A look at Africa’s virtual comedy series

Ms Vanessa Awong, Producer Virtual Colleagues. PHOTO/Courtesy.

For those of you who enjoy drama, comedy, love, personal adventure and solar energy, well, this is for you.

Virtual Colleagues, a new TV show is for you. 

The Series is entirely virtual with the Cast having interactions, casting, rehearsing and acting entirely online via Zoom, other multimedia and online platforms and showcasing the series on YouTube.

This shows how powerful technology is in breaking the barriers of Communication, enhancing connectivity and entertaining the World during a Pandemic.

Virtual Colleagues’ producer Vanessa Awong is a firm believer in the renewable energy transition for Africa and a fan of story-telling and creating relatable content.

2020, infamously dubbed the year of the pandemic forced us to rely on ourselves and develop our industries, because when the world is fighting a virus, it is quite easy to forget about Africa. 

To power the continent, we need electricity, and the transition to solar or other renewables could take quite a long time. 

This is because no one truly understands what it is and what it entails.

There is no emotional connection to renewables, no love, no admiration. 

The cast members and the producer of Virtual Colleagues decided to tackle the emotional aspect of this problem, with the first African comedy series on Zoom about entrepreneurship, solar and love. 

This zoom series is about June, a Nigerian Chief Executive Officer of a solar company based in Accra, Ghana.

When the pandemic hits, June, who thrives on face-to-face contact, struggles to work with her dysfunctional pan-African team via Zoom calls and new technology to save the company from bankruptcy.

Virtual Colleagues is your new workplace comedy or should we say, your new Zoom Call Comedy that is 100% African.

Vanessa Awong Eya’a- Medical Doctor, Producer at VAE Production, Virtual Colleagues concept writer, 1st Pan African Zoom comedy on renewables.

Mr. Kevin Aiden Osore. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Kevin Osore- Koffi, film actor M-net Kina series and Virtual Colleagues Director pursuing film full time. 

Co-founder Renewables in Africa

Why virtual colleagues?

What drove the concept for the series?

There is realism because of the virtual assistant in the series and the topical issues that are spoken about including the need for the main character June to adapt to the changes that are affecting her solar company.

Have you met face to face?

Kevin- Virtual Colleagues is a Comedy series on renewables that touches on the need for people to adapt to the situation of social distancing during Covid-19.

It is entirely virtual-the internet has enabled us to digitize communication in a cross- cultural way that breaks down communication barriers and enhances digital communication – global village (virtual friends) not only in Africa but across the globe. 

The entire series is virtual- pre-production, production, post-production.

Introduce yourselves- producer, actor or director.

The cast comprises of veteran, purpose-driven and multi-talented young actors, producer and director who have more than 15 years of experience in the film industry, storytelling, renewables and also medicine and are well-versed with topics such as business, technology among others.

Meet your cast

Vanessa- Virtual Colleagues is more than just your average comedy series. 

It touches on a myriad of issues including renewable energy. 

One cannot talk about renewables without talking about global warming and power emissions.

Tesla started manufacturing electric cars recently and while the idea is feasible, Africa is not powered with electricity and this makes it unattainable because of infrastructure.

With that said, there is a need to create conversations about the current problems that the developing countries of Africa are facing so that we can offer viable solutions through the Renewables in Africa programme co-founded with my husband. 

It deals with the concepts, the stories that Africans across the globe can relate with and then offer viable solutions through the technical side of RIA- powering Africa by empowering the continent.

Mr. Brian Angels. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Brian Angels- Veteran actor Brian Angels, born and raised in Accra, Ghana is renowned internationally for starring in stellar productions like Beast of No Nation with acclaimed Hollywood actors like Idris Elba whose body of work speaks for itself. 

Kevin 

My job is my passion and fulltime job.

I am a film actor, director, pursuing my lifetime dream of acting and turning it into a business venture, whether it pays now or later the benefits are more than the financial strains. 

Koffi is my character and in the film I am the Marketing Director.

We have been in production for one year now and for me I take every opportunity, grasp it and turn it into a job. 

For my acting role in Kina Maisha Magic Plus, I utilized my social media space on YouTube to get an acting role by tagging the producer. 

The ability to follow your heart, work hard, work smart and to open your mind to see things which are both topical and a bit futuristic is what the programme is all about.

When Elon Musk started the Electric Cars, carbon emissions and global warming are some of the issues that he aimed to solve by eradicating poverty and also providing viable solutions to problems with the renewable energy sector, which involves powering the globe with electric cars. 

For the solution to be viable in Africa, we need to think beyond just solar power energy as an idea or a concept but also a construct which is viable.

Also we have good ideas which can only be fulfilled once we think about the power outages experienced recently and how only a small portion of the country’s energy has been tapped- sharing resources equitably- affordable, reliable, sustainable energy- viable solutions to end extreme poverty.

Winnie Ikedeashi- June CEO (Solar Company based in Africa- Accra, Ghana)

Winnie, a Nollywood actress started her acting career in 2011 when she went to Nigeria and found herself working on both Television and Film.

Her portfolio includes the TV show Echoes, and made for Television films such as The Proposal, Outcast and President for a Day.

Winnie is the first woman of colour to work in film in the UK as Sue in Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party.

She is the oblivious, unorthodox, hilarious, a bit confused and sarcastic main character June who acts in the film Virtual Colleagues, which is inspired by clean energy and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Winnie Ikediashi. PHOTO/Courtesy.

How did the cast come together?

Kevin- The film industry suffered as a result of theatres closing- Kenya National Theatre? Lockdown and as a result of this gap, the producer Vanessa strategically saw this moment and utilized it so as to utilize the digital infrastructure that is currently being appreciated across all sectors- e-learning, e-commerce, m-commerce, social commerce and now Virtual Colleagues- the first Pan- African series shot entirely on Zoom.

The cast came together online and as a result of Corona Virus which affected world economies.

People lost jobs and had to come up with innovative ways to not only stay connected but also as a result of boredom which made people connect on social media and get jobs digitally- innovation.

What exactly do you want to achieve with virtual assistants in the continent?

Topics, Africa is not a country-ignorance, perspectives, global warming.

In this fourth industrial revolution, most sectors, education, business, film are harnessing technology to advance their work, how important is tech for the film industry?

Vanessa

To eradicate poverty of the mind and ignorant sentiments and perspectives that Africa is a city.

We are powering the continent with our African stories which speak from the heart are relatable and also powerful and evoke a sense of realism because the characters of Virtual Assistants are relatable – Samisa is funny and shows that things are normally not as glamorous as they appear, with London grass and even Paris being filled with dog poop- situation kwa ground ni different. 

The ability of storytelling to harness peoples’ potential and changing perspectives by offering the glamorous side of the story such asvselling the African continent- not just as one continent but also diverse countries with different languages but one common agenda- from Nollywood, to Hollywood and even Riverwood as Kenya’s film industry is known- In Kenya films and theatrical performances are viewed at Alliance Française, KNT.

I am from Cameroon, staying in Paris, based in the United Kingdom (fact check) the ability of the internet to offer viable solutions in this era of multi sectoral tech advancement.

Virtual Colleagues has been on air – on Zoom and YouTube for one year now and this shows the convergence of digital platforms and the ability of ICT to be used in all sectors, manufacturing, primary industries, tertiary industries like Universities and Hospitality Sector among some Quartenery recognized as its own sector, quaternary industry, is concerned with information-based or knowledge-oriented products and services.

 Like the tertiary sector, it comprises a mixture of private and government endeavors.

Industries and activities in this sector include information systems and information technology (IT); research and development, including technological development and scientific.

Pan-African approach to acting-how many countries/ nationalities were involved?

Ms Juliana Anwuli. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Vanessa & Kevin

Supporting local talent means involving African countries that are either francophone, anglophone and even those Africans in the diaspora, mixed races and people of colour that have the power to shape narratives, advocate, foster change by harnessing creativity and utilizing the power of the social channels available to us so that we make a change and show the real growth that is happening in Africa and also use creativity to create realism and also show facts like how the Kenyan economy is accelerating with Kenya registering a high Gross Domestic Product and economic growth in the Covid-19 period, faster than any time or period in history. As dysfunctional as the main character June is, she makes the team cohesive by learning as she improves her life and her company by learning as she grows and burying her head in the sand like an ostrich but still adapting to the needs of the company and finding viable solutions. 

The future of Virtual Colleagues is to turn short stories into films-  relationships, drama, ambition, comedy, tragedy and music- From Pan- African to International, powering Africa with renewable electricity and powerful stories- Virtual Colleagues- from Africa to the world.

Previous articleHow Dr. Chipato conquered sabotage to join medical school
Next articleInformed citizenry, a virtue of self-governance

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.