S Sid Ahmed is a video blogger, music video producer, and someone’s work I have always admired. Sid has embarked on the journey of being the man in front of the lense has he has a video blog for each day. Away from it all, who is Sid and what’s next for him? I asked him all the right questions!
Zaynah: The man behind the lens is not applicable in your case as you are vloging through the year, so let’s take it back…what were you like as a kid?
Sid: As a kid, I was a loner intellectual. Strict upbringing. I was (and still am) very shy because my parents wouldn’t let me leave the house except for school. My cousins, of whom are about a decade older than me, went down a lot of wrong paths and my parents wanted to protect me from that. So they took to the Rapunzel route.
Most of my time was spent watching TV and Disney cartoons, so my world view was a pretty innocent one for the longest time. My best friend was Lego. I just created and built things in any way I could imagine.
Zaynah: As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sid: An Archeologist. I liked discovering things and looking back at history. I didn’t know who Indiana Jones was till I was 15. Way after I lost interest in becoming one.
Zaynah: At what point did you actively been directing videos?
Sid: I was 16 years old, Summer had just begun and GCSEs had finished. No friends, nothing to do so I did what any creative would do. I played the Sims 2. I played for 10 weeks, creating these worlds and then I discovered there was a recording function. Threw the clips into Windows Movie Maker and started telling stories and making music videos.
At the time, a new art form was developing on the Internet called Machinima. Using real-time computer technology to record and make films. Essentially, making films with video games. I was quite active in that circle for a long time. Then college started and I left the scene but took what I learnt and brought it with me.
Zaynah: What was your first video?
Sid: My first video ever would be a music video I made in the Sims 2 to Linkin Park’s “Numb.” my first video with people in them was a short film I made in college called “Confrontation.” I loved that film, but it got lost. Wasn’t too happy with that!
My first music video with people was a music video called “Switchback” which had me in it. I still use that to show clients. In fact, RKZ met me whilst I was editing that.
Zaynah: I have to ask, were you lucky enough to make friends with budding rappers or did you initially meet with RKZ, Raxstar, Strikey, etc. via business and then it become a friendship?
Sid: The story of me meeting the people I work with now is a glorious one! So, I’m making this music video. It was a blue-screen project in the final three weeks of college. Everyone else s doing the standard boring malarkey and I wanted to push some boundaries. I shot the video, edited it etc in the last three days. I just so happened to be dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow at the time.
RKZ was in his first year and was booked to use the edit suite that I was in. He had seen me running around the college dressed up as this gay pirate. The look on his face when he saw that I was in the room was priceless. I told him to sit down and let the current shot render before I exited. He was astounded by the video. Couple of days later, he adds me on MySpace and started planning Renegades.
I met Raxstar on the set of Renegades and a year later he came to me wanting to do a video for “Name On The Poster.” I met Strikey on the set of Elevation and the following day he Skyped me and we began talks for Average Londoner.
They all started as a mix of friendship and business. Projects aside, I can easily just have general conversations and hang out with them whenever as you would with friends.
Zaynah: I am very glad you are all friends because I love the music and love the videos there one particular project that stands out as a favorite?
Sid: Thank you. All the projects are very different. For me, “Name On The Poster” is the most visually extravagant. It was just free reign to blind as many different styles and visuals as possible in the time frame.
The two days we shot “Average Londoner” are probably the most fun I’ve had on any shoot. It was just non-stop travelling around London in full tourist style with the most ridiculous camera rig. The company was just awesome!
The most visually beautiful project for me, to date, is “The Other Man,” which should be coming out soon. I’ve become bored of music videos and Rax could tell. I told him I want to make this as a film, no performance, no words spoken, and no technology. Just a pure, simple story told as beautifully as we can.
No rapping, no singing. It’s just a simple short film. I plan on making all my future music videos the same way. Forget posing in style videos. It’s about creating something worth remembering.
Zaynah: In all honesty, do you spend more time socializing and less time working when you are all on a shoot?
Sid: Haha! At the beginning of a shoot day, it is literally all socialising. It’ll take ages for the first scenes to get done because we’re all either late or conversing. The first step is the hardest. Once we’re at the two/three hour mark, we kick into overdrive. By the end of the shoot, it gets aggressive. Everyone’s tired; there are still shots that need to be done, and socialising goes out the window. I’m usually very casual at the beginning of the day, let things slide. By the end of the day, I can’t take the softness anymore and just get harsh.
Zaynah: What is one of the greatest challenges you face when directing a video?
Sid: If it’s a music video; ego. No-one wants to look bad. Musicians are musicians and they pride themselves on being good at what they do. There are certain story lines they won’t accept or certain things they want. But at the end of the day, the direction of the visuals are mine and I’m going to make them look good. So “In Sid You Sure As Hell Better Trust!”
The other major challenge is that if you’re as relaxed as I am on set, everyone thinks they’re the director. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to try this and that. Granted, I’ll consider it, but it’s gets ridiculous after a while. I like to think I let people have their say, but there are times when I want to say “STFU and do what you’re supposed to do.”
I need to learn to be a lot stricter.
Zaynah: What projects are you currently working on?
Sid: Currently, I have just released “Average Londoner” by Strikey. I’ve finished “The Other Man” by Raxstar. RKZ has a track called “Forever” he wants to do. Strikey has already booked me for a track called “Never Back Down.”
I want to get back to making films and telling stories, so I’m trying to get a lot more short films done.
Zaynah: Because “In Sid We Trust” and final words for your fans?
Sid: Final words for the fans? I have fans?! Apart from “In Sid We Trust” I would say: You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are you. Every single one of you is important. Everything about you matters. Whether it’s a broken nail, a broken heart or a broken home. It all still matters. Don’t stop loving, because I’ll never stop loving you.
Stay tuned for part two with a little insight into the video blogs.