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Making Local Content for a Global Market

The word is out there, the world has listened and now we have their attention! Nigeria’s content is getting the buzz it deserves, but has it not always?

What do we mean when we refer to an “international” content format? What are the elements that make for content that can be distributed globally without hassle?

Story Story…

There is no gain saying that all great content begins with a good story. I would have said “great story”, but we are in the business of creating art that is subjective; and audiences cannot be put in a box of our own making and forced to applaud that which is put in front of them.

Audiences will always remain the most important consideration when creating content, they are the consumers of the product and the more people you have consuming and demanding a product, the more commercial it is said to be.

That said, storytelling is about making emotional connections and must be contextually authentic in the way that is made. If it doesn’t resonate, then it cannot be said to be viable locally, not to talk about it going global.

But, this again is a subjective opinion. Many would still make the argument that there is a sea of humanity out that and that all art is valid. While this is true, my focus is on commercially viable content.

Money or Nah?

Do you want to make content, or do you want to make money?

I have been in a lot of summits and TV/Film conferences, and a majority of content owners want to make money from their materials. These days, owners also want to ensure that it is paid for in dollars. Why then won’t local content be bought by international platforms?

I have spoken a little about storytelling, so I am just going to move on to other areas of putting together content that speaks to a global audience. Next, I think would be how the story is told. The director is one third of the three-part journey a story must make before it is served.

The writer has done his or her part, and passes on to the director who must write the story in pictures. He or she must do so with the Director of Photography. Specific directors are good for particular types of stories, and it is important to match the right director with the right stories.

Processing

Then, there is the process that births the content. It is this process that feeds into the production value…that creates the overall look and feel. Process is something we do not do very well in this market.

We have a starting point and know where we want to arrive at, it is the “how” that results in content that has bad costuming, horrible casting, cringe-worthy performances, unforgivable sound, and environments that do not in any way connect with the story line.

Failure to hire a Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) who will ensure that the footage captured during principal photography has the right digital DNA; which will make it possible to deliver the content to multiple broadcasting platforms that will ingest it without ‘wahala’ is also a critical issue.

This speaks to investing in the right set of skills required to deliver, unit by unit; the production that will sit at the top of the pile.

Sound Check

Let’s talk about sound for a minute. I think, after bad storytelling, horrible sound is another thing our content is known for. Why have we refused to improve on this very important aspect of content creation? Because you can hear it, doesn’t mean it is good quality.

We need to also learn to create M&E* tracks for our content, this increases the sales and production value of said content. Simply put; all audio that will be used or heard on the content must be individual tracks; dialogue, foley, music and score and effects should be separate tracks that can be stripped to allow for dubbing into other languages.

Process is planning.

And finally…

The final journey of all content is when it is edited. Post-production is just as important as the production phase. It cannot be an afterthought!

Let’s keep talking…

 

Nolly First Fridays is back with the Independence Edition on the 5th of October at the SMATPlace.

*An abbreviation for music and effects. An M&E track is created after a mix for a large production. It is used if a film is dubbed into more than one language. The track makes it possible for a one-time creation of the music and effects section of the film.

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    • Hi Tandy, Nolly First Fridays holds every First Fridays at the SMATPlace, in Tapa House, Surulere. The next one is on the 2nd of November!

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