I’ll never forget watching E.T. as a child, especially the scene where Elliot rides through the woods and E.T elevates the bike for a ride in the night sky against a full moon backdrop. Watching that scene, my heart soared and it felt like I was flying in my seat. Riding a BMX was never the same again.
Movies have the capacity to change the world, to inspire us, to imagine something different, to explore a life we might never lead ourselves. Since the very beginning of time, mankind has been telling stories, often with nothing more than a piece of chalk and the walls of a cave. We want to leave our mark. No matter how dark the road ahead, a movie can give us hope, it reminds us of how things could be.
Making a film is like starting a company. You need a business plan, a great story, and a script. You need a team of performers and talented staff to pull it off. You need investors and plenty of capital. You need to execute. And once you’ve made your film, you’ve got to sell it. All of it is hard, and frustrating, and no one ever gets it, but you do it anyway.
The risk profile of making a movie is similar to that of starting a company – failure is the most likely outcome. But if you do it again and again, and do it properly, things start to look different. A film slate becomes a business, much like venture capital, where the successful companies balance out the less successful ones across a portfolio of companies.
Africa needs more creative capital. We need to stop depending on resources to create value. We must dream, create, and invent. This is where the value is. Technology gives us the tools to compete globally, but now we must create an environment that encourages people to dream about achieving impossible things. We’re not there yet.
I once watched a documentary on American amateur rocketeers. I was expecting to see a group of crackpot garage mechanics playing with rusty engines. I was shocked to see the fervour, and the determination, and the cutting-edge technology of the rockets these space-lovers were building. This is the same crazy, fearlessness of the American entrepreneur. We need that. These rocketeers didn’t wait for permission, they didn’t ask if it was a good idea. They did it anyway.
In much the same way, we at Triggerfish are pioneers in African animation. We want to build a world-class studio that challenges the hegemony of Hollywood. We want to tell amazing stories that inspire a generation. Yes, we are ambitious, and we want to do it all from here – in Africa. That’s the starting point.
That’s our dream.