Olaitan Olaoye has studied, trained and worked professionally as an actor but after becoming disheartened by the lack of opportunities in the industry he decided to form his own entertainment platform, Levile TV.
Since its conception Levile TV has has afforded many opportunities for BAME creatives keen to kickstart their careers in the TV & Film industry.
#TBB10 caught up wit Ola, to find out more about the platform and their latest project …
1# Introduce yourself…
Hello Guys. My name is Olaitan Olaoye (@OlaChristian) I am a producer and actor from North London, Enfield to be precise. My parents originate from Nigeria but I was born here, although I went to an international secondary school in Nigerian for 1 year.
2# How long have you been directing and was this the career you’d always wanted or has your path changed?
I never thought I would direct anything when I started out on my acting journey. What is interesting is that I had been directing but not taking credit for it. Being a director offers a different type of challenge because growing up I was used to being in front of the camera, however, since the amazing growth of Levile TV and the work we have been doing, I’ve had to look at my creative output from an objective standpoint.
3# What or whom was the inspiration behind who you are today?
My mother. It may be cliché but she is the hardest working person I know so it was only natural her children would adopt the same philosophy. If we are relating this to the industry, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Will Packer are people who inspire me. They have managed to build an infrastructure within their country and communities which will leave a long-standing legacy and this is something I aim to do.
4# Have you directed before, if so what have you learned about the process?
Behind the Lens is the first official project that I have directed. It means so much to me, as making this documentary has been an interesting journey which has required patience and an insane work ethic. I am a big believer of what will be will be if you give your maximum. There were certain talents in the industry we targeted that were unavailable for one reason or another and they would have been great for the documentary but I am very happy with the end product and wouldn’t change a thing.
5# What is Behind the Lens about?
Behind the Lens is part of a series of documentaries which we will make annually. It looks at how your favourite filmmakers attained commissions, the trials and tribulations faced & the challenges that arise within the BAME community when navigating the UK industry. We wanted to cover 5 main strands throughout the documentary – finance, politics within the industry, money, mental health and the success of BAME talent. Mental Health specifically with our industry is rarely spoken about and many creatives suffer from it. There is also a positive aspect to the documentary where creatives can learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.
6# Why now, and how did you manage to pull it together on a limited budget?
It was God I tell you. I set myself a challenge at the start of the year saying I want to make a documentary on a £0 budget and see what we’d be capable of creating. We had the opportunity to receive funding or use a budget but this was a personal goal of mine. I have to give credit to my team who pulled through Kareem Adeshina, Gus LDN, Matthew Kanini & Monet Morgan who were amazing during the process.
7# You run your own production company Levile TV what’s your goal with the productions you make and for your company?
We are a co-creation platform and production house that celebrates and works with talented creatives up and down the country. The goal with our projects is to create content that make people think differently. We aim to become a place where creatives feel they can call home, making content around the clock and elevating entry level talent within our industry.
8# What is the biggest battle when running an independent production company and what are some of the benefits?
Budget! This is a challenge 90% of production companies face. How do we create this amazing piece of content on a shoestring budget? We are lucky to be supported by some major networks and platforms which always helps. They believe in our vision which makes the journey a lot easier but there is never an easy day. Everyone in my team has a sickening work ethic including myself.
9# What is most important thing you want the audience to take from this documentary series?
I want the audience to know the TV & film industry is not all glitz and glamour. People tend to see the end product and think making a film is very straight forward or attaining a commission is done simply through an email. I want people to understand the amount of work people in our industry including platforms like British Blacklist and whoever is not easy, we face daily challenges to elevate ourselves and others. I hope the audience will appreciate the other side of the industry from Behind the Lens…Hence the title.
10# Shout outs – who do you want to thank, big up, say hey to?
I want to say big thank to the Levile team and all our interns! I also want to thank everyone who helped in the making in this documentary, a special thank you to Louise from Latimer Group. Thank you to all our supporters and followers. Continue to watch and share the trailer on your socials!
Behind the Lens will be released November 2017
Keep up to date with Ola and Levile TV via his website levile.co.uk