Dan Akinlolu is a digital media executive, filmmaker and prize winning creative writer. With over 12 years of experience in the media businesses and content development, he has worked and co-founded several successful content sharing start-ups that include the award nominee Mafrik TV (WAMAS 2017 Awards), content aggregating and streaming site – INAKI TV.
Dan has also added value to both the print and electronic media industry in Africa including working for M-Net as content editor/producer and with literary/artistic achievement that include publications in various journals in USA, UK and Australia and a nomination for recognition in Strathmore’s 2009 “Who is Who” global directory for outstanding professionals. He is an astute media executive and a filmmaker that’s passionate about African narratives and content. Dan has also directed and produced independent feature films, talk-shows, short films and drama series that have been either acquired or licensed by local and international broadcasters.
Q&A with Dan Akin
How did your journey in the industry begin?
My civilisation into the world of filmmaking and the media industry was intrinsic and innate. I think it will be right to say that I was born into this journey of filmmaking.I have been fascinated by the world of motion pictures and magical stories because I always think in images.I was born in the Southern part of Nigeria, Ibadan precisely and in those days we were very limited in digital media technologies except video cassette player and black & white TV.
I remember the first movie I watched from my neighbour that really caught my attention in the early 80’s on VHS tape; it was ‘‘Evil Dead” directed by Sam Raimi. I was about eight years old then.It was an American horror film. It was not appropriate content especially for my delicate age but I found the horror film very fascinating with all it’s elements of blood and gore. I didn’t tell my mum because she will beat the living day out of me. I found the movie influential because Indian and Chinese movies dominated our TV stations in the 70’s and 80’s so there’s nothing unique about them. They are too boring for me. I’ve always believed that to scare people you need authenticity in working on unique stories hence the “Evil Dead” stood out as a classic for my young creative imagination to make my own movie.
What are some of your career highlights?
Major highlights in my career include my inclusion in “Strathmore’s Who is Who” a global directory of outstanding professionals. And also when one of my start-up MafrikTV was nominated for WAMAS 2017.
Mafrik TV is a mobile app content aggregation platform exclusively for West African music videos. It sort of highlights the need to support up and coming artists to share their music video for airplay. At the moment the business model has changed. There are more streaming platforms than there were 10 years ago.
What projects are you currently working on?
It is a busy year for me. My major strategy this year is to produce more quality African content that will be included in a fresh catalogue of low budget but quality African films that will be made accessible for a global content market as well as niche market.I am also revamping the VOD service (Inaki TV) that I launched with Vimeo alongside my associate Lekan Olaleye of King Kong Productions. The whole idea is to aggregate local African films and influence more subscriber capacity.We will re-equip the content acquisition support and licensing system with the intention to encourage more producers to submit and earn revenues and also remodel our marketing structure to attract more investors.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
I am personally certain and optimistic that FAW can offer tremendous value, opportunities and support to the Pan-African content market. The truth is, business networking is essential and it is an inherent part of our industry. To aggregate filmmakers, media personnel, creative enthusiasts and even content marketers to participate in this events for a couple of days means alot to the exponential growth of the film and media industry.In exchange, It will also assist in breeding fresh ideas and concepts, grow opportunities, exchange values and business propositions that will propel greater pan african creative ideas and agenda to the world at large.
What do you think the future of the creative industries look like for Africa?
It is exceptionally important to digitise the creative industry in Africa. The pandemic has, in a way, leveled the platform of opportunity for content creation and technology advancement.It has also assisted in pointing to the future of creativity. Africa can never be short of creativity and ideas.Whether it was born from poverty or desperation for survival or hunger or unemployment I believe that what influences our creative industries is underlined by passion to tell unique stories of hope even when there are no sufficient resources or facilities to assist. The future of the creative industry in Africa has been ushered and readjusted by the covid pandemic but we need more events like FAME Week Africa to showcase and exhibit hidden opportunities in partnership and networking. African creative industries are beginning to gain global traction and respect for their unique thinking and products through digital opportunities.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone wanting to get into the industry?
It is a thinking industry, if you can’t think you can never be different and if you are not different no one would listen and patronise you.Your voice must be heard, your product must be seen.It is your right to be noted and acknowledged but If you are too lazy to be unique and different, well the industry is definitely not for you.It will only chew you and spew you out without apology because you have nothing new to offer.
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