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10 Questions

10 Questions: Andy Madjitey

andy madjitey interview

We had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Madjitey, a promising Ghanaian Filmmaker and Music video director. Enjoy the conversation.

I’m the last of 4 siblings. I’ve lived in Accra almost all my life. I went to Presec, then to Legon where my interest in making videos became a real thing. I was messing with music production and other things at a point but filmmaking is what it all came down to.

Andy Madjitey

1. What’s your philosophy in life that influences your creative work?

I like to believe the process is as important as the results. If what you’re trying to achieve doesn’t excite you to the point where it scares you a little then there’s no point. Every video is an attempt to create some we haven’t done before. Like Cina Soul’s 00:01, a slow, sad song like that needed a certain type of video to match it. Everything is a challenge and we don’t expect perfection but the closer we are to the goal, the better.

2.Let’s talk about the creative process behind your videos. What is your interaction with the artist normally like to achieve the final product?

I can’t really say I have a process. Ideas have come up 30 seconds for the first time I’m hearing a song. There are ideas I already had and they just happened to work with the songs. The artistes sometimes have very specific looks or moods they want to communicate. It helps when I have the song on repeat, sometimes an entire day or two, just to see where it takes me. After that, I create a treatment or mood-board. Images help where words cannot. If the artiste/label likes it, we roll.

3.You have had the opportunity to work with Magnom and Sizz the Truth on two occasions each. Do artists get more open to your ideas and trust your direction more after the first collaboration?

I’ve actually worked with Sizz once on his music video. The second time was a song he featured on. Biqo’s song. The trust grows. As a director, I have a fair idea how something will look when it’s done. The artiste might not necessarily see things the way I do but they usually are more willing to trust your decisions when you’ve worked on previous videos together.

4.Do you approach Post Production with the same enthusiasm as you do the actual shooting?

I try to. That’s when you really find out how bad you screwed up. The process is always an emotional mess. One minute you’re happy because you’re appreciating how great a shot turned out the next minute you’re realizing it can only show 2 seconds in the entire video. Watching a video over and over for days, sometimes weeks can make you hate it a little. I say all these things but I like the editing process.

5.Are there any Music Video Directors you look up to? (In Africa and Beyond)

Nana Kofi Asihene. He has been a mentor from the moment I decided this is what I wanted to do. I don’t know how, but he managed to see potential in me and has continued to be helpful. I rate Wanlov too. He works with whatever gear is available and creates entertaining content every time which is what I think filmmaking is about. Beyond Africa, Melina Matsoukas. She is an amazing storyteller. Every video she has worked on is unique. She made We Found Love – Rihanna, Formation – Beyonce. She directs Insecure.

6. How do you use color in your videos?

It took a while to learn how to handle color. But with time, you understand that color or the absence of it triggers certain moods. I try to keep things deliberate. I consider that when scouting locations, styling, lighting etc. You don’t always get what you want but it helps when you have an idea.

7. Which video so far would you say took the longest time to shoot and why?

Actual filming rarely takes more than a day but pre-production and post-production can extend the whole process. I spent a month and a half on a music video one time but I can’t tell you why without hinting who it is.

8. Has it ever happened that a certain look or set you envisioned and created got ruined mid-shooting?

It happens more often than you will expect. Equipment break, models don’t show, rain, clothes don’t fit. Anything that can go wrong, will. An important part of the job for me was understanding that I can’t control everything. Once you find a way to make it work, these things become stories you can afford to laugh at.

9. What makes a great music video?

For everything I can say, there’s an example of someone doing the exact opposite and getting great results. The truth is nobody has it figured out. But I know I like it when a music video is just different. It’s not that impressive to see exactly what you expected. I’ll rather see a failed attempt to do something different than a good one that has been done a million times. Which, sadly, is how most music videos are lately.

10. Is there any music video that you’ve seen and wished was shot by you?

Two videos actually, both from Stromae. Ave Cesaria and Formidable. They both look like the making process was a lot of fun and I wish I was a part of that.

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