Shell, MTV Base, South African production house DV8 and South African directors have embarked on a skills transfer initiative within the African continent spanning the years 2008 and 2009. The MTV Making the Video with Shell aims to uplift the African music industry, transferring skills and offering African artists and those involved in making music videos a chance to hone and sharpen their skills.
South African hip-hop star HHP has been chosen as the first artist to be involved in this initiative that started at the beginning of November. The hip-hop star was voted, through a sms campaign, by MTV Base viewers to have his video shot by a unique collaboration between international music video director Nick Quested, US R&B star Amerie and a group of South African music video directors, all of whom are working together for HHP’s single Music N Lights.
The involvement of rhythm and blues international star, Akon, in the The Making of the video television programme took place in Ghana in 2006 and became a catalyst for this initiative. A week-long workshop was held in South Africa which covered key subjects associated with creating high quality music videos, such as casting, scripting, storyboarding, scheduling, lighting, wardrobe, post production and editing. The Making of the video television programme has been around for over 10 years.
MTV Base approached Shell to come on board as a sponsor. Shell has been known for its contribution to the upliftment of talent in South Africa, having been involved with the Shell Road to Fame show 15 years ago. “Shell is excited about the idea of being involved in such an initiative and we have always been committed to recognising musical talent,’ says Country Chairman of Shell South Africa Monwabisi Fandeso.
Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of MTV Networks Africa says that this initiative is planting the seeds of exchanging skills in terms of video making and the effort is primarily focused on providing skills to assist with improving the quality of videos within the region. He says that the individuals who took part in the workshops will need to find the means to improve their skills even further by using the information that they received in the workshops, as it is a tall order to teach beyond the workshops. Steps will be taking place beyond this initiative to establish what more can be done.
Quested is participating in this initiative because he finds the idea of exchanging skills interesting. He is happy with HHP’s video treatment and says that they are going to abstract certain aspects of the lyrics making the hip-hop star’s performance shine through. Quested has worked with household names such as P Diddy, Sting, Rolling Stones, Ice cube, Brandy and Nas amongst many.
Hip-hop star HHP, a former film student, is grateful to be involved in this project. He is aware of the challenges that exist to visually articulate music and to pay attention to technical expertise. He has no doubt about the quality of the end product for his music video. His single Music and Lights has been getting a lot of airplay and he wants his video to live up to that. After leaving South Africa, the project will visit Gabon, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.