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I can be affordable as shooting free musical videos – Unlimited LA

Olalekan Oluwasegun Buari better known as Unlimited LA is one of Nigeria’s top leading video directors who started handling the camera in 2008 under the tutelage of DJ Tee. L.A isn’t just your average music video director as he prefers to call himself a cinematographer who has robbed shoulders with the likes of Clearance Peters, Adasa Cookey, Moe Musa amongst others.  He shot his first video in 2009. He directed Blackmagic’s Rainbow’ in 2011 and ‘Repete’ the following year. His big break came when he shot Sean Tizzles ‘Sho Lee’ and ever since Unlimited LA has shot over 100 videos. One thing that strikes about the Computer Science and Mathematics graduate from Lagos State University is that he is down to earth and free spirited nature. In this chat MUTIAT ALLI, Unlimited LA lets us into his world as a music video director, thoughts on the recent beef in the industry, giving back to the society amongst others. Enjoy…

You are one of famous Nigerian video directors whose impact has been felt in the industry, what makes you thick?

I think the unseen, something I’ve never seen before, visually.

How long does it take you to put up a concept for a video?

Sometimes, it’s less than 5 minutes, some times in a month, depending on the visual I want to picture from the video.

Less than 5 minutes, how?

When you hear a song, you just vibe with it straight, but sometimes you get to listen to the song over, and over again before the concept comes to place.

Like when you were shooting Gbadun by Jaywon, it took you how long to derive the concept?

It took me more than a week, because the time he gave me the song, he wanted to shoot the first video, so I didn’t have time to really listen to the song until like two weeks before I was ready to shoot, then I listened to the song and I got the whole idea.

If deriving concept for musical video takes less than 5 minutes and above; how long does it take you to give out a finished production?

For me, two weeks after the video shoot, your video is sure ready for public viewing.

From somebody who was the assistant camera man and has grown big in the industry cum receiving an award on the platform where you have worked before; how does that make you feel at that point?

 I actually started ten years ago, I was assistant camera man. Sometimes I look at it like it’s a slow process, and it’s a way of building yourself, you know I can’t just wake up in the morning and be the best music director. I have to start from somewhere, so me standing as an assistant camera operator is a learning process for me which I did not take for granted. I learnt my way to the top and here I am clinching an award and also tagged one of Nigeria’s best video director.

Will you say you are comfortable with where you are now?

Of course I’m not comfortable. I always want to do more, I don’t like all my videos, so I always want to do more and prove my worth to the world.

What is your take on the recent beef in the entertainment industry; do you think it’s necessary?

I think beef comes from a culture and the biggest genre is pop, but when you have the Americans doing hip-hop, and somebody is beefing, showing like he is the hardest guy, and you know Nigerians will always want to enumerate anything we see in the United States, so I think we are just trying to emulate a culture that we are not used to. It’s just for the news because at the end of the day you see that this beef does not pay anybody.

Did you actually set out to be a video director while growing up?

No, I was going to become an engineer, but I just woke up one morning, and I found myself doing camera work.

Will you say you are currently enjoying your status/job?

Yes, for the fact that I can wake up anytime that I want to, I don’t have to listen to anybody, am my own boss, and I think I kind of feel comfortable with it, because if I was doing a 9-5 job, I would have been fired like a hundred times, because I don’t like waking up early.

How do you cope working with several artistes with different emotional upbringing from cool headed to the strict ones?

Let me say before I started directing videos of my own, I have been behind somebody, so I have seen it all. There’s practically nothing I’ve not seen, so any artiste that comes my way is all good, we just work.

Have you had experience when you shot video for an artiste and at the end the person is not satisfied with the end result?

The cool thing about me is that before I shoot a video, there’s always a treatment, I will tell you exactly what I want to shoot, so as soon as you agree to that, that’s all, then it will be none of my business if you don’t like it at the end.

How affordable is UNLIMITED LA?

As much as people think am expensive, I can be as affordable as possible as shooting you a free video if I really like your song. It’s not the first time am doing it, I’ve done it several times, I can’t mention names now, so that’s how affordable I can be.

For someone who started from the scratch and now at the top, how do you intend giving back to the society?

I have 17 people working for me. If I have to say working with me, I will say 23; the remaining six are working with me, so I try to build an opportunity for young people that could not afford film school. Like me, I did not go to film school, I learnt on the job, so giving opportunities to young people that have passion for it, I say come, I will show you few things, and everybody is growing here. There’s virtually nobody on my crew list that does not know like more than 60% of the entire production, like handling camera, editing, lighting, styling, I’m just trying to develop as much people as I can.

Let me say before I started directing videos of my own, I have been behind somebody, so I have seen it all. There’s practically nothing I’ve not seen, so any artiste that comes my way is all good, we just work.

Have you had experience when you shot video for an artiste and at the end the person is not satisfied with the end result?

The cool thing about me is that before I shoot a video, there’s always a treatment, I will tell you exactly what I want to shoot, so as soon as you agree to that, that’s all, then it will be none of my business if you don’t like it at the end.

How affordable is UNLIMITED LA?

As much as people think am expensive, I can be as affordable as possible as shooting you a free video if I really like your song. It’s not the first time am doing it, I’ve done it several times, I can’t mention names now, so that’s how affordable I can be.

For someone who started from the scratch and now at the top, how do you intend giving back to the society?

I have 17 people working for me. If I have to say working with me, I will say 23; the remaining six are working with me, so I try to build an opportunity for young people that could not afford film school. Like me, I did not go to film school, I learnt on the job, so giving opportunities to young people that have passion for it, I say come, I will show you few things, and everybody is growing here. There’s virtually nobody on my crew list that does not know like more than 60% of the entire production, like handling camera, editing, lighting, styling, I’m just trying to develop as much people as I can.

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