Sunday, May 19, 2024

Meet Omotunde Akiode, the Scriptwriter Behind the Animated Netflix Series “Supa Team 4”

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Omotunde Akiode posing for an image. Picture Courtesy: Omotunde Akiode

Omotunde Akiode sits at her workstation in Lagos, showing to doodle. To the occasional customer, this will likely seem like play, however the results of the artistic session might be a really actual cartoon character, presumably for an acclaimed African cartoon sequence like Supa4.

“I grew up watching “Sesame Avenue” and the “Muppet Present” animations on tv. I noticed the colourful colors, fluid motion, and charming storytelling. It intrigued me, and I couldn’t assist however surprise how these enhancing worlds had been created, dreaming that sooner or later I might be the author of these exhibits,” Akiode stated.

Akiode has all the time had a need to convey folks, particularly kids, pleasure. Utilizing her drawing abilities, she discovered herself learning structure after which designing lovely properties that may convey pleasure to their house owners. However because the years glided by in structure, Akiode felt an unfulfilled void rising inside.

Then got here an sudden flip. By way of a drama group, Akiode met the award-winning screenwriter, Kehinde Joseph.

“After I met Omotunde, she had an unquenching thirst for data about storytelling for the display. She was already good, had fascinating concepts, and cherished books and movies. Each time I shared screenwriting books along with her, she learn them at report time and would go to me each Sunday to debate the ideas she discovered,” Joseph recalled.

Joseph present in Akiode greater than a prepared learner; she was additionally somebody who craved new shops for her creativity. The movie was a simple match.

“Reality be informed, Omotunde Akiode already knew storytelling from her huge publicity to movies. My conversations and the books she learn had been simply the science of the artwork of storytelling,” Joseph added.

Not lengthy after that first assembly, Akiode’s identify appeared as a screenwriter within the credit of a TV present. The present was “Tinsel,” described as probably the most profitable drama to run on Nigerian TV. In 2022, it received the Africa Viewer Alternative Award for the longest-running TV present in Africa.

Right now, Akiode has 15 years of screenwriting expertise underneath her belt. Recognized notably for her work on Tinsel (she wrote 11 episodes of the present), she has additionally written for different profitable dramas, like MTV’s award-winning Shuga. Regionally, she has written for a number of Nigerian TV sequence, together with “Expensive Mom,” “Spider,” “Ajoche,” and “Lasigidi Cops.”

“She is very imaginative. Essentially the most outstanding factor about her is that she has no borders; you’ll be able to’t outline her; underlining all of her work is boundless creativity and much-desired freshness and originality,” stated Tope Oshin, an achieved tv and movie director who has labored with Akiode on a number of movies.

“She is an impressive, distinctive, and really imaginative storyteller with the confirmed abilities to create participating, related, and relatable tales and characters,” Oshin stated.

These abilities would quickly discover their approach into a brand new outlet for Akiode’s creativity. Along with her sesame-filled desires nonetheless knocking on the door and a need to write down for youngsters—writing in a approach any youngster may perceive the world round them higher—nonetheless unfulfilled, one other alternative got here her approach.

Omotunde Akiode posing for an image. Picture Courtesy: Omotunde Akiode

It offered itself within the type of a coaching course for animators, supplied by Storyteller Pod, a Johannesburg-based screenwriting college ‘the place screenwriters come to develop’. Akiode jumped at it.

Intrigued and impressed, Akiode launched into a brand new journey of self-discovery. She spent numerous nights delving into the artwork of animation, learning methods, and experimenting with software program.

As she honed her craft, Akiode found that her background in structure offered her with a singular benefit. Her eager eye for element and her understanding of spatial relationships allowed her to create beautiful and immersive animated environments.

This, mixed along with her love and talent for storytelling, acquired her and her craft observed. In 2017, Akiode acquired her first animation writing gig from her coaching college with the Storyteller Pod group. Collectively, they labored on Princess Sissi after which Bino and Fino, which premiered on YouTube.

Her enterprise into kids’s writing utilizing animation has produced items like “Boy Lady Canine Cat Mouse Cheese” by Watch Subsequent Media, “Kiya” by E-One/Frogbox, the “Jungle Ebook” Preschool sequence by Baboon Animation, “Mini Beat Energy Rockers” by Mundolocco Studios Argentina, and “Supa Group 4.”

“Supa Group 4” was a game-changer for her new path in animation. A futuristic story of Lusaka, Zambia, the cartoon sequence is about 4 youngsters who’re introduced into a brand new world by a former spy who makes them realise that they’re heroes.

Supa Group 4 has the excellence of being the primary African animated sequence to seem on Netflix. Akiode wrote for the Kiya and Kimonja characters within the sequence, which has been nominated for Greatest Worldwide Sequence in BAA (British Animation Awards) 2024.

With the accolades rolling in, Akiode is changing into a longtime determine in kids’s leisure. Over the previous eight years, she has labored with world leisure powerhouses, together with MTV, Netflix, and Disney.

“It got here as no shock once more that she is holding her personal in animation. She will conceptualise summary issues and juxtapose them. She is a lifelong learner,” Joseph stated.

Whereas the animation sector in Africa continues to be in its infancy, it’s starting to resound with the exploits of African animators like Akiode, who’re successful awards, even when many in new markets like Nigeria nonetheless have to run facet hustles to pay the payments.

“The area is rising progressively into an business in Nigeria however lacks funding. In contrast to in South Africa, which has colleges, these listed here are largely self-taught however nonetheless pushing. We’ve acquired what it takes, however alternatives will not be ample and distribution platforms are nonetheless few,” defined Adebimpe Adebambo, a artistic director, filmmaker, and animator.

Even with these challenges, Akiode believes within the business’s potential; she additionally trains and hosts workshops the place she seeks to boost a brand new era of African storytellers who can use animation to inform genuine African tales. Her subsequent purpose is to get African buyers excited in regards to the alternative, too.

“My problem to this point is to get Africans to see the necessity to put money into kids’s content material for Africa. Hopefully, this can change sooner or later as extra buyers begin exhibiting curiosity,” she stated.

“My mantra is: ‘do what you’re keen on and receives a commission for it’,” she concluded.

Story Credit score: Gbemisola Esho for Chook Story Company

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