My Plans For Ndani –Agnes Marquis | Independent Newspapers Limited
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My Plans For Ndani –Agnes Marquis

Posted: Sep 6, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ndani Tv’s Head of production, Agnes Marquis is a young and upward mobile Nigerian who has worked with top production outfits in the UK. She was with Endemol, and MTV UK. Today, she is pioneering top contents and presenting one called African Dreams. In a chat with Hazeez Balogun, she speaks about her journey to television and her progression in her chosen field.

Agnes Marquis

Agnes Marquis

You have finished production on the first installment of African Dreams, what is the show all about?

African Dreams is a show that Ndani Tv is producing. It is a show aimed at profiling the successful and prolific Africans. It is about people in and around Africa who are successful in their chosen fields. We are not just talking about how successful they are but also the person that they are. We delve into their lives, their successes their failures, their family life, their hobbies, inspiration, and their goals in life.

Basically it is showcasing how these people live their African Dreams and what they perceive African dream to be. It is easy for us looking at these people from afar to think that they are living great lives and are living the dream, but does the actual person believe that they have reached their potential in life. Do they believe they are living the supposed dream?

It is an inspirational show because we urge the people we speak to also give tips on how to lead a happy and successful life. The first person we featured was Ademola Akinrele who is a young lawyer and also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He gave lots of advice on law related issues, and how to invest money and how he got to where he is. Those are the kind of people we feature and those are the kind of tips and inspiration we want people to learn from.

You say you feature successful people, who do you consider successful?

It is not down to money. If it is about money, there are lots of rich people we can just walk up to and interview for the show. It is about success in terms of achievement, reaching personal goals. For many people, goals are different. We also look at how they got to where they are today. We want people whose journey is inspiring and people can learn from.

How is the public going to get to see the show?

It is a quarterly show and that is because the kind of people we feature on the show are prominent people who are not that easy to get. We make it quarterly because we have to do a lot of research on the subject and also have time to have a lengthy chat with them in a relaxed atmosphere. Our second episode for example, we interviewed Sanusi Lamido, who was the CBN former governor and an Emir. Those are the kind of prolific people we want. It airs on the Ndani platform and it is online. Maybe later, we will look at getting in on cable and terrestrial channels.

But don’t you think that once every three month is too wide a gap?

It is a special feature. It is not an everyday show. It is not every day you listen to an Emir talk about his family and personal life. It is not every day you get a top notch lawyer giving you tips. It is a special feature. We know people will wait for that.

The style and content of the show is not really that unique. CNN has a show that features African successes, even local stations have the same. Asides the name what is different wit African Dreams?

There is nothing wrong with other platforms doing the same kind of show. In fact it’s great. It shows that there are many Africans out there who are worthy of profiling. African Dreams is different because our target audience is the youth. We are trying to reach people from 18 to 35. The connection is the youth angle. It is them advising the youth and giving back to the youth.

The show is for the youth but an average youth will rather watch a MTV rather than an inspirational show. How do you hope to reel them in?

We put the trailer out for the most recent one and the show is on our platform. The response we have been receiving has been overwhelming. These are the young people we are talking about. Yes the youth want entertainment, they are easily drawn to it but they also take time out to watch other shows. A lot of the time, the young people of the day get a bad rep. They are not the people who want to sit down in front of their Tv all day watching entertainment shows. They are responsible people who are interested in how to better their future.

Also, don’t you think people will not be happy at some of your guest especially those who had been in government. As you know many see government workers as thieves.

That is not the kind of people we are going to interview. It is about getting such people, we can do that easily. We look for people with reputation and it reflects in the people we already featured.

You head production at Ndani, it must have been difficult presenting a show as well

We have a good team which is full of dynamic young people. This is the only show I present so it is not such heavy work. I have been behind the camera all my life and this is the first time for me in front of the camera. It was difficult for me to separate the role of a presenter and a producer at first but I later got used to it. In fact it helps. I know how and what to do while I’m presenting. 

Why not just get a presenter?

That is a good question. It was suggested to me to present the show myself because I have the kind of profile that fits the show. I just said why not.

You have been producing for a while, why did you decide to go into television?

I have always been interested in the arts. Even as a young child I wanted to be an actress. I am not sure about that anymore. I did drama in school as well but I found out that I was better coordinating people instead of being in front of the stage. I went to University to study Mass Communication. And it all started from there.

I applied for an internship in MTV and I was picked. I was on the news team at the time. Then I worked my way up to a researcher, then to an assistant producer and finally a producer. I was also part of the European Music Awards. From there I moved to Endemol where I worked on productions like Big Brother Uk. I was the Edit producer there. It was a fun job and I did the overnight edit. I also freelanced and did some work for BBC. I also went into advertising for a while.

I later got bored and wanted a challenge. I had been to Lagos a few months back and I liked it. I had a friend who I worked with at MTV and she had moved back. She was telling me how Africa is the place to be. So I moved back in 2013 and this is where I am now.

How did you get the Ndani job?

When I first got to Nigeria I worked for an advert company called DDB Lagos. Later I got approached by Ndani Tv. I loved what Ndani was doing. It was fresh, the picture quality was neat, and they are dynamic. We just recently launched a new series of show which African Dreams is a part of.

Will you say Online is the future as Ndani is basically online and others are doing the same.

I actually believe that the future is online in terms of content space. I think a lot more TV producers will be going online. Look at Netflix and HBO everyone wants an online platform because it is so easily accessible. That been said, I don’t believe traditional TV will be going anywhere soon. People will always watch TV. There has been talks that online taking over TV completely but I don’t see that happening. I feel that online is a very important space.

Most of your content is online, are you concerned about the internet speed in Nigeria?

We do think about that. A lot of the content we produce is short. We know that people do not want to spend too long loading contents. We do web series that are about six to ten minute long. We also have some that are longer, some as long as 30 minutes. Internet is becoming more accessible and cheaper than it used to be. It is not like it was a couple of years ago. As that improves, everyone will be online.

On Netflix, people prefer to download than stream. Does Ndani look towards allowing viewers to download?

We are a forward thinking platform and we are always looking into ways for expanding. Look out for it.

What is the future of Ndani?

The future is to continue to create quality contents for our viewers to enjoy. We will continue to engage with our viewers and give them what they want to watch and what they get something from. We don’t want to just be a Nigerian platform, we want the whole of Africa and the indeed the world to be a part of this.

How has the response and feedbacks been like?

It has been great. People are relating to our shows. For example we have one called Skinny girl in transit, it is about a plus size girl trying to slim down, find love and keep a career. Many people we found out are relating to the story, they love it.

Are you married?

No. don’t want to talk about that.