Sony Digital Rapids Pixel Power calrec Sony

Cris Blyth of GoodMakers Films on building a digital content studio...

08/03/2018

What's Good Studio in Nairobi, Kenya

Facebook

Twitter

Google

Pinterest

Written by Bryant Frazer for StudioDaily

GoodMakers Films is a production company with a mission. Leveraging the storytelling chops of co-founders Tilo Ponder and Cris Blyth, GoodMakers aims to bring new exposure to worthy charities, non-government organisations and marginalised communities through documentaries and community projects. Ponder had worked previously on multimedia advertising campaigns and her husband, Blyth, was a commercial director, animator, editor and VFX artist, but both of them were eager for a change that would make them feel like they were contributing more to the greater good. They just didn't realise at the time how dedicated they would become to that cause. We asked Blyth Five Questions about GoodMakers Films and its work with not-for-profit groups and youth-led organisations in Kenya and beyond.

--

Your motto is increasing charity impact through documentary films. How do you accomplish that?

Cris Blyth: There are many charities or NGOs out there. Some of them don't need help; they have good messaging and good stories that get them donations to further their cause. However, we found that there were some great NGOs that didn't know how to tell their stories effectively and were always working hard to get funds to sustain themselves. As filmmakers, we can find the right way of telling the story to appeal to an international donor base, which is important because many of these community charities are based in developing countries.

We made an effort to leverage our storytelling expertise to benefit charities and create meaningful impact. We vetted different causes, raised funds, and planned trips to spend time with the charity founders. We got to interact with their communities and translate their value proposition into compelling short documentaries. It was - and still is - a great success. Using the short documentaries to reach international donors, the charities have not only raised awareness of their existence but have taken in considerable donations. It has had an immeasurable impact on us personally and on the charities we seek to help.

Initially based in Los Angles, we balanced our efforts by working our regular jobs for around nine months of the year and taking about three months to go film and edit the projects. Over the first couple of years, the 70-30 split became 60-40, then 50-50. At that point, we realized that a change might be coming for us.

How do you discover and select the subjects for your films?

After our first film, we found that people came to us. We were connected to other networks like Creative Visions, a group that, among other things, does a great job of connecting the right activists and donors to the right projects. That said, we are careful about which projects we take on. We look for NGOs that have an end goal and a game plan to either do the work and expand, or replace themselves as they grow and help others. After a few years, we also had other corporate social-responsibility projects from the likes of Southwest Airlines and Ericsson. We also had incredibly helpful tech partners such as Red Digital Cinema, Sony, Drobo, and NewTek to help us along. Without that help, it would have been incredibly difficult to finance the work.

Tell us about a recent project and how it successfully raised awareness of a specific cause or community.

Our most recent project has been a complete shift for us - to Kenya! My wife, Tilo, was asked to work on the 2013 presidential elections by the Kenya Red Cross and its partners, which culminated in a peace campaign called Chagua Peace - something that was especially needed after the violence of the 2007-2008 Kenya elections. During the same period, our GoodMakers Films team worked with local youth to hold Kenya's first Youth Town Hall, giving young Kenyans from marginalsed communities a voice to discuss issues of concern that impacted their daily lives, including health care, education, skills training, and concerns over corruption. This project was a great success and led Tilo to realise that the youth in Kenya didn't really have a voice in matters of governance and civic engagement. That's when she really discovered what talent there was here in Kenya - talent that we realised could find presence through video, radio, and TV. So we decided to stay and do something about it.

Over the past four years, we've built a youth-culture platform that encompasses radio, TV, and blog posts - all online, and all written and produced by our young staff. It's called What's Good Networks. We are now East Africa's leading digital content studio and aim to become the premium entertainment platform celebrating Africa's youth culture globally. We were the first to live-stream back when most Kenyans didn't have a smartphone. So we were early to be on time. We have always served a mobile-first audience with a focus on under-30 consumers who get their media predominantly online. Our writers, editors, camera people, producers, and hosts create and produce original shows. We guide them by training them in all aspects of production, and we maintain an international standard to ensure our content will be consumed globally. Kenya TV is still in SD - yes, standard definition PAL. However, everything we make is in HD. NewTek supplied us with a TriCaster 8000 system, which really allowed us to work efficiently and deliver quality products that we can all be proud of. One of the shows we make, ShengTalk, is based entirely on the popular urban informal settlement language Sheng. The show is very popular. We've known the hosts since they were 14 years old and now, all grown up, they are rising celebrities in their own right.

However, it's incredibly difficult doing something new like th
LINK: http://www.screenafrica.com/2018/03/08/technology/film-tv-video-broadc...
See more stories from screenafrica

Africa Stories

23/04/2018

Pearl Thusi: Five fast facts about one of SA's queens of...

SANDTON, SOUTH AFRICA AUGUST 26: Pearl Thusi is a South African actress, model, radio, and television personality. Currently, she is the host of Lip Sync Batt...

23/04/2018

Kyle Lewis directs Ungovernable BMW commercial

-- -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Cape Town-based director Kyle Lewis, who recently signed to Egg Films for commercials representation, has...

23/04/2018

ANN7 changes to Afro Worldview on 30 April 2018

Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi Picture: Moeletsi Mabe/Sunday Times -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Afro Worldview will go live on 30 April 2018, as a re...

23/04/2018

It's a blockbuster! Independent South African research reveals cinema ads deliver...

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Independent research into cinem...

23/04/2018

South Africa's number one kids' channel celebrates ratings success

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Cartoon Network, South Africa's leading kids' channel, has exceeded its own expectations with the broad...

23/04/2018

Calls to regulate SA film industry after actor's death

23 April, 2018 - 06:02 The safety of actors on set should be addressed urgently a call for for better and safer working conditions in the arts industry was...

23/04/2018

Terry Unser Appointed Executive Business Director At 1886

23 April, 2018 - 06:03 Terry Unser, previously Executive Business Director at FCB Africa affiliate, 1886, has rejoined the agency as Executive Director: Int...

23/04/2018

SA film industry continues to attract investment

23 April, 2018 - 06:05 The South African film and television industry continues to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and create employment for the ser...

20/04/2018

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) call for festival hosting funding applications

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) call for festival hosting funding ...

20/04/2018

BET's new show Fix My Love

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest In today's world, we all have relationship issues and struggles that we are never quite sure how to fix. B...

20/04/2018

TVU Networks receives NewBay Best of Show Award at the 2018...

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest TVU Networks, the global technology and innovation leader in live IP video solutions, has been awarded a NewBay...

20/04/2018

M-Net at HBO grow partnership with Warrior

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest M-Net and HBO are at it again! The two businesses, whose well-established relationship has given South African ...

20/04/2018

Cameron Bailey appointed co-head of TIFF

Image courtesy of TIFF: Cameron Bailey (Photo by Matt Barnes) -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest The Board of Directors of TIFF recently announce...

20/04/2018

10 of the best local hits to stream on Showmax this April

20 April, 2018 - 08:03 There's a diverse range of local and lekker South African content coming to Showmax this April, from hit rom-coms (Happiness Is A...

20/04/2018

DocFilmSA Sheffield Market Readiness Workshop

20 April, 2018 - 08:04 The Documentary Filmmakers Association of South Africa (www.docfilmsa.com) is sending a Group Delegation to Sheffield Doc/Fest with t...

20/04/2018

The Logic of Story

20 April, 2018 - 08:04 Have you ever wished for a gentle guide who prods you to write each day? Someone who coaches you on best practice? Who is on your sid...

20/04/2018

Egg Films' Kyle Lewis directs Ungovernable' BMW commercial

20 April, 2018 - 08:07 Cape Town-based director Kyle Lewis, who recently signed to Egg Films for commercials representation, has released Ungovernable, a ne...

19/04/2018

Lawo launches mc56 production console

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Lawo debuted the third generation of the mc 56 at NAB 2018, marking a further step in the evolution of a mixing...

19/04/2018

Matrox debuts X.mio5 Q25 SMPTE ST 2110 network card

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Matrox recently announced Matrox X.mio5 Q25, a SMPTE ST 2110 network interface controller (NIC) card with multi...

19/04/2018

Urucu Media seeks junior producer

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Urucu Media is an independent South African film production company based in Cape Town. Urucu actively partners...

19/04/2018

How Hollywood Does Cape Town

19 April, 2018 - 08:01 The South African city sees its share of celebs coming through to film and play. Cape Town, South Africa, may have been in the intern...

19/04/2018

3rd BRICS Film Festival Call for Entries

19 April, 2018 - 08:03 The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) invites South African filmmakers to submit...

18/04/2018

CALL FOR A PRODUCTION COMPANY TO FACILITATE THE COMMISSIONING OF SHORT FILMS FOR THE 3rd BRICS FILM FESTIVAL

CALL FOR A PRODUCTION COMPANY TO FACILITATE THE COMMISSIONING OF SHORT FILMS FOR...

18/04/2018

Imagine Communications Ad Tech wins NewBay's Best of Show Award

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest -- -- TV Technology has presented Imagine Communications Ad Tech with a NewBay Best of Show Award for xG Sc...

18/04/2018

Rohde & Schwarz expands its media server platform

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Rohde & Schwarz has significantly expanded and optimised its R&S VENICE platform for live production, studio pr...

18/04/2018

Sony is Powering Today and Transforming Tomorrow for media professionals at...

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest At NAB 2018, Sony is focused on new workflows for new types of customers. The company is showcasing technologie...

18/04/2018

Lawo mc56 production console launch at 2018 NAB Show

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Lawo will unveil the third generation of the mc 56 at NAB 2018, marking a further step in the evolution of a mi...

18/04/2018

FCB Africa Shines At Africa's First CICLOPE Awards

18 April, 2018 - 08:04 FCB Africa was named Agency of the Year at the inaugural edition of the CICLOPE Awards held in Cape Town this week, the only festival...

17/04/2018

3rd BRICS FILM FESTIVAL - CALL FOR FILM SUBMISSION

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) invites South African filmmakers to submit their films in the followi...

17/04/2018

FCB Africa shines at Africa's first CICLOPE Awards

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest FCB Africa was named Agency of the Year at the inaugural edition of the CICLOPE Awards held in Cape Town this w...

17/04/2018

Grey Johannesburg's winning ad sees new success at Kantar Millward Brown

-- -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Consol Glass' television commercial, The Best Things Come in Glass' has been awarded second plac...

17/04/2018

Dalene Matthee novel, Toorbos, to hit the big screen

(Photo credit: dalenemathee.co.za) -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest The popular novel, Toorbos, written by award-winning author Dalene Matthee,...

17/04/2018

Channel24 joins forces with AfriDocs to bring you free documentaries from across Africa

17 April, 2018 - 08:07 AfriDocs, the only free streaming platform for the be...

17/04/2018

SA Tourism launches new "This is your country" campaign

17 April, 2018 - 08:10 This is your country is the new campaign from SA Tourism thats aims to inspire South Africans to travel their own country as part o...

17/04/2018

Call for input on the Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Republic of South Africa

Call for input on the Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty between the Government of ...

16/04/2018

The rise of video content

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest We've seen many industries disrupted over the past decade, especially with the advent of social media. The ...

16/04/2018

Deep VR captures African mass migrations in virtual reality film

BTS on Exodus: The Great Migration -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest The great wildebeest migration at the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya ...

16/04/2018

Inside the high-tech, high-pressure world of Outside Broadcasting

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest There are few sectors of the production industry as technically demanding, and few environments as highly press...

16/04/2018

Artificial Intelligence: is it changing the face of MAM?

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Media Asset Management (MAM) started out as the platform to manage your media assets, right? As technology and ...

16/04/2018

SACIA invests in the development of the South African broadcast industry

Kevan Jones with the SACIA team -- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Since 2009, the South African Communication Industries Association (SACIA) has...

16/04/2018

Imagen media portal chosen by BBC Studios

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Imagen, a leading provider of video management and distribution services, recently announced that BBC Studios h...

16/04/2018

Atomos introduces Ninja V at NAB 2018

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest The latest incarnation of the famous Atomos Ninja line is here. Seven years after the world's most popular ...

16/04/2018

New SA Tourism campaign with Ola! Films

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest This is your country', a brand new campaign from SA Tourism inspiring South Africans to travel their own c...

16/04/2018

April 2018 Issue

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest -- --...

16/04/2018

Five Fingers for Marseilles secures release in the USA

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest South Africa's first western Five Fingers for Marseilles opened nationwide at cinemas on 6 April. While So...

16/04/2018

The Doc Shop Playlist 2018 - Call for entries

16 April, 2018 - 05:27 Hot Docs is an internationally renowned documentary film festival, conference and marketing event that takes place annually in Toront...

16/04/2018

10 reasons Runaways is the new Marvel series you need to binge

16 April, 2018 - 05:30 Marvel's Runaways is now streaming first and only on Showmax in South Africa, TVLine hailed it as the richest, best-realized Mar...

13/04/2018

CNN hears how Loyiso Madinga is bringing African comedy to worldwide...

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest On this week's episode of African Voices, CNN meets entertainers who are taking their talents to internatio...

13/04/2018

Rotolight Anova PRO 2 wins NAB 2018 Best of Show award

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Rotolight, the award-winning British LED lighting manufacturer, has announced the latest award win for the Anov...

13/04/2018

Blackmagic Design announces DaVinci Resolve 15

-- -- Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest Blackmagic Design recently announced DaVinci Resolve 15, a massive update that fully integrates visual effects ...