I first met Nelson in 2015. At that time, he was making music videos for a few unknown Ugandan artists. But, one of his videos stood out for me. It was called Enanga.
Right now, two years down the road, his videos are playing on both local and regional TV stations. The notable one being Trace Mziki. But, Nelson is not about to stop. His end goal is his company, Egotastic Media being among the household names on the continent.
Nelson Dramuke is the co-founder of Egotastic media – a media, and filming company. Asked how business has been, Nelson told me that actually, they have been making strides. “Right now I’d say business is at a much better level than what we were doing“, Nelson informed me.
This is partly because they recently acquired new equipment. This included cameras and drones. They also have a couple of projects coming there way this month (July) which Nelson said: “are going to be helpful for the development of the company“.
When asked who he admires in the industry currently, he pointed out the simplicity Clarence A. Peters brings to the industry as well as Hanscana (directed Muziki for Darassa and Eddy Kenzo’s Shauri Yako) who has been able to dominate the industry in Tanzania.
He was also quick to acknowledge the works of Enos as well as Ogopa Deejays.
Seeing that Nelson recently visited Nairobi, Zanzibar and Dar el Salaam, I asked him why he did not take the time to reach out to these directors for mentorship.
His answer, just like most people starting out was, “I don’t know exactly how to get close to these guys but one thing I have realized when it comes to us here in Uganda. Most of the guys in this same industry like us especially don’t want anyone to get close to him”
This is partly correct, not only in Nelson’s industry but almost everywhere. However, it is also true that there are those who are willing to help out. So, the trick is simple, reach out to ten. Probably five will reply and maybe two will be willing to help out. But don’t just give up.
Though Nelson cited help from Jim Resley. Jim is the one who directed the Batuwulura Video, a song by Big Trill and Fille – both Ugandan artists. He also directed Pretty Girls by Big Trill. Unfortunately, Jim is not in Uganda anymore as he was signed by some film company in Canada and stayed there.
Nelson cites that Kenyan and other film directors have it easy when they come to Uganda. Yet, when Ugandan directors go to those countries, it is not easy. This he blames on the regulatory authority in Uganda.
When a Ugandan director goes to Kenya, it is hard. Because Kenya has a filming body which has strict rules – Nelson
When asked whether he thinks his team is the right one for the job, Nelson says the fact it is comprising of guys who are friends and know what they want is enough.
To him “besides the bit of making money, it is a group of boys that have the vision and the focus“. Aside from making videos, he believes they’re also very passionate about building something that’s going to last for a long time.
However, working with friends and family has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the key advantages is that at the start they’re more than willing to work for no or little pay.
The downside is that as you grow and need to pull a plug on them, it gets harder and harder.
On what his vision is, Nelson says that “right now, I’d say that we are just a film company but were building it to be a media company. Media covers a lot of things. Some two years ago, we didn’t understand what a media company was exactly. But now, we have got the experience in the industry. We know media is not all about doing music videos and we got someone to come on the investment side of it”.
Now, we have got the experience in the industry. We know media is not all about doing music videos. Also, we got someone to come on on the investment side of it because he understands what media is, so he wants to build it into a company that’s bigger than just music videos – Nelson
On why he believes this is the right time Egotastic Media to exist, Nelson thinks “because we have the ability to deal with clients that are giving you little pay and yet give them a video that’s twice the value of their pay makes which makes us stand out“.
This is very vital especially in an industry where artists don’t have recording and filming deals from companies but instead have to do it as individuals.
Yet, the downside is that it may not be sustainable in the long-run especially if the margins are small or non-existent.
Nelson also believes that it is time more creativity is added to the local videos. He says “most of the videos we have still lack the art. People are tired of having monotony in videos. Instead, they’d want to watch something simple but captivating“.
In a month, Egotastic Media gets a minimum of 4 projects. But for this month (July) they are anticipating close to 11 videos they are supposed to do. Although this means reducing on time allocated per project, Nelson says they are to do as much as possible and give their clients time.
Of the upcoming projects, one of them is with Ugandan music group Voltage Music another with Nutty Nathan, another local Ugandan dancehall artist.