Close your eyes (well, read this paragraph first, then close your eyes) and think about a different world. You do things, take actions, make certain decisions, and be as vulnerable as you want in this world. In this world, you are the perfect you. What kind of story would you have? What type of conflict would you see? It has to be a mighty conflict to disgruntle a powerful character such as yourself. This may be the reason why Dapo Ibrahim create such thrilling art. In this article, we will go inside the mind of a filmmaker to find the secret ingredient to his success.
Dapo Ibrahim, creator, writer, and director of the award-winning thriller Take The Bait, spoke with The Reel Effect’s Hassane Soumahoro on Ibrahim’s process when creating these projects.
Ibrahim, born and raised in Nigeria, had one mission in mind, to come to the United States and study cinematography. In March 2014, Ibrahim’s mission became a success. In Nigeria, Ibrahim stated, “I always been very good in sketches and storytelling and poetry and writing and photography.” Ibrahim smiled as he expressed all these skills “conjured into visual storytelling.” Ibrahim is passionate about visual storytelling. What drives him to keep going is “the need to make an impact, the need to make a change and also to inspire others.” Ibrahim’s goal is noticeable in the films he has created.
For example, in his recent movie, The Called, hope is prevalent throughout different scenes. The Called is a romance drama movie about a man named Sam. The film starts with Sam feeling down that his ex-girlfriend rejected his marriage proposal. However, his friend gave him hope to get back out there. Then, Sam meets a woman named Denise, and their love story of drama, lies and hope begins.
Ibrahim’s goal of inspiring change showed with lines where Ibrahim is directly talking to the viewers. Viewers raved about how meaningful this quote was to them, ” they always say life is short but, maybe it’s not, maybe we can freeze time, feel the light enjoy the gifts bestowed by the spirits. So we wrap the present of you and I being here living in this very moment.” Ibrahim’s goal in this film is to spread love. The Called is a visual story representing the phrase “Help thy neighbor.” The film ended with “Whatever your name is, thank you.” A message Ibrahim wanted the audience to leave thinking about.
Ibrahim describes his work as a “deep drama and psychological thriller.” This genre is an avenue to convey change. Why? Relatability. “You have this character that has things that are going on within themselves.” A character that is an introvert that does not express themselves verbally but “Through their behavior or reactions to people or things around them.”
This internal conflict is prevalent in Ibrahim’s award-winning film Take The Bait. The film’s plot is about Rachel, an introvert on a dating site who finds a profile. They immediately hit it off(GET SOME); they schedule a meet-up for some hot chocolate. Unfortunately, Rachel finds out Mr.Perfect is Andrew, a catfish, in this meet-up. Despite this, Rachel is not discouraged as the two had a good time together. Rachel and Andrew head back to the former’s house to have sex: Andrew planed to take advantage of Rachel, but the table has turned, with the film ending in a surprise twist! Check it out! The film shows many lessons; “everything is not as they seem” and “what you give expect to get back at some point” were the two more prevalent messages felt.
In Take The Bait, everything felt like a scattered message all coming together as the movie goes on; this gave the feeling of anticipation when watching. For example, the matching dog in Andrew and Rachel’s profile showed they are the same people; the film’s start showed something was off with Rachel, Andrew’s messy house showed he was not prepared for what will soon happen. Ibrahim writes these characters in a way where the setting is vital for the emotional connection to the audience. As a result, Ibrahim directs in a way where everything is tied together: the music, the lighting, and the gestures all tie together. His directing style has attracted actors, actresses, and more to work with him.
Ibrahim talked about getting his various teams together, “You need to have a profile and put your work out there. The more people see your work, the more they get interested in you what you do. People also reach out to you, saying they would like to work with you in your next production.”
So how does Ibrahim get in the mind of these impactful characters/stories? First, by being an introvert. “It is impossible to be a writer without being an introvert because you have to be in this world where many people don’t understand.” This causes Ibrahim to relate to his introverted characters.
Ibrahim calls it a good thing stating, “that is when you tend to become more creative. You have that space to go into your character’s mind and bring something good out of them.” Ibrahim followed it up by saying, “that is what the audience tends to want.”
Yes, being introverted is key to Dapo Ibrahim’s success as a filmmaker; he is vulnerable in his art. That vulnerability leads his audience to “connect.” with the film. “Being vulnerable is one thing we all have in common. We all can be insecure about something; we all have emotions that we feel; love, fear, and hatred; we feel all those things, and sometimes we don’t know how to connect with those feelings.”
Ibrahim’s biggest weapon is being introverted. As a result, he writes influential films that can only be created by being in his world. He directs in a way where everything is tied together, thus attracting people who want to work with him. His films have a message behind them, and Ibrahim uses these messages to deliver his drive. Ibrahim’s drive is to improve the world, and by using his voice in film, Ibrahim changes his viewer’s outlook.
“My voice is to connect with the character and be able to project the world to the audience. So when the audience sees a character, it is relatable to them”. As in, the viewers are either introverted, vulnerable, or afraid of something.” Being scared or uncomfortable with something can mean a new move, a new step, or a new experience. Everyone can relate to this, which is why Ibrahim’s films have had their success. To watch Dapo Ibrahim films you can check out his work here.
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