A few months ago, my team and I decided we were going to start training young filmmakers on the rudiments of camera, sound, lighting and editing.

None of us had any prior teaching experience so we had no clue how we were going to “impart this knowledge”, but we were super-excited about the idea, and we had acquired some experience over the years, so we dove head on into the project.

It was decided that my office would be converted into a lecture room, and while I was busy trying to wrap my head around the fact that I would be a squatter in my own office for four weeks, Kess and the rest of the guys came up with e-flyer designs for the course

After consulting from Opeyemi & John our design guys, flyers were quickly broadcast over Facebook, Twitter and BBM, and then we waited with bated breath. Nobody had ever heard of Free Spirit Academy, so we were not sure anyone would even bother to call and find out what the course was all about.



As long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about filmmaking, documentary filmmaking to be precise, and in my quest to learn more, to improve myself, I’ve traveled around a lot, just to learn. And the impact these trainings have had on me has been quite remarkable.

But I also know that there are quite a few people who do not have the same access to the opportunities that I’ve had. . I meet them everyday- young guys with desire burning in their eyes, but no clue how to take the first step. I’ve been fortunate to earn enough to travel abroad to learn, but that’s not the case for everyone. And that’s what this training was all about- to equip young filmmaker with the same skills that I’ve been able to develop in myself, through training, at a very affordable price.

And then the first phone call came in. Someone had seen the broadcast on BBM and wanted to get more details. While I tried to casually eavesdrop, Juliet, our admin madam, told the person on the line that the course was for 4 weeks, would cost so and so, and he would learn blah blah blah. A few questions later she hung up, smiled and told me we were in business.

Few weeks and many phone calls later, the first set of students walked into our office on Channels TV Avenue, Isheri for Free Spirit Academy’s Digital Filmmaker 101 training. Though some of these guys had never touched a camera before, we were confident that by the end of the training everyone would leave with skills and confidence to go out and explore their creativity. The course had been structured in such a way that after each classroom session the students would go out and practice, and then come back for a review, and because we are also a full-fledged production company, a few of the students had the unique opportunity of assisting on real shoots. That experience was beyond valuable for them!

One of the highlights of the training was when we invited renowned photographer, George Osodi, to come speak to the students. Our aim was to show them a real life example of how talent, discipline and effort can yield rewards beyond their wildest dreams. That was the longest day we spent in class because everyone had more than one question to ask! But thanks to George, they all got answers.

It’s incredible to see how people can literally transform right in front of your eyes! After just three weeks these guys were working with a lot more confidence, but beyond that, they had acquired the foundational knowledge that any aspiring filmmaker should have to go out there and be all they can be.

And with that knowledge and confidence instilled in them we sent the students out to go make their “grad” projects. The class was divided into two teams and each team was told to produce a short documentary.

“…the foundational knowledge that any aspiring filmmaker should have to go out there and be all they can be.”

Team A made a video on Peter, our gateman, who’s biggest desire is to be a hip-hop superstar, while Team B made a doc on our neighborhood “Iya Amala”. I guess they must have been inspired by the quality of her amala and “gbegiri” (bean soup), which a few of them had for lunch.

For me, the greatest gratification was watching these videos at the end of the training, and realising that this was the sole effort of a group of guys who, just four weeks before, did not know their way around a camera. To watch them shoot and edit a short doc in less than 48 hours was amazing.

Teaching is beautiful, and when the teacher sees growth and development in the students there’s no better reward.