If you watch TV regularly, you must have come across “Meet the Adebanjos” – a sitcom about a Nigerian family in the UK. Although What you probably may not know, is the story behind creating of the show, and we probably wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to experience this great production if the creators did not think outside of the box.
A couple of weeks ago, Andrew Osayemi, one of the creators shared a story on his LinkedIn page of how he had tried to get mainstream media to buy into the idea but failed.
In 2010 Debra Odutuyo sold her car and moved back in with her parents and Andrew Osayemi left his Investment Banking career to embark on their entrepreneurial dream. They joined forces to launch an independent TV production company called MTA Productions to produce a comedy TV show, ‘Meet The Adebanjos’ about African parents trying to raise their British kids in London. Eager to achieve a major TV deal, they pitched the show to mainstream media outlets but to no avail.
“I pitched to BBC and they said no, pitched to ITV – NO, Every broadcaster in the UK? NO NO NO
I was at my wit’s end. I was devastated. I had risked all of my investors’ money making 7 episodes of a TV show and couldn’t find a buyer for it.
After months of feeling sorry for myself, a successful business friend pulled me aside and asked: “why do you actually want to get a deal with a mainstream UK broadcaster?”
“Because I want to prove it’s possible to get a black show on TV” I confidently stated.
He replied “It’s your ego talking. You’re too focused on the bright lights, the glitz, glamour and adoration from your friends. You should find a market who want to buy your content”
“Where is a market who would want my type of content” I naively asked because all I had been focusing on was mainstream TV stations in UK and US.
He replied, “You make a show about an African family living in London – why don’t you try and sell it in Africa?”
“But TV stations in Africa don’t pay enough” I stated
He replied “but there are over 500 TV stations you could sell to right? It’s not as sexy as doing a UK/US deal but it will keep you in business”
“I took his advice and since then have not looked back! I’ve sold my show to over 30 TV Stations
Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success.”
It is truly an important lesson for a lot of creatives who are struggling to find how to get their product distributed.
This morning, we received a press release from the Meet the Adebanjos publicists with more detailed information on the back story.”
We hope you are inspired by it.