A decade in the Basement
Mbuotidem Johnson, CEO of Nigeria’s Basement Animation, tells Content Nigeria about how far he has come in the animation industry, the challenges he has faced and what lies ahead for his company as it marks its 10th anniversary.
Nigerian cartoon studio Basement Animation is celebrating 10 years of producing kids, teen, family entertainment and other content.
In 2017, Basement Animation was identified by Discop as one of the top five Nigerian animation studios. The company coproduced L’arbre à Palimpseste, a pilot episode that was selected to represent Africa and compete with other global counterparts at Animation du Monde 2018 in Annecy, France.
At this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Market, Basement project Joko & Dide was selected as the best creative animation pitch in the Nigerian Focus.
The company’s other works include Emeka’s money, Halima’s vote, Corruption Wahala and Downtown Lagos.
To mark Basement’s 10th anniversary, Content Nigeria had a chat with CEO Mbuotidem Johnson on how far he has come in the animation industry, the challenges he has faced and what lies ahead for his company.
What have been your greatest achievements so far?
It has to be the fact that we have been able to build a team with the right team players this past decade. We have a strong core team and because of that we have been able to execute more projects excellently. Also, being one of the forerunners in this industry is another achievement for us. It is an honour to be a part of this generation that is making an impact in the Nigerian animation industry.
What inspires you to do what you do?
It is the opportunities that our studio has been able to give to creatives who have chosen this career path. The joy and fulfilment these creatives get when they work on a project from start to finish is something we do not take for granted. This is what keeps us going.
Have you experience any major setbacks in production, financing or distribution?
Yes, we have. Every business has its own setbacks, but here we consider them as challenges, not setbacks. Nigeria as a country has so many socioeconomic issues that affect businesses. As an animation production studio, power is very important to what we do. But because of the current state of the power supply in Nigeria, we are forced to provide our own electricity. A lot of money is being spent monthly to solve this issue, but as long as the end result is that we are able to deliver quality animation to our clients and they are happy, then we are happy as well.
Another issue is that unlike how it is done in other countries, our industry doesn’t get any funding or grants from the government. We are self-funded as a company, so we are still in the space of doing serviced work as opposed to producing and distributing our own content. The aspect of distribution is tied to us having our own content. We are still in the space of servicing clients. We have a lot of our own content still in the development stage but because there is limited access to funding, we have been unable to produce as much content as we would love to.
What are you looking forward to in the coming years?
We look forward to building and advancing the Nigerian animation industry and creating more opportunities for creatives in the industry by training them to international standards. We also look forward to producing more of our own content. We believe doing these things will put the Nigerian animation industry on the map and make it more attractive to investors.