FaB Chat Room: Insta live interview with Dr. Nkeng Stephens
He has been quite instrumental in taking Cameroonian entertainment to the world. He has made a name for himself in the Cameroonian music industry with the high-quality music videos he has directed for the big names in the industry. We had a chat with Dr. Nkeng Stephen to know more about the man behind the camera.
Fabafriq magazine: Who is Nkeng Stephen?
DR. NKEnG: Nkeng Stephen is an editor, video director, and I’m choleric.
Fabafriq magazine: You have been celebrated worldwide as a video director, when did you begin as a video director?
DR. NKEnG: It’s not been very easy, but I started way back in 2013. Before, I used to be a sound producer, music producer, songwriter, rapper and I even acted. Because of the acting, the fun, I started filmography. We are pushing; we are not there yet.
Fabafriq magazine: What’s the most interesting thing about being a video director?
DR. NKEnG: The most interesting thing is when I can create whatever I imagine and I see people buying my ideas. It’s a lot of fun to me, making people feel appreciated, loved, and cared for when they want to. So, just being creative and seeing my idea inspire or impact people is a great joy to me.
Fabafriq magazine: What are those challenges you faced as a video director?
DR. NKEnG: Before Africa and the world could know, I faced a lot of challenges. So far, one of the greatest phases of challenges was that people didn’t want to accept me. I tried to meet video directors, but none was ready to teach me, and help me grow in video directing. But as it is, the spark of growth comes with a lot of challenges.
Fabafriq magazine: What is your scheme to develop a good team?
DR. NKEnG: I work with a lot of energy. I connect with people easily. When I feel that there is something about you, then we connect naturally. I connect with the people that feel the same energy as me; if not, we don’t.
Fabafriq magazine: How many staff members so far?
DR. NKEnG: Right now, we have about 14 people: technicians, set designer, location manager, light technicians, customs, and some brief stars.
Fabafriq magazine: How do you plan, organise and prioritise your work?
DR. NKEnG: Actually, the key to that is self-discipline. I have so many things to do; I keep doing them. I am able to plan myself, and I do it with joy.
Fabafriq magazine: How do you deal with artists that disturb, those that come with a lot of stress, or pride?
DR. NKEnG: Most people that I have got disturbances from are those who don’t pay. That is, they come and beg. So, I stooped working with such people. But those who know their work don’t disturb. Sometimes I go as far as doing free videos for people. I do it free because I really want to, and because I love the music. So, basically, that’s how I work.
Fabafriq magazine: “We take another shot!” How did that slogan come about?
DR. NKEnG: Sometimes what you are looking for is just beside. Actually, “We take another shot,” is a mistake; it happens when I was shooting a video of Salatiel, called TOI ET MOI. At that time, I was looking for an identity, so after shooting the last video I said, “Okay, we take another shot.” When I was editing the video, I saw it and decided to put it out to the public. Trust me, it was not a fair one, because I had a lot of discouragement, a lot of people criticized. But I kept putting it repeatedly until everyone now is addicted to the slogan. I was consistent and also refused to listen to negative words.
Fabafriq magazine: Who inspired you in your career?
DR. NKEnG: Well, I would say I don’t know who inspired me. But back then, when I was a kid, I loved films. I felt like I could do something in the movie industry, but I didn’t know how. In my youth, I got so many distractions but right now, I get inspiration from a lot of people.
Fabafriq magazine: Why Dr. Nkeng?
DR. NKEnG: It was some form of respect from my friends; they gave me the name because, at that time, I could do a lot of things: film, and also as a director. They were also trying to link me to Dr. Dre. I started doing movies and videos, so many things together. When I was a kid, my dad always wanted me to be a doctor, but it didn’t happen; and that’s because I never liked it. My parents were never in support of what I was doing, but my mom kept encouraging me to go to school. I actually worked on myself. I love music, and I do it for fun.
Fabafriq magazine: What is the full meaning of C.P.E?
DR. NKEnG: Cameroon Phrase of Entertainment
Fabafriq magazine: How did you come about it?
DR. NKEnG: The three of us initiated this name for the love we have for Cameroon, and at that time, we were about to change the game, the whole entertainment firm. We have a lot to give out in a very positive way and a different way. We want to showcase our culture, talent, and everything to the outside world. We want our film to create traffic, as in, everyone who watches, will love to come to Cameroon because Cameroon is beautiful.
Fabafriq magazine: What do you have up?
DR. NKEnG: Well, we have a lot of projects coming up. We are coming up with a record label. It’s not going to be like any other record label we see here in Cameroon. This is going to be very massive. We will be selling vibes; Cameroonians have limited vibes and this is why they keep watching other people’s videos and not theirs. And apart from that, we have movies too; we are going to drop short movies, and we are coming up with one of the greatest and biggest African movies.
Fabafriq magazine: How do you balance corporation and independent thinking?DR. NKEnG: My whole life is fun; everything is just fun. There is no work for me. Sometimes, I get failures, sometimes I win but I take it all as part of life. Sometimes when I feel like chilling, I call my friends and we have a house party, sometimes I go out to nightclubs, see how they live, get the experience I see, and I try to put it in writing.