Ideh Chukwuma Innocent, popularly known as Onesoul, is a film maker, recording artiste and a business executive. At the kick off of his career, there were challengesInnocent tells Tosin Clegg
My career started as a singer/rapper
Actually, my career started as a singer/rapper some years back, but I have been very much more active and known as a film maker. I come from Orhionmwon Local Government of Edo State. I know the Chukwuma in my name always keeps people wondering, but I am from the Ika speaking area of Edo State called Igbanke that is how I got Chukwuma in my name. I am from a family of six; my mum and dad, my brother and two sister; I’m the last of them all.
I am a film maker
I write, I produce, I direct, I edit and by His grace I am the principal owner of my production company – Heat Factory ICI. That makes me a businessman. I will say I am a very blunt person. I am direct and straight up. I am a go getter I go for what I want and I do what my mind asks me to do. The only person I owe explanation for my decisions is God; as long as He approves of it, I don’t think twice. Sometimes I come across to people as being difficult because I’m a no-nonsense person, but the truth is I just think we all should be professional and do what is right.
My career started years back
As I said, it started with me doing music, but while doing music I was shooting my own music videos and I was also shooting for others. At some point, I realised I was really doing well in that areas so I thought it would make sense to expand my territory. But I didn’t want to jump into it so I went to South Africa and took a proper training in a film school where I got my certificate as a trained film maker. After film School, I came back Nigeria and, trust me, when I say it was not easy.
It was more like I was starting my career all over again. I was begging to work for people, and to do it for free. All I wanted was an opportunity to express myself which I never got, but yeah, in life you have to keep pushing and work hard to get what you want. I kept my head up, started slow, but thank God for where we are today; the story is different and I can boldly say my year is always fully booked with projects.
I don’t know how to act like someone that I am not
I am not the type that will come and tell tales with no proof to back them up. If you ask me what my breaking point is, then I will say it’s yet to come. My breaking out point is yet to come. Yes, with what I have done or have been doing, I have made a little name for myself. Anyone in my shoes will be happy and excited but nope not me. I have not gotten my break out point yet, and I promise you when it happens, you will know. I can also assure you that it’s very closer than you can imagine and it’s going to hit the industry very hard; that’s what God has promised me; so I’m not going to settle for less.
I’m going to mention the projects I can remember
Starting with ‘An Hour with the Shrink’, Moth to a Flame, Diana’s Verdict, Bad Boy and Pretty, Love at 70, Love Sex and Money, Cajoling, Hourglass, The View, Wife Beater and the List Goes On’.
I have worked with several actors
I still look forward to working with a lot more. Few names I can mention are: Yemi Blaq, Segun Arinze, Fred Amata, Femi Jacob, Joseph Benjamin, Kiki Omeili, Anthony Monjaro, Chelsea Eze, Gbenro Ajibade, Akin Lewis, Tina Mba, among others.
Holy Grail is something I started developing about five years ago
Holy Grail is my latest work. I wrote it over 167 times in the last five years. Holy Grail is about that thing you treasure most and will do anything, even give up your life or take a life to protect it. It’s a story that focuses on how much our love for crude oil led to us doing anything to have control or possession of crude oil. In a country like Sierra Leone, their Holy Grail is diamond and people will do anything to own or control it. And in Nigeria, its crude oil; so Holy Grail deals with the part of us Africans- how we have lost our moral values, and from our love for God to love for things of the world.
Our plan is to make it the biggest TV series to come out of Africa and we are doing so with all our strength, so help us God. It’s a TV series that everyone in Africa will relate to as a general problem they face in their country, depending on what their own Holy Grail is.
On the cast of the series
When you have a great script like this, what you need do is put a great cast of actors that have made a mark in their acting life. You also consider young and talented ones who are ready to explore and set the bar high, and that’s exactly what I was looking out for when I started doing my casting. I am glad I was able to cast the likes of Joseph Benjamin, Segun Arinze, Akin Lewis, Shaffy Bello, Femi Branch, Tina Mba, young great actress like Layole Oyatogun and a host of others. And I promise this cast will bring a light to Holy Grail.
My hope is high. I have great confidence in my cast and crew. We have a great plan lined up. We have a great script. Spirit is high in camp and we are ready to roll. So, I am very confident this will turn out to be what God has planned it to be for me.
Heat Factory ICI is not just a production company
We are into a lot of other things. Yes, film making has been our major operational angle lately, this is because other areas are been developed. We are into film production, sport management, record label and artiste management, events, properties, oil and gas, and general entertainment consultant company.
My major challenge
I will say starting a company from a zero point and trying to turn it into a world-class brand has been my biggest challenge so far. At the beginning, nobody will listen to you. Nobody will give you a listening ear or opportunity to explore.
They will crucify you and criticise you. They will say mean words to you. Some will even try to take food out of your mouth. But you have to be strong and be focused and reach for the stars. Believe in yourself and take one day at a time. Do what your heart tells you to do.
Make mistake and try again and again and again; never stop trying because every time you make a mistake it’s because you are a step closer to success. Keep your eyes on the price and trust and depend on God alone. Yes, my biggest challenge in life is trying to be what they say I cannot be, but that’s my motivation in getting the job done because I just can’t fail!