From producing videos as a hobby to co-founding Island Boys Collective
Izzraimy shares with us how getting expelled from school turned out to be a blessing in disguise for his video production career.
For most people, receiving an expulsion letter would mean they had reached a dead end. But for 25-year-old Mohammad Izzraimy, getting expelled from school helped open doors for him to chase his dream of being a video producer.
Youth.SG met the humble co-founder of Island Boys Collective, a start-up company that specialises in creative content production, to find out how his interest in video producing evolved to where it is today.
Growing up, Izzraimy (or Izz as his friends would call him) was an introvert. In school, he was known to be an average student with borderline grades.
“Comments on report books were always the standard ‘Izzraimy is a quiet boy who should speak up more’. I hated talking and socialising back then,” he said, sheepishly. The reserved teenager’s interest in video production first sparked off when he decided to document his graduation ceremony in secondary five.
Izzraimy said: “I told my dad that I wanted a camera to record the graduation ceremony. I remembered that he bought me a small camera – those handheld ones. That’s when I started recording videos.”
His newfound zest for video producing contributed to his seamless transition to polytechnic, which he calls the “best phase of [his] life”.
Not only did Izzraimy get to enrol in a media course that he loved, he also felt he could fit in better with his course mates. He socialised more and slowly gained subscribers on his YouTube channel, where he recorded videos for his small clothing business with his brother.
However, things started to go awry in his fourth year, as Izzraimy failed the same non-video production related module thrice.
“I failed a programming module which was completely the opposite of my interest for video production. I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything not video related,” he lamented.
Multiple failures in the module eventually snowballed into an expulsion letter from his school.
Izzraimy’s mother could hardly suppress her rollercoaster of emotions upon discovering his expulsion.
“She kept crying to me when she saw the letter and it made me feel like I failed her,” Izzraimy said.
Despite the unexpected news, his father remained calm and composed, and asked: “What are you going to do now?”
It was in this moment that Izzraimy saw a chance to discover video production paths he had yet to uncover.
“I did feel sad, but I wasn’t beating myself up. I was very motivated because I knew that I had many opportunities, and it was never the end,” he said.
Izzraimy’s expulsion spurred him on to find a part-time job at a sneaker laundry shop, while producing videos as a freelancer for .WAV(Y), a nightclub.
“I told my brother, who is also into production, that we can’t keep polishing shoes for the rest of our lives. We need to start our own collective. It’s time for us to produce our own creative content,” Izzraimy said.
This led the siblings to co-found Island Boys Collective in June 2018.
From there, Izzraimy and the Island Boys worked hard to climb up the ladder of success – producing music, corporate, fashion videos for clients like Hugo Boss, G-SHOCK and HondaJet.
On their first month into the industry under the name Island Boys Collective, the boys landed the opportunity to shoot and direct young rapper Fariz Jabba’s first music video, ‘Ape Sia‘.
A few months ago, the Island Boys were even contacted by Taiwanese actor and singer, Nick Chou.
“Nick Chou paid for our hotel and air tickets to Amsterdam just to shoot videos with him for fun and hang out. That was when I realised that Island Boys had made a mark overseas.” Izzraimy shared.
“The best thing that has ever happened to us is the connections we make with artistes and producers. These connections are priceless because we know that they are at our fingertips for future collaborations,” said Izzraimy.
Despite the struggles and mistakes made along the way, Izzraimy still feels happy about the journey that helped him open up vastly from his “lone-wolf” younger self.
When asked about his future plans, the budding video producer confidently added: “My hope is to expand Island Boys Collective to the whole of Southeast Asia in the future. That’s the ultimate plan.”