Tune in to your dream

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Tshidiso Lechuba is the television producer and director of ComutaNet's in-house Audio-Visual Division.

He is involved in directing and producing material for Rank TV, which is ComutaNet's media platform and is found at the busiest taxi ranks in South Africa.

Rank TV was launched in 2002 and is viewed through vast 12m² screens, which are not electronic billboards, but fully-functioning television screens with quality audio and visual elements. For ease of viewing, each screen is elevated five metres off the ground and engineered to provide quality viewing in any location.

It also offers live feeds of sport and news, and inserts its own weather, traffic, and other localised news suitable for commuters in each locale.

"I direct and produce content for Rank TV and Star Radio. This can be adverts for Rank TV or Star Radio or the entertainment and news content ComutaNet produces for Rank TV," he said.

"Our audiovisual department handles all aspects of production and we conceptualise creative ideas, direct, edit and then flight them on Rank TV."

Lechuba has a wide range of clients, which include major corporations such as Unilever, SAB, FNB, KFC, Shoprite, Metropolitan Life and Aquafresh.

"The dynamic sales team at ComutaNet generally source our clients. We have relationships with clients going back many years. As an audiovisual team, we also make ourselves known at the various music recording companies," Lechuba said. "But we also get demanding clients. To deal with them, it is essential to be professional at all times. The client mix follows the 80/20 principle. Twenty percent of clients are demanding but the other eighty percent are a pleasure to work with. Being clear about the scope of, and the time and resources allotted to a project usually eliminates conflict. Of course, we try to meet all our clients' expectations."

Before his current job, he worked as a video editor for a company that edited SABC shows and music videos and he also worked as an intern at Metro FM.

"To work in this field, you need to be both creative and technical. I've always been a gadget person, loving gadgets and enjoying finding out how they work. You have to always keep a look out for new trends in production to keep your skills fresh," he said.

"There is no typical day. Starting times vary as well as ending times. Some days I work all day and through the night. Other days are spent doing admin and finalising shoots. I am involved with brainstorming, creating storyboards, casting actors, looking for locations and props, shooting and finally editing and post production. It's a fast paced job."

The starting salary for this profession is between R4000 and R6000 depending on one's qualifications. One must work from the bottom up in this industry - there's no great reward without the slog.

"Fortunately it is a growing industry - and I really recommend it to young people starting out in the industry. The demand for talented people is insatiable. Keep yourself updated by reading magazines and websites catering for aspirant film and television producers and directors - for example www.filmmakers.co.za as well as AV Magazine. I am a member of the Editors Guild of South Africa as well as the Filmmakers Guild of South Africa," he said.