I have this friend who doesn’t freak out easily, no matter what happens. He tells me that the worst case scenario in life is being too afraid to try or venture into new things. He is a young executive producer, and capturing the beauty of life through the lens of camera is his forte.
Today on spotlight, feel the words of a young man who spoke from the depth of his heart.
WHO HE IS
“I am Chimaobi Anthony Okpala. I am a Nigerian, from Anambra state; in Orumba north local government area. I’m from a close-knit family. My father is late. I’m blessed with the warmth and love of my only brother and mother.” said Chimaobi
“Would you consider the death of your father as the lowest point in your life?” I thoughtfully asked.
“Yes, it wasn’t easy. It happened when I was quite young but I can still remember everything. It’s still so clear, like…”
I had to cut in, because he was getting a bit emotional.
“So is it safer to say that you grew up too fast?” I asked
(Smiles) “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I grew up normally. Okay, losing my dad was a tough and heart wrenching experience, but that particular event shaped me into the man I am today. It made me strong because I had to buckle up, support my younger brother and mother. So, fate hit me quite early in life, but I’m a survivor.” He asserted
SACRIFICES MADE FOR SURVIVAL
“Wow, so many of them. At some point, I had to drop out of school for my younger brother to have a good and quality education. I sacrificed my comfort zone, tried out so many things from a tender age. I wasn’t like other kids who had all they wanted. Being raised by a young widow who staked her all for us was enough motivation to strive harder…”
I jumped in on that “But every mother could do that… don’t you think so?”
(He strongly opposed) “Not every mother, hers was different. My dad died when she was very young and people advised her to remarry but she stuck to her guns. She bluntly refused. She could have chosen the easy way out but she chose us – me and my only brother over the good life. That’s why I can do anything for her.” He proclaimed passionately.
WHAT HE MAKES OUT OF LIFE
“Against all odds, I think life is beautiful. All I could change if I have the power is to make it longer; it’s too short for my liking. I see life as a teacher. The more you live, the more you learn. Life has actually taught me to be stronger, patient and happy. No matter what, I try to be happy. I live in the moment. Life is good.” He said wholeheartedly.
“So what do you consider to be your source of strength?” I asked
“God first! It’s God over everything. Aside from that, my family is also my source of strength. When I remember them, I get enough strength to carry on, because I know giving up means giving up on them.” Said Chimaobi
“I’m a cinematographer, director, producer, sound engineer, and editor. I just love production. It’s magical to be able to freeze moment in shots and watch them stand the test of time. You take shots of people’s moment and they are happy seeing themselves reflect on something bigger than a mirror. You see, I believe in swiftness of time. That’s why my slogan is… you live your moments and we capture them for you.”
“You sound like it’s a bed of roses. Don’t you have any challenges?” I queried
“Of course there are challenges in every field of work. I battle with financial setbacks, lack of fund to carry out some mega projects. Sometimes you face the difficulty of getting consistent and passionate crew members who can handle a project the way you’re determined to. But in the midst of all these challenges, I keep pushing. Nothing in life actually freaks me out, not even death! That’s how passionate I am.” Said Chimaobi
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING PRODUCERS
He said, “Don’t wait to have it all before you could venture into what you want. Initially, I was waiting to buy all the equipment I need before I could start. Someone walked up to me and told me that if I keep waiting to have everything, I won’t make head ways. Truth is I shot my first short-movie with iphone6. I had to start from somewhere. So if you’re an aspiring producer, make do with what you have. What’s more important is not what you’re using to deliver the job but the outcome of your work.”
“What about the money factor?” I asked
“That’s where a lot of people get it all wrong. If you walk in because of the money, you’ll fly out because of it. So whenever you want to delve into something, passion should take the lead and not your love for money.” He advised.
“I wish for three things in life. One is to be successful. The other is to bring my dad back to life if that would be possible, and finally to find true love. I need someone who will love me, cherish my mom and brother the way I do.”
“No wish to work with prominent producers both home and abroad?” I jokingly asked
(Laughs)”That one is secondary. Well, I would want to work with great people like Tyler Perry, Kunle Afolayan, Clarence peters, Jay Holben and Director X. These are individuals who create masterpiece. The output of their work is epic. So be the miracle I seek and hook me up with one or all of them.”
HIS DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
“Success is a combination of intelligence and hard work. So work smart and while you’re at it, have those beautiful things that money can’t buy, because success is beyond the money bag. Until you come to that point of fulfillment where you’re truly happy, you’re not successful. Also, don’t ever think you’ve arrived or get too comfortable when you achieve a goal. Personally, I’m never satisfied with the output of my work. I believe I can do more. Success does flourish when you live and work with a great deal of humility. Always be humble, no matter how much you’ve achieved in life” He advised
THOSE HE OWES HIS GRATITUDE
“I’m thankful to my loyal friends, and to everyone who believes in me. You see, years ago I didn’t know anything about production. A friend of mine saw how breathtaking it was for me each time I watch other producers, and she linked me up with his brother who’s in that field. His brother taught me how to work with soft wares. It was like a tip of the iceberg compared to what’s inherent in video production. When I realized I couldn’t pay him, I had to let him go. Still, I didn’t give up. I had to fall back on my passion. I actually learnt everything I know today on my own; by researching, asking questions and not allowing my burning desire to fade off. I dedicated my time, passion and effort to see to my success.” He narrated
So, I owe everything to God. His grace kept me. I’m also grateful to my lovely mother, my brother, my aunt and her family who made sure I went to school. I love them so much!”
“I would say life is not as hard as people think it is . Celebrate yourself every day. Sometimes I look at the mirror and would want to shout out to the world, and tell them how blessed I am. I know I’m just getting started, but I’m hopeful. In all you do, put God first and work hard. No matter the challenges or where you’re coming from, don’t give up. If I’m to spread good news to the world, it would be: Love one another. Because you can never hurt those you love, and love brings peace!
Don’t forget, life is in flashes of moment “you live it, we capture it”
You can follow Chima on Instagram-@1405media. Watch Tribute, his first short movie: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=akE5EIYfeSo