French media exec thrives "in the box'

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As the creative director at Yan TV, the first music-specific TV channel in Vietnam, Jennifer Ravolet said her job is "to tell stories, to give the channel an identity and help people relax."

Her responsibilities include creating the look and the feel of the channel and establishing brand identity of all shows on the air.

"Our mission is to develop a local channel with an international style and local content," she said. Ravolet, who started with Yan TV around three years ago, says her goal is to be a "fusion cook" to take local ingredients and spice them up with some French flair.

Besides creating entertaining programs featuring the hottest music videos and the latest top models, Ravolet tries to spread educational and cultural values through the channel.

As a little girl, Ravolet was fascinated with dark rooms, and grew up wanting to be a director of photography. After she graduated from a high school specializing in the study of cinema and photography in Dijon, France, she studied visual communication in Paris.

Before she came to Vietnam, Ravolet worked in the advertising industry in Paris. "In 2005, during a holiday, I met Henri Hubert, a French creative director at Bao Hoa Company in Vietnam. He invited me to stay to work with him. At first I could not imagine quitting my job in France and coming to Vietnam, but then I changed my mind."

In France, media and fashion students learn about the history of their disciplines in school. But in Vietnam the entertainment and fashion industries are very new and are growing at breakneck speed. The schools have not yet caught up. Often young people have to do their own research and learn by trial and error.

"Because of this, sometimes students are unprepared to work in the industry because they lack so many resources at school," she said.

Ravolet said she enjoys taking interns from schools like RMIT. "It is just like putting a seed into the soil and watering it then leaving it for a while - and then it blooms."

"She has great passion for what she is doing. She loves the movement around her, in her life and her job," said Henri Hubert, the man at Bao Hoa who originally convinced her to come to Vietnam.

Ravolet said living in Vietnam has taught her how to work "in the box."

"In France censorship does not exist. Working in Vietnam, at first I was frustrated but then I realized when I came back to France that the experience of working "˜in the box' helped me a lot. Sometimes working within limits and borders is the best way to push yourself as far as you can."

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