Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what do you do.
My name is Susan Younis and I am a TV producer / director as well as co-founder of the website Punchbowlblog.com. I have worked in TV since 2003 and launched the site in 2009. I am now based in Lagos, Nigeria where I have set up my own production company. My clients include MTV BASE Africa, Coca Cola, Nickelodeon, Alexander Amosu and more. I am also looking to start directing music videos later this year.
What is your history/experience within the TV industry? What have been your most favourite or proud achievements?
I’ve worked in television production professionally for the past 7 years. I undertook work experience placements from the age of 16 in various media companies ranging from record labels, radio stations, music management companies to TV channels. I was fortunate enough to gain a year-long internship at MTV in Los Angeles and two weeks after graduation, I began working at MTV in the UK as an intern on a live show. I have worked as a Producer on MTV BASE, the MTV flagship show MTV DIGS and various awards shows including MTV Europe and MTV Africa Music Awards. My most proud achievements were probably directing The Lick as I was such a huge fan of the show during university. Also working on the MTV Africa Awards last year, as they were held in Lagos, Nigeria was a great achievement. I moved to Nigeria last October, so to have them on my home soil and work on the awards with these amazing African artists was really fulfilling. African music is so creative and it's just a matter of time before it's recognised and appreciated on an International level!
What challenges have you faced along the way?
I have been rejected countless times for jobs along the way and met many snakes in the industry. These setbacks have just made me even more hungry to achieve more.
What are your thoughts on the British TV industry? Where does it stand in terms of being innovative and providing opportunities for newcomers?
I think the British TV industry is really tough to break into now due to the recession we are currently in. That is one of the reasons I decided to up and leave and try out the TV industry in Nigeria where it is currently growing at an exciting rate. I think the cutbacks in the industry here have meant people cannot be as creative as they once were which is a real shame. I would suggest newcomers focus on ways to enter the TV online (SBTV is a great example of this)! The online market here is booming and also extremely lucrative.
What have you learned from working in the industry in Nigeria, what are the differences, how do you see it changing and developing in the next few years?
The industry in Nigeria is still very small, but growing at an alarming rate. It's exciting to now be a part of that. I felt a similar excitement when I first joined MTV BASE in 2006 and UK music was just about to blow. The beauty of the Nigerian industry is that I can contact artists directly and hook up interviews without having to go through several people (managers, agents, press contacts) along the way. I predict within the next 2 years, Nigerian music will be international with the likes of Dbanj (who is already working with American stars) & new comer Wizkid coming through.
How have advances in technology and the online arena had an impact on the work you do?
I launched Punchbowl as I knew that TV in the UK would be going through cutbacks. The blog has grown month on month as we are fortunate enough to have acquired contacts along the way to confirm interviews with established stars as well as newcomers. I really believe online is the future for all TV and music. I am also trying to pursue the online market in Nigeria, but sadly the slow bandwidth there means that I may have to put this on hold until next year.
Finally, what does the word ‘diversity’ mean to you?
Diversity means to me the acceptance and promotion of multiculturalism. A world that tolerates a mix of races and creeds without hate or discrimination and is a true melting-pot of modern-day society.
A big thank you to Susan for speaking to SceneTV and sharing her experiences.
You can read Susan’s blog over at www.punchbowlblog.com and follow her on Twitter @susanyounis
Look out for more of the SCENE PROFILES series to hear from a variety of people within the television and film industry, find out how the digital space has had an impact on their work and what 'diversity' means to them.