A Week in the Life is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles and victories of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.
The subject of today’s A Week in the Life is Efe Edosio, a video producer. His work involves planning, implementing and supervising all of the elements of a video project. He tells me about having to dial back on his creativity with difficult clients and what it’ll take to get him to 10/10 career satisfaction score.
Mondays are pretty chill for me. I wake up at 9 a.m., and I’m glad I don’t have to get up and go. I even call my friends who have nine-to-fives and remind them that I’m at home while they’re at work.
But I do have to work. I like to describe myself as a visual storyteller with a focus on video content. My Mondays are for admin work. I have meetings scheduled with my editors from 10 a.m. till noon. In these meetings, we set the tone of work for the week. We assess the videos that were shot over the previous week and decide on things like post-production processes and delivery timelines.
I’m a freelancer who has built a network of clientele, so I get all my gigs from referrals. This means I also have to report to clients and stakeholders directly. After the editorial meeting, I meet with clients and go over the projects with the information from the discussion with my editors.
Today, I finished all my meetings at 1 p.m. and was free for the rest of the day. Last week was really stressful, and I’d spent the weekend working. Since I was free, I decided I needed a real break, so I went to Landmark beach and relaxed for a couple of hours, taking in the sights and de-stressing.
By 6 p.m., I booked a cab and headed home, but the two-hour traffic from VI to Iwaya almost destroyed all the relaxation I’d gained during my time-out. Still, I managed to get home in high spirits. I cooked myself dinner, watched a movie and went to bed.
The hardest part of my job is having to cut down on my creativity just to meet clients’ expectations.
As a creative video producer, here’s what happens when I’m in talks with clients. I’m building up the story and the angle I believe is the best way to tell the story that the client wants to be told. My creative juices are pumping, and I’m excited about the project. Then the client comes in and is like, “Noooo. We don’t like this angle. Can you do it like this?”
Having to bend my creativity to suit clients is usually hard, but the client is king, and I have to find that point where my creativity and the client’s expectations complement each other. That way, I’m delivering what they want in the most creative way possible. But some clients are indecisive and keep changing things. Like today.
The client had agreed with my ideas and direction, and we had gone into pre-production on their ad. Midway through shooting, one of the founders came on set and said, “Yeah, I don’t think this should be like this. I don’t think this’ll work.” And in my head, I was like, “What the hell?” This is something we’d already agreed on with his team. We were all on the same page, so where’s all this coming from? I was in the middle of doing what they wanted.
A lot of people underrate how much work is done, and how expensive it is to produce a professional video. People also think shooting is the main work, but that’s not true; a lot of work is done during pre-production before we even bring out our cameras.
But you can’t blow up on your client. I was like, “You know what? Hold on.” I called their team’s liaison who was on set and said, “So, can you run through the plans for us again?” Because the founder’s complaints would have cancelled all the work we’d done already. Some clients do that and don’t want to pay extra, so in this job, patience is really a virtue.
I eventually sorted things out by going over the initial plan again with the liaison and explaining why the story was being told that way to the co-founder.
During break on set today, I let my mind drift. Last year, I’d seen stories of a child named Ferdinard, who turned out to be a chess genius after being discovered by the Chess in Slums project. I pitched the idea for a documentary and the organisation agreed.
Everybody knows Makoko is a slum, but being in the middle of it is a completely different experience. With documentaries, you get the chance to plan things out, but for the most part, you have to go with the flow and follow the story.
While in Makoko, I was holding onto my equipment while trying to film and stay afloat on a boat at the same time. I was scared AF. But in the end, it was a lot of fun because I got to tell the remarkable story of the boy genius and showcase these wonderful kids to the world. I had full creative control and was able to document the contrast between where these gifted kids came from and the places they were going. The documentary has been nominated for awards at film festivals and won Best Documentary at one of them.
Today was interesting. I was in discussions with two very different prospective clients. I met the first totally by accident. I walked into their office like a regular customer, and while the business owner was convincing me to patronise her brand, she walked me through the brand story. That’s when it clicked. I liked what she was doing — it was fresh and unique — so I pitched a storytelling angle to her. She loved it and told me she wanted to create a visual story but she hadn’t quite found someone who understood her vision. By the time I walked out of her office, we had agreed to work together, and I know I’m going to enjoy the project.
But the second perspective client I met? Totally different story. The man underpriced me so badly that if I hadn’t had the encounter with the first lady, he would have ruined my day. I have never turned down a client so fast. People like them will stress your life.
It’s the drive to document culture that gets me out of bed in the morning. I don’t have any side hustle. An ideal future will be one where I’m involved in the most compelling stories coming out from Africa. But right now, I’m content. I can’t think of anything else I’d be doing if I wasn’t visual storytelling.
After my meeting with one of my editors today, I wondered what I’d score if I were to rate my career on a scale of one to ten. But I didn’t have to think too long because I decided it’d be a solid eight. When I no longer have to worry about money, I’ll give myself a ten — along with a pat on the back.
By 6 p.m., it’s TGIF time. I’ll spend my weekend cooking, watching documentaries and movies and relaxing. I’ve earned it.
Hi, I’m Ama Udofa and I write the A Week in the Life series every Tuesday at 9 a.m. If you’d like to be featured on the series, or you know anyone interesting who fits the profile, fill out this form.