By Lolade Sowoolu
Dede is a video director/producer and his video credits include Banging by Ruggedman, Ijo Fuji (Remix); Ayuba, Tolotolo; Freewindz and Originality- which he co-directed with Peter Igho for his brother, Faze. In this interview, he narrates his journey into video production and directing.
Dede is one of my many names. MyÂ name in full is Oji Ifechukwude Dede Terry. Iâ€™m still hoping to add two other names officially. I grew up in FESTAC town, Lagos in company of my parents. I attended a couple of schools.
From Nazareth primary school to Model and Kingsâ€™ College, Lagos for secondary school. And then the University ofÂ Lagos where I studied Mathematics. I did a couple of media related programs here and there after school.
I had always told myself right from secondary school that it is either I got self employed after school or went outside the country to find something doing. Not that I never believed in Nigeria, itâ€™s just that Iâ€™ve always had passion for people that believe in people. Over here, itâ€™s pretty difficult to find guys who believe in potentials or ideas unless they see something tangible.
I started work with Hilda Dokubo in Rivers state. I was the presenter and producer of â€˜Street to Starâ€™ on Tv.
And that was how I started creeping into entertainment and media. Then I started productionÂ management.Â Most of the production I started with got very high recognition like when I produced Infinityâ€™s â€˜Olori Okoâ€™.
Then, I worked with Wudi Awa for close to four years. In that period, I was production manager for all the videos he shot. Within that era was â€˜Kolomentalâ€™ and a lot of others. I worked with Gbanga Saluu also before I started directing.
I was more into production and production management. Some times I get calls from these directors and work with them as either producer or production manager. I did Timayaâ€™s entire video collection. Then I had to go to Port Harcourt and worked with directors like Obefe and Afam D man.
How a video producer differs from a video director.
The video producer is one of the few people that is involved in the project from the very scratch till the end.Â The video producer comes up with the concept and style and tells the director what he wants to achieve.
Most video directors in Nigeria are director/producers. In my case, I saw the need for having a producer and a production manager separate from the director so that the directorâ€™s creativity level is not tampered with.
When you are handling more technical issues than creative issues as a director, there is going to be less creativity. For â€˜Kolomentalâ€™. For instance, I discussed with Faze, we agreed on the concept and then passed it on to Wudi (Awa) to bring into picture.That is basically the producersâ€™ job.
What went wrong with â€˜Originalityâ€™ video?
I co-directed it with Peter Igho. And personally in my own opinion, itâ€™s a good video. The only thing is that a lot of people expect extremely much from somebody like Faze.
They have always known him to shoot classic videos from South Africa because ofÂ â€˜Kpo kpo diÂ kpoâ€™ and â€˜Tattoo Girlsâ€™. But you see, he (Faze) wanted to bring every thing home with the â€˜Originalityâ€™ video. That was his idea.
He didnâ€™t care about what people will feel. He wanted to show that he is still with people (at home). Faze is someone I know personally. At a point, he felt like he started this whole South African video syndrome and so he needed to explain that shooting in South Africa was onlyÂ needed for that particular point in time.
On whyÂ named music legends in â€˜Originalityâ€™ song were not featured in the video.
That video was shot alongside some guys who came in from South Africa but we told them we wanted a strictly Nigerian video. We didnâ€™t want excessive lighting. Under the arrangement, one couldnâ€™t afford to invite so many of the legends.
Interestingly, most of them were even invited for the shoot but it was going to take an additional week to get them all to attend. We just weighed everything and decided that an illustration was better off. It was the time factor.
It is not easy bringing in Chris Okotie, Christy Essien Igbokwe, Onyeka Onwenu et al under one roof in one day.
And we didnâ€™t want a situation where we would take shots in each personâ€™s house. We wanted something straight forward, simple and compact.
How long have you been in video production ?
This is my sixth year in production, and exactly one year and a month in directing.
Why did you divert into directing?
I realized the fact that personally,Â Iâ€™m pretty much of a creative person.I was brought up in a music family.
Every body in my house sings, down to father and mother. It doesnâ€™t take anything for me to understand a song and that is the key to where the creative director or producer comes in when you can listen to a song and understand it.
Then you know how to interpret it,(the song.) Without talking down on any of my colleagues, most of the videos directed by somebody else butÂ produced by me were my ideas. With time, I realized that most times, they (the directors) didnâ€™t really interpret the ideas the way I wanted them to. So I told my self â€˜why not do this(video directing) your self?â€™ Yes, it will take a while because these guys have been on the scene for long but everybody starts somewhere. Thatâ€™s the reason IÂ went into directing.
So what is your outfit called?
Picture Ville. I am one of those few directors you donâ€™t get to see their names on the screen. I directed my twentieth video yesterday and its my thirteenth month on directing. So, based on counts, I think Iâ€™m doing fairly well.
The idea of Picture Ville is to create a production house that can function well with or without Dede.
ChallengesÂ working with artistes.
I do not know how my other colleagues do it but when it comes to finances, artistes can be difficult especially when it comes to making balances.When they see a great job, they just want to grab it without paying what theyâ€™re contracted to.
Iâ€™m one of those directors that doesnâ€™t believe in keeping peoplesâ€™ jobs. I believe in waving off balance and letting the work get exposed. But of course, Iâ€™m changing style now.
Iâ€™m working on some new modalities. I started off doing free jobs for artistes, now they pay but never complete payment, then Iâ€™ll go to the next level where they must pay me before I even start anything. Everything is in stages and itâ€™s getting better.