For weeks on end we have been trying to meet up with Yomi and the uncle Tunji but things always seemed to get in the way. So you could imagine the excitement and relief we felt when we finally met up with them on the saturday just gone. The meeting was both interesting and eye opening. We discussed everything from funding, to marketing. In this post I will break down everything which was said and speak on where we are now.
For a while now the team and I have be innovating our narrative structure based on the information we received from Yomi, research, and our own personal views. We decided to add abstract and poetic segments to give the film more depth . We have also looked into the arch of the narrative breaking down how this film is going to emotionally move the audience. We decided that we would have the first half of the documentary graded quite dim, and then the second much brighter to represent the grief and change in the story since the passing of Afolabi. The theme of being unnoticed was brought by up the pair but was already a key part of our narrative structure. When explained to the uncle what we had already planned along with the types of shots and sounds we wanted to ignite certain emotions he was not pleased. He did not like the fact that we had put so much down on paper without knowing or speaking to all the friends and family. He was also worried about the fact that we could potentially misrepresent the family, sugar coating certain aspects and painting a picture that everything has changed for the good. We went back and fourth for almost an hour. He wanted us to just film, and then find the narrative within all the rushes. I responded by saying ‘we need structure, we do not have the time to ask 15 different people 30 lengthy questions on the same topic’. The irony is all the family members and friends that he speaks of, have not been able to meet up with us due to busy schedules and a lack of significant planning on Yomi’s side. As Tunji majored in media production he has some insight, which is a gift and a curse. After the meeting the boys and I met and discussed how we feel the uncle may try to take control of this project as he has his heart invested in this project. We feel we may be treated more like cameramen then film makers which is a scary thought. The meeting ended with us both agreeing to work closely, continuing to innovate the narrative as we learn more about the family and friends involved.
One of the main reasons for our meeting with Yomi and Tunji last weekend was so we could film some clips of them for our crowd funding video. When we explained to them in detail how the site worked they were completely against it as they did not like the idea of anyone being able to invest in the project due sensitivity. They especially didn’t like idea of giving people perks, for example a DVD of the film which will ultimately fluctuate depending on the amount the said person invested. We then stressed how important the need for funding is. Yomi then said he would be prepared to fund it himself with his family helping out. This may be a good idea in theory as it will save us time with creating a campaign for the film but it basically gives the family full control of the project both artistically. The boys and I also mentioned how marketing was a big part of our budget but the pair seemed unaware that this project would be physical pushed around the world to get as much recognition as possible via festivals, showreels, screenings, DVD’s and media presence. The producer and friend of Yomi Adewale claimed to have informed the pair but this did not seem to be the case. This break down in communication was almost fatal as this news completely changed the complexion of the meeting dramatically. Yomi ended by saying he would speak to family about the marketing aspect which is understandable, whereas Tunji was quick to throw in that the importance of the depiction of the character and narrative of Afolabi is even greater than before due to the amount of publicity this documentary could potential receive.
A lot was said during this meeting, and we have a lot to think about. The pressures of a producing a true documentary with this level of sensitivity involved is proving to be a tough challenge. In hindsight I think communication could’ve been much better. Adewale Shittu was the only one who was in direct contact with Yomi, when it should’ve been all three of us. It even took Yomi weeks to get in contact with Tunji and their family! This meeting was long over due and should not have taken over a month. In all that time we have been making premature plans on something we didn’t know too much about due to the lack of information and communication from the family. Going forward Yomi and Tunji will have to live up to their side of the bargain while we do like wise. If progress is not made soon we will have to have a meeting about other alternatives.