• Friday, May 24, 2024
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‘Video editing is now a sought-after skill for telling unique stories, earning good living

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With 322,000 followers on Instagram, one million on Tik Tok and 70,000 on Facebook Frank Ileogben is now a brand on social media.

The self-taught digital content creator, skit maker and creative director of Frank Itom Studios, who is popularly known as Frank, has more to offer from his creative ingenuity.

These and more are what he shares with Obinna Emelike in this interview. Excerpt.

For those who are meeting you for the first time, who is Frank Itom?

My name is Frank Ileogben, popularly known as Frank Itom on social media. I am a storyteller, a digital content creator and also the creative director of Frank Itom Studios. I have been in the creative space for over a decade and a content creator for over four years now.

Do you have formal training in editing or self-taught?

I am self-taught even though I did a short course in a film school in London at some point. Many of the editing skills that I have known and the techniques I use in the videos are all self-taught.

What inspires your creativity?

I believe that the inspiration for my creativity goes back to my childhood. I have always been fascinated by how people create movies and stories that are not real, yet they are so good enough to move your emotions to happiness, tears, sadness or anger. I have always been fascinated by that. I have a passion for dancing; I have always been fascinated by Michael Jackson, Usher Raymond and others.

Also, I was handling the creative segment when I joined a dancing group in 2005. I was involved with the sound, ideas for the costume, fixing the choreography for the dance and lots more.

Creativity has always been part of my journey. In short, that is where my name ITOM comes from. It is an acronym that stands for I’m The Only Me. The name is about people realizing that if there were five people in the room and you gave them the opportunity to develop an idea, my idea will always be unique from the rest.

Some people will always say that I am different and I will say yes because ‘I am The Only Me’.

How do you create unique ideas?

The storytelling, videography and other skills are knowledge I have practiced over the years and coming into the space of content creation, creativity is the only language I know how to speak because it is now part of me. When I see something that is done, I start thinking how that could be better done and how I can improve on the idea.

That is how I think and that is how I create content because creativity is not doing something from scratch, it could be something that already exists but you tweak it your own way.

Read also: Rahama Sadau: Defying all odds to Nollywood stardom, career success

You also have a knack for storytelling. How are you able to do that?

Storytelling is a very important tool that connects people. I have always been a fan of the act of storytelling since I was younger.

Coming into this space, I have been able to utilize that through communication and entertainment. I have a background in Corporate Communications and for communication to happen, it needs to be effective. It means that there is a channel you need to send out the message and for the people you are sending the message to understand it, and there is an option for feedback.

All of these are things I understood during my years as communication specialist and manager, working at Sahara Group in Lagos. But my knack for entertainment is because I also used to be a professional dancer. I was part of a dance group at some point in my life, and I also love fashion. When I combined all these elements, I discovered that I could effectively communicate a message.

What are the remarkable highs for you in the industry?

There are many highs for me. Picking one out of the many would be an injustice to the others. I will say a few and one of them is being recognized and nominated as The Force of Creative Arts. I have been nominated for that award twice and I won it last year. I have also received other nominations. I have been on the Top 100 List of Creators and Top 150 List of Creators in Africa by various platforms.

Other major highs for me are some of my collaborations with some legends I grew up watching, especially Richard Mofe Damijo and Funke Akindele. They are people I admired as a teenager growing up and getting the opportunity to work with them was fantastic. Also seeing how those videos went viral is something to be joyful about.

What is your initiative; Introduction to Transition with Frank Itom, all about?

That is a very high high for me. The Introduction to Transition with Frank Itom is meant to close the gap between knowledge seekers and the knowledge they are looking for, especially in the aspects of video editing and transition making.

One of the most important things for me is not just to know these things and keep them to myself, but to create opportunities for people to learn.

Over the years I did things that I could just to make sure people are impacted with this useful knowledge. I have organised master classes here and there, I have been on several platforms and also had one-on-one sessions with some creators.

One thing that has continued over the years is people calling me to say that they want to learn and have an opportunity to get something they can always fall back to and make reference to.

So, we started developing an editing course we called Introduction to Transition with Frank Itom. It is a course for beginners and intermediate level editors who want to up their skills in editing and also creators who want to learn how to create seamless transitions.

It is just for people who are looking for a new skill to learn because video editing is one of the most sought-after skills in this century.

So far, we have received a lot of great feedback from people rating the course five-star. It is amazing to see how people are embracing the course. The purpose of the course is to see creators improve greatly in their craft and make a living out of their passion.

What is the impact of your mentorship and skills initiatives so far?

I do not mentor people directly; it is more of an indirect mentorship. People have sent me videos, and often tag me on Instagram on videos they created with the skills they acquired from the course. I love that because the best way to get better in their craft is to keep practicing. We are also looking for opportunities where the people who have access to the course will ask questions and engage in conversations with me based on what they have learnt.

Are you open for collaborations?

Currently, I have collaboration with the platform that is hosting the course to be able to reach out to more people. One of the conversations we are having is the act of collaboration because a lot of creatives and content creators do not know how to pitch for collaboration and that is one of the things we will be discussing.

The fallout of that is that the course will now be made available to a wider audience. Collaborations are on our list.

Are you making any effort to reach out to students in high institutions?

We have a program that we are developing for universities and secondary schools. We have done a few of those in the past when we visited universities and secondary schools. We have been to the University of Lagos, Wellspring College and others, where we started introducing the skills to the students and a lot of them are now into content creation.

We introduced them to the act of editing and how to use editing to tell a different kind of story and the feedback was tremendous. With that, I felt we should expand the scope to reach a lot more people. We are currently developing a program in that regard.

What are your major industry collaborations?

So far, in my four years of creating content, I have worked with major brands, both local and international. I have worked with Meta, Tik Tok, Nike, Google, Sony, Coca Cola, Tecno, Pepsi, LG, among others.

But in terms of collaboration with celebrities and notable personalities, I think the most important factor for any collaboration is value. Everyone is looking for value, yes money, but the value first because you exchange the value for the money. The same thing applies to collaboration. When I started creating content the first thing I thought of was how to make my skills better so that each time I drop a video, it will make more impact and then spur me to create a better one. I kept improving myself and it got to a point that I started to think that I will need to get the eyes of the brands and a few people in the industry so that when they seek collaboration, they will take notice of me.

It is one thing to collaborate with someone and another thing for the collaboration to spotlight you and make you shine. It is possible to collaborate with someone and you will be lost in that collaboration.

What I started to do was to find a way to have my content in such a way that it is unique to me and that no matter where you went, if you wanted something that is creative in a particular direction, I was the guy you needed to speak with. So, I created that before I reached out to celebrities to pitch out ideas with them. It also happened that before I started to pitch ideas with the celebrities, many of them had already started reaching out to me for collaborations. I have gotten a lot of requests and as soon as I started collaborating, it opened a new door where more people began to see my works, commended it, and made requests for such for their birthdays, and other special occasions. You will feel the experience and excitement through the content because that atmosphere is created when the collaboration happens.

We have done so many collaborations, from RMD, to Kate Henshaw, to Funke Akindele to Real Warri Pikin, Osas and other celebrities who are not in Nollywood.

It is firstly because these celebrities see value in the content I create and they want to be part of that value. They are also bringing their own values and years of experience. When we bring these two elements together, we create something that has never existed.

Which is the most remarkable collaboration between celebrities and brands?

That will be tricky, but in terms of reach, the collaboration that gave me the highest reach and engagement would be the one with Funke Akindele. That video gave me 20,000 followers in one day and over 100,000 followers on Tik Tok in one week. The collaboration was for her birthday two years ago and it was everywhere.

What is your current social media followership?

On my Instagram I have 322,000 followers, on my Tik Tok I have one million and on Facebook I have 70,000 followers. The reason for the growing followership, I may say, is consistency; that is the first thing.

Without consistency people will move on to other aspects of their life and even their content consumption. One is consistency; the second is quality content because we invest highly in the content that we push out. We always do something we are proud of. The third one is the right community of people. I have been blessed with a community of people who, whether or not we are creating content, are just happy to be associated with the brand. They have seen how much we have grown over the years and they have been part of that journey.

Whatever project we are involved with, they are always there, they are always showing up. These people are part of the reasons our growth has been the way it is today.

Do you have new projects?

Currently, we are working on a few projects. One of them that I am excited about is the Itom Movie Club. It is a platform or community that brings movie lovers together. The idea is simple, they want to banter movie conversation, we want to play games at our movie centre, we want to watch movies and review them and just have conversations around movies. The majority of that focus will be on Nollywood because we want to push local content. We had our first hangout in March and it was very successful. It was an amazing hangout with people and we have put out interest forms to other people who would like to join and we have gotten huge responses with some requesting that we should come to other parts of Nigeria like Port Harcourt, Abuja, Benin City, and even Ghana.

Movies are special to me because I have always loved movies and when this opportunity came for us to meet in a physical space, almost every week I review a new movie or a movie that just crossed my radar. So, that has been a tradition with the platform to always review a movie, and when this opportunity came, we just put it out there and a lot of people indicated interest. We have started and we hope to have the movie hangout once every month, last Saturday or last weekend of every month.

Also, since I started creating content two names have stock out. The first is a magician. People call me a magician everywhere I go. People don’t remember my name, they say this is that guy that does magic. A lot say I am the king of transitions. One of the reasons I introduced the editing course is to make more kings of transitions. I have seen how a lot of creators struggle to make seamless transitions, but a lot of people come to me and commend how I make transitions so easy. But it is easy and I always show them how to do it because it is not a pride to be the only person doing it at that level when many can do the same if taught how to do it and profit from it.

I like the name ‘king of transition’, it is nice, but we want more people to be in that space as well.

Have there been recognitions for your creativity?

I have won many awards. Notable among them are; The Force of Creative Art, Force of Instagram, Dancer of the Year, Fashion Person of the Year by Pulse TV, among others.

In 2020, shortly after the lockdown, I created a dance group, a trio and we called ourselves The Three Wise Men. DJ Rex, one of the three, lives in the US, the other lives here in Nigeria and he is a stunt coordinator for blockbuster movies. We created the group to express ourselves because we were on lockdown then. We had a split screen video where you can watch a dance made by three people in different locations and they are synchronizing it and it looked so nice. We did that for one year and the group died naturally because everybody went back to work.