FEAR OF WHAT’S NEXT.
So up until recently I’ve been basically a background guy, doing post production, being sub contracted a sub contracted job for any number of 'big' organisations looking to create multimedia content in the form of adverts or documentaries. Hence confined to the shadows which if I dare say so, suits me well, as long as money enter hand and all. That is until recently.
I directed an advert for a financial institution in Nigeria. And without long story, sub contracted to by a sub contractor. I mean I’m in correspondence with the agency and the organisation’s head of corporate communications (or whatever they’re called) and I get to feel the client’s pulse unfiltered. I’m whining to the agency and calling for the head of the writer because the script is too long and way off the mark, I mean I’m doing things that look like an odd dream two years ago. I’m running edits and waiting for client to send relevant material and feeling like a deadline king, sometimes dragging my feet even when it seems like I’m the only guy on time and then racing like mad to not be seen as complacent. It was a giddy, trippy couple of weeks. From writing and shooting pilots to the final commissioning and what not. Pardon my excitement but it’s my first time. Thing is, project is now done and dusted. And all the excitement has wound down and there is this feeling. I haven’t done any work on let’s say half or a third that scale in the past three weeks and I’m feeling antsy. I want a run at the next thing, maybe not as big, but bold, with me sticking my neck on the line and making choices all the way from shooting to editing. I want to run with camera and gear and build on concepts and ideas with my DOP and the odd crew member with an idea, tackle a script and write extensive notes like an ITK and be confounded by one or two challenges i meet when I come in set and forced into innovative thinking on the spot. I want to do this on this level until it becomes not ordinary, but regular enough, both the challenges, bottlenecks and the victories. I want to work. And then I don’t want to work. Not like I worked last year though.
Apparently there is a need by your regular posse to undermine your efforts so as to keep you ‘grounded’ in the reality of things and underscoring the fact that such jobs are rainbows in your career, seldom seen. Problem is that’s a lie.
Every year I have watched, like any sensible person in media, as content has evolved and tilted in favor of audiovisual media. From pictures and Facebook status updates to videos across all major social network platforms, VOD content and streaming services to how even written communications has evolved — seriously am I the only one overhyping twitter threads ? — and also the democratization of tools to create these kinds of contents means one thing; as opposed to an end or a decline in jobs for professional multimedia creators, it means a greater need for professional involvement in crafting even the simplest looking media, from companies hiring and shelling out cash to professionals to create 'organic' viral videos, flash mob spots or deploying low end technology to create high quality content (like the Modern family episode shot entirely with iPads). No my friends, such jobs are not rainbows in an otherwise bleak looking sky, they are becoming the norm, the desirable practice and our skillsets are up for hire across board, from marketing communications agencies looking to pitch to their clients to businesses desirous of creating content that resonates on a certain frequency with potential customer base, there is a demand. Is there a commensurate renumeration though? All I know is every year I’ve always wanted to earn more. If a new feather or in this case, recognized skillset in my dossier or a high profile job adds to my value, I’m not turning it down, if you can’t deal it’s on you more than it is on me. I’m not trying to earn the same as I earned five years ago as an intern for editing a Nollywood flick. No one would! My passion is also my sole hustle, hence these days I’m inclined to amplify my best work and reduce chances of doing things that’d tank or directly associate with things that devalue me, be it accepting ludicrously stupid fees for post production services or picking up projects just for the money.
So here I am, just a boy looking out into the industry, staring at friends and acquaintances and people I’m yet to meet as well, and people I’d love to stand beside with a project connecting us, saying that I just want to work