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Time flies! I can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I last blogged, just been so hectic. I feel like I say this every time I blog! Time moves on and so much happens, good and bad.

Season two of Love Games is finally being broadcast, which is great! I’m really excited about season two. I went back and forth on this season, it was a hard one for us as it’s the last season of the show, so it’s pretty heavy. We learned a lot from producing season one, so season two is the result of all these learnings, so I’m super proud of that.

I can’t even begin to discussing the difference between shooting season one and season two. The sleepless nights I faced during season one, weren’t there in two! But it came from the experience. I think even the crew who worked on both seasons can say this. And that’s something that I’m big on – constant learning. We can’t sit on our laurels and say ‘it’s good enough, therefore I don’t need to learn any more.’ And it’s also important to listen to the critics (not the haters, the critics), listen to it, take it in, and do what needs to be done. I don’t believe in listening to the negativity that makes you beat yourself up, but honestly dissect it and say, does that add value? And if it does, take it on board.

You can never please everyone, you have to ensure that you are happy first and foremost. Because you have to live with your decisions and your work is your legacy after all, if that’s your calling card, are you 100% happy with it? If so, then don’t sweat it. But if you’re not, then keep it 100 and do something about it.

But Love Games has come to an end and there are lots of changes at Media 365, which at first had me in serious worry mode, but then I remembered my motto ‘start with the end in mind’. I had to check myself to remember where this journey is going to end, and that excited me again. We’re fighters, we don’t stay down for long!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that apart from business, the next thing I’m passionate about is empowering women. I’m so pro-women that it hearts my heart when I hear about other women not supporting each other, and I’ve seen it in practice, so I’m not foolish enough to claim it’s just a man-made thing to keep us women down (but it’s tempting to say it!), but I’ve also seen amazing women that support each other. This is no truer than in Octavia Goredema.

Twenty Ten Club logo

I get so proud when I look at the strong women in my life and their trailblazing success. Octavia is one such woman. She started the Twenty Ten Club in London to inspire and connect with like minded black business woman to get them to reach their true potential and grow their businesses. When I started running Media 365 a couple of years ago, I reached out to Octavia to share with her my own frustrations of not only running a business, but of being a business woman in a country that didn’t necessarily respect women in the first place. I spoke to her of the challenges I found of being taken seriously and finding my space in this male dominated society. And I mused about how great it would be to have a supportive organisation like the Twenty Ten Club.

Little did I know that it was just at that time that Octavia, who had not only received an MBE from the Queen, but had also started another business, while also relocated back to the States, was already toying with the idea of expanding her network into Africa. Talk about the right timing!

Recently, I was honoured to champion the ideals and values of the Twenty Ten Club, by becoming the Chair of the Twenty Ten Club Zambia – the first one in Africa.
On one hand, I worried about where I’d find the time to take this on as well, with everything going on at Media 365, but then I also know that not only will it help me be a better business woman, it also allows me to pursue my other passion – empowering women to achieve the success they deserve.

While there are other networking organisations that connect woman who are climbing up the corporate ladder, or helping them achieve their dreams, there isn’t one that is specifically for business owners. I think as career women, we all have similar ‘issues’ but as business owners we also have specific issues that corporate employees don’t necessarily have. So I thrilled to be taking on this challenge and really hope that I can mirror the success of the Twenty Ten Club in the UK.

I’ll obviously keep you posted! In the meantime, I hope you’re getting your Love Games fix too!

I seem to spend an unhealthy amount of time complaining about the inefficiencies, lack of services, lack of work ethics, and all sorts related to my stay in Zambia. Today I’ve decided to write about some positive experiences – so you know it’s not all bad!

We’re into the 22nd day of shooting Love Games season 2 (only 24 days more to go!) and I’m so excited with how the shoot is going. It looks so good! We also have some new cast that are amazing, and some celeb appearances that I’m also excited about. I would say who now but it might be announced in a leading local paper so I can’t say anything until that deal is concluded (or not). But trust me when I say season 1 has nothing on season 2 – this is the bomb for sure and will really make us proud of what Zambians can achieve if we really put our minds to it.

sandra and michael

Ok, we did get some help from our friends down south. We are still a growing industry and if we really want to compete internationally (or just regionally) we can’t be afraid to ask for some help – it still is a Zambian production.

Also thanks to the success of season 1 we’ve been able to get more businesses interested in coming on board to help out with sponsoring the materials to build and design sets – Handyman’s Paradise, and to help with our own set catering needs we have Eezee Instant Noodles for days! But you can read more about them on the official programme website in a few weeks. But it was interesting that it was still a hard-sell to many other businesses. Even in this months’ Bulletin and Record Love Games has been tagged as must watch TV, (unfortunately it won’t be on air in May), so shows just how popular it is. While productive placements are big business in some mature TV industries (namely the US), sadly Zambia’s marketing tactics are left to traditional and basic advertising tricks, but that’s for another blog!

These two companies coming on board haven’t necessarily save the production budget loads of money but has enabled us to do more – people can work longer with food, and we can get better sets with the availability of the materials! Which all in all add to a better product at the end of the day. I know as a business I should always focus on the bottom line, but I couldn’t in good conscious ignore the end product as well. Love Games has been so well received it only made sense to do it bigger and better – even with the small budget – because the audience and the Media 365 brand deserves as much.

I haven’t been on set as much as I’d like… ok I lie, I’m not of fan of being on set – it can be stressful and long (22 shots and numerous takes later), but I’ve been watching the rushes and I’m excited. Sometimes I worry the storylines are not as ‘fun’ (i.e. no real bandit behaviour) but when I look at how beautiful the sets are, how great the framing is, and just the style of shooting, I’m excited, almost wishing July was here already!

Though we did attempt a skills transference process in season one, in season two it has come together much better, with teams in camera, continuity, sound and post – we even have a new title for someone, Digital Imaging Technician! So far it’s going good – and everyone is learning – it goes both ways doesn’t it?

In season two we’ve brought in a variety of new cast – especially for supporting roles (total number of cast, including leads, supporting and bit roles is coming up to 40! don’t even ask about walk ons and extras!), and have a new lead character, who are all doing an amazing job. I can safely say I’m truly excited about Season 2.

But at the back of my mind I still have to remember that once we wrap this production at the end of July, we need to focus on what the next thing is, as there is no season three of Love Games. Loads of ideas, now just need to find the funds to back it up. I read somewhere on twitter yesterday that Robert Townsend said that running a business was like climbing a mountain. Yup that’s how I feel. But imagine the feeling when you get to the top…