EXCLUSIVE: Teenage media enthusiast sets off career in Chitungwiza
They say time and chance happen to them all, but for Director Redtop as he is widely addressed, he is utilizing time wisely, waiting for the chance to happen. The writer (R.G) sat down with Kenny Makiseni (19) who is known as Director Redtop (D.R) for a My Africa Magazine exclusive below.
RG: A young teenager so interested in photography and videopgraphy is not a common site, would you tell me how it all began?
R.T: My passion for media started in 2019, when I used to edit pictures on my small Sony experia phone using Picsart (application), my friends started motivating me while my parents wanted me to focus more on school things, I continued to do that up to the end of 2019.
R.G: Of course, if I was your parent too, I would have cautioned you too. Now, I understand you had a dance group you directed when I first met you in 2021. Talk to me about that.
R.T: Oh yess!! Here comes 2020. I joined a dance group called Royal Squad and the founder of that dance group scouted my talent and gave me the role of directing group, hence becoming a Director. I started finding ideas on how to manage to make myself feel comfortable because I had no knowledge of being a Director. I worked very hard to the extent that many people eventually started calling me Director even strangers. In that dance group, we bought a camera and a laptop then I started to teach myself to edit pictures while still using my phone to edit small videos. I met a guy who was a photographer called Prince and he showed me basics on how to edit pictures using Adobe Lightroom. My passion continued to grow more and met another guy who called himself I’m Taptic and he is the one who taught me how to operate a camera. I followed him until he relocated, and I left we the other guy called Spice Master. We started to do filming no school, no equipment but using general knowledge. I did some skeets (comedies) being a Director, writer, editor sometimes I used to be an actor and I entered 2021.
R.G: whoa! Let me hold you there, a lot already happening in 2020 and you were only 15 years old, yet you were a Director, filming, and editing. Impressive! So, did you still have time for school? Did you even got to sit for your o levels?
R.T: I sat for Ordinary level at Seke 1 high school in 2021.That time I lost all the passion for media because of my parents. My father wanted me to do school things only and he promised me that if I finish school, he will buy all the equipment that I want. I forgot everything concerning media and I focused on school until I wrote my exams. I finished school in January 2022, but my father did not buy the equipment. I started finding ideas, knowing other photographers and videographers. I met a photographer call himself Kateo and I learnt something from him. Then I worked very hard until I convinced my Dad, and he bought a laptop for me. I met a videographer called K Squad. This guy motivated me daily to complete myself as a Director.
RG: See, I have picked up something from your amazing story, you had people aligned in your path specifically for your growth and that’s so special. So now you’re a director, what happened next?
R.T: 2023 I focused photography. I was an Assistant director on a music video of LV Mwanakwaye called “Dhee” And I was so grateful because I didn’t go to any media school. I used to follow YouTube videos.
RG: I can see your portfolio started off well with the talented Director Leo V whom I believe motivates you. But who else do you look up to when it comes to directing?
R.T: My Role model is Director Kenny from Tanzania the one who directed the song of Harmonize titled, I’m single.
RG: Beautiful video it is, and to imagine you both are named Kenny that’s something. So, what is the goal for you as media loving teenager in Zimbabwe?
R.T: My goal now is to do both photography and Videography, but I have no assistance. In terms of photography, I would like to shoot photos and edit then publish. In terms of Videography, I would like to Shoot but having someone who can assist, but my main it will be Directing, writing scripts, and editing the video. My challenge is that I have no source for where I can get my own equipment because to hire someone’s equipment its hard you know terms and conditions.
RG: Seems you have it all figured out and I hope you will get all you hope for.
R.T: Thank you so much I appreciate you for taking your time and recognising me.
RG: That’s the goal of My Afrika Magazine, to tell authentic African stories like these ones without filter.
There we have it, 19 and deeply engaged with a clear understating. What could be stopping you?