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Twinner: From acting to music video directing

Friday April 09 2021
Twinner pic

Sylvester Kikoti a.k.a Twinner. PHOTO | FILE

By Lilian Ndilwa

Video directing is a form of art that magically changes a basic song into a better version. Nevertheless, music directors remain unsung heroes, while artists get all the public eye upon the release of a fantastic song video

Sylvester Kikoti is a new name to the majority of readers, an upcoming videographer and photographer whose interest was nurtured when he started watching tutorial videos on YouTube to working with foreign music artists as a video director and colourist.

A 23-year old who goes by the alias Twinner, made his debut into the filmmaking industry after acting in street groups and then jumped into teaching acting classes.

“This marked the beginning of my journey in filmmaking; after getting involved with acting, I got a job as a photographer and videographer while I was still in high school” he says.

Working as a filmmaker and a photographer influenced the young music video director to explore more and learn new things overtime. He also slowly started to work as a freelancer as well as with an agency called Joey Group.

“The market place in my line of work rewards people with detailed expertise and passion for what they do uniquely. It may take ages but talent and hard work put together cannot always stay hidden, the market will be notified of your presence” he says.

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All this time he kept his eyes on the prize, trusted in the process, as he believed working hard towards one’s dream is the real key

“I have always worked hard since the time I understood that what I am doing is not just a hobby and I have become more passionate about my work as I know that it opens doors to much bigger things” he says.

Twinner explains that whilst learning to become the best he could be in his line of work, he started refining his skills through YouTube tutorials, online courses and going through several pages in books that had detailed information on cinematography, filmmaking and photography.

“This made me decide to take up a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, which has played a great role in my knowledge enhancement” he says.

He has, so far, shot a number of music videos with both foreign and local artists, short films, commercial adverts, documentaries, motion graphics, animations and visual effects and has as well worked with individuals, corporations and other groups

Despite being new to the game, Twinner prides himself to have done over 200 projects from music videos to short films and documentaries.

“Music videos I have worked on include ‘Roses’ and ‘New day’ by Joy Rukanz, ‘Mwanamke Imara’, ‘Leo’ and ‘Naogopa’ by Mozey Africa , Hallelujah, Nimesamehe, Bora Uhai by Golden Junior, Nyang’anyang’a by Mwasa Mwasango, Futa Mchozi by Chris Mrosso, and Kitenge by Wanted Wakudu,” he details.

Twinner further broke down the list of photography projects he has put his hands on and they include Wasafi Tumewasha which took part in Dar es Salaam, Tigo Longa Nae Project, Dam Dam Marathon, Tigo extra Boombush, Wildlife project in Serengeti and Kids of Africa Project.

For the films sections, he has worked on Tigo Kili-Half Marathon, Unlifted Talent, Lullaby of Woe, The watchman, Tough Times, In love with basketball, Pastor Nicolaus, Sickle Cell Documentary, and Lovelorn which is set to be released later this year.

Amongst all his works, Twinner says he is fond of his recent work ‘Roses’ by Joy Rukanza, a Zimbabwean artist, with whom he worked with as the video colourist on her previous song ‘New Day’.

“The music video industry is growing massively, it has become quite competitive, which shows that people are getting more creative to deliver appealing projects and the competition itself just promises a better future” Kikoti hints.

He addresses the challenges that have been reshuffling him in his line of work, from being the person he wants to be to being a videographer and photographer who is driven by situations.

“To work in this industry smoothly, you must learn to market your business because branding the business entirely depends on how it is displayed digitally,”

His most viewed work is the song project ‘New Day’ sang by Joy Rukanza with the viewership of about 55, 000 in two months since its release.

“Ms Rukanza’s team works wonders in the distribution of her works, from online to radio and television and I applaud them” he says.

Among his projects, Twinner says ‘Teamo’, ‘Roses’ and ‘Unlifted’ are of the projects that later awarded him a lot of constructive feedback.

“The colours and directing style made people give me feedback to better my future projects and I received the advice as well as the criticism and it was inspiring and constructive to know that people understand as well as acknowledge what I do” he explains.

Twinner says despite being both a filmmaker and a photographer, his future plan is to niche down to filmmaking only. To the young videographer there is still so much to be done to push the industry to the next level

He said that most artists in the industry do not have an official management team which keeps the investment door open to only a few who can truly manage to invest in their projects As he talks of his most recent work, ‘Roses’, a song by Ms Rukanza, Twinner reveals that it was through social media that the artists reached out to him

“I remember receiving a late-night phone call from an international number and it was Ms Rukanza’s marketing and social media manager, Ricardo Toffaza. He reached out to me, complimented my projects and then he introduced me to Joy. We have been working together since,” details the talented young director.