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In conversation with Rilwan Jaji

Rilwan Jaji began his career as a videographer and photographer working in fashion shows and clubs. Soon he progressed into music, and video content filming while moonlighting as a freelance creative writer.

By Rilwan Jaji

Rilwan’s journey from videography to his pursuits as a director, producer, BTS photographer and designer is an extremely interesting one. He speaks about his multifaceted career, and what he believes are the key ingredients to success in the creative industry.

Nowadays, being versatile is a must-have for any creative worker. How did we come to that point in this creative industry?

This is an exceptional question. I think this is due to several things. Creativity is everything from ideas and concepts, to the use of imagination and to bringing something tangible and engaging to an audience. It’s the ability to be able to channel this innovation into something real and accessible in the creative industry. The interest for a creative worker in the industry would be to surpass the norm of doing something casually. Most creative skills are transferable, but some skills can take even up to 2 years to master.

The creative industry is perpetually changing, as is most of the world. So learning, evolving, and continuously improving to keep up with the shift in technology and the customer is a natural demand. Originality and adaptability are key. Using your skills, inputs, and experiences to cause change and participate in the industry is, I think the way to go forward.

How did you start your journey? What led you to become a videographer and photographer at fashion shows?

My journey began in my late teens through a conversation that led me in a different direction. I had no idea what I wanted to do honestly. For a long time, I didn’t know who I wanted to be. It would’ve probably been like this unless someone had the good sense to point me in the right direction.

The way I became a videographer was just because my client asked me to come and work for them. I loved it so much that I’ve been holding a camera ever since.

What was your biggest challenge working as a Videographer?

This has two parts to it. First and foremost would be to find production or project work that enhances my capabilities. The second one is the pricing. You get hired to do one thing, but when you get there more often than not, you have to take responsibility and do the work for several roles. This is great as it teaches us to be versatile and helps to learn new skills and roles which also works to our advantage in the future, but eventually, you have to speak up and ask to be paid for the work you’ve done. Until then, the employer doesn’t put the right value on the work you put in. It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship because if you don’t speak up, you will find yourself working for nothing or less than nothing.

How do you find work?

I find work through collaborations and projects that lead to other work. People that have worked with me in the past will refer me if they are working on new projects that require my skill set. They either bring me on board directly or through someone else. It’s quite a word of mouth reliant.

What do you think would be typical rates for a videographer or photographer based here in the UK?

The typical rates for a videographer based in the UK depend on what level you are at, and what skills you have. Broadly speaking I would say, £500-£600 a day.

Who is your favourite creative director?

I tend to draw inspiration from different sources; real cultural and contemporary issues pique my curiosity. I love observing such things. It would be inaccurate to say I have one favourite creative director, but since I’m into movies, I’d say – ‘Steven Spielberg’ for sure.

Rilwan’s multidimensional and versatile approach to creative work has led him to where he is now. His vast array of experiences honed his skills, built confidence, and facilitated his ambition of being a visionary, creative director, and entrepreneur.