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At the end of 2015 I decided I was going to live life to its fullest potential and start really following my dreams, because up until then, I realized I’d spent a lot of my time pleasing people. My work was not what I considered my best because I was constantly compromising and conforming to meet what the client wanted. I had become all about ‘if they pay, they say’ and stopped arguing with them over ‘ugly’ products. Though don’t get me wrong, if they pay, they still say, I’m just more wary of which clients I take on – if they’re not ready to excel, or innovative, I’m not about that life.

But before I made that decision, it ate at me. I looked at some of my past work and remembered the high I got from being true to my inner spirit – the spirit that some times runs wild but appreciates nice looking things!

2016 was going to be about me, and doing things that I wanted to do, throwing caution to the wind! Or so I thought.

Herstory bts

January 2016 I decided to embark on a passion project. Before I could even get started, we suddenly had more work than expected – Q1 is usually very slow, with things only really picking up around April/May.

While I was counting our blessings, I was also wondering what would happen to my passion project, pushing it to the back of my mind, ‘we’re too busy’, I told myself.

And then a friend of mine said ‘you’re scared.’ I was going to protest, instead I walked away annoyed by the comment – do I look like I get scared?! But deep down, I knew she was right.

I had minor panic attacks worrying about whether it would work or not, I reached out to several friends and people I knew in the industry who I felt had more experience than me for advise. Some came back, most didn’t. I focused on that. If I couldn’t get the help from these people, how on earth did I expect to make this work, what would I do?

But I also had so many supportive people in my corner – people I didn’t even know where there, including some incredible women who I am beginning to believe God brought us together for a reason.

Yet there was still a lot of back and forth on my part. First I was scared it would be lame – I’m not about mediocre. That thought was spoken by someone in my inner circle – ‘you are not the type of person to allow mediocrity, why would it be now?’

Of course I could point to many a times I thought I was involved in mediocrity, though it wasn’t of my doing so, fair point.

I had a1001 excuses not to do it. After awhile I realized that my fear was not of just being mediocre but actually of doing a good job. It seems weird to have such a fear but there is just a much pressure with being good and maintaining or exceeding!

And on my mum’s birthday I decided to bite the bullet and just do it! It seemed fitting to do it on her birthday – she is an extraordinary woman to me, so good time to ‘jump’.

It was a great experience! Ok it was running late – another story. But when it was done, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t freaked out, only messed up my lines once. It was awesome.

I might not use it – despite me appreciating I don’t have to be fantastic all the time, it can be better so why not do better?

The important thing for me was to let go of the fear and listen to my truth, and follow that truth – good things await those who are true to themselves!

It may not be the dream exactly, but it’s a step closer, without doing this, I would have been so much further from all I imagine for my life. And that’s what’s the most important thing.

Coming soon…

after the show

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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…

My first TV series since leaving MTV is about to hit Zambian screens tomorrow night. I’m feeling excited, anxious, and apprehensive about it. I am proud of the work the people involved put in to make it happen, but I don’t by any stretch believe it’s the best it could be – for many reasons.

love games flyer

I am fiercely critical of my work, that is true, but I do think it we’re to continue learning and improving we have to be critical of what we put out – hold a mirror to whatever we do and ask, ‘How will I do this differently next time?’

With social media it’s also means that I get to ‘hear’ the audience views on the show – what better way to get an honest opinion? But there’s also a lot of people who stroke your ego on your twitter and facebook, so those people I need to be wary of!

It’s not like I’m looking for people to tell me the negatives – not at all. But I really do see some people on twitter giving people false confidence. Misguided support could end up affecting your career in the end. I don’t want negative for the sake of being negative either, but honest feedback is always useful.

I do like the show and it definitely gets better with every episode and season 2 is just explosive! And as with all funded programmes there were some things out of our control (not that I’m making excuses), but I still think that it will help change the game for what audiences can demand to see on our local screens that are still being true to Zambian content.

Anyway, I guess we’ll see what tomorrow night brings on twitter!

I’m so proud of the work we’re doing right now at Media 365. It’s not easy but it is testament that if you work hard, use your resources wisely, there is no reason we can’t make quality programming in Zambia for a Zambian audience. I believe the Mulange One on One series is one those examples.
Our client CSH wanted to do a series of public service announcements to address their campaign focus areas on key drivers of HIV in Zambia, including low and inconsistent condom use, multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships, and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. Our research showed that people were aware of all these issues they just didn’t necessarily know what to do about them, how they could reduce their risk in the face of these issues.

With Mulange we came up with the concept of ‘show me how’, so using each spot to provide practical steps that people could follow, whether it was how to ask your partner to use a condom, or how to take an HIV test.

I’m really proud of the outcome, these spots are currently airing on ZNBC (national broadcaster) and Muvi TV. You can see all of them on the Safe Love site but I wanted to share one of them with you. This one is talking to the females on how to ask their partner to use a condom, Zee, an actress from Club Risky Business and one of the leading ladies in our new drama series, is the star of this one.

Let me know what you think of it!

How to Ask Your Partner to Use a Condom (Women) from Media365 on Vimeo.

‘>Mulange One on One How to Ask Your Partner to Use a Condom (women)