Obviously after having gotten the photo equipment stolen we had to change some plans. We were no more opening photo studio and finding jobs was also not as easy as we were promised before. How was it again? “You people come to Ghana and I will arrange everything for you. Job is already waiting – plenty options. You just come!” Blaaah blaaaah blaaaah – damn Otabil! The truth is that hiring forigner would be very difficult for company settled in Ghana cos he would need to pay extra fees to Goverment when hiring a firigners. As our savings were not too big, we had to figure out some plan how to build up our Freelancer career in Ghana. For apartment we had already paid year in advance so there was no going back – at least not this year….
We continued visiting the production houses and establishing contacts. New, our own contacts! We did not want wannabe-producer Otabil to drive with us anymore as we had lost trust in him. So we bought the city map and I took a position of navigator as Martin was busy with driving. We also had a local guy Alex helping us – he was long term friend of that guy who drove with us across the Sahara as passenger. And when our friend trusted Alex – so did we! And I must say – over the years – Alex never disappointed us!
Making impression to Expats
While we were driving around visiting production houses and TV stations we also meat some Expats in our field. Or should I say in Martins field cos I was just following him. In local TV station called Metro TV on position of Technical Director was working Polish guy Sam, who was brought up in South Africa and who became great friend to us in Ghana.
Then there were two Indian owned high level production houses Apex Advertising and Neil where we also established some contacts and introduced Martin as a cameraman and me as a producer. Only problem was that I had never produced anything. I had only seen how its done.
My first job in Ghana
Martin had shot some few advertisements for Apex and one morning we got call from them again. Only this time they did not want to see him but they needed producer. As we drove there I was regretting all my lies, I was regretting that I had told people I am producer “From Europe”. “Why couldnt I just say I would be awesome secretary?”
Ofcourse when we reached there it came out that I had put bit too much pressure on me. They did not need an Executive Producer – Ramesh, the owner of the studio was an executive producer. I was needed as an assistant producer. This did not sound too bad. “Helping” I had done before. “How difficult can it be?” I was thinking. Well I found that one out after I had meat the director who had flown in for the job from India.
We had to produce a prepaid card promo for a Telecommunication company. My duty was to arrange all props and locations. I had to follow very strict color-code while choosing the props or even clothes to the actors. There were no competitor company logo color allowed in any relevant items. That meant red, blue and dark green and yellow were out. And better if the items and dresses were all in Zain corporate colors – I had to work with purple, pink and electric green. Props that I had to arrange included: Rotating table big enough to carry minivan, the mini-van itself (preferably purple or electrical green) a tractor (purple or electric green), a high school graduate hat and uniform (purple or electric green) pair of oxen, scarecrow.
“If for some unimaginable reason you will not find 2 photogenic oxen for me, then I can deal with donkey – but make it beautiful donkey! The uniform must be purple, tractor – purple, minivan too purple……” the director was lecturing and I was making notes. “….. then in the end I need 12 pigeons flying three rounds around the happy couple and exiting the scene from left”
“Do the pigeons need to be purple or electric green?” I could not help myself asking with grin.
“No – they need to be white. White as snow. But if for some unimaginable reason you will not find 12 well trained pigeons here then I can accept if they will skip the three rounds and just fly in front of couple from right to left”
Really? Where the hell he was thinking we were? In Bollywood? Ofcourse I will not find a pigeons who would fly three rounds around happy newly wed couple. If to be completely honest then I did not use pigeons at all – cos all so called white pigeons looked more like gray. Simply I could not imagine 12 dirty-gray pigeons being scared out from the cage and randomly fly away (hopefully in direction from right to left) to look even little bit photogenic. So I replaced them with confetti.
Yup Ghana really is not Bollywood
Actually I changed bit more props. Really I did not get the two oxen – I used the donkey. A grey one 🙂 The Toyota center which borrowed us the turn-table and minivan did not have any purple nor Electric green van available so we had to use the light gray one with some purple decorations around it. The tractor we used in Farm scene was originally red – but in video it looked purple enough.
But generally – it was all great challenge and very fun project. I got to know lot of new people and places in Ghana. I was new in the country but after finishing with the project I felt I had gotten all the “Get to know Ghana” I needed to start my own Freelancer career.
And how it was done