Friday, April 10, 2009

How The Internet Controls Us Without Our Knowledge

Ever wondered how your day flies by with you sitting in one place?

Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, we have been able to do things from the comfort of our home without getting on the bus, train or a plane to achieve the same goal. You can do your home shopping while surfing the web. Listen to radio and at the same time update your blog page. The world is your oyster once you are in front of that screen.

But have you taken time recently to ask yourself, how productive you are at the end of each day. You see, you can be really busy without being productive and I can attest to that. It happened to me last week. Not funny at all.

While the internet is a really useful tool to have, there comes a time when you must shut it down and focus on the work at hand. If not, by the time you respond to your emails, check Facebook and the new pictures your friends loaded, update your Twitter page, the day is practically gone.

And if you are a news junkie like me, you will read the BBC, Guardian and other newspaper websites that you are interested in. Again, your time and day is gone. Not that any of these things are bad but you need to draw the line somewhere or you will be in for a big surprise at the end of the year when you take inventory of your achievement and realise, 365 was spent surfing one social networking website to the other.

The web is great for research, heaven knows, it has been very useful to me but even that, there comes a time when you have to call a time-out on it.

Honestly, it all comes down to you dedicating a specific time to each task you want to carry out on the web and keep to it. I have started using this technique, so far so good and I plan to use it some more.

The other day, I was at The Southbank and someone had sent in a question asking how writers can become more productive without becoming slaves to web? I was so happy he asked because I was looking for some answers. It was beginning to drive me nuts doing web surfing all in the name of research and little writing.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie simply said, its your internet connection, you pay for it, just switch the thing off.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Is It Ever Okay to Feel Lazy and Be Lazy?

So far, I have had a number of responses from friend. Some say yes and others not so sure.

Well, the aim is to keep this short. Last week was a rather lazy one for me. It is not a case whereby I didn't get anything done, it is the fact that I did not cross off half of my list like I had wanted to.

Trust me, I was well upset and ranting on about being so lazy this week. Even told the lady who owns the drycleaners where I take my clothes and she said, "We all have those days Belinda, when you body has had enough and decides... that's it. We are doing this my way. Since you don't know when to stop, I'll stop you."

You see, I never thought of that way, I knew I was tired and had aches and pains all over but it didn't all feel like tiredness. More the fact that I had slept a little longer than usual that morning and the end result when I do that is headache.

So, it got me thinking, is it ever okay to feel lazy and go with your feelings and what your body is dictating to you? Or do you ignore what you are feeling, what your body is saying and keep pushing the boundaries?

I mean, they do say in order to make it in life, you must work hard. Great idea, but how about working smart and taking some 'me time' out for yourself?

As for me, I need to listen to my body more and plan well ahead like before for each day and week. What I don't finish, I should be grateful for what I accomplish and carry the task over. But don't make a habit of it.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Act Like A Fool Though You Know You Are Not One.

There is something about placing value on yourself, what you stand for and who you are. Personally, I think it comes through in your work. When you appreciate yourself, you appreciate your work right? The two go together. When I meet people who appreciate their work and can in turn show appreciation for other people's work, I really respect them for that.

I have been learning a lot of lessons about being a journalist and working with others. I have met really good people and some... I have no words to describe them. For the simple reason that if I write down what's at the tip of my tongue right now... I might just loose respect for myself because that's not who I am and I refuse to become bitter or twisted due to the actions of others. I have come too far for that and hell, I refuse to be like them.

Not long ago, I pitched an idea I was passionate about. As far as I am concerned you have to be passionate about what you do. If not, why do it at all. Maybe that's one of the reason I refuse to take on jobs which I know will kill me faster than being jobless. I know myself, I will get depressed and that will kill my creative mind faster than the jokers who are trying to walk on my last nerve. But guess what? I made up my mind...'ain't gonna let them.' So, I am going to keep stepping, nothing like a spring in a sista's step.

Back to this was to do with Nollywood and Lollywood. I knew I had something going because up until then, even I didn't know much about Lollywod. When I pitched worked and there we have it.

So, I got working on it. You know, I was very happy to work on this...I believe what you are passionate about you will do even if you don't get paid for it. Now don't get me wrong...I am not saying keep working and don't get paid. NO! Don't do that if you are not on work experience. What am I saying? Let your passion be your driving force and not money. Why, your passion will make money for you. Money can never make your passion work. Your passion is the fuel for your daily existence.

That aside and back to this idea, I worked on it despite one or two dramas but I always keep something my father taught me at the forefront of my mind when I am doing anything different and have to work with people. 'When you get to a place for the first time, 'Act like a fool and learn all you can even if you already know it. Learn it again. Act a fool, keep your eyes open and study the environment. Know who is who and who does what. Act a fool and watch out for who you need to say hi and bye to. Act a fool and make your life and time work. Act a fool, so that tomorrow, you know who you can trust until they decide otherwise and you must move on. Act a fool though you know you are not a fool.' So on point!

So, I did just that because I wanted to learn about this environment and learn how it works.

I worked on this idea, which was to be a package for a radio programme. This was the third time I was working on a radio package and the first that will be broadcast. I admit that it took some time. I was working to a different audience and programme. Different to what I have done before as far as radio was concerned.

I was happy to learn through the process, that's one thing I have learnt in life. You are always a student when you have a vision and focus about what you want out of life.

So, it finally finished though I had to sit with one of the producers of the show to finish it off and she was of great help. That I appreciate as I learnt a lot from her.

Now, I remember at the end of scripting the whole package as I sat there with her, there was a sentence which stated this report was compiled by Belinda Otas. I was not paid to work on this. It was my idea and I remember the senior editor had asked; are you happy for us to use your idea? Yes I was. I also asked him about the role I would play and he gave a few. So, I told him, I would think about it, sent him an email that I would like to research and set-up the interviews and let one of their producers edit as they use a different system to what I normally know use.

However, another producer was so kind to show me the ropes and some shortcuts. Please, don't get me wrong, I know every one is busy and I appreciate the input and time from those who gave me a hand or two and the studio manager who also gave me hand.

At the end, I knew a thing or two about SADIE, the editing system they use. I had learnt within a few days to use an editing software I had only ever heard of.
I am not one for mentioning names but there were two gentlemen who were good to me and I appreciate that.

It was over and done with and everyone talked about the fact that it was good. However and as with all things, change is inevitable. Something had come up and they moved the broadcast date forward. I got a call about it, was even asked a question or two. Heard the new cue and I have to say, it sounded okay with one or two exceptions. Which I pointed out and even sent an email, to clarify.

Anyhow, listened to it last night, the meaning in my ears had changed. Yes, the clips I had cut were still there...the people I interviewed and a few new clips added which I knew nothing about.

I know change is inevitable but this is it. The Entertainment Company that supplied a few movie clips was acknowledged. It would have been nice for someone to acknowledge my work too considering it had been written into the script in the first instance and I saw it. I spent almost four weeks working on this package. Money was never an issue for me but my time is precious and I appreciate when that is appreciated.

I am not asking for a pat on the back, I am not asking for plaudits or accolades. Just some acknowledgement of my time would have been good and fair enough. I have also learnt my lesson, next time raise the subject even if no one does.

Yes, these things happen and we have to deal with tem. But I also know I won't do anyone any good by pretending to be less than I am. I worked on this project and that to me deserved a mention. If you had it at the end of the script we had worked on together, why did you decide to take it out and make the work seem like it was conceived by another and done by another?

All the same, I refuse to be bitter, such is life and I am better than that. I will go on and keep doing what love doing. What’s really ironic is the fact that this has happened twice in a row. The first being a feature I wrote on similar subject and now the radio package but hey, it’s all good. Act a fool though you know you are not one.

While it sounds contradictory, I am grateful for the fact that working on this project means someone knows my work and what I am capable off. It has opened other doors for me. And no one can ever take that way from me.