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Ladies behind Lies that bind

By | December 3rd 2011

It is a Kenyan story, told by Kenyans in the Kenyan way. It’s a mix of love, suspense, mystery and good old-fashioned drama. ALLAN OLINGO got upclose with the young women behind the riveting local soap

What role do you play in the production of Lies that Bind?

Dorothy Ghetuba (33)— executive producer

Given that I have secured the underlying rights to the project, my work is to ensure the film is completed on time, within budget and to agreed artistic and technical standards.

The leading ladies: Abigail, Ndanu, Dorothy and Wanjiru. [Photos: COURTESY]

I manage the financial and creative aspect of the production.

Abigail Arunga (26) —script editor

I provide a critical overview of the screenwriting and help to strengthen and develop screenplays.

It is through the scripts that we are able to make the story line flow.

Ndanu Kilinzo (23) — line producer

I hire the production crew such as camera crews, lighting crews, actors and catering staff. I also oversee the production budget and the day-to-day operations and coordinate all post-production efforts such as editing and special effects.

Wanjiru Mbugua (33)— Art Director

I facilitate both the production designer’s and the script editors creative vision for all the locations and sets that eventually give the film its unique visual identity.

I also oversee the preparation of the first sets required and analyse the script to identify all props or special items that may require longer lead times. I make the script come alive.

There is a lot of hype around this soap. How good is it?

Dorothy: We are thrilled that the soap has garnered this kind of excitement from the onset but it is simply because it is a Kenyan story, told by Kenyans in the Kenyan way.

What is the storyline about?

Dorothy: It is about three co-wives and what they will do to get their hands on their dead husband’s money. It is a story of schemes, lies and greed.

It is a story many Kenyans will relate to because one way or another, we have experience of polygamy.

Kenyans can expect love, suspense, mystery and good old-fashioned drama. They will also resonate with the characters and stories.

What’s your experience in doing the production?
Dorothy: As a producer, I live in an exciting time. A time where we get to see our stories on TV, where production values have gone up a notch and actors’ skills shine bright, where audience appetites are whetted and there is a hunger for local productions.

So Lies that Bind is very timely, it is a series that will resonate with many and one that will entertain.

How long is the storyline?

Dorothy: It is quite sustainable. When doing a soap, the number of episodes has to have a sustainable and continuing storyline.

Almost all families have secrets and they indeed play a big role in the stability of these homes.

The inspiration came from the numerous family dramas we have witnessed over the years and we know it will be a big hit with the Kenyan audience.

What is so unique about this new series?

Wanjiru: We are introducing fresh faces into the acting world as much as possible. We are excited by what they promise to offer. We are impressed by their acting prowess.

Where did you source them from?

Ndanu: We used the social media and to scout the actors. We made it clear that we wanted fresh talent. After a vigorous audition, we ended up with an impressive cast.

We have perfected their roles in this soap through training by a renowned acting coach. We believe they have what it takes.

How come it is only women driving the production?

Dorothy: We never notice until someone points it out. But there are men who work behind the scenes. We have successfully carried out production works before and I think we love the working relationship that we share. We all are passionate about what we do and that is how we have managed to succeed.

How different is it from other soaps?

Wanjiru: We have interesting set arrangements. Given that we are running three episodes weekly, we have to be unique and captivating at the same time. The production of a soap is different and our set organisation coupled with the ‘wow’ factor amongst the actors that will bring out the difference.

What challenges have you faced?

Dorothy: Our main challenge has been limited resources. The production industry in Kenya is growing but we cannot compare it to Nollywood.

We have done our best to give the best quality production at a limited budget. If the resources were available, we would have done way better. It was also tricky finding the best scriptwriters to make this new soap captivating.

We sourced through blogs, social networks and advertisements. Even though it was tedious, we managed to pull it off.

Any lessons learnt ?

Wanjiru: This was a new kind of production for us and it was a great learning experience.

Understanding this market and coming up with a production that we believe would be entertaining has enabled us shape our production attitude.

Abigail: Another lesson was the enormity of this kind of production. The writing style is different from the productions we have done with dramas like Saints and Higher Learning.

How do you four manage to remain sync through these productions?

Dorothy: It is all about planning and balancing. Each production is unique and having worked together for a while now, we have managed to get a perfect working relationship.

We all understand our areas so well and giving it the best shot is what we take pride in.

You have done well with drama and now a soap; are you planning to do a movie?

Dorothy: We are doing a documentary film and hopefully it will be out early next year. Spielwork Media prides itself in giving firsts within the Kenyan film industry and it is my hope that the Kenyan viewer will love this film too.

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