Meet Fon Tatchaya (@monsterfon)
There’s more to your favourite YouTube program than meets the eye. From pre-production to post-production, it takes a village to deliver just 20 minutes of entertainment. In fact, whether it’s a comedy, travel or sex ed show, there’s a high chance the person behind it is Fon Tatchaya. Her dream was to become the creative everyone wanted to hire … now she’s the entertainment industry’s hottest creative/producer of the moment. Read on for a behind-the-scenes exclusive.
|| How It All Began ||
Please share your background.
Since I was young, I always liked to draw. From the moment I realized this was my joy, I didn’t care about any other option.
Even though my parents weren’t supportive about it, I applied for a vocational school to specialize in fine arts. At university level, I studied commercial arts and have worked in the creative field ever since.
Before my first job, I did a lot of internships. Internships were important for me because at each internship, it forced me to visualize myself in the actual job and think:
Is this for me? Can I wake up every day to do this job?
I found out early on that advertising agencies and publishing houses were not for me.
My first real job was a creative at Channel V. Actually, my top choice was to work at a radio station, but I pressed the wrong button so the lift took me to Channel V’s office. At the time I felt taken back by Channel V. It felt so grand and prestigious, but I sent my application anyway and got the job.
Did you feel Channel V was beyond your reach at the time?
I never think that anything is beyond my reach. Whether you’re a good fit for the job or not, let them decide. Don’t sell yourself short. If you’re not the right person, the worst that could happen is they’ll find someone to replace you.
What key skills did you gain from each job that you’re grateful for?
At Channel V, I had to do everything so I learnt the full loop of how to run a show. Back then, everything was live so I had to learn how to solve problems quickly on the spot. This is the most important skill I gained.
Moving on to GMM Grammy, the scale was much bigger. Working in a larger ecosystem with more people and various processes made me have to step up another level to keep up.
Next I worked on a celebrity-focused show under GMM called “Whan Klao Jao Jiaw” (หวานเกล้าจ๊าวเจี๊ยว). This was a short stint but it taught me a lot about people management. This show was challenging for me because I wasn’t used to talking to celebrities. At Channel V I only talked to artists, so the conversation topics had the same pattern e.g. their music, their promotions etc. However, with celebrities, you have to do your research on their backgrounds and handle different managers who have different working styles.
Lastly, I worked at the talk show “Woody Gerd Ma Kui” (วู้ดดี้ เกิดมาคุย). This was a new experience because I’ve never done talk shows before and P’Woody is a great mentor.
|| Behind the Scenes with Fon ||
You’ve explored various types of shows, many which have gained a lot of popularity. What’s the secret to creating a good show?
It’s a combination of many different factors, so there’s no single recipe. The way I make shows, there’s 2 types:
Type 1: This is when celebrities come to me saying:
“Hey, I want to have my own show.”
We then base the show on the celeb’s interests and personality.
Type 2: This is when I cast specific celebrities in specific shows.
I usually have a bank of concept ideas in my head. In these cases, we know that the show would need certain characters and dynamics, so we would find the right celebrity to fit this show.
Can you tell us more about writing scripts and the preparation process?
Whether it’s an online program or a concert, artists don’t just say whatever they feel like.
Before a show, I usually sit with the artists and listen to their personal stories. This is the starting point for the script I create for them. What’s more, I can’t just create one script and that’s it - I have to create multiple options as back-up plans too.
Preparation doesn’t stop with the script either. The execution is also super important. During our practices, I have to guide them on how to say certain things e.g. you have you use this tone, emphasize this word, pause here etc. It’s really an art form.
On the day of the show, we have to closely monitor the audience’s reactions too. If the audience doesn’t react the way we expect, our back-up plans are ready to go at that moment.
You’ve always worked behind the scenes, but your character is very outgoing and extroverted - have you ever considered a role in front of the camera?
I never want to say no to anything. Just go with the flow, let things happen naturally. But one thing’s for sure, I can never part from the behind-the-scenes work because that’s my real passion.
You’ve mentioned in other interviews that your success today comes from a lot of self-reflection. Realistically, there’s so much to think about; what are some tips for self-reflection?
Firstly, I never pressure myself with other people’s expectations.
Secondly, if I ask myself, “What do I like?” - the answer is never deep. It’s just the first thing that pops into my mind, at that moment. It could be scuba diving, motorcycles, baking, who knows.
Try switching hobbies every year to discover yourself more. Just because you liked something this year, doesn’t mean you have to commit to it forever. It could just be something you’ve wanted to try or a skill that you wanted to gain.
Self-reflection isn’t about living inside your head. You have to go out and try things to know if you like them or not. You can just keep exploring and maybe one day it will click. Who knows?
Lastly, when you ask yourself:
What do I want my future to be like?
How should I live my life?
What are my true passions?
You don’t need to have all the answers yet. Don’t stress if you can’t answer instantly. If you don’t have an answer yet, then so be it. Just keep exploring. Every activity can inspire us, even just by sipping tea on a rainy day.
You’ve already achieved your dream of becoming one of the best creatives out there, now what’s next?
There’s a lot of pressure that comes with that title, but at the end of the day I think I want to leave some sort of legacy behind. I probably won’t save the world or anything like that, I just hope to have a positive impact on those around me and for the generations to come.
|| Up Close & Personal ||
Many years ago, you said your dream was to become “the best creative ever”. How have you managed to stay on track all these years?
I tell everyone to find a friend who’ll constantly remind you about your dreams - you have to help each other and keep each other in check.
Sometimes we live our lives day by day and forget about our bigger goals. It happens. But at certain moments, we should ask ourselves:
What is my dream right now? Am I closer to it than before?
We don’t have to be 100% on track, but are we in that sort of zone? That’s why we need someone to remind us of the things we wanted to do or intended to do.
Your schedule seems pretty chaotic. Where do you get all the energy from? What drives you?
What drives me is I don’t want to miss a single moment of happiness. I want to go, go, go!
Knowing I have good intentions, having supportive relationships, eating good food, and traveling the world gives me energy to live life to the fullest. I gather all the good vibes and spread it - positive vibes come from the inside.
Advice for the new younger generation?
You’re like a product on a shelf. If you’re special, you get to be in front. If you’re not, you’ll be put at the back. Everyone wants to be chosen, but it takes time and there’s a lot of factors involved.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you like yet or what your true calling is. Don’t become too obsessed about it. Go out and live your life! Build your strengths, connect with new people, find new experiences, learn new skills. Make the most out of your youth!
How do you handle the sad moments in your life?
When I’m down, I’ll be stressed for a bit, but then I think:
So what? What can I do? What's next?
I don’t tie a lot of meaning to sad moments or mean comments. I try my best every day and if there’s ever a low moment, I think of the possible solutions.
In your own words, what is love?
Real love is accepting each other as we are. We both may not be perfect, but we always support each other in every possible way.
There’s this one time when my friend came to pick me up to go out drinking. My sweet husband packed my bags for me and said “Good luck, have fun!”. [laughs] All my friends were confused and impressed at the same time.
Everything is driven by good energy and we do our best in every moment.