Ade Ogunnaike Episode Summary
In this episode we chat with director and owner of AO Media Lab Ade Ogunnaike. Adé shares his journey into video production, talks about gaining new clients, and shares tips for others interested in starting their own commercial production company.
Ade Ogunnaike Episode Notes
Ade’s Lighting Round Answers:
- Favorite Movie – Casino
- Last Movie You Watched – Justice League – Snyder Cut
- Favorite Director – Bryan Buckley / Taika Waititi
- Most Underrated / Slept On Cinematographer – Robert Richardson
- Coffee or Tea – Rooibos Tea
- Pineapple on Pizza – It’s growing on me
- Favorite Camera – Blackmagic Cinema
- Three Films to Watch Before You Die – Marvel Infinity Saga / Casino / Scarface
Ade Ogunnaike Links
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Corey Allen: [00:06] Hi, I’m Corey.
Bill Cornelius: [00:07] I’m Bill.
Corey Allen: [00:09] And together we host the InFocus podcast. Today’s episode is sponsored by Gnome Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ll tell you all about Gnome Studios at the end of the show. Today, we’re joined by the director and owner of AO Media Labs, Adé Ogunnaike. Adé, welcome to the show.
Adé Ogunnaike: [00:23] Hey guys. How’s it going?
Bill Cornelius: [00:25] We’re excited to have you here.
Corey Allen: [00:28] Before we get into the content creator discussion we want to have today first, congratulations. And you recently became a new father.
Adé Ogunnaike: [00:35] Yes.
Corey Allen: [00:36] How’s that been so far?
Adé Ogunnaike: [00:38] So, funny story. And let’s give some backstory. I was here. I don’t know when this will come out, but I was here yesterday. So, at 10:45 or 11 o’clock, I sent a text to Corey. I said, “Hey, I’m going to be a little late. So, just me 15 minutes.” And said, “The show’s tomorrow. We’re recording.” So, I thought, “Oh my goodness” Baby brain. But the baby is excellent. She’s three months now and it’s a joy. She’s just always ready to be on the camera. Always smiling. She’s evidently smiling and laughing. So that’s just what gives me joy.
Corey Allen: [01:24] Stalking you on Instagram, your stories, when she shows up…Adé, I know like you shoot some really cool videos, but you should consider baby photography.
Adé Ogunnaike: [01:33] I should. There’s money in it.
Bill Cornelius: [01:36] A lot of free practice there.
Adé Ogunnaike: [01:38] Oh yeah, definitely.
Corey Allen: [01:39] I would tell you that, similarly, when my daughter was first born, I did the same. We did all the… I said, “No, we’re not paying for a photographer. I’ve got this covered.” Shot all kinds of videos. We did all kinds of fun stuff together. And as she’s gotten older, now that she’s part of the decision-making process, she doesn’t want to be on camera. Family photos twice a year, she’s cool with, so Adé enjoy it while you can.
Adé Ogunnaike: [02:04] So, there are different phases. So, we were at the phase of where she was, for lack of a better term, mute; not saying anything and just crying. And that was okay for a while because I could just put her down and just run off and do a quick edit and she’ll be fine. But now she’s at the phase where she’s cooing and she has different noises for, “I need to get changed” or “I need food” or “I just need attention.” I’m just waiting for the point where she actually starts speaking to me and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it, but when it comes to comes.
Corey Allen: [02:36] It’s going to be great.
Adé Ogunnaike: [02:38] Awesome.
Corey Allen: [02:39] Well, congratulations again. I am super excited for you. Let’s talk about something; how did you first get into video production?
Adé Ogunnaike: [02:45] Okay. How much backstory are we going into?
Corey Allen: [02:48] As much as you want. Give it all to me.
Adé Ogunnaike: [02:50] Beginning of time. Well, so I think 2008 or 2009, this is post-university, post-graduation I got a job at a company in Singapore as a marketing manager. And again, it was a titular job. It was just by title alone. I wasn’t getting paid as a marketing manager. They created the position, ‘Youth marketing’, and I was supposed to develop that team essentially. And this was based out of Singapore. We had operations in Nigeria, which is where I’m from, for a particular company.
I’m not going to give their name because I’m not giving them any free promo. They’re paying for this. I would say my first foray into video production was… I had to interact with video production agencies who would create the storyboarding of commercials that would come out.
And me being on set for the very first time, for some strange reason at the company, we used to shoot our ads in India. And I know they have amazing talent over there. So, imagine shooting an ad for the Nigerian market where you have to get Nigerian-looking people in India. So, we would go out there and would actually cast people, cast actual Nigerians but none of them sounded Nigerian. They’ve been in India their entire lives from the kids to the parents.
They all sound Indian, which is, which is normal but we would shoot all those ads out there, and then we would bring it back to Nigeria and then have to get voiceover artists to then overdub. It was ridiculous. I’m almost thinking that they probably had a connection with someone out there and there was money being exchanged, but again, that’s just speculation.
But that was my first foray into video production. And then of course, on the analytics side of things where we had another agency that dealt with ad placements. You had to look at viewership numbers, how many times the ad was played, how many people watched. So, it was me getting my feet wet in that sense. But I was on the other side of the table. I was the client who just said, “Hey, go do this.” But in the meantime, other than just being a bystander, I tried to be as actively involved and understand what they were doing and why they were doing it. So, I guess that’s really where I picked my interest. Fast forward; I left that job because I wasn’t getting paid.
Corey Allen: [05:33] Wait; not at all?
Adé Ogunnaike: [05:36] I wasn’t getting paid enough.
Corey Allen: [05:37] Oh, not paid well.
Bill Cornelius: [05:39] It’s still a valid reason.
Adé Ogunnaike: [05:40] I think what kind of spread that decision was every other quarter, we would fly off to India and shoot these ads. We’d be in India for a couple of weeks to a month sometimes, and you’re getting paid a per diem and something that just didn’t make any sense was that my per diem was close to my annual salary. I thought, “You guys realize you’re paying me more to be outside the office than me being here?” So, it just wasn’t making any sense. But like I said, it was a great experience. I just came out of school, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be a manager of resources but I got the experience. I picked that up, I got whatever money it was giving to me. And then, of course, I left. And fast forward. I decide to do something crazy and join an investment banking firm; which is black and white. It was just weird.
Corey Allen: [06:41] So, is that in a creative capacity?
Adé Ogunnaike: [06:43] Zero.
Corey Allen: [06:45] Okay.
Adé Ogunnaike: [06:46] It was starting from scratch. And you might ask why; because they paid more.
Corey Allen: [06:53] I can relate.
Bill Cornelius: [06:56] I can also relate.
Adé Ogunnaike: [06:58] When I saw the signing on bonus at bonus, I thought, “Okay. Yes, I would do that. Teach me.” So, I did that for seven years, seven grueling years. And for some people it’s. It’s okay. You have a passion for it and you just do it. You could be good at it. I would claim that I was fairly good at it, but mentally, I was in the worst place possible. It was grueling. You’re working hours on end, no weekends. It’s a gruel. If you are happy, you’re not working hard. If you’re laughing, you’re faffing off. You’re not really doing the job. You need to be close to death at every single moment. And that meant me missing out on family engagements. And on the flip side, it paid me a lot. I won’t take that away.
Corey Allen: [07:59] There’s a balance
Adé Ogunnaike: [08:00] For sure was a balance. But then mentally, I just wasn’t in a great place to do that long term. And then, in that same space, because I got to meet a couple of people. I was working in Nigeria. I was in working South Africa and when I was in South Africa, I met some friends of mine who ran some of the production sides for MTV Africa. They were shooting videos and doing some fantastic stuff and I was just there living vicariously through them. I was thinking, “I want to do what you’re doing but I don’t want to leave my job and lose money”.
So, it was always that fear; It’s too much of a risk to just jump ship. But I was always happy to live vicariously through them. They would take me on set. I’d get to learn what kind of cameras they were using how they light. All that fantastic stuff.
And to make a long story short; fast forward. I leave that job; the investment banking job, I decided to move out here to Nashville. I initially planned to go to a big MBA school. That didn’t happen. So, I go to a smaller school and that’s fine. It’s okay. I’m not mad about it anymore. But what that smaller school afforded me to do was to have more time. Have more time to do other things. And that’s where I kind of picked up back on my passion.
Most of my video production friends had moved out here to the States and I could fly out to Texas one day and join them on set. They were doing some Facebook videos for their internal communications. I was able to kind of get my hands dirty again and just pick up that passion. And I was just really excited about it. I came back to Nashville with those big ideas and big dreams and they’re real for the first time.
And I said, “Do you know what? Let me just do this myself.” I looked at the video production landscape, and there was something that was lacking and I thought that I could fill in that gap. On one hand, I could tell stories for folks who would kind of look like me. I’m Black. I’m not African American, but I’m Black. But I felt like there was a space that was missing in that circle, especially in Nashville. And Nashville is primarily White. It just happens to be. But I haven’t seen that many… That’s not to say that I’m there yet. I hope to be. But I haven’t seen that many high-profile people of color who are high-profile directors or producers who are of color.
Corey Allen: [10:42] Who are in high demand, in and around town.
Adé Ogunnaike: [10:44] Exactly that, yes.
Corey Allen: [10:46] So, do you recall the first production that you did on your own once you were here in Nashville?
Adé Ogunnaike: [10:56] Yeah. And it was a disaster. It was terrible
Corey Allen: [10:57] As they often are.
Adé Ogunnaike: [11:00] It was terrible.
Corey Allen: [11:01] It was a learning experience.
Adé Ogunnaike: [11:02] Oh, my God. It was supposed to be something that I would have my partner who’s in Texas to come over and help me shoot because I had already pitched the client and told them, “Hey, we’re going to do this fantastic thing for you.
We’re going to have a talking head here and then we’re going to have some B roll of you walking down the street and then we’re going to have a drone flying through.” Just great ideas, fantastic ideas. I did none of that because I couldn’t because my partner wasn’t available. So, I tried to do it myself. I tried my best. It was okay. They paid me for it. They just didn’t call me back. So, yes. As always, your first job is always somewhat of a disaster.
Corey Allen: [11:46] And I know you’ve done really great work since then. I’m sure. I know. One of the first videos you shared with me was a spot for Morgan and Morgan.
Adé Ogunnaike: [11:55] Yes. Yes.
Corey Allen: [11:57] So how did you land that as a new-to-town, smaller production?
Adé Ogunnaike: [12:02] So, it’s both luck and of course God’s grace and just me networking through agencies and some of my friends. So, as I mentioned, I shot some stuff in Texas for Facebook. I did a spot or some internal videos for H and M as well. So, as I said, I had a reel. I had a reel of some stuff that I could show. And Morgan and Morgan through their agency was looking to replicate that. Basically, they were doing a campaign where they were shooting some ads for their various cities that they were operating in and they needed to shoot a spot for something that is Nashville based, that tells the Nashville story, kind of shows what Nashville is and just highlighting their office here and showing that they are in a music city and they are music related somewhat.
So, they needed someone to shoot very last minute. They reached out to a friend of mine and my friend was busy and he said, “Hey, I have this guy that’s in Nashville. and I’m sure he’s well qualified to shoot this shot for you. And here’s his reel.” And I get a phone call by the weekend. And they said “Hey. We got this contact from someone, from a person that was supposed to shoot this ad.
They said that you qualified. Here’s the script. Here’s the time that you’re supposed to shoot, here’s what we want to do. We want to have a drone shot across the city. We want to have you shoot in our office.” They had laid it out. It was basically agency work. They tell you what to do. Just show up with your camera and just shoot it. And here’s the budget. And I thought, “a budget?”
Corey Allen: [13:50] A budget.
Adé Ogunnaike: [13:52] I thought, “Oh…” In my mind anyway. I thought “Are you sure?” Because it was a lot. It was more than that I had in terms of the resources to actually shoot that job. And the first tip that I would give is; don’t try to do everything yourself. Reach out to people who know how to do other stuff.
Corey Allen: [14:16] Right.
Adé Ogunnaike: [14:17] As I had mentioned, he wanted drone shots of the Nashville skyline, shooting through buildings. And I was really thinking about how many violations that would be in how many fines I would have to pay for it. So, I reached out to one of my friends, one of the first people I met in Nashville here; Brian Siskind, who flies, drones and that’s like his passion and he does that professionally. And I said, “Hey, I have this stuff that I need to shoot. Please help me. They want this sort like by the end of the week.” And said, “Yeah, sure, no problem.” And he was amazing. He had some stock footage already and he was happy to shoot some additional footage that they required.
But as I said, that that kind of came together. It was my first time where everything was kind of laid out for me and my first interaction with agency work. Because agency work, in a sense, sometimes can be simple. It’s simple in terms of them telling you what to shoot and how they want to shoot it. They want you to shoot in this particular profile. They want you to shoot in these particular angles. In some cases, they would have already storyboarded the work for you. And like I said, you just show up with your camera and just shoot it.
The difficult thing was post-production. So, post-production was between myself and a colorist. And it was just constant conference calls where you’re going back and forth with the client. It was hard. It was hard, but as I said, at the end of the day I had it in my profile, it went on TV and I was excited about it. I think it was the start for me to say, “Okay, I think I can keep doing this. This is good momentum for the next thing.
Corey Allen: [16:05] I think what’s interesting too is how you landed that job is really around probably most importantly, networking and the connections that you have. But I can think similarly of how many times I’ve gotten a phone call to say, “Hey, I can’t pick up this shoot. Are you free?” Or similarly, I’ve definitely thrown probably way more work to other filmmakers where I get a call. “Here’s what they want. I can’t do it.” Typically, Monday through Friday. “So, are you free?”
Bill Cornelius: [16:35] A lot of times, that’s a great place to be in too, because I’m working and that’s why I can’t take this gig. So, it’s a luxury and you want to help your friends out and the people you know and pass work off.
Adé Ogunnaike: [16:50] I would say what a friend of mine, my last boss in investment banking told me. And he said that there are two things you need to have; You need to be… And I take this everywhere that I go, you need to be good at what you do; number one. You need to be fairly good at what you do, personally. And then number two; you just need to be an amiable person. People need to like to talk to you. People need to like to be around you. And how that has resulted in the more work that I’ve had. Some people have shot more amazing stuff than me, naturally, as expected. I’m not going to claim any that I’m the most fantastic videographer or filmmaker in Nashville.
But I think folks are, for lack of a better term, attracted to working with me because I give them a listening ear. I’m not necessarily just agreeing with them all the time, but I’m able to respectfully disagree with them and respectfully give them new ideas. Because many times, especially with dealing with small businesses, they say, “Oh, I want to do this. And this is how I want it.” But I can go in there and say, “No. You should probably do it in this particular way because it might look much better if we do it in that particular way. And I might be very stern with them, but they’re happy because I disagreed with them. And they still like me in some funny way.
Corey Allen: [18:27] Well, there’s a level of trust there too. And people will hire you because they want someone they can trust and lean on and things like that. So, you do get a feel for, “What can I say no to when it comes to the ideas that are coming to the table?” And you can be polite about it obviously, and be professional about it. We all have learned to be that way. It goes a long way and it’ll get you future work a lot of times.
Adé Ogunnaike: [19:02] For example, I might be on set with another director who’s there who is in charge of the shoot. And the director might disagree with the client but I was maybe the assistant director for that particular shoot, I might go and say the same thing the director told the client but just in a different way. And they would say, “Oh yeah, maybe we should do that.” But I have said nothing different. I just said it in a different way.
Bill Cornelius: [19:29] Just in a way that it resonates better with them.
Adé Ogunnaike: [19:30] Right.
Corey Allen: [19:32] Adé is a smooth talker. A wordsmith
Bill Cornelius: [19:35] The diplomat.
Adé Ogunnaike: [19:37] That is true.
Corey Allen: [19:39] Nice. Now, other than Morgan and Morgan, I know you’ve done plenty of work with other small businesses around town as well. I think most recently ‘Slim and Husky’ which I think recently opened up their new spot in the Fifth and Broadway. And I think that they are the first-ever black-owned business on Broadway as well, right?
Adé Ogunnaike: [19:58] Yes. They are some amazing guys. Clint, EJ, and Demo are doing some amazing things in Nashville and across Tennessee. And I think in a very short period, they will become at least a national brand, if not global. I think they are just right at the cusp of getting there. And their pizza is amazing.
Bill Cornelius: [20:24] It’s fantastic.
Adé Ogunnaike: [20:26] And I’m saying this while being slightly biased, but truly, it is good.
Corey Allen: [20:31] It’s good. So how did you first come across those guys and get to do some work with them?
Adé Ogunnaike: [20:37] Okay. So, I think back to the same discussion of networking. You take on some jobs, I think as we all have, we take on some jobs that are not paying you anything, right? It’s costing you more than it’s actually paying you. You end up subsidizing the client than anything else. But sometimes some clients say, “Hey, you know what? I have a Rolodex of people who, if you do a good job, number one, it’s not just that they will just give you that in return. But if you do a good job and the client likes to work, they would be happy to open up their Rolodex. And Rolodex; who uses that word anymore?
Corey Allen: [21:16] I get the reference. I know what you’re saying.
Adé Ogunnaike: [21:19] They have a list of folks they can refer you to. So, I did some work with another client on Buchanan street. And they said, “Man, this work is amazing. We are not paying you enough for it. And I said, “Hey, there’s this other company that’s down the road just opposite you; Slim and Huskies. I’ve seen their work. It’s okay.” They’re in the right space where they aren’t just being driven by social media or by social media engagement. Some companies just do that. They have customers show up because they saw their product on Instagram or something, and then they show up and they have it. And maybe the food might be good or the food might not be good, but they were pulled by social media.
This is a company that is based on the product alone. Their product speaks for itself. So, I asked, “Do you have the contacts for these guys? I love their pizza. Their pizza’s excellent.” And he said, “Yeah, yeah, sure. No problem. I’ll text it to you.” And he made the referral and I got to meet the marketing manager and one of the founders Clint. And we just started the conversation.
I put on my investment banking hat and I’ve built out the pitch book, which honestly was a waste of time because it was just a lot of detail. Where I come from, in my world, you need to provide the client with a lot of detail. You need to give them geographic information, you need to give them statistics. You need to show them why the video is going to make their products… How it’s going to affect sales.
Corey Allen: [23:01] A really hard sell. You need to be walking in ready for the ‘no.’
Adé Ogunnaike: [23:04 I went all the way there. Even building out what kind of commercials we’ll shoot. And he was just said, “Okay, so how much is it going to cost?” I noticed that on slide five, he had already switched off. And you have some clients like that. Especially for the smaller businesses. It’s not to say that there aren’t interested in the details, but they just really want… First of all; their hands are everywhere. They’re handling operations and marketing, and they’re doing everything at the same time so their time is very limited. So, one trick out there is to make your pitches short. So, he said, “Okay, how much is it going to cost? What are the next steps? What do we do?” And I said, “Yeah, sure, no problem. Let me just shoot you a contract.”
That was still my investment banking brain. “Let me give you a 20-page contract and then I’ll show you a proposal and then I’ll give you a storyboard…” Again, I was losing him. And this happened for like a month plus. I just didn’t really get any feedback from them because I had just given them all this information that they didn’t need. Fast forward, making a long story short, I said, “Hey, you’re opening up a store in Atlanta.
Let me have someone go out there and go shoot that video for you and the store opening.” And I had a partner go out there and shoot the commercial or the store opening and they loved it. And they said, “Yeah, sure. We’d like this.” They just wanted action. They didn’t want my stories. They didn’t want my… They just wanted to see what we could do. And we shot that. We made the highlight video, they loved it. And they said, “Yeah, sure. Please come into the store. Let’s shoot some food commercials. Let’s map out what 2020 is going to be.” And you know how 2020 went.
So, a lot of that work off postponed. Fast forward to 2021; the store opening. We’re actually working on a documentary for the founders. Just talking about their journey. First through COVID through the challenges, being the first black-owned business on Broadway. How it’s not just going to be… How you can’t just hold onto the tag of being a black-owned business to survive. You actually have to compete because there are the bigger chains who we’re not going to mention because they’re not sponsoring this show. But there are the bigger chains that are out there who are ready to eat your lunch. So, how do you keep the momentum going? How do you keep people coming into your stores?
Corey Allen: [25:40] Yes, that’s great. Again, the work comes from a network and I think building into maybe smaller projects that maybe you’re not making a ton of money on or any money on, but I think to your point, taking the opportunity to say, “Okay, if you really like my work, what I would really appreciate is a referral. It would be almost as important as… Maybe I’m not going to make $3,000 off of our project, but if you can help me continue to steamroll into bigger and bigger…”
Bill Cornelius: [26:13] It’s a snowball effect. That kind of speaks to when you start out, you don’t have a resume, you don’t have a demo reel, and things like that. And you have to sometimes do the favors and the low-budget paycheck stuff.
Adé Ogunnaike: [26:32] Zero budget.
Corey Allen: [26:33] Zero budget…
Bill Cornelius: [26:36] And just to get your demo reel put together and then also networking through that. And so, it does have a snowball effect. I’ve seen that with myself, obviously with you, all of us, we’ve all seen what happens when you put yourself out there and when you finally get something on your resume and you start talking to people and networking. It does have a domino effect.
Corey Allen: [27:03]] I tell people all the time, I have a day rate. And I always start there and say, “I’ll show up with a camera for my day rate.” But I’ll negotiate that down to almost nothing if I had belief in you or your project, or as an artist. If you want a music video, but you only have 300 bucks. Let’s talk about your idea. If I think you have a ton of potential and I like what you’re doing, let’s do it.
Adé Ogunnaike: [27:30 It results in many times, not all the time, but sometimes that results in getting that next higher paying job, because many folks say, “Hey, listen, I clearly can’t pay you for what this job is, but I know someone who can.” There’ve been many times where I shot a video and the client was graceful enough to post it and tag me in it. And then from there, somebody… Social media is fantastic. Instagram is honestly… It’s been amazing because people can now reach out to you; one. And you can reach out to some of the top brands. But to my earlier point, there are times where a client will post some work and tag me in it and then you get other people saying, “Hey, listen, I love this work. Can you shoot something like this for me?” And then you kind of start that conversation going.
Corey Allen: [28:24] That’s great. Thinking back to some of the maybe earlier projects or even more recent projects that you’ve done, I would love to get vulnerable for a second. Let’s talk about your biggest creative failure where you felt, “This is going to be amazing. This is going to be great. This is going to be the best thing I’ve ever shot.” And then it turns out… “I don’t love it.
Bill Cornelius: [28:50] “It could have been better.”
Adé Ogunnaike: [28:51] Okay. So, in 2019, through that same agency that got me through the Morgan and Morgan thing, they pitched me something for Apple. Apple and Cisco in Nashville, here. And I was thinking, “Yeah, it’s amazing. The opportunity of a lifetime.” So, I get on a call with the Apple folks who were extremely knowledgeable. The first couple of questions are, “Okay, what camera are you using? What camera profile? Sony’s S log three. It has to be minus three tint. Plus, it has to be detailed.
Corey Allen: [29:33] They’re in it.
Adé Ogunnaike: [29:34 Everything
Bill Cornelius: [29:36] That’s very detailed.
Adé Ogunnaike: [29:36] Extremely. Even after I shot the video, I thought, “Okay. So, I’m going to edit it.” And they said, “No, we’re editing it.” I asked ‘why?’ And they said, “Because we own final cut.” I said, “Oh, that’s true”. You might as well. My greatest creative failure on that day was… Will this be a creative fail or a production fail? Was so the client, I didn’t have multiple-audio… You know where this going already. I didn’t have multiple audio sources.
So, this part of the video is a talking head and it was a representative from Cisco who we were supposed to interview. I’d been given the questions so I knew how to kind of prompt him to get the required answers that the Apple folks needed. And the client comes in, he sits down, I mic him up. We just had the one… it’s a zoom mic or something. And he sits down, he starts answering some questions.
He gets a phone call and then he leaves, disconnects the audio receiver and then he walks out, makes a phone call and he comes back and then he fills in and he puts it back in. and then we do a second take which was like the most important take because then now he was comfortable, he was ready to go and it was just going fantastic. Little did I know the client hadn’t really properly secured the audios.
Corey Allen: [31:14] Oh no.
Bill Cornelius: [31:16] Oh no.
Adé Ogunnaike: [31:18] I get back home and I hit play and it’s just…. I don’t know, because we can’t see this but it’s….
Corey Allen: [31:26] Just the look of despair on your face.
Adé Ogunnaike: [31:28] Can you hear that silence? Just nothing. You could just see the client’s mouth moving, but just no audio.
Bill Cornelius: [31:35] Oh, boy. That hurts me personally because I’ve had a few similar incidences in my time and we can all feel it.
Corey Allen: [31:49] As you started in on the story, as soon as you mentioned audio, I knew where this was going. Oh, man. So, this next question is probably pretty straightforward. The biggest learning from that day
Adé Ogunnaike: [32:05] Have multiple audio sources. I think the biggest learning tip or thing is to find people who are better at things than you; number one, if you are running your production agency. Don’t be the smartest person in the room. You can be the smartest person in the room for the client. The client wants you to be knowledgeable and just have everything on hand or have a fair understanding of all the aspects of the production value chain. But when it comes to you being in the office and you being in front of the folks who you’re going to be working with, don’t be the smartest person. Just don’t. Because you would end up just being… Folks won’t like to work with you; number one. And then you just really won’t get the best production value at the end of the day. So, the tip is; get people who are great at audio. Number one.
Bill Cornelius: [33:06] Have a sound recovery person.
Adé Ogunnaike: [33:07] Have a sound guy. And when I speak to sound guys, everything goes over my head.
Corey Allen: [33:13] Same
Adé Ogunnaike: [33:13] Because it’s an art form. They know what is clipping and what isn’t clipping and you have to place the noise blankets and that all of that. It’s not my field, but they’ve studied for that or they know that. So, get folks, especially if it’s a higher budget and there’s a budget to pay them, get them on set and pay them to do that. Get other people to do other things. Because at the end of the day, time is valuable. Get a gaffer, get someone to light for you.
Get a DP. Don’t do everything yourself. Especially when it comes to the like freelance work, the idea is to just go out there and just shoot everything yourself; fly the drone, interview the person, just to do everything, light yourself. Sometimes, the constraint of budgets can cause that, but try to get more people involved or convince the client that, “Hey, if you want to get the quality that you’re expecting, I need to have four people on set” or “I need to have two people on set at least.”
Corey Allen: [34:18] Yes, that’s an important point that I think a lot of people miss or overlook, or early on in their career they don’t place enough value in that conversation, which is; “If this is the intended outcome that you want, if this is the look that you want, if this is the style video that you want, I can’t do that with your budget. Here’s what I can do for your budget. And I know it’s not what you want and here’s why a crew of three or four or five, or whatever it takes to deliver that look,” I think is an important lesson for people to figure out.
Adé Ogunnaike: [34:54] I don’t know the exact term, but it’s like ‘the triangle of delivery’ or something. Basically, there are three major things or three points but you can only have two. So, there’s price, there’s speed and then there’s quality but you can only have two. So, if it’s price and quality, you’re just not going to have the speed in terms of turnaround. If it’s price and speed, you’re not going to have the quality. So, pick and choose. That’s what you should always put to the client.
Bill Cornelius: [35:25] And how much stress do you want to put on yourself? Because I am definitely early career guilty of doing everything myself because I was so desperate for work. I used to think, “I can do this, I can shoot, I can edit. Whatever you need, I can do it.” And the level of stress I experienced because of stuff that didn’t really pay me a lot…
Corey Allen: [35:50] Unnecessary.
Bill Cornelius: [35:51] Unnecessary. So, there’s a component of that as well. Do you want to just wear yourself ragged? And for what? You need to bring these other experts on board. please do it because it’ll benefit you personally too.
Adé Ogunnaike: [36:13] And I’ll also add to that, that clients at the end of the day take you more seriously.
Bill Cornelius: [36:17] That’s true too.
Adé Ogunnaike: [36:18] They would value the time and production value that you’re bringing to their work because they would think, okay, “If I’m calling Bill, or if I’m calling Corey, they are going to come with a team of five and I need to be ready.” It’s not going to be a friendly conversation; “Hey, just show up and bring your camera and get it done.” They have to then think deeply; “Am I ready to, number one; pay his team?” and call you because you have a fee to get you out of bed. So, they have to be ready.
That’s just one of the issues that you face, like dealing with small businesses because there’s a lot of handholding. You have to walk them through. You have to explain why your job is going to cost you $5,000 rather than $500. If you tell them that, “Hey, listen, to get everyone here, to get the job that you require, these are the folks who are going to show up and this is why I need to have these people on set.”
Corey Allen: [37:17] Well, I think as a serial entrepreneur myself, I could totally understand why they want to be engaged because to your point earlier, they have their hands in everything. Time is incredibly valuable to them, but so is money. Many small businesses operate on such a small budget so often. To your point, one of his first questions was, “How much is it?” and “When are we going to get it done?” Because timing is critical and what’s it going to cost me?
Adé Ogunnaike: [37:52] And just very quickly just to add to that, there are some mid to large-sized companies who don’t want to get too much into details. So, if it’s going to cost $10,000, okay. Just go and do it. But there are some smaller companies who would think, “A thousand dollars? Oh, okay. I need to do an audit of every single thing.
Corey Allen: [38:16] Explain to me where every dollar of that thousand dollars is going.
Bill Cornelius: [38:19] Exactly.
Adé Ogunnaike: [38:20] And that can be a headache. So those are some of the things that you have to like balance out. Is this going to be worth my time? Or do I just deal with it?
Corey Allen: [38:30] You’ve dropped so much knowledge and so many like tips.
Adé Ogunnaike: [38:35] I’m sorry.
Corey Allen: [38:36] No, that’s great.
Bill Cornelius: [38:37] That’s great.
Corey Allen: [38:38] I guess a good transition to probably my last question. If you were to give one piece of advice to young filmmakers or creatives that want to start their own small production company or just get deeper into indie work. What piece of advice would you give?
Adé Ogunnaike: [38:58] I would say get your hands dirty in every field that you can while you can, while you’re allowed to make the mistakes, while a client is paying you an odd $500. Just do it. Do it in the way you think you can. Even if the video looks weird, the colors are all wrong, just get your hands dirty. Because that is the point where you’re building up your reputation. You don’t want to be at some point in the stratosphere and be making those kinds of mistakes because then you’ll really get killed for it. So, just get your hands dirty. Also, something else someone told me yesterday; He called it leg day. So, typically when you go to the gym, you’re just working out.
Corey Allen: [39:50] Don’t skip leg day.
Adé Ogunnaike: [39:52] Don’t skip leg day. And he said leg day basically for creatives is using your equipment on your own time. We run the risk of maybe renting gear or buying this new set of gear and the only time you ever use it is on a client’s shoot.
Bill Cornelius: [40:10] When you get a client.
Adé Ogunnaike: [40:13] And you’re thinking, “Okay, so how do I…” You’re YouTubing. You don’t want to do that. So, on one hand, you are learning how to use it on your own time. You’re making your own mistakes on your own time. And then secondly, you’re learning new things. And once you learn those new things, when you actually do get that paid job; the small or the large paid job, you’re ready to go.
Bill Cornelius: [40:32] And I think stuff like that keeps you sharp creatively too. It goes back to the conversation of a lot of what is said is problem-solving. So, if you’re doing stuff in your own time, you’re sharpening that ability to solve problems and anticipate things and be creatively nimble. So, when you do get the gig, you’re just popping off. You’re ready to go.
Corey Allen: [40:58] Take the work. Find it and just do it, whatever it is. Get it under your belt.
Adé Ogunnaike: [41:04] Easier said than done.
Corey Allen: [41:07] Absolutely.
Adé Ogunnaike: [41:09] I see it as, “This is what I’m doing.” No, no. I have my faults. I don’t always do all these things. But as it’s advice to folks who are getting into the industry, it’s advice to myself as well to actually just go out there and shoot.
Corey Allen: [41:22] That’s great. Now, do you have any exciting new projects, either personal projects or commercial work you’re working on we should be looking out for?
Adé Ogunnaike: [41:30] So, I’m working with a Canadian company; no names.
Corey Allen: [41:34] You can say the name. It’s okay.
Adé Ogunnaike: [41:37] I’m working with a company called Nanuk Cases. And they make some amazing…. They are the competitor for another brand who we’re not going to name for many reasons.
Corey Allen: [41:48] That’s fair.
Adé Ogunnaike: [41:52] But they make them cases for recreational film gear, medical supplies, and the like. And I’m trying to build out some commercial content for them to break into the retail market. Because typically, most of these case makers build business to business. They are just making cases for the US government to put in weapons and stuff, which is another conversation. Or to be safe, they’re building cases for medical supplies. With COVID going around, there are many reasons to have those kinds of cases because they have to be rugged. So, what we’re trying to do is to build out a marketing plan where they are telling stories to retail owners. Sorry, to retail folks. People who walk into a shop and say,
“Hey, I like this case. I saw this case on YouTube and I would like to buy this case.” They are the direct-to-customer type of market. So that’s what we’re working on. Hopefully, we should be launching something in the summer because it’s a whole adventure series.
Corey Allen: [43:02] I think the preview you shared with me; I think it was… you had David.
Adé Ogunnaike: [43:07] Yeah. So, we shot a proof of concept for them. David and Moise, who were great partners in Nashville here, were part of that. And hopefully, we’ll be able to share that fairly soon.
Corey Allen: [43:21] Can I talk about the shot where you set the case over the waterfall?
Adé Ogunnaike: [43:28] Sure, sure. In the video… I’m sure I should be able to share a preview of this, but in the video, we basically take the cases through there. We batter the cases as much as we can. And it’s not just the case. We actually have equipment in them. So, one of the cases had my drone in it and we just threw the case down the waterfall.
Corey Allen: [43:50] Your equipment was actually in there for the shot, even though no one would ever know.
Adé Ogunnaike: [43:56] We do it for the shot.
Corey Allen: [43:57] Alright.
Adé Ogunnaike: [44:00] We have to put everything on the line for it.
Corey Allen: [44:05] That’s super cool. I can’t wait to see it. The preview that I saw looks really good.
Bill Cornelius: [44:10] That’s awesome.
Corey Allen: [44:11] That’d be great. All right. Now we typically put all of our guests through our lightning round of some similar questions. I hope you’re ready.
Adé Ogunnaike: [44:20] I hope so.
Corey Allen: [44:22] We don’t have our fancy….
Bill Cornelius: [44:24] We don’t have our fancy announcer.
Corey Allen: [44:25] We are going to have like a really cool [imitates beeping noise 44:27] I don’t know, we’ll get there.
Bill Cornelius: [44:31] Lightning round. Higher of you.
Corey Allen: [44:36] At some point, we’re going to have a really fancy intro where I just push a button and it’s lightning round time.
Bill Cornelius: [44:41] Confetti drops on the ceiling that nobody sees.
Corey Allen: [44:44] It’s just for us. We do it for the shot. All right. So, here we go; All time. Favorite movie
Adé Ogunnaike: [44:52] Casino.
Corey Allen: [44:54] Nice. Okay. The last movie that you watched.
Adé Ogunnaike: [44:59] Tried. Zack Snyder; DC…
Corey Allen: [45:04] The Justice League. The Snyder cut. Oh, you tried. You couldn’t make it?
Adé Ogunnaike: [45:09] I tried twice.
Corey Allen: [45:09] What turned you off?
Adé Ogunnaike: [45:10] Everything.
Corey Allen: [45:11] Really?
Bill Cornelius: [45:12] That’s how I felt about the original.
Adé Ogunnaike: [45:15] Well, I think we’ve been… I’m sorry, I’m getting long-winded. But we’ve been so spoiled by Marvel that anything else that’s superhero-related just has to match that. I tried. I’ve tried twice now. I get to hour two and a half-ish.
Corey Allen: [45:32] It is long.
Adé Ogunnaike: [45:33] Maybe it’s my age. I don’t know.
Corey Allen: [45:34] It is long. There’s a lot. He’s packed a lot of story into the four hours.
Adé Ogunnaike: [45:41] Yes. I’ll try again.
Corey Allen: [45:43] It wasn’t the four-three aspect ratio? You got over that really quickly.
Adé Ogunnaike: [45:48] That threw me off a little bit initially, but I’m fine with it.
Corey Allen: [45:52] The reasoning behind it makes sense. At some point, they want to be able to show it in an IMAX where a four- three ratio makes a lot more sense.
Bill Cornelius: [46:02] Oh, I didn’t actually know why they…
Corey Allen: [46:05] So, his original intent was to film and present it in that format.
Bill Cornelius: [46:10] I didn’t even question it. I thought, “Well, that’s his artistic vision. he wants four-three.”
Corey Allen: [46:16] That’s the warning at the beginning; “This film is presented in four by three to respect Zack Snyder’s creative vision.”
Adé Ogunnaike: [46:25] Okay. When you’re in that stratosphere level, you get to…
Bill Cornelius: [46:33] You get to make those decisions.
Corey Allen: [46:34] Your favorite director.
Adé Ogunnaike: [46:36] My favorite director would be on the commercial side. So, it would be Brian Buckley who might not be heard of much, but he makes some amazing Superbowl adverts. Also, YTT. Funnily, he makes more commercials than films.
Bill Cornelius: [46:57] Really?
Adé Ogunnaike: [46:58] Yep. Yep.
Bill Cornelius: [46:59] I didn’t know that.
Corey Allen: [47:00] He’s amazing.
Bill Cornelius: [47:01] Yeah. I love him.
Adé Ogunnaike: [47:04] Most of these guys make a lot of commercials. You just don’t really hear about them.
Bill Cornelius: [47:06] Wow. I’m going to look that up now.
Corey Allen: [47:11] Unless you’re a blockbuster movie director or a high-end music video director, like Director ‘X’ or any of those guys; people know their names, but to your point, there’s a big collection of commercial directors.
Adé Ogunnaike: [47:26] Oh yeah.
Corey Allen: [47:27] …That sometimes fades over into the creative space.
Adé Ogunnaike: [47:29] Yes.
Corey Allen: [47:31] Okay. I’ll have to check him out. Most underrated or slept on cinematographer.
Adé Ogunnaike: [47:38] I don’t know if he’ll be underrated, but Robert Richardson. He’s behind most of all the… Who was the director behind ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?”
Corey Allen: [47:52] Tarantino.
Adé Ogunnaike: [47:53] Tarantino. Most of his films. He’s the cinematographer for almost all his films.
Corey Allen: [47:58] Definitely not underrated, but I think to your point, probably just people don’t know, they know it’s Tarantino…
Bill Cornelius: [48:03] He’s probably not a household name.
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:05] That’s a fear. Once you get to that level, they think that Tarantino does everything. He’s shot this. He did the song. He did everything, but there are many people under him who are actually creating the work. So, he’s number one for me.
Corey Allen: [48:19] All right. Cool. Coffee or tea?
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:20] Tea, always.
Bill Cornelius: [48:23] That was a quick response to it.
Corey Allen: [48:26] I know more coffee drinkers.
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:27] I would like to even add that actually, Rooibos tea is my favorite tea. Just FYI.
Corey Allen: [48:31] Okay. Bill is a recent convert to tea. So, I’ll have to check
Bill Cornelius: [48:35] I recently started tea. Yes, I’m loving it.
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:38] It’s a South African blend, so you should definitely try that out.
Corey Allen: [48:40] Nice. All right.
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:43] Do it.
Corey Allen: [48:43] Pineapple on pizza.
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:44] It’s growing on me.
Corey Allen: [48:45] Really?
Adé Ogunnaike: [48:47] Yeah. It’s growing on me. What is out of bounds though is fish. Any kind of fish on pizza?
Corey Allen: [48:53] Yes.
Bill Cornelius: [48:55] I don’t know if I’ve even had fish on pizza.
Corey Allen: [48:58] Salmon…
Bill Cornelius: [48:58] No, I don’t think so. It’s no good.
Corey Allen: [49:03] Alright. Favorite camera?
Adé Ogunnaike: [49:06] It would be the Black Magic series. It’s the ease of use. I’m sorry. Ease of use is key for me.
Corey Allen: [49:13] Okay. Now, three films everyone should see before they die.
Adé Ogunnaike: [49:25] The Marvel Universe series; just all of them.
Corey Allen: [49:30] Just watch them back-to-back. Watch the entire infinity saga.
Adé Ogunnaike: [49:34] Casino of course. And Scarface.
Corey Allen: [49:41] Okay, I like your style. I like your style. All right. Well, Adé, thanks so much for joining us today. It’s been a real pleasure.
Adé Ogunnaike: [49:50] Thank you.
Corey Allen: [49:53] We’ll leave links to all of your things in the show notes for today. So, all your work, all your social media, all of that. So, please make sure everybody, you check out Adé please.
Adé Ogunnaike: [50:03] Please, more. Bring money.
Corey Allen: [50:07] I like follows, but I like money. And for our listeners, we know you have a lot of podcast options and we appreciate you choosing us. Check us out on Instagram, @infocuspod, or online at infocuspodcast.com. To learn more about today’s sponsor, Gnome Studios, you can find them online at gnomestudios.co or on Instagram @gnomestudios. Gnome Studios is located in a century-old warehouse, just outside of Downtown, Nashville. And it’s an amazing full-service recording studio. So, make sure you check them out for your next project. And if you like what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. Make sure you leave us a like, comment. All of those things. And if you’re on Apple podcasts, please leave a rating. It helps us out a ton.
Bill Cornelius: [50:50] Yes, please.
Corey Allen: [50:52] Until next time, please feed your crew.
Bill Cornelius: [50:56] Absolutely.