In 2016 Canadian actor, comedian, and digital content creator Moniquea Marion underwent and successfully accomplished a rigorous web series, Moniquea Marion 365. She wrote, starred, produced, filmed, and edited 365 character videos in 365 days. Through her web series she released a new character video for every day of the year. During those 365 days she must have gone through times when she had to scratch her head for ideas. And not that all of the videos were equally great that those would draw great public views. So Moniquea Marion had her days of nervous breakdown and days when ‘likes’ and ‘page views’ were not coming in her ways.
Last Saturday I had an audience with Moniquea Marion courtesy a long distance video call when she was speaking to a Dhaka audience from her Toronto residence. She was giving a talk on content creation. On the other side of the call there was a fifty-some audience sitting in the campus of Canadian University of Bangladesh (CUB) attending a workshop on digital content generation. The audience and panelists included media students, teachers, You Tubers, journalists, filmmakers, singers and communicators. Canada’s Radio Metro Mail (RMM), an online radio infotainment channel, which broadcasts educational, informational, cultural and entertainment programmes partnered with CUB in organising the workshop.
Moniquea Marion’s latest endeavor is a travel web series called ‘Fuel Up’ where she spent a month riding Canada’s west coast in search of food and adventure alone on a motorcycle. Digital content creator Moniquea Marion told the Dhaka audience that no matter how much ‘likes’ or ‘views’ one succeed to gain, the pursuit should be creating and uploading good digital contents. If not for anything else, Moniquea Marion considers, such content generation would quench one’s creativity thirsts. A Toronto-based actor and comedian specializing in solo sketch and character comedy Marion has created hundreds of comedic YouTube videos, dozens of podcasts, various satirical articles, and live ‘one woman’ comedy shows. Moniquea Marion, a graduate of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in New York and the Second City Conservatory in Toronto, has twice been nominated for Best Female Improviser by NOW Magazine and she is a lover of food, motorcycles, and travel.
At this event Marion’s thoughts on digital content generation have been well seconded by Bangladesh’s YouTuber sensation - Shouvik Ahmed and Shoumik Ahmed – twin brothers whose’ YouTube channel GaanFriendz created quite a buzz. Ahmed brothers shared the stage with Emamul Haque, Executive Director of Canada’s Radio Metro Mail (RMM) to tell the audience about the experience they gained by creating innovative digital contents, skits for YouTube. Those who had heard them right that morning must now know that one of the best things about some of the successful YouTube channels in Bangladesh is that one gets to work with their friends in such a way that fun and work become synonymous. Shouvik Ahmed and Shoumik Ahmed told the audience that content creators have to appreciate that in the digital world there would be always some fan bases as well as groups of haters meaning, one who create and upload contents in the cyber world should expect both praises and flak, which can go quite nasty at times. They said out in the market with the best of the contents can also attract negative comments as there would be always some people who tend to find faults. The young YouTubers encouraged all to appreciate good digital contents and also try out generating some – that’s fun, that’s creativity. Ahmed duo’s GaanFriendz, a fastest growing YouTube channel in Bangladesh, at times comes with classical twist where the Ahmed brothers cover western hit numbers with a pinch of eastern classical music and comedy.
Many people have wrong understanding that one has to have an expensive camera and other high-end gears to make quality videos, but that’s not true at all. Marion as well as Ahmed brothers told their audience that they can do fantastic job simply by their hand-held smartphones and no costly gadgets are needed. They said what actually matter most is coming up with content that has a unique selling proposition, imitating other channels does not help.
Celebrated singer, television producer and content creator Hassan Abidur Reja Jewel, young filmmaker Lubna Sharmin, Executive Editor of sarabangla.net Menon Mahmood, and Radio Metro Mail’s (RMM) Head of Programme, Rajib Sarker, among others, gave talks on separate sessions at the workshop. Earlier, Canadian University of Bangladesh (CUB) Vice Chancellor, Dr. Professor Mahfuzul Islam, its Registrar, Brigadier General (retired) Asaduzzaman Subhani, Head of the CUB Film and Television Department, Dr. Nurul Islam Babul, and Radio Metro Mail’s (RMM) Executive Director, Emamul Haque, spoke in the inaugural function.
Speaking on the sideline of the event, the key organiser Emamul Haque told Dhaka Courier that if young people in Bangladesh feel inspired to generate ideas and create innovative and effective contents that would contribute to the vast world of digital knowledge. Haque, himself a celebrated theatre actor, television compere, motivational speaker and communicator, has been instrumental behind launching the Toronto-based Radio Metro Mail that serves the interests of Bangla and non-resident Bangladeshi communities across the world. Broadcast 24-hour programmes from Toronto, Radio Metro Mail serves the community through tracking, recording, analyzing and interpreting various aspects of business, education, social and cultural issues.
Today’s virtual world of information in the cyber space is full of digital contents. But when people start watching a good video content, often it happens that they face many other indecent contents queuing up in the troll. Bad and compromised contents often tend to relegate good contents out of public views in the fashion of Gresham’s law of bad money driving good money out of circulation. That’s why generating more quality contents is all the more important to bring in good fresh air in the cyber space otherwise regularly being vitiated by dirty and low-grade contents.