Inspiring Figures is a monthly blog column where I share with you people who are catalysts in inspiring and motivating me. They’re people you should really know about.
This month, I’m featuring Bolu Bello.
Bolu Bello is a Law and Criminology student in Sheffield but also doing multiple things in the creative space such as her online platform, BB Productions. She is also a Brand Manager at Unlocked Grads! Talk about a multi-hyphen, killing-the-game, highly talented woman. She got it all. *sparkly confetti everywhere*
We first met in 2016 during my first encounter of a Code First: Girls course, both attending and meeting other like-minded students across the university. This is again another reason why if you’re a student, make the most out of communities and societies – you meet the most amazing people.
🖌 When I came to University, I discovered the creative scene.
Being from a small town, I was then suddenly surrounded by people from all different backgrounds who were exhibiting their skills; whether it be photography, videography, blogging, portrait painting and coding. To be honest, I was extremely jealous. To my knowledge, I didn’t have any of these skills which could make me unique and stand out.
So, I guess you could kind of say that BB Productions came about as an opportunity to be creative without necessarily being labelled a ‘creative’. This was very important to me, and that is why I have dedicated the platform to showcase people who are doing amazing things, irrespective of their label because I want the world to see their talent.
Now, I had to be honest with myself. I didn’t know the first thing about cameras, how to edit, or even how YouTube worked!
However, since I came up with the idea over Summer 2017, I decided to invest money into some tech, and then spent 6 whole months of preparation, practising, watching tutorials and learning new skills so that I at least had some sort of footing, to begin with. I released my first video in late March, and the response was truly overwhelming.
✨ For me, everything I produce is for inspiration. I believe that discussing people’s journey’s is one of the most powerful tools of inspiration.
#SpotlightACreative is my baby, it was the first constant segment that I wanted to have on BB Productions. This was partly due to my love for creatives naturally but was more so fuelled by the fact that I saw so many creative people not getting the recognition they deserved for their work. The quality of the work that some students produce is beyond professional. And yet, when it comes to the big opportunities, they are often overlooked. This saddened me.
And so, I wanted to do something that could help work towards a solution to this problem. People are genuinely shocked when I approach them and ask them to feature because they are so used to being overlooked that it’s become an expectation. Talking to them, and hearing their stories is very powerful because you don’t know just who is going to hear that clip and be encouraged to put theirs all into their creativity.
And that’s the key message I hear all the time, never give up. It’s difficult, but if you work just hard enough, you will get your breakthrough eventually.
Well, because of the formal style that I adopt with my sit-down interviews, I ensure that my set-up looks the part. If you look at the videos I have up, you will notice a multi-coloured background to give it a nice feel, but really it’s just some wrapping paper that I picked up from a shop. I use it as a contrast against the plain white background to give it a little pop of colour. In order to light my shots, I have two large softboxes, that I ordered online, that help to bring more light into the room, specifically onto the subject of the shot.
To film, I currently use a Canon 80D and Canon 700D DSLR Cameras, with a RodeMic Pro for good sound quality. Alongside this, I also purchased a couple of coloured backdrops that I intend to use for certain projects. In terms of editing, I purchased the full Adobe bundle, which includes Adobe Premiere Pro which is fantastic, and easy to use once you get the hang of it!
As aforementioned, I took some real time to get to know my way around things, and during this period, I watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube, I particularly loved the ‘TECH TALK’ series by ShamlessMaya. She really broke things down and inspired me a lot to be more adventurous with my angles, for example. But don’t be fooled!
I am nowhere near expert level yet, and so I still turn to tutorials on YouTube all the time! It’s all part of the process.
🙈 When I first took my camera out, I was so embarrassed.
I felt like people were staring at me, even if they weren’t. It was so bad, that I would take my camera to events and not even bring it out of my bag.
The change suddenly came for me when I was actually watching a tutorial on how to take a good sweeping shot.
I thought to myself, ‘I can do that’. And that was what I did.
It amazes me how much power the mind has over the body. I had told myself repeatedly, that I couldn’t film in public, and so I couldn’t. But the minute, I said that I could, that’s exactly what happened.
Sometimes with these things, self-limitation is a real problem and it takes getting up and doing, to really expose your strengths.
But, if that doesn’t work for you just yet, then take baby steps. Go out with some friends, take a couple of pictures. That way you’re not alone, and it doesn’t feel like everyone’s just looking at you!
But remember, if you want to produce the best content that you possibly can, then you have to be the best that you possibly can be, and that means no self-limitation!
👩🏽🏫Student-talk: A piece of advice for new students
As cliché as it may sound, opportunities are everywhere.
Before I came to Uni, I was bent on just having a good time and getting a degree. When I actually got to Uni, I realised that there was so much on offer to do here. From societies to groups, to events, to new ventures- you name it, its here!
But one thing I will stress is that you have to be open to them.
For example, in my first year, I joined the committee of an events society on campus, this then enabled me to get the know-how of how a society worked, meaning that when I ran the African-Caribbean Society in my second year as President, I was not a novice to the system. I have also, worked in several representatives and ambassador roles, meaning that I have got to meet some of the most wonderful people from all backgrounds and nationalities. This has meant that my network has expanded exponentially, which has been perfect for further roles and projects that I am responsible for, even until today.
At Uni there are groups for every type of interest, from Bollywood Dancing to Improv groups, Sports teams to Coding geniuses! This is why I have a real hard time with people who say that University is just about getting a piece of paper because it’s so much more than that!
At the end of the day, your Uni experience will boil down to the opportunities you took, not those you didn’t. So, make sure you put yourself out there and get involved. There’s a famous saying that says:
You shouldn’t go anywhere without leaving your mark.
What will yours be?