I've Done All Sorts To Learn From Men - Ema Edosio
Emamodegbekwe (Ema) Edosio is a pint-sized but talented young lady, who has in less than two years made her mark in the videography world. Although she operates in a field where men generally run the show, this woman of camera knows how to call the right shots.
In this chat with Reporter, Gbenga Bada, the talented computer science graduate of the Ogun State University (OSU), tells her story of life behind the lens.
How did it all start?
I dabbled into camera and editing after I graduated at the Ogun State University where I read computer science. During my final year, when I went for IT (industrial training) in an information technology firm I was told to write a programme. All through my years in school, I had crammed to pass and when it was time to write a programme, I couldn't do it because I was used to uploading and downloading what the lecturers said in class. The management was so furious and they inquired what I had gone to school to learn and they said they would take me in and train me but I told myself that it was time I stopped cramming. The only thing I knew I loved doing then was watching music videos and thus, I called up a friend, who later introduced me to someone that employed me. I started by learning how to edit and then I was also watching the cameramen and before long, I started handling the camera.
What was it like working with top entertainment companies before branching out on your own?
It has been amazing for me because every stage has been exposure to better things for me. There is always a different challenge with every company you work with; a lot experience and exposure for me and it has been very fantastic.
You have a workforce you pay for rendering services, how do you cope with the cameramen and other staff with your size?
It's been a big challenge especially with men because you just have to be diplomatic in dealing with them. I am pint-sized and I have a huge cameraman, whom I want to do something for me and they are like who is she trying to push around but I have been able to establish myself. It's been a big challenge dealing with men and trying to balance everything. I used to be chubby but have lost so much weight trying to make ends meet.
What was it like for you while you worked with Hip on TV?
I have had a lot of scolding because while I was still working at my first place of work, whenever anything had to be done, it would always be Ema. I had to be humble. I have washed dishes, swept floors and done all sorts in other to learn from men, who would just crucify you for being a female. I used to come from Ojo to Oregun everyday just to learn and from there, I moved to Ketu and still stuck to the learning process because I knew it was what I wanted. I had been shouted upon on sets, pushed aside and made to carry heavy equipment, there was no room for whining or claiming that you are female.
What is so unique about the wedding videos you also shoot?
I have experience from TV and most people shoot horrible wedding videos but my knowledge has made me know that content is king; if you have good content, people would want to watch but if you have horrible content with good montage and all that, nobody would want to watch the visuals. Furthermore, I learnt that wedding videos are more like TV programmes because several things in it are real and these include the bouquets, the attires, the couple's love story and all that. So what we do is bring more life into the wedding videos and make the couple watch the videos with relish and so much appreciation. Whenever I shoot a wedding video, I put at the back of my mind the individuality and personality of the couple, the event, the emotions and the behind the scenes.
Which would you say is more interesting between shooting music and wedding videos?
Music videos have always been my passion and even if you look at the wedding videos that I shoot, you see that they are more like mini music videos. I know no one would want to pay N1.6 million to shoot a good music video so I try as hard as possible to do something in that line for the couple and they would always be grateful. Music videos are really what I want to do but it is not something you jump into, it's much more because you have to be creative, it's a lot more than wedding videos and I'm working with Clarence Peters in gaining that experience.
Who are some of the artistes and people you have worked with?
I have worked with a lot of artistes, from Tuface to 9ice, to Lord of Ajasa to Terry da Rapman. I guess I am just lucky. I have shot some videos and acted as DOP (director of photography) for several productions. I have done a lot all over Nigeria and have some of my videos on the internet.
What does it cost to do a music video or wedding documentary?
People are beginning to appreciate quality and good videos, people now pay a lot of attention to their video shoots. There is more creativity and a wedding video would go for N150,000 per day with two professional cameras and handlers and we create a mini documentary from the video. Meanwhile, the music video is different, I have to listen to your song, I have to draw up the content, know the technicalities before even thinking of charging the fees. So, it depends on the content of the song that determines the price of the video.
You said you studied computer science. Did you acquire any other formal knowledge?
Everything I know today was acquired by watching people after which I took the risk of taking my camera out to shoot. Now the reason why a lot of people do not follow their passion is because they are always afraid of that hunger stage, it's a sacrifice you make but it pays at the end. I could remember when I started, my parents didn't support me, my mum locked me in the house for three weeks, but when she saw that it was what I wanted and couldn't be stopped, she let me be. I was determined to achieve my goals and aims then, I even told her that I wasn't going to get any job aside what I do. I wasn't the best dressed but I stuck to it and kept on thinking about how I can be the best and that spurred me to listen attentively and do it right because I knew if I lost it then, it was over.
But you still don't have formal training. Are there plans to return to school?
Definitely, I am going back to school to learn more about filmmaking and this would be very soon.
How would you differentiate between a videographer and a cinematographer?
A cinematographer is more in-depth with the camera and has a background in the cinema, he knows how to use light and has gone through the right process and different stages of training as regards cinema and has history on the job. A videographer on the other hand, shoots videos and is able to create a storyline out of it, we are able to tell a story and the main difference is that a cinematographer has a better foundation, more depth, more knowledge than a videographer. They are both similar because they can both tell a story but in different perspectives.
How long have you been doing this?
I've been doing this for a year and half...
Why did you start up your own company judging from the fact that it was just a year and half that you started?
Well, starting up my own thing was borne out of passion, I wanted to be the best, I wanted to be able to provide services as example for others to follow. It's stressful because my company, which deals with events and ceremonies, runs during the weekends while the music video runs during the weekdays. Aside that I teach and train people and only supervise. I can sit back and watch or just concentrate on the music videos while the other staff handle the events and ceremonies because they already know my format.
How well has this paid you?
It has paid me a lot because it is going to help me go back to school. I have been able to buy some equipment and I have also been lucky enough to meet people that I might not have ordinarily met. I have also been to South Africa to cover the Channel O Music Video Awards.
As a female in a male dominated terrain, don't you feel terror?
There is no male or female in handling a camera but most females seem to be enjoying the hype. I tell them that there is always a price you pay by learning and making sure that the foundation is solid and not just shooting because you are a female handling the camera. It is more than that, it entails, how well do I shoot a film, tell a story and pass across the message without inhibitions, have your client at the back of your mind. You get a lot of people noticing you as a female videographer but it's much more than that.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I am the third child of a family of seven. I went to Laura Nursery and Primary School, Odogbolu Girls for three years and Esteem Private Academy for girls in FESTAC to complete my secondary school and then I went to the Ogun State University where I obtained a diploma before going in fully as computer science student. I got my determination skills from my mother, who is always determined and achieves anything she sets her mind on. She didn't support me at first but later she realised what I wanted and supported me fully.