuber stays productive and happy during WFH”. Ironically, working from home (WFH) has been something of a struggle for me.

I am one of those people who started their jobs when WFH was a default arrangement under Singapore’s COVID-19 safety management measures. While some people are comfortable engaging others virtually through platforms like Zoom or Butter, I found having to do so with colleagues I have yet to meet a bit of a challenge. I am not really extroverted, so virtual communication yanks me out of my comfort zone and requires more effort. Thankfully, the team has been really welcoming; they helped dissolve my shyness and boosted my confidence to speak up during our online meets.

They were also the reason I managed to pull off a product Tuber was putting together around the time I joined the company: a newsletter. I have to admit I had no clue about the different aspects to consider in putting together a newsletter. But I had the support of colleagues like Tuber’s Design Director, Fei, and our Senior Project Manager, Jarod, who guided me whenever I encountered almost insurmountable obstacles. I’m proud to say our newsletter, Offshoots, has been launched, and I couldn’t be prouder of our efforts. And I learnt a few things along the way too:

  1. Always put yourself in the shoes of your readers (For example, is the text hard to read?)
  2. Visual hierarchy (Where do you want your audience to look first?)
  3. Do not use more than two fonts in one layout

As I work on other exciting projects at Tuber, I also look forward to experience working as a team in our physical office. It would be nice to finally sit and discuss ideas among people I only know virtually. But until that time comes, I suppose I will get the hang of working from the comfort of my home.

Illustration by: Janessa Aw

What our editorial intern learnt from Bailey, her $5,800 cat

I joined Tuber as an editorial intern in January 2021. Before this, I slaved away at a part-time receptionist job while juggling studies at university – all to save up for the cat of my dreams: A ragdoll. I love dogs too, but I resonate more with cats. And yes, you read that right: he cost $5,800. But he is adorable and has taught me many useful lessons that I applied during my time at Tuber.

Our intern’s cat, Bailey

  1. Stay curious
    Bailey’s hardwired curiosity allows him to make the most out of simple things. It could be the swooshing sound of a plastic bag, a motionless lizard or even a piece of paper. At Tuber, casual chats about the weather, food and music end up being potential story ideas and new social media content. Is going vegan actually better for the environment? Or what makes South Korean boy group BTS so successful and how can we learn from them? The list goes on. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; curiosity taught the cat.
  2. Multi-tasking vs being focused
    As our work from home arrangement continued, I caught myself constantly trying to multi-task. For instance, I would be tempted to do other work while listening to a Zoom meeting. Bailey, on the other hand, always concentrates on one thing at a time. When it’s time to eat, he focuses on eating until his dish is clean. I learnt that half-focusing is not effective. Now, I prioritise my assignments and give my full attention to one task before moving on to the next, which works a lot better for me.
  3. Rest is important
    Bailey may spend about 16 hours a day sleeping; when he’s awake, he becomes the most alert and active creature. Getting enough sleep and rest keeps our mind and body healthy. I’m thankful that Tuber believes the same and encourages taking short naps for a midday boost. In fact, we were so excited talking about the benefits of catnaps that I got to write an article about it.
  4. Work independently, but not alone
    Felines are independent pets and it is probably the trait I love most about them. Bailey keeps himself entertained, grooms himself after every toilet use and goes to bed on his own accord. During this period of telecommuting, I learnt to work independently. Tuber has inculcated a wonderful work culture that empowers everyone to be self-initiated and to develop our own ideas. Our regular online check-ins also allow us to raise any difficulties we may face.

As much as I learnt from Bailey, it was the people at Tuber that made my internship experience a fruitful one. Despite COVID-19 hovering over us like a stubborn shroud, the team remained a cheerful and forward-looking bunch. If anyone wants to be part of a fun and professional team that loves good food, good reads and good ideas, Tuber is the place to be.

Illustration by: Liew Xinyi

Tuber goes podcasting: Here’s what we learnt

Podcasting is quite common now. So when one of Tuber’s clients wanted in on the action, we jumped at the opportunity. After much brainstorming and fine-tuning, we are proud to announce the podcast went ‘live’ on June 24. Having worked in radio news at the start of my career, a podcast was somewhat familiar territory. After all, all you need is a host, interviewees, a list of questions, mikes and easy-to-use software for editing and uploading purposes. Provided you already have access to a recording studio, which we did not. Our team scoured several sites before settling on The Hive Studios. They have a fully equipped studio that supports recording and editing content. There is an on-site café as well, which we found most useful especially when working on back-to-back recordings in a single day.

The Hive Studio’s recording room

While we searched for a suitable studio, our team concurrently liaised with our client to decide who would host the podcast and finalise a possible list of interviewees. This involved a lot of scheduling among various parties, who were generally very accommodating. Possibly the only complication we faced was the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) COVID-19 restrictions that came into force on May 16, 2021. Thankfully, we managed to finish all our recordings without breaching any rules. The real challenge came during post-production. Generally, words and phrases like “you know”, “right”, “um”, audible breathing, and other “mouth sounds” and background noise can be distracting and would be snipped. But we also wanted the conversation to flow as naturally as possible, which is something our art director had to keep in mind as he made the edits. There was also the need to ensure audio levels for all the speakers were fairly consistent to avoid a situation where one person sounds as if they were talking over the other.

The Challenge Podcast’s host, Douglas O’Loughlin (left), speaks to seasoned podcaster Rovik Robert in our first recording session held before COVID-19 restrictions were announced in mid-May 2021.

While podcasting is a largely auditory endeavour, other elements cannot be understated. The creative process in putting together a podcast also includes album art and music for branding purposes. In addition, each episode requires short notes that serve as synopses on platforms that host podcasts. Our editorial team also polished transcripts of the conversations so they could be uploaded to the client’s website. There are considerations too for images and blog posts for social media accounts, so that the podcast could potentially reach a wider audience. Which brings us to another important point: Strategy. What are the themes we aim to cover for our target audience? How do we plan to increase listenership? How do we collate feedback? All this information goes a long way in determining the trajectory of the podcast as we plan more interviews and topics. So do give us a listen here (in case you missed it above) and share your thoughts.

Illustration by: Liew Xinyi

Adding colour: How our design intern went beyond her comfort zone for a client’s project

When I was tasked with this project to create an animation targeted at children, I was hesitant as I’m not the best with kids. Another thing I was worried about was having to work with bright colours as desaturated and muted colours are my go to. To immerse myself in the assignment, I re-watched a few cartoon series that I loved as a child. Charlie & Lola became the core inspiration for this task. I also had a good scroll on Pinterest and Bookdepository to study the design of children book covers to apply suitable themes in my animation.

Syaf’s character designs during the storyboarding process

Having to create a 7-8 minute animation for the first time felt daunting. Learning to destress and care for my mental well-being was important as the animation process can get mind-numbing at times. This is especially when there are mistakes within certain frames and I would have to amend them individually. Because of that, I was often burnt out after a productive day of editing. But I paced myself, and I would get back on my feet soon after.

Syaf’s final characters and their individual roles

After a few rounds of amendments, it was very satisfying to see the many hours of drawing come to life. Compared to my school projects, this new experience at Tuber gave me control over many significant aspects, such as the art direction, colour scheme and character design. An important takeaway was learning to find the middle ground between using my preferred art style and one that caters to the client and the audience.

My favourite part in this journey was having the opportunity to witness the voice recording process. I’ve always been curious about sound design and voice acting. So of course, I was mesmerised by everything during those hours in the studio.

Illustration by: Liew Xinyi

We grow

good work

© Tuber 2021

A Potato Productions Company

284 River Valley Road
#01-01 Singapore 238325

+65 6836 4031

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