Fast-rising broadcaster, writer, actor, and producer, Moses Akerele, in this interview with TONY OKUYEME, talks about inspiration behind The Campus Prodigy, his career as broadcaster and actor, among other issues
Who is Moses Akerele?
I am lover of arts, a media personality, with a blend of experience cutting through different aspects of media and arts. I am a broadcaster (TV and Radio), event host and organizer, writer, actor, content writer, and producer.
You were at the University of Benin where you ran one of the most respected programs called Campus Prodigy. What really inspired this?
The need to appreciate young people, give hope and also inspire many others. In school, I met many talented young people, super creative minds, exceptional talents that the world did not know, even people their immediate environment barely knew them, no one appreciates them, no one buys or pays for their arts, no one took interest in what they do and their lives, most of these people were doing things as great as what the most celebrated people in the world do, it felt like lights under a bushel and I just wanted to do something for them, I wanted to create a platform they could own, a show that sells them to the world, a platform they can come and talk about their crafts, their lives, a place where they are celebrated, I just really wanted to give something to those people who do not allow the “I am too young factor”.
Another reason, however, was the yearn to put out an idea I woke up to one morning, a part of me really wanted to start a production, I just couldn’t keep calm when the idea popped, it was time to do something with what I had.
How were you able to combine this with your studies?
I multi-task a lot, I started working even before I gained admission into the university, and had to shuttle both. So, Campus Prodigy wasn’t something I thought was going to be difficult to pull, but, it was different and it came with its own challenges, time, funds and all, but when you want to do something sometimes, you go all out, especially when it burns deeply in you. So, there was no giving up, I just had to plan, strategies and work out the best ways to achieve what I wanted.
My studies suffered a little at the beginning, when I sunk totally into this new idea I had, but I guess I balanced it in the long run.
What were the challenges you faced being a student working on a project like that?
Manpower wasn’t exactly a problem, but I was scared to build a proper team because we were all schooling (everyone’s first priority) so I didn’t want to burden anyone too much and I had to do a lot of the things by myself, I remember editing some of the episodes myself, designing the fliers and all, but I still had a few good people who were always there for me. Ayobami Ogungbe of Bami Photography, my photographer friend that I converted into my official DOP and assistant producer, Leroy Uwaifo of KAPictures assisted me mostly with editing, Mrak A collections made sure I always had clothes to wear on the show and a few others came through with cameras when I couldn’t afford to rent.
So, fund was another challenge, I funded the project solely and sometimes my sister had to send me some money, once I had to travel to shoot in other campuses outside mine, I was so broke I had to run to my father to get some cash, there were times I shot episodes I ended up not using because I couldn’t afford the needed equipment and our improvisation failed… Every production has challenges; those were a few we had to face.
Would you say it yielded the expected results?
Not exactly the utmost result as we are actually still working, but yes, it did yield result as expected.
I was able to shoot my first season after nursing the idea in my head for a year. It was accepted, I had testimonies, and it started to sail in the direction I wanted. Many people wanted to be featured on it, people from outside my school; many people believed more in what they were doing, some people got inspired to start using their talents. So, yes. Thanks to my team and every guest I had on the show.
Given the success of the programme, it arguably made you popular. How did you cope?
Somehow I tried to keep it away from my most immediate environment; my class, I just shot, released episodes, had a few friends to help with the campaign on social media and I carried on like nobody knew what I was doing until one day, one of the most respected lecturers in my department referred to me as Moses Akerele of Campus Prodigy. At that point I realised people were watching, I started getting feedbacks, referrals and invites form other campuses.But prior to that time I had been actively involved in social activities in school, I was quite known so this was just an added feat, but my best way managing whatever came with it was to just act like it wasn’t even me doing this thing they were talking about.
You have also carved a niche for yourself in broadcasting, having worked with Rhythm FM/STV, UNIBEN FM. How has it been?
Beautiful, trust me there is nothing as beautiful as living your dreams. Honestly, I had a passion and I just followed what called me relentlessly. I am a very persistent person so I was never going to give up on what I have loved growing up. The first time I had to read the news or broadcast anything was in my primary 3 and it was beautiful, so growing up to live the dream feels fulfilling.
About carving a niche, I believe people have something spectacular to them and when they stay true to it and themselves it just stands them out, nothing beats being real, it works.
How did you become an actor?
I read that an international TV series was coming and auditions were going to hold, but I got the information late. So I watched the space often, one evening, I saw another post that the firm that organized the audition was having an open day where people can just come and have fun with them, I went there to unwind, but I got bored and made a move to speak to the MD about my interest in acting, he looked at me and decided to give me a trial, asked if I would audition, this was around 8pm, I shot my shot, and after series of screen testing… I got my first acting role as KHALIL in MTV Shuga Season 6.
After that, I got a few more acting jobs and that was the beginning of another phase I have waited to begin as I have always loved to act, I just felt it was time and that one conversation with Emma Uduma began that journey.
What are your expectations?
To enjoy it all the way, be exceptional, to grow, carve a niche and explore the world of acting well. I don’t want to be an actor that you’d just tag an actor because I am on screen running lines sometimes, I want to be referred to as an actor in every sense of it, one who knows and practices the art well enough.
You are one of the winners at AFRIFF acting class that will be going to Paris next year to study. What are your expectations?
To learn more honestly, it’s a holiday off work to study and show myself more approved, I still don’t know how it happened, but it did and I have intentions not to let myself down nor Hilda Dokubo (My facilitator) or the entire AFRIFF team.
AFRIFF was an intense five-day training but I learnt a whole lot, I was brushed up, many things I knew or had an idea about was defined and I can only expect much more from a six weeks long training. I expect an environment where I can grow, learn, unlearn and relearn a lot to polish this craft then return to put all I have learnt I use.
How would you describe yourself?
I like to refer to myself as a goal getter. I’m very dynamic so you’d probably never “see me coming,” but Moses is readily a blend of cool, calm, crazy, happy, energetic person.
Any plans for marriage?
Yes of course! Ha-ha-ha, they want grandchildren in my house o.
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