How often do you read newsletters? I am starting this article by imploring you to cultivate the habit of reading through newsletters, if not thoroughly, make out time to scan through them. For Gmail users, Google has made the system smart enough to help you separate and categorize the emails appropriately.
On Friday, November 22 2019, I received a newsletter from She Leads Africa, like they always send their very catchy and interactive newsletters, but this was different, the headline caught my attention ”?Check out this free Film Production Workshop, Olamide”, organized by Capital Square. I have always been interested in film production, cinematography and understanding how the industry works. I also recently had a short film idea, this was a good opportunity to be part of something I have always been interested in. On reading through the newsletter, I saw the name MAYOWA OLUYEBA as the trainer, and it rang a bell, it sounded really familiar, I know this name, I see it on TV, Yes, the series producer of one Africa Magic / MNET’s top TV series, Battleground, which I recently finished binge-watching on Showmax. I was super excited and immediately sent my expression of interest application and eagerly looked forward to learning from the famous Mayowa Oluyeba.
I also couldn’t contain my excitement when I got the email from Capital Square, confirming my participation at the Total Film Production with Mayowa Oluyeba. I thought to myself, this is a really superb way of starting out the year. I began to countdown to the weekend of January 11 and 12, I also cleared my schedule for this. Listening and learning from the feet of Mayowa Oluyeba for 18 hours over the weekend was something to be excited about and anticipate for.
The D-day arrived and all roads led to the Capital Square in Lekki, although, the session was billed to start at 9 am but Lagos happened. The waiting period was an opportunity to network and meet with other participants and also to be in awe of the famous MO, as he is fondly called. The session eventually started with us introducing ourselves and then to the question we have all been waiting to get an answer to. Who is Mayowa Oluyeba?
Mayowa Oluyeba is so many things, but he was kind enough to categorize all he is and does into the following: Non-linear editor, camera operator, producer, broadcast media engineer and many more. You know what they say about people identifying with success right? It was fascinating to hear MO speak of his transition into the media and production space from leaving his banking job to being a crisis photographer to a modelling agent to cameraman to training to be a director and ending up being a producer and now among many other things being Series Producer to 2 of the best TV shows to ever come out of Nigeria and Africa till date, Battleground and Brethren.
I will try to highlight my takeaways from the 2-day session with Mayowa Oluyeba, I thought to do this to help people who didn’t get the opportunity to attend to have a feel and take notes from my experience and also for me to always have something to get back to each time there is a need for it. I had absolute fun discussing the thought process, characters and all the work on the production of Battleground with him too
Just before sharing from my notes, below are topics MO touched on at different points
- Content that sells
- Building your pitch
- Budgeting and funding
- Total production management – pre to post
- Day to day actor management
- Delivery and strike down
DAY ONE RECAP – SATURDAY 11 JANUARY 2020
- If you are passionate about what you do, you will find out that it will align with purpose
- Cultivate the act of letting people know you for one thing
- MO defined content as any idea you breathe LIFE into that has the capacity to attract and engage and audience.
- If you distribute a good idea, the money will drop
- So what kind of content can you create? – Well, you can create content for marketing purpose and content that adds value
- There was a little debate on creating content that sells, a few participants agreed that there are content that sells and others were of the opinion that some content can not be sold. The shocker? MO told us categorically that “ALL CONTENT CAN BE SOLD”. You heard that right! Question is how are you packaging and delivering your content?
- Every idea must go through a process: The Story Development Process
- The story ideation process where writers stay in a secluded place to brainstorm and bring out the myths in a story
- You must identify your myth as the owner of the content. E.g JENIFA
- We also talked about the Elements Of A Pitch. During this session, MO encouraged us to invest in real estate for films as the industry currently lack locations for movie sets. He also told us to always make sure your story is not tied to any face. Always let the story sell itself. In building your pitch, you need to have the following in place:
- The Look and Feel which includes: Pictures (visual approach), Art department and Actors
- We spent a lot of time discussing the importance of the story workshop and the categories of creatives involved: The Head writer, Story editor, Screen editor/script editor, Researcher, Producer and other people the producer sees fits
- We also learnt about the employment process in the movie/series making industry and the hierarchy starting from the Executive Producer, Producer, lines producer directors, crew members down to the actors.
- MO also emphasized the importance of CONTRACTS, make sure the contracts don’t just protect you but the project
- MO walked us through a detailed and standard budget building template.
Day one was very loaded and we talked about a lot of things I didn’t put down in my notes, a lot of emphases was Actor management on set and the ability to be able to think on your feet and on the go as a producer/filmmaker.
DAY TWO RECAP – SUNDAY 12 JANUARY 2020
Day 2 was more of a mentorship session, we also had the opportunity to ask questions about career goals and for those who would like to go into full-time production or want to start a journey in film making industry. Below are the few takeaways from Day 2
- Identify your talents and stick with it
- In preparing for your journey into production, you need wisdom, direction, clarity and boldness to start
- Always try to identify opportunities everywhere you go. On this, Mayowa Olueyba said he was learning from us and identifying opportunities as much as we were from him
- For product placements on your project, put a value on your marketing offering.
I still can’t believe this event wasn’t a paid one, and it all thanks to Capital Square and Mayowa Oluyeba, the level of the knowledge gained is top notch and I am certain the friendships, networks and connections we all left the Total Film Production Workshop with will be put to great use!