WeOwnTV – The Beginning: Arthur Reflects on Our First Year
It was a knock on the office door that brought me back to the conscious. My mind was running through all that has happened since 2009 August when WeOwnTV held its first workshop. I thought back even farther to the first time I met my friend, Radha Rajkotia Don, who introduced me to Zach Niles and Banker White. You know it is funny how a little bit of kindness can earn you so much in life. My work with WeOwnTV all began when I helped her, a British-born Indian lady, carry a sack of water. This lady became my friend and she later introduced me to the guys that would bring WeOwnTV into my life.
So began the manifestation of a dream, an idea, a thought, a belief. WeOwnTV came to us as a light that seemed unreal. It’s like looking at a diamond and at the same time not being sure of what you are looking at─a little delicate thing that has the power and ability to explode into one of the greatest illuminations of our time.
The workshop of 2009 came and went like one passing through the different weather conditions of the seasons. The start of which was joy and experience-sharing and the end, joyful tears running down the cheeks of most of our female participants for whom the experience is one they might never get from another organization.
Our first year was not easy. Getting people to know us and running our programs without an office space was the greatest difficulty I faced in our first year. Without business cards or an office space, no one would do business with us. In addition, without a safe, reliable place to maintain equipment…it broke. The two apple laptops left with us crashed, the Cannon camera died and at the tail end of our first year my favorite camera the Sony PD150 finally gave way.
WHAT KEEPS ME GOING: The vision itself is so powerful that once you are in it you will not let go. The small Sony PDX10 camera became my tool. I became a professional by experience. Before you knew it I had completed two films for different groups in Sierra Leone. Tyson made his music album and I was in Makeni to direct and film videos which became the center of positive gossip in his hometown. Things where not so bad after all.
When I received a call from Banker asking me to look out for an office space I thought for a moment is this really happening to us? Are we finally going to stand? I thought of how many opportunities we have lost just because we didn’t have office space. The news itself was received with joy amongst both old members and incoming participants. One thing I am happy to say is that even though the first year was a little bit rough, the young filmmakers for whom this program was established gained enormous confidence in us. They were meeting me from every corner or bit of space we could find with sincere interest in our program. Blessed be God forever.
The knock was from a young gentle man, who entered my office and said, “I have heard about you for so long and today is the day that God has made it possible for us to meet. I would like you guys to do a film for me.”
Here we are now, in this office, a space of respect, dignity and authority, with all Sierra Leone waiting for us to conquer. We shall conquer. — Arthur.