Inside Opportunities

Posted on March 31, 2020

Creating Viking Ding Dong’s first Music Video in 18 Hours the day before Lockdown.

Last week I reminded myself and whoever interested that opportunities abound, especially in times of crisis. The ways to address these involved a combination of reaching out to other people and adjusting what one would usually do.

Month End. Bills Due.

After I shared my video in a what’s app group, Anson Pro (Nailah Blackman’s manager) buzzed, commended me on the video and immediately invited me to work with his team on a couple upcoming projects. I was elated at the thought of long term consistent work but what about this week? Bills are coming this week.

As an entrepreneur it is almost as though cash in hand is never as important as a working business model. So no matter how much cash in hand, during COVID 19 I feel as poor as anyone else due to my regular business models, primarily large gathering based closed until further notice.

Reaching out to Ding Dong

Viking Ding Dong is probably equally talented as an artist as he is a Dj. As a member of the 96.1 family for many years he represents them everywhere he goes.

I’ve wasted some time suggesting ideas to friends to no avail so I decided to look outside of my circle. Andre Houlder, also known as Viking Ding Dong, was on social media requesting videos for his ‘WE INSIDE’ remake of his 2020 hit, ‘WE OUTSIDE’. Instinctively I messaged him and asked directly who was editing the videos together. Personally I prefer not to edit other people’s work especially phone videos as I find it usually maximum work and minimal reward. This was a bit different – I felt like we are deep in a pandemic, there is no time for what you prefer to do and not do. Do what is available and try to SURVIVE.

I entered the conversation hoping at best to string a couple videos together as a favor to be paid back to me at some point. I think my initial of not making money from Ding Dong was instrumental to what happened next. I was just genuinely excited and ready to edit. I started off using phone and poor quality camera videos then putting these together before I had proper equipment. Based on this I felt I best suited for piecing this together. Most other videographers started at synergy or a production company. I was never interested in production and equipment as much as the people and the stories interested me. This here was not about 4K quality or dynamic range or depth of field. Ding Dong as an artist has a very unique, comedic personality. Coupled with his newfound fans genuine love for his music there was a story to be showcased in under two mins. I wanted to tell this story. I wanted to deliver a stellar product packaged and ready to go just because I can.

A Quick edit turned into a Music Video

Via phone, Ding Dong asked me what I think about shooting “a scene with him”. Initially I offered my studio as the location – equipped with built in lights he would get something clean and quick here for sure I thought. Ding Dong later communicated that we should move the shoot to his place. To execute this I called out one of my interns Gillene who lives near Ding Dong and we met at his house that same day. I have been very grateful to be blessed to work with some of Trinidad’s most talented creatives as my interns since 2015. Ding Dong’s house was unfamiliar to me so a second pair of eyes would be welcome and I was happy to provide her the opportunity to be hands on. Gillene seized the opportunity and she is responsible for all the pictures in this article and was instrumental in allowing my mind to work creatively on the fly.

The Concept

At Ding Dong’s home I met up with ‘Twelve”. Another member of the 96.1 OJO family, Twelve was calm and helped Ding Dong to remain focused. I noticed him assisting with the reposts on Ding Dong’s instagram before the shoot as well. The idea of the door closing (in the start of the video) came from Twelve and together he and I were able to develop a very simple but still relatable storyline.

Twelve and Ding Dong share a light moment with a couple friends via FaceTime.

Everything depicted in our video was based on what Ding Dong would actually do when ‘inside’ so his acting flowed naturally.

Working with Viking Ding Dong for the first time I had to listen intently to what he wanted but still direct him so I’d have enough content for my edit.

I discovered the song was only recorded the night before so Ding Dong knew none of the words initially. We shot each ‘location’ in parts to overcome this hurdle and pieced everything together introducing Viking Ding Dong to the world as the responsible Soca Artiste – encouraging the world to stay INSIDE and maintain proper hygienic practices.

Truthfully I find myself at the heart of organic projects and thrive in environments where we require a coordinated effort when under pressure. This video had to be done there and then as we only had a few hours until the streets were locked off by the government at midnight that same night. Several of my friends expressed concern encouraging me to get off the streets and avoid a jail term.

Viking Ding Dong’s character is naturally fun loving and jovial. Directing him was exciting because I felt that there is a greater story to tell that is different from the regular ‘serious’ Soca artiste story.

We were able to wrap up before dusk. My friends, Ding Dong’s fans and Trinidad Tik Tokers supplemented our work and added the last bit of INSIDE vibes we needed.

You know how our parents said don’t run down parties and liming because it will always be with us? Well now all this is gone and so is our freedom. So this situation has reminded me not to depend on luck but to create my own opportunities and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.


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