In The Passenger Seat: Jace Tan, Behind Release Your Handbrake

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In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak Featured(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

In this episode of In The Passenger Seat, we have Jace Tan, a local content creator for Release Your Handbrake. He provides a platform for Singaporean drivers to share their passion for cars.

Jace Tan is an individual who understands his craft and is a real one for wanting to provide a platform for car enthusiast to share their stories.

His videos are of quality and you can tell he tries to weave in different ideas into every video. We're delighted to have Jace share more on how he started and the creative vision of his channel.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

May we have a brief introduction?

My name is Jace Tan. I run a local Car YouTube channel called ‘Release Your Handbrake’. I interview car owners and their car stories. I have a corporate training company as well as a video production company.

For the people who don’t know, what car do you own?

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak12(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

I drive a 2011 Mercedes W212 E200. The car is entirely stock.

It offers very good space for a small family like mine. When I drive, I am seldom in a rush to get to my destination. I enjoy the ride. That’s maybe the reason why Mercedes Benz suits me.

How did you fall in love with cars? Tell us more.

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak14(Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons)

When I was around 3 to 4 years of age, I was staying in the kampong with my grandparents (opposite the present day Singapore Expo). We were very poor and water came from the well. There was no fridge or running water. I had a few uncles and aunties staying under the same roof.

One day, one of my favourite uncles found a job as a chauffeur for a Japanese executive. He drove the car back - a 1979 Toyota Crown with square headlights. Inside the seats were wrapped with white fabric.

The boxy shape of the car, its instrument panels and the gadgets mesmerised me. The car was probably one of the earliest Japanese limousines and set the stage for the current day Lexus.

What made you start Release Your Handbrake?

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak15(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

In my training business, I coach and train a lot of people. Many people are stuck in their life and career because of a lack of awareness and have little understanding of their personality. My first book was actually called ‘Release Your Handbrake’.

My idea was to let people know that despite trying to accelerate, they remain at the same spot - hence you need to ‘Release Your Handbrake’. I have since updated the book with another title and I thought the ‘Release Your Handbrake’ name is fitting to this car channel.

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak10

(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

I have met very accomplished people like Dr Tony Tan, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Billionaire Fred Tsao etc. They all have very interesting stories to tell.

At the same time, I am an avid follower of the original version of Petrolicious - where they interview car owners and their car journeys. I thought I could use my expertise from both businesses to produce something similar.

One of the things that I try to do in the interview is to get people to share their vulnerabilities. You don’t get to success without any failures. I want the channel to also help shape the mindset of the viewers that it’s ok to fail. What is important is you stand up and try again.

If one story can help change a person for the better, I think the channel has reached its goal.

You get ‘education’ through ‘entertainment’!

How has the response been thus far?

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak2(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

I post my content to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Different car types and owners have different commanding presences on different platforms.

I get more international viewers from YouTube and more local followings from Facebook and Instagram. The results were beyond my expectations. Viewers enjoy the videos and drop me messages wanting for more.

The growth has been exponential. I guess having good quality interviews with car owners is hard to come by.

My latest video (Paresh Kamani and his 1970 MGB) went viral. It reached 17,000 people with 8,000 views, 100 comments and close to 100 shares. This is incredible considering that this is organic and not a paid reach.

Is there anything else you would like to do for your future videos?

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Yes, apart from car stories, I am expanding to four other different categories: Animated Car History, A day in the life of…, Car Reviews and Car Accessories Reviews.

Animated Car History will provide a historical look into how certain cars evolved over time. ‘A day in the life of…’ will look at people in the industry: from a workshop mechanic to a tow truck driver etc.

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Car Reviews will look at testing cars that people are considering to buy or often wondered about. Car Accessories reviews will look at the quality of car products and whether it lives up the hype?

What’s your creative process when shooting?

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This is an interesting question. When many people see me with a tiny camera, they assume that I am an amateur. They don’t realise that the camera is packed with the latest video technology. And they also don’t realise that I have condense 20 years of experience into a 2 - 3 hour shoot. They think that it’s that simple.

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak9(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

I have also formulated my shoots into a template so that it frees up my time to add additional fireworks like animation, motion graphics etc. That increases the overall entertainment value and engagement. But it still takes another 40 - 50 hours of post-shoot editing to get the final piece out.

Which episode or car was the most memorable? Why?

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak4(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

It’s hard to pick one because I enjoy every moment and interaction with each car owner and their car. It was also an opportunity for me to learn about each car during each shoot.

It was also interesting to see how each owner selects and takes care of their car. I am still in touch with the owners I have interviewed and have built up close friendship with some of them.

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak3(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

Some of these car owners, Kenneth Mark Yong, have been featured on In The Passenger’s Seat before. The videos shared in his article is produced by me.

Do you prefer classic or modern cars? Why?

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak6(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

I was looking for a classic Mercedes SL but function won over style. As a married man and a parent, I think modern cars give you that peace of mind as well as boot space. I also like the comfort provided in a modern car.

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak1(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

My wife is supportive of what I do but practicality is important at this stage of our lives. In the future when our time is freed up, we would get a classic car for the love of the history it brings.

What are your thoughts on the car scene in Singapore? Are there areas of improvement you would like to see for car enthusiasts?

In The Passenger Seat Jace Tan Behind Release Your Handbreak8(Photo Credit: Release Your Handbrake)

The car scene is pretty diverse in Singapore. Everyone can enjoy the car scene if we are able to embrace diversity and inclusiveness. Things get ugly when some people feel self-entitled and start to criticise others.

I think the car trade is a big business in Singapore. Car Associations and media like myself should collaborate instead of compete. We are very divided unlike other countries that I see. We need to change our mindset and loosen up a little.

To stay up to date with Jace, be sure to follow his Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels!

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