Ex-NOC Ryan Tan Now Runs 2 Creative Firms, Set On Forging Positive Culture Like Playing Games In Office

Overkill & Remake Founder Ryan Tan Says He’s Happier Now

A nondescript centrally-located industrial building, filled with heavy vehicles on the ground floor, houses many notable companies.

Local PC retailer Aftershock calls this place home, and Secretlab did for a time before they moved to their headquarters in Braddell.

And now, Ryan Tan, previously from Night Owl Cinematics (NOC), also calls this building his second home, having moved his two creative companies – Overkill and Remake – here.

Almost a year after the NOC saga erupted in the public consciousness, MS News caught up with the 34-year-old to check on what he’s been up to since.

Desire to make videos pulled Ryan back into creative industry after NOC

The Ryan we met on a warm day in his furnished office appears to be in a better place emotionally than before.

He shared that there was a period last year when he faced death threats and harassment in his direct messages daily. People would stand outside his house and scream at him.

“When everything happened, I lost a lot of friends,” Ryan said. “(It was) really like what you see in dramas — cut off.”

At the time, the creative industry felt like a cruel place, and he thought he had to step aside and focus on his other businesses, such as Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee at Old Airport Road, which he is a co-owner of.

But his love for producing and directing videos would pull him back. Tucking into a bowl of lor mee and making it, he found out, were two completely different things. “I love lor mee, but I don’t like the job scope,” he laughed.

I like making videos and doing funny things, (so) it was like a magnet that slowly dragged me back in.

So, with some of his close friends, he set up his own creative company, Overkill.

Why Overkill? Because clients would always tell Ryan that his video productions were “overkill”.

I like to underpromise and overdeliver… it’s my ethos. If I’m already there, I’ll always do my best.

“But not in terms of studying,” he quipped.

Ryan Tan wants employees to have fun at work every day

Now he’s truly alone, having previously been a co-founder of a company for 10 years, Ryan said he’s free to set Overkill’s company culture the way he likes.

That means no OT-ing — unless it’s to have dinner or play in the office.

“I want to have my own office, and I want to have my staff eager to come to work every day happy,” he emphasised. To Ryan, a happy office is also a creative one.

He also wants to keep the headcount small so there’s no pressure to accept projects he may not want to do. If Ryan thinks the client’s vision isn’t aligned with his, he has the freedom to reject it.

Regardless, having worked in the industry for a long time, he’s kept in close contact with many clients, and it is thanks to them that he’s been able to “restart” his career.

But Overkill isn’t the only company in the office. You may notice that another company, Remake, is also housed within. This company was started with a good friend he made through World of Warcraft.

Being co-founders and avid gamers, they’ll play Overwatch or Dota together after a day of work. “Exactly how I wish my work (life) would be,” he shared.

Contacts stepped in to furnish office

Now, some may be asking, how does Ryan have the money to set up two companies and refurbish an entire office when he publicly said he was “officially broke” in June?

Well, he can thank his contacts and close friends for that.

Many of them stepped in to sponsor the office’s furnishings, which you can view in the office tour video that was recently released.

The boss of Aftershock even offered him a space in the building, which is how they became office neighbours. After stints in Tampines and Mountbatten, the offer ended a months-long search for a centrally-located office with reasonable rent.

Speaking of the office, it is cosy, well-lit, and sometimes feels more like a home with its couches, numerous consoles, and even an arcade machine.

One can imagine just chilling and playing games with colleagues after a day of work there. Again, that’s exactly what Ryan wants.

Regardless, overheads and salaries have to be paid.

He shared recently in The Daily Ketchup podcast that he spends between S$80,000 and S$90,000 monthly on that, and his companies aren’t making enough to break even now. There are also ongoing lawsuits depleting his money.

Wants Overkills to be a “forever business”

It’s fair to say that during the NOC saga, Ryan Tan was at rock bottom. But with the help of his friends who remained – some of whom work with him at Overkill and Remake – he was able to restart his creative career.

While there’s some pressure to pay for overheads and salaries, Ryan has no aspirations to grow beyond what he can handle.

“I want Overkill to be sustainable — it may not be the most profitable, but (I want it) to be a forever business.”

He also has no desire to be a multi-millionaire. At this stage of his life, he’s looking to be content with what he does daily.

While that means fewer fancy dinners and going out in general, Ryan shared that he’s content with what he has, and wishes to create videos he’ll personally enjoy.

Between the good times and the bad, Ryan has seemingly figured out what he wants from his company and life in general.

Above all, he’d like to thank the people who came in for him when he was going through difficult periods, including his girlfriend, clients, and other friends in the industry.

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