How I became the producer of MTV Shuga 4, 6 – Uduma
Emmanuel K. Uduma’s has been in the entertainment industry in Nigeria like forever but he became a prominent figure few years ago especially when he produced the season four and six of the hit series, MTV Shuga.
In a recent chat with Bliss, the creative lead and content producer of his company, SMAT Media, told Bliss how he snowballed to become a big fish in the industry.
From his days of humble beginning, Uduma said getting to this level was not “magic”. According to him, his hard work and determination brought him to the fore.
“ It goes back to how I started working in TV and radio. My background was Theatre. I had read Theatre Arts at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and in Lagos State University. By the time I came out of school, I trained under Amaka Igwe and I worked under her for a short while. Then I got into BBC in Nigeria. It was called BBC Trust where I began working in radio and I started with Wetin Dey, a drama series. I also wrote radio sports for them.
“On the back of that, I created my own radio show called Alero Call Centre. It was aired n Naija FM. I also worked with Funmi Iyanda who also did a show ‘Talk with Funmi,’ across five states. I was the production manager.”
It was while on that show that Uduma met a Chris Dada who was the director of that show and his life changed.
“We got talking and I told him about the radio drama I was doing. So when Shuga was coming to Nigeria, they contacted Chris and informed him they needed somebody who would produce the radio drama for them. He mentioned me. This was back I 2013. He reached out to me and I was told I could pitch for it. I did and I won it. I did the 13 episodes for Viacom. I eventually became partnership and marketing manager. Back then, the TV series had just come out. My job was to take it from screen to communities across five states. It was while I was doing that actively that the next season of Shuga came. I was shopping around for people who could produce it. So they popped the question and asked if I could do it. And that was how I took up producing MTV Shuga 4 while I was still campaign representative for that period. We did it and it was very successful. I pitched again to deliver Season 6 and we won it again. So far, Shuga 6 is the best in the series. It has the widest acceptance globally.
So many people might think Uduma is just all about Shuga as such, Bliss asked the producer if he still finds time to do other stuff.
“To shut down your office for one project is not ideal. We now have to groom and train younger ones. We have the deficit in creative skills below the line. We can find producers and directors and such like but below the line, l people like gaffer, motion designers and such like, we don’t have those people. We always manage. We have come to realise that all those short cuts have started hurting us globally. I just signed an MoU with LASU to deliver a campus series called Vibes. Nobody does campus series. If I go to a university in Lagos to shoot for a day, I would pay a lot of money. We need creative skills in the industry. Students will run it. You have to be a student to be cast in the show. I need to be able to do Shuga and do all the other productions I have to do and meet all other obligations.”
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