As FaceOff TV are set to drop their new series, entertainment reporter Argus Mepo (AM) managed to interview Pride Mutarangani (PM) who is the script writer of this much anticipated project as he narrates on the journey to the making of this classic.
AM : Reminisce on your early years and encounters in the film industry?
PM : I have always been a writer most of my life since primary school,i was always writing short stories and cartoon strips which i always said will one day be shown on televisions, however i have tried acting and my first venture was in an indie production called Nabster The Great by Thompson Makota back in 2017. I played a journalist.
AM : Who is behind FaceOFFTV and how did it came about ?
PM : FACEOFFtv was founded in 2018 by myself and as it grew i incorporated my close friends Tafadzwa Kanhema and Laura Chijumana who are the executive directors and are responsible for the running of the company.
AM : Your latest offering, Full Circle : Love and Blood, what inspired that title?
PM : When you draw a circle you start from point A and go down and around until you return to point A where you started. Such is life, one decision made today whether good or bad will trigger consequences and that is the start of the circle until it closes back to where it started. Then love and blood are what bind most relationships, the love is not just romantic love, we explore love for money, love for power, fame et cetra.
AM : The series is promising and has the potential to break new grounds, who was behind the script writing?
PM : I wrote the script as a spin off mini series exploring a certain part of the cast to a much huge script for a project that I was writing back in 2018.
AM : You recently released a trailer for the series barely two days ago and it has managed to garner over 2k views on Youtube within 24 hrs, as a newbie how does this make you feel?
PM : This was exciting for us! The love that was shown by the audiences was very motivating and inspiring. It also came with points of improvement that we noted and vowed to work on.
AM : The trailer is action packed, promising and has left many hungry, which is a sign of a great production, which other brands were part of the production?
PM : As a newbie it has been difficult to find partnerships or source sponsorship because our name is barely known. However i was blessed to have friends and family who came in with whatever they could offer, many thanks to Botanico Palm Gardens, Car Matrix, Heritage Car Sales, MRD, Stachings Holdings and The Kanhema Family for their support in kind.
AM : Social media has been ablaze, a lot of influencers and socialites have been endorsing your series, is this a make or break to FaceOFFTV?
PM : This is a make in our book,i believe all publicity is good publicity. More talk has been translating to more views and that is special to us. We want them to keep talking.
AM : Why coming up with a hard hitting series centred on secrets, deceit, betrayal and revenge?
PM : I noticed that most of our film productions in Zim are based on comedy. Its a fact that comedy sells and the number of prominent people who rose to fame through comedy speaks for itself. But that left a void in storytelling which needed to be filled, somebody needed to tackle these issues in a non comical manner so I cooked up this drama that will have audiences on the edge of their seats every week when the show comes.
AM : A follow up question to this previous one, do you think the script will make the series a success considering that it resonates well with the personal encounters of many?
PM : Yes yes, I believe this script will have lots of viewers in tears by the time the series ends. The stories told in this drama are painfully relatable.
AM : To be honest, the trailer sent shock-waves out there, what more can we expect from season 1?
PM : Season 1 will have 7 episodes and i wrote season 1 without plans for a season 2 but with room for it, just like life. Life doesn’t end in any way except death, so do not expect an ending that is going to warp the story up but expect an ending that opens some room for more choices to be made which can or cannot give story to season 2.
AM : As your first production, how are you dealing with curiosity and anxiety?
PM : I deal with that by making sure the time i spend on social media is limited and substitute that with reading. I am a wide reader so if i am outside of working hours i bury myself in good books. You know i don’t even check the number of views that the trailer is having, i am surprised when somebody send a screenshot and says Man you now on 3k and i am like wow! So that really helps, i have told myself that i should not drown in this lest i lose myself.
AM : Several local series and movies dropped but your series has attracted massive traction, what was your formula?
PM : My formula is simple that is Good story (script)+good acting+good marketing.Even if the production quality is below standard with those 3 in place you can never go wrong.
AM : Are these warning shots as to how big your project is going to be?
PM: Yes yes! This is huge. We have actors from almost every university in Zimbabwe. This widens our audience exponentially.
AM : Since this is your first production, whats the next bus stop for FaceOFFTV?
PM : We will be releasing a curated album FULL CIRCLE:LOVE AND BLOOD THE ALBUM soon. Which is a collection of dope music to be featured in the series. It draws on upcoming talent that most people have never even heard of though it will feature a few big names on it too. Then we have 3 reality shows lined up that will be premiering before the year ends and we also have a script for our first feature length film that is bound to start filming in December for an Easter release in 2022.
AM : What were some of the prospects and challenges you faced during the production of.the series?
PM : As a series that we are self financing it was really straining on our finances. Sacrifices had to be made for this to see the light of day. But it was worth it,it was a huge learning curve for us and we are coming out of bigger,better and stronger. The trailer has opened new doors for us and it has even caught the attention of potential sponsors who we are currently in talks with.
AM : If you were to change the local film industry, what one thing would you be ready to change?
PM : We need more platforms in fact we need more productive and dedicated platforms especially free to air TV stations. Currently the industry relies on releasing content online and that makes it accessible to a very small percentage of the population. This is killing us slowly.
AM : Five years from now were do you see FaceOFTV?
PM : FACEOFFtv is an entity that is under Faceoff Media and Advertising Company. But its on track to becoming the largest film-making company and distribution company in Africa. We have a unique model that we are planning to implement that will change the cinematic landscape in Africa. Plans are already in motion to roll out phase 1 in 2022
AM : What legacy do you want to leave behind in the film industry?
PM : Zimbabwe has so much untapped talent, my dream is to leave a Zimbabwe which knows that everyone has a star in them. I want FACEOFFtv to be the breeding ground for talent, we will identify, nurture and grow talent that will supersede boundaries.
AM : Your last few words before we wind up this interview?
PM : I would like to thank everyone for the support and i would like to urge everyone in media to understand that our journey as entertainers and content creators should not be based on competition or on outdoing each other, it is a journey that needs us all to join hands and lift each other up. We can change the story, Zimbabwe can lead the pack. It is possible, but only if we do it together.
In case you missed it, you can watch the official trailer here: